When motherhood feels away of reach as a lesbian
I had been obsessed with procreating since I possibly could stand on two foot. But what happens when that path becomes obscured by who you fall in love with?
I had been enthusiastic about procreating since I possibly could stand on two ft. But what happens when that route becomes obscured by who you fall deeply in love with?
WHILE I was a decade old, I completely idolized my swim instructor.
She was a, no-nonsense kind of woman who wore an “I-mean-business” one-piece swimsuit. I saw her as an expert body and I aimed to be as very easily cool and confident as she was.
One afternoon, I eavesdropped as she spoke with my mom. She casually described how she would be heading to dinner with a female friend which friend’s “wife.” I eagerly intruded on the conversation in order to correct her, non-etheless in that condescending drawl kids use when they think they’ve outsmarted adults.
“You mean your friend’s husband,” I said, to which she replied, quite matter-of-factly, “No, her wife.”
This revelation had me absolutely stunned. As the discussion progressed, there was no chance to step in and ask the pressing questions swirling around in my own prepubescent brain. Two women can get wedded? Is that legal? Can they kiss one another? Can they have children? I gripped the format of my inhaler in my duffel bag.
Of course babies were top of mind for me; I have been enthusiastic about procreating since I possibly could stand on two feet. I loved only to watch a pregnant Lori Loughlin on Full House while clutching my copy of Robert Munsch’s Alligator Baby.
Pregnancy was fascinating to me, and I had formed a simple view of it: I thought a woman became pregnant when the priest made that faithful marital declaration, “You may kiss the bride.” Obviously a man was absolutely necessary in this ideological equation.
It was no wonder I had developed an obsession with life in the womb and thereafter. Our culture has a way of bombarding girls with baby-related playthings prior to they understand what any of this means.
I could remember flipping through the Sears catalogue and flagging web pages with mini bibs and tiny strollers while my brother lusted on the latest Transformer. Playthings in North America convey a very clear message: males will be males, and girls will be mothers.
This had me envisioning my future children on a regular basis. The details got oddly specific as time continued, but nobody appeared to find it as odd as I really do now.
I’d name my children Julie and Stephanie and they’d be tall with blond ringlets and crystal blue eye. I’m not sure why my young Italian self thought my offspring would come out looking Dutch, but I guess genetics weren’t top of brain for me at six years old.
As I entered adolescence, pregnancy and motherhood were making headlines. Jon and Kate Plus 8 strike the airwaves, and the “Pregnant Man” graced the stage of the Oprah show. It wasn’t uncommon to be at the supermarket and find out women shaking their mind at Angelina Jolie’s adoption programs in the tabloids.
nonnormative iterations of motherhood were surprising the country, while simultaneously phoning into question what a “real” mother appeared as if. Critics made it clear: motherhood was a sacred relationship belonging to heterosexual ladies in dedicated relationships. This began painting my motherly dreams with a tinge of sadness that I couldn’t quite place.
At this time, my own notions of marriage and motherhood went dormant. In fact, I had been skipping the boy crazy, writing-our-names-together-in-a-notebook phase that my peers were fumbling through.
I remember on the last day of Quality 8, our teacher asked what we were looking forward to most about high school. Most of my male classmates said “more girls,” my feminine classmates said, “children and/or a much better social scene,” and I said . . . lockers. Obviously, I was thinking of an extremely different space to stash my goods than my male counterparts.
High school was a rollercoaster of denial. I worked my ass off rather than confronting any real feelings that crossed my brain. My mom asked about kids and I gave flighty answers to fill up an odd void of expectation.
My peers experienced pregnancy scares and I came to the realization that I’d never actually desired any kind of intimacy with a man. I started considering, would kids become a reality for me personally? Am I heading to be always an unhappy, childless spinster who watches Maury to keep busy?
Then it just happened. In a four-year whirlwind of confusion and panic attacks, I fell deeply in love with a female, and the fantasy came crashing down.
In this instant, gayness became a lot more than developing and seeking acceptance. In addition, it meant derailing what my children and I noticed as the natural progression of my entire life. What happens when you’re primed to desire motherhood above all else, but that path becomes obscured by who you fall in love with?
I came from a traditional family; my mother remained at home while my father worked well at a standard bank. These were both doting parents and treasured our family unit. I couldn’t help but to believe I was to blame for throwing a wrench into destiny. How would my life eventually compare to the reality with that i was accustomed?
Essentially, admitting I had been thinking about women felt like surrendering to a hard path of unachievable milestones. Internet dating, marriage, having kids, creating a family group – everything sensed so out of reach in my own tiny, teenage mentality. Suddenly, at the age of 18, I used to be taking into consideration the logistics of child rearing when I will have been considering homecoming and music group practice. I used to be working in hypotheticals and yet these were so damn alienating.
