I got wind of this interesting piece at the hairpin. It chronicles one woman’s experience during her partner’s pregnancy with their child.
She describes her experience as the only female partner at a pre-natal class and how much like an outsider she felt and the feelings it brought up:
Friends have described this phenomenon as “lesbian dad syndrome”—the condition of feeling like an impostor, a fake, experienced by the non-gestational half of a two-mom couple. Some of the feelings that overwhelmed me on the floor of that yoga studio were rooted in the deep anxiety that I’d have no real place as a parent; that in the absence of a biological connection, I wouldn’t know how to love my kid; that without that innate tie, our bond would be brittle and fraught.
But above and beyond that prenatal panic, my uneasiness was more basic: I felt profoundly, alarmingly alienated from everyone else in the room. I wasn’t just an apple in a room of oranges. I was a hedgehog in a room of bowling balls. Queer motherhood felt like an unwitting conscription into a freak show.
This sentence struck me particularly:
More than anything else I’ve experienced, motherhood has made me feel profoundly alienated from straight people and straight culture.
I find it so interesting that something like parenting, that is supposed to be somewhat universal, (at least it’s presented that way to us non-children having folks) has had the complete opposite effect for the writer.
I tried hard not to feel like a fraud in that prenatal class...but there was something so jarring about the realization that even in the most progressive enclave, a New Age-ey course in a sandalwood-scented multipurpose wellness centre, with vegan snacks and herbal tea that tasted like bark, in a wholly gentrified pocket of downtown Toronto, taught by a smart, politically informed doula, would revert to a default mode of heterocentrism in the context of parenting. I wanted that moment to be the exception; I’ve been forced to confront the depressing reality that, when babies and mommy culture are involved, it’s almost always the rule.
Further on she articulates in two paragraph all the problems that I have with “Mommy” culture but was never able to put completely into words:
The realm of parenting is alarmingly gendered, alarmingly binary. More and more, the openness I used to feel in unfamiliar circles is dissipating. I’m on guard, anticipating that I’m stepping into a morass of presumed heterosexuality—because I am. Not long before my kid catapulted into the world, a full six weeks early (but healthy!), I joined two different Facebook groups: one specifically tailored to LGBTQ parents, and another general forum for local moms, though a brave dad or two might comment on a thread from time to time.
The disparity between the two is startling. I’m grossed out by the idea of only sticking to “safe spaces” with people like me, but it’s tricky to navigate a zone where a mom is not only assumed to come as part of a matched set with a dad, but is, without fail, the person who carried and birthed her kid. I wince at the periodic “Ladies, don’t you hate how lazy your husbands have been since the baby arrived?” posts; I feel heartsick when gleeful moms share threads full of photos and marvel to each other about how much their infant resembles them/their husband/”a perfect combination of us both.” I lurk, morose, knowing how often I’ve scanned my kid’s face in the hopes that, through some strange magic, he might’ve absorbed elements of me through osmosis. I fret, not only about myself and other queer moms (who, by and large, seem to be completely absent from this community), but also about whether any of the other parents have adopted, or struggled with fertility issues.
It’s a good read - go have a look at the whole thing over at the hairpin.