Thursday, July 9, 2009

We all went to the Please Touch Museum today for Z.'s adoption day,* and I spent a lot of the visit mom-watching. The mom in the chador, the mom in slinky sundress with the backpack slung around her waist, canceling out the look, the many moms in t-shirts and the scattering of moms with visible pregnancies, and I realized that I assume a mom has given birth and most likely nursed, and has watched her body change because of her children, and that motherhood is an experience that involves a radical disruption of one's sense of physical self.

I assume that even though none of it is true for A.


*Yes, I birthed her, but A. and I adopted her together--such being the ins and outs of same-sex parenthood.


susan said...

Hunh indeed, and interesting how the museum surroundings got you to see that.

I've never birthed or nursed, as you know; I think if I were to identify the radical disruption of motherhood it would be about time, not physicality, or about emotional intensity. I wonder what A. would identify here?

Not to ask about things that aren't your central point here, but I'm curious about your family rituals: do you celebrate adoption day with an outing each year?

S. said...

I think A. would see it as an emotional disruption, and we both see parenthood as a marital disruption that re-wrote our interactions profoundly in ways we're still working out.

And yes, we do celebrate it with an outing--A. and I have very different feelings about the day. A. had a lot of resentment that we had to jump through that hoop at all, which I shared but to a far less extent. I hated those four months when I was Z.'s only legal parent and we had a lot of contact with the medical system, and I hated the way Uncle Donor's continuing parental rights (which he never had any interest in having) made my relationship with him--and he'd been my friend for a decade--into a legally heavy thing neither of us wanted. But I was raised by lawyers, and I probably feel legal constructs are more real than other people do.

Anonymous said...

You must really have to trust someone a lot to get into the whole donor thing - if it's not prying (ok, what is it if it isn't prying, then?), what are you planning about telling Z.?

We had about two weeks or so with each of them when supermum was the sole guardian - the little hospital cuffs have her name on but not mine. Well, I suppose that's symbolic, in a way, of the sheer physicality of supermum's engagement.

S. said...

Z. knows Uncle Donor and knows that he gave us half of the seed that grew inside me to make her. They see each other every few months, and we're letting that relationship develop as it will. We're a little wary of getting close to his family, just because his parents and sister live much, much closer to us than either of our families, and we don't really want to juggle three sets of holidays, etc., but if she's interested in more contact with them as she gets older, of course that would be fine.

We were lucky that there was someone perfect for us in my intimate circle of friends already--I wanted a known donor badly, but I don't know how far I would searched to find one among my acquaintances.

liz said...

(realizes once again there's even more in that heterosexual privilege backpack than previously known).