Queer Conceptions: January 2013 - Page 6
Friederike - yes I still talk to my dad. I don't think they fully comprehended the significance of our 'commitment ceremony' which wasn't legal at the time and was probably my fault for playing down slightly. It still hurts now but I just have to try to put myself in their shoes and how they were brought up. It's hard though.
Guess what? finally heard from my mum 5 days after sending the email. As I thought she has spent the time thinking about all the 'ins and outs' of me, a 39 year old lesbian trying to conceive. She says that they have strong reservations about me TTC a child in this way but they still love me & want me to share my reasons for doing it so they understand better which is a positive step. She also says that life can be fulfilling without having kids (spoken from a woman who has 6). She raises practical issues such as my age,can't my DP have the child as she's younger (and why would I call her 'wife' on FB'? not having a male role model & asked me that under absolutely no circumstances must I tell my great aunt who is a nun & 97 as it would break her heart & that no one could convince her that this is acceptable despite her deep love for me. Apparently when her cousin told Aunty Joan about her being a lesbian she was more upset about that than anything she's ever been told. I had always thought my great aunt had guessed as she loves Abs and calls her an 'honorary great grand niece' but I think perhaps the thought hasn't occurred to her. Anyway mum says 'love as always' so I guess I just have to go and explain a bit more.
What does everyone else do about 'male' role models? do you bother having a specific 'uncle' who spends more time with the child than other adults? Of course there are always grandparents & friends but we don't have anyone we see regularly enough to have that position until we move to Oz.
Sorry for the long windedness & thanks for letting me get it out - I can't talk to many people over here about it.
Edited by lizbian - 1/6/13 at 10:21am
It is a good sign I that your mom wants to learn and asks questions, but remember that you don't have to explain/ defend yourself if it makes you uncomfortable, yk. I mean, I am all for enlightening people who are maybe ignorant but honestly willing to learn, but it shouldn't hurt us. And sometimes this kind of questioning might stem from passive agressive behavior. I don't know if that's the case here, but they way you describe it makes me a bit cautious. I truly hate this notion out there that gay people shouldn't have the desire for a family because they willingly choose a lifestyle that makes TTC so hard on us and if we do have kids, we need to explain ourselves ad nauseam. Or that we shouldn't call our partners wife if we aren't legally married because the law doesn't allow us to and because it makes people uncomfortable. Agh. I have such a hard time to be patient when I encounter situations like this. I usually wanna punch something even though I know rationally that this wouldn't be helping. Anyways, I usually answer the male role model question like this. First I question what being a male role model entails because I like to deconstruct gender stereotypes. Lots of typically male things is stuff that either I or my partner enjoy. I can teach a kid to handle most power-tools the same way I could teach sewing and knitting, my emotional responses are often what would be considered typically male and I like rough-housing although my appearance is very feminine. There is a huge variety of personal expressions to be found in humans that vastly surpasses the simple binary male-female distinction and my primary goal would be for my kid to get to experience all types.
The second line of argument would be that we're surrounded by male people. Friends, coworkers, siblings, coaches, surprisingly about half of the population is male. There are plenty of male people to be found in media. Kids can form attachments to more people than just their parents and from what I know, the older they get, the harder it is for a parent to influence whom they chose for that. So if a child needs a role model it will find this special person. And if we're secure in our bond with our child we will probably forster any positive relationship a kid forms with their role models, right?
We do have some close gay male friends who desperately want to be some sort of atheist-god-parents (is there a term for that?) for our kid. They are extremly excited about our TTC and ask for updates all the time. They love babies but at 22 are too young to have their own yet. They live close by and would certainly babysit a lot. So if it is about having a scratchy cheek and a hairy chest a babe could sleep on, they fulfill that requirement *lol* while we might be able to get some precious hours for a date or some sleep. But if we didn't have them in our lifes I don't think I would go out of my way to provide a male person. I mean from what I observe around me single mothers with absentee fathers typically aren't questioned on this either or even sometimes if they have new lovers in their lifes this might actually be frowned upon as a bad influence. Finally, in these discussions I often refer to all the studies that have shown that kids in queer families show zero signs of missing something, they thrive just as well, in some areas even better (probably because they are very much wanted and those queer couples who can afford to have kids might be a bit better of financially).
Friederike: you make so many good points in your post the primary of which is male role model. My parents divorced when I was 8 and my sister was 1. Then my dad disappeared for 7 years. As far as I know, no one ever asked my mom who would our male role model be and we honestly never had one, no involved uncle, male family friend, moms new bf, none of that. It was just my mom and us and it was fine. Also as far as male-oriented stuff/using power tools, never interested me until i was living on my own and had to hang curtains, but i am prepared to find someone to teach my child use them if s/he so desires also i am secretly so happy that my DP knows how to throw a football. Anyways, my mom knew none of the typical male stuff and she also hated a lot of the female stuff like cooking, but I truly believe that kids learn what interests them regardless of what their parents are able to do, as long as the environment is supportive and loving.