Because of this, I slunk into the first phase of grief: denial. I followed some extremely insensitive capture phrases, like, “Infertility is a blessing.” I was rejecting motherhood in a clunky and conspicuous way that drew attention and caused a lot of pain for others. I was distancing myself from the idea of kids and it was all so weakened and fabricated that eventually I gave up on the whole façade.
Next I moved onto anger. I dated people who adamantly opposed kids. I used to be briefly “the other girl” therefore i could show how little investment I had fashioned in traditional courtship and family planning. My aggression pushed away my closest friends and family. I distanced myself from everything I cared about. I thought, how is anyone likely to be happy and well-adjusted when they’re anticipating their social shortcomings a decade in advance?
Halfway through university, I entered a state of bargaining. I thought, any relationship I pursue will have two uteruses. Children will be wholly possible, one way or another, especially with medical developments. I should just embrace my desires and like to my full potential. I came back to the notion that love could bring a child in to the world, despite obvious obstructions.
And, I met the love of my life.
In an ideal world, I would say that meeting my life partner eased my concerns on this issue of motherhood. I’d put together our 10-year plan and explain how we’ve made tranquility with the credit cards we’ve been dealt. However, I was naive to believe that she experienced any way to resolve this stress that exists in your community.
The truth is, several years in to the relationship, our plan for our future family has only gotten more complex. She is a great listener and succeeds in validating my reproductive concerns, but she struggles to conceptualize our future family and how it could come about.
For some couples, planning their progeny in their mid-20s means deciding on if they might desire kids 1 day. For lesbian couples, it means determining who is prepared to really have the kids. With what methods? At what time? To what price point? That is all assuming that you are a cisgender woman and have fully-functioning reproductive body organs.
This leads to the exhaustion of bearing heavy communicative obligations before they become consequential. It places a lot of stress on young love. Every time I keep an infant, I look into my partner with that melancholic look that says, “Will this ever be us?”
My partner and I have to think about the price of conception. We must accept that part of the reproductive process will be outsourced and will be a clinical experience. We must designate part of our income at age 23 from what may be a difficult and disappointing process at age group 30. And everything, for me, is shaded with the grief that we’ll never consider our child’s eye and claim over which folks they resemble most.
When a heterosexual couple encounters the inability to replicate between your two of them, we call it infertility. We’ve language to go over their grief and longing. You can find a large number of articles on this issue to foster solidarity between struggling women.
Whenever a homosexual few must outsource parts of the reproductive process, they’re overlooked. There is no language to discuss this longing that lacks posters in the doctor’s office and reality shows on tv. We are anticipated to navigate this place on our own, as people who’ve made a “choice to business lead an alternative lifestyle.”
We will be the same women who cradled baby dolls in our youth and fantasized about our future children’s brands, yet our existence remains absent in many conversations on reproduction.
Why was nobody discussing this? Why do I feel like I was picking at a void that could eventually swallow me entire while other people went on using their seemingly-merry lives? It wasn’t until I indicated my grief on the subject that others implemented suit. Anytime I hinted within my developing reproductive woes, it was as if I needed given the winning blow to a very sad piñata.
From conversations in my friend group to private chats online, women of all ages and phases of queerness came out of the woodwork with their own unique concerns. I had developed opened the floodgates on something that I’d sensed very alone in for half a decade, and it was both shocking and exhausting to process everything at once.
Women like me personally are yearning to talk about this looming grief, but there is absolutely no language or general discourse that to foundation these conversations.
We’re expected to deviate from the narrative of motherhood that has been expected of us with little to no feelings of reduction or resentment. We’re supposed to act as if we didn’t spend the first 10 years of our lives playfully envisioning motherhood just to realize that our lives wouldn’t normally follow that normative trajectory.
I am damn proud to be gay, but I am not proud of how much we’ve bottled up our emotions on this topic, and how little we’ve been encouraged to contribute to the overall discourse on reproduction. Our thoughts are valid, and we are worthy of to discuss this on a personal level, as well such as articles and in doctors’ offices.
I am disappointed that this article doesn’t already exist within an easily-accessible spot on the internet. Most importantly, I am saddened by the amount of friends I spoke to before writing this who said they’ve got this on the mind since their first encounter with queerness, but nobody has ever given them the chance to talk about it openly.
Reflecting upon this collective pseudo-grief and making sense of the feelings encircling it is key. I believe about my swim trainer every once in awhile and how she in some way kickstarted this trip. I question how she’d experience being that person for me, starting a fateful discussion which i still hold in high esteem, 15 years later. Perhaps she’s got these exact same thoughts, loaded with the exhaustion of constantly being met with a significantly less than ideal truth.
On second thought, I had been probably just deeply in love with my swim instructor.