Last Friday my copy of The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth by Stephanie Brill arrived. As wife was volunteering at a concert for the orchestra, I spent the evening curled up on the couch, belly filled with the most amazing salmon teriyaki, and reading.
Honestly, I did not know what to expect with this book. However, I did not expect that I would be crying 100 pages into it.
I’ve previously written about why I wanted to have children. I’ve also said that it’s very important to me to be able to articulate why I want children.
Yet I’ve never stepped back and asked why it was so important to be able to explain it.
Until I read this passage:
“When a person has internalized society’s homophobia, self doubts can take on a life of their own, carrying an emotional charge that is sometimes difficult to recognise and understand.
Often queer and single-parents-to-be feel they must be perfect before they parent, not only to provide the best for their children but also to prove to everyone who may wonder whether we can be excellent parents.”
I realized that I wanted to be able to justify my decision to be a mother to the friends, family and strangers who would not understand or accept us as a family.
Unfortunately I am not sure how I should proceed with this knowledge. Initially, I was very optimistic. I don’t need to justify our family to other people! I don’t care what other people think about our family! I don’t need to be perfect in order to parent! I don’t need to prove that lesbians can be excellent parents!
Then I realized that people are going to be watching our parenting styles and skills. People will attribute our failures (and perhaps our successes) to our lesbianism. That having a family is a form of activism. Even if I don’t want it to be.
So will I explain our reasons for wanting children to complete strangers? What will I say to them? How will we manage to be model lesbian parents without burning out?
Once again I find myself with more questions than answers. However, I do feel at peace this time.
“Queer families started from scratch are intentional families. That means our children are wanted children, children brought into this world from the great love we have to share with them. Anytime you are confronted with internal doubt or external questioning about whether or not you have the right to parent, remember that your child is a much planned, deeply loved and wanted child. That is the greatest gift that anyone can give to their child.”