Lizbian: I don't think gender role models play any part in creating a healthy, well adjusted, smart child. I know all the questions/concerns that your mother voiced are the typical parental fear-based homophobic issues. It's so incredibly frustrating because she essentially told you she loves you but that she does not approve. I think as queer adults we do let go of always expecting approval, but we can never not hope for parental approval, it's so hard to turn that off. And to want you to share your reasons? Being a parent is a natural human desire, totally separate from sexual orientation. Anyways, I'm so impressed with you for telling them and taking this step, clearly they need time to process.
Regarding both the Catholic and Gender Roles discussions - I have both active and "recovering" Catholics in my immediate and extended families, and by the grace of God I was not raised Catholic myself. Had I been, God only knows how much more I would have hated myself for being gay as a kid, and how much longer I would have taken to come out. I unapologetically have zero respect for the Catholic institution. I don't really view it as a religion, because Christianity is the religion, but I see the Catholic church as an institution that is systematically perverting the Christian faith that was instilled in me as a child. When the pope gets to rail against homosexuality as an abomination, and compare my eventual parenthood to pedophilia, then the gloves are off as far as I'm concerned. The Catholics in my life know not to go there with me. As long as they keep making donations to a group that tries to use its political power to destroy my marriage, I feel no obligation to be polite. And when the Catholic church or anyone else for that matter tries to use the "gender roles" argument against me and my DW... well, I think it's a load of BS. I think "but your kids won't have a male role model!" is basically just an attempt to dig for a "rational" counterpoint when what they really think is "homosexuals are icky and I don't get it." The fact is that my kids will have cis-gendered males in their lives, they'll have people who are ftm in their lives, they'll have femmes who like power tools, and butches who sew, straight men who watch bbc period dramas and cook, and straight women who lift weights. And even if they didn't, and they grew up stranded on an island with just me and DW, they'd be fine.
Stepping off the soapbox now. Off to celebrate DW's birthday, Broadway style!
and to all!
Friederike - you make so many good points - thanks and I completely agree. I went back to my mum early today after 'wifey' hahahahahaaha proof read my email as it involves her too. I did point out that studies have shown kids of single sex parents are on the whole better adjusted & do better at school.
Twomommys - absolutely & funnily enough I am pretty good with tools etc, have played sport to a national level etc so will have no probs with the 'male role model' compared to my brother in law who can't even change a bike tyre!
Esenbee -I agree! It's ridiculous what people do in the name of religion. My aunt is the mother superior of the Sisters of Charity in Oz. She's my mum's sister and all she said on the issue was 'you can't get married or have kids, not that I can preach about that'. Bless her, she is so much more supportive than my mum which is all a bit weird. At my sister's wedding she was the only one who noticed anything was wrong even though she didn't know about us then & she made sure I was all right. The rest of them are still oblivious.
Sphinxy agree too and happy birthday to DW!!!
Funnily enough my mum is a psychologist which of course means she's the absolutely worst one for any of the rational/emotional stuff! Not too worried about male role models, didn't really answer the subject with mum but most of my friends are straight & therefore half are male. Also DP's dad & grandad & brother, my 2 brothers, brother-in-laws etc so sure will be A OK. I'm pretty glad at the moment I live on the other side of the world & only see them for a week a year, if that. x
Edited by lizbian - 1/6/13 at 10:21am
twomommyfamily, thanks- yeah that makes a lot of sense! I do O regularly but you are so right, we don't know what is going on hormonally... I was resistant to getting tested but the stress of the TTC process makes me want to be sure. I am not interested in interventions at this point, unless medically necessary. I have been pregnant once before, so at least I know it is possible...
as far as gender roles go, I agree fully with Spinxy!
I grew up with no father and I turned out fine. My partner is trans/genderqueer so our family is not focused on "traditional" gender roles, in parenting or elsewhere.
Darcy-I hear that you are concerned about missing the opportunity to trigger. I may have missed something, so I apologize if this is off-base. I gave myself trigger shots. The nurse gave me instructions and a syringe and I had the medicine at home because I had to pick it up from the pharmacy and then bring it to the dr's office. Would you be able to do that? It's pretty easy. You could possibly trigger when your fertile signs line up, if you haven't been able to get back in for an u/s. Follicles grow about 1-2mm per day so you can kind of estimate when they will be big enough based on the info from your last u/s. I don't know what medications you are taking, and that would affect follicle growth.
scorpio - Somehow I missed your post before about everything that's going on with your timing this cycle. I am so impressed by your positivity and I hope you also give yourself some space to feel disappointed if you need to. I also didn't realize you had been pregnant before. I hope you are able to prepare however is best for you this cycle and move forward with confidence when the time is right!
Afm, for the second cycle in a row I am having very emotional mood swings on CD10, and I'm just not sure what that could be from (of course it's possible they have nothing to do with one another but now that I chart everything it makes me wonder...). Our sperm tank arrives on Friday, and I expect to do our insems sometime next week (Sunday would match my earliest previous O).