Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The other mother

As Lauren mentioned previously in a post, once you are married, people begin asking questions about starting a family. I have had this too, although as I am in a new-ish job, my colleagues do not know as much about my wife and I, and any plans we may have had for a family. Once they ask if we want / can have children (mostly with some uncertainty, it is still widely assumed that homosexual = no desire to procreate), people's next question is usually "so who will carry the child/ren?" I always respond to this with great enthusiasm, and excitedly discuss that Lauren will carry any children that we have, which in turn invites questions around why this is, and why I don't want children. At least, I don't want to carry them.

I have never wanted children. On Lauren and I's first date, she joked (after a few drinks, I may add!) that I would be the future mother of her children. I responded to this by laughing that any children put into my possession would be sold on eBay! Pregnancy just isn't for me. I don't like the idea of another living creature growing inside me, changing my body, and the idea of labour sounds horrendous! Even the thought that my body is capable of carrying a baby or breastfeeding seems very odd and wrong.
Growing up, I was told that my view of having children, and indeed pregnancy, would change when I got to 20… 25…. 30… Well I am 30 this year and so far I still couldn't think of many things worse than being pregnant! Lauren however has wanted a baby since she was little, and as a midwife, views pregnancy as a magical, empowering experience. Which it is, undoubtedly. It's just not something I need, or want, to experience. Lauren and I have been together nine years, and over this time, whilst we have grown as a couple and as individuals, and as I became happy and confident in myself,  I began to want children. Or more accurately, a family, with my wonderful, generous, caring wife. We will equally be mothers, I just don't want to be pregnant/give birth,

However, people largely find my aversion to pregnancy even more difficult to fathom that the idea that I'm hoping to start a family with a woman. I have had many stunned comments, including "you are a bit of a lad though aren't you, underneath the lovely blonde hair!" and "there's obviously a hormone you are missing". Not wanting to be pregnant doesn't make me a 'lad'. Ok so I enjoy going for a drink with male friends, talking about rock music / pirate films, and making stupid jokes. I like (talking about / looking at!) expensive cars, whiskey, and the syfy channel. I also like fashion magazines, shopping, home decor, cupcakes, cocktails, pink champagne, getting my nails done, beauty products, and sparkly things. And as far as I am aware, although I only got a C in GCSE Science, there is no hormone that makes you want to be pregnant and give birth to a baby, or any reason why I should be deficient in it!

A desire to be pregnant is not a pre requisite for being female, or feminine. Lauren's cousin's partner is straight, extremely girly, and a few years ago, gave birth to an unplanned baby. She is an extremely good mother; perhaps even more so in my eyes as she doesn't have the gooey, soft approach - "aw you can't tell them off when they're just so cute!" is not something she would ever consider saying! She also would not ever plan on having another child. And equally Lauren's older sister is very much the tom-boy - a football coach who turns up to a dinner arrangement wearing some baggy shorts and a football shirt, whose idea of a good night is a pint down the pub with the lads. And yet she would love nothing more in life than to carry a baby and do the whole natural birthy breastfeeding business. Unfortunately though her and her (male) partner are infertile, so have gone down the adoption route, succesfully, and are in the process of being matched to a child.

Just like femininity isn't a prerequisite within women, masculinity isn't a prerequisite within lesbians, and the burning desire to carry a child is not within every woman. Women can be, and are, other wonderful things apart from, and as well as, mothers. For some women, a mother is the greatest thing they can be, and they are happy for it to be all they are - which is a valid, wonderful choice.
I hope when I am a mother, I will continue to be many other things too. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a granddaughter, a daughter in law, a sister in law, a dog owner, a best friend, a worker, a traveller, a cook, a shopper, a conversationalist, a reader, a writer, a photographer, a lover of the world and nature, I'm sensitive, imaginative, an optimist, a strong believer in equality, I have a love for learning and I love to laugh and make others laugh. I believe these, and other qualities I have,  will make me a good mother. I want my child to be non judgemental, curious of the world around them, to believe they are just as good but not better than anyone else,  and above all, to be a good person. No hormone required.

3 comments:

  1. Can't wait to hear more on the baby process. Both me and my partner Natasha want children in the future, me I could do it right now however money and a suitable home isn't on our side. We both want to carry a child. At the moment I am much more broody than Natasha however she will be the one who carries first. Well thats the plan at the moment. Can't wait to read more and have enjoyed reading the blog from the beginning.
    Chloe

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  2. Thanks Chloe :) We agree with waiting, we wanted to be married and in a suitable home before we had children, we also wanted a year to enjoy travelling before we get pregnant. The thing is once you've done so much waiting, you want it to happen right away! Thankyou so much for the lovely comments, and for reading :) S xx

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  3. This was such an interesting post - I'm always fascinated by how women feel about pregnancy. I feel like there are a lot of taboos and old fashioned expectations still around (why is it always the first question after you're married?!) One of my best friends feels like you do, she's never felt that broodiness and she is an actress, is finally successful and isn't prepared to take the time out cos she'd never get back in again. I wish you both the best of luck!

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