mother

Marriage and ‘motherhood’: discontents from before I realized I am genderqueer

[I wrote this about three and a half years ago on my old livejournal account, not too long before I figured out that I am non-binary. I thought of it recently and realized it might have a place here, since I do a lot of dancing around my discomfort with applying certain female terms to myself, and being perceive din certain traditionally female roles, centering specifically around the institution of marriage, and the entire idea of motherhood. It’s been lightly edited on account of it contained my spouse-person’s birth name. Anyway, here you go.]

So, I’ve been realizing lately that I have a really complex attitude toward this whole “having kids one day” thing. ‘Cause I really, really want to do it, and it’s something I’ve had no real doubts about since I was about 19 (like, an in-my-gut, irrational knowing, which is something I don’t often experience, let alone give much merit to. This one is not to be ignored, though.) I am, however, intensely uncomfortable with the idea of being a “mother.” Or, probably more accurately, the idea of being perceived as a mother.

This really isn’t an odd thing for me, either. I also have issues with being (I guess at least semantically accurately) in a heterosexual marriage. I totally love my spouse-person and being married to him makes me immensely happy, but I hate that it allows my parents to lean back and think “well, obviously you were just straight all along!” when in reality my marriage is totally queer, (I can’t even give blood any more!) and that’s the only kind of marriage I could ever be happy in! This is one of the many reasons that I wanted to elope – there was no way I could handle the kind of heteronormativity that I’d have wound up performing in a wedding if people were there. It was the only way I could avoid the whole “being given to one man (my lovely spouse-person!) by another man (my father, with whom I have a complicated and problematic relationship to begin with)” performance without dealing with, at best, a major shitstorm temper tantrum from my father and serious emotional guilt-trippage. This way he didn’t have to take it personally, at least.

I also hate the whole idea that a big wedding allows family and friends to show their support and approval of the “new” couple. I’m sure that this is a lovely thing for many people, but I absolutely had to decide years ago that my parents approval/support of my relationships was not going to affect my choices; they forfeited that right when I was guilt-tripped for having the audacity to have fallen in love with a woman (literally, I was sat down and told how much it hurt my mother). This makes it really hard for me to be happy that they both really like my spouse-person (like, a lot, and with a level of positivity that my even brothers’ partners have never garnered) [Note: they no longer feel this way, because they decided that it’s somehow his ‘fault’ that I’m trans, or something?]. And I generally feel like commitments between pairs (or groups) of people are just that: commitments among those people, and not the domain of other people. I wanted my wedding to be private, because I feel like my commitment to my spouse-person is a very personal thing that is not accurately represented by the social construct of the wedding, and I wanted to avoid (at least in the moment) watching people project all sorts of unintended meanings onto it.

And this isn’t entirely true; there are plenty of people I’d have been happy to have witness the wedding in person – but, since my parents weren’t in that number, elopement simplified things greatly.

But right now I actually wanted to untangle my feelings around procreation. I think this surfaced back to my consciousness because my mother (for the first time ever, to her credit – I know she actually, seriously, doesn’t want to pressure me) played the “so… grandkids?” card the last time I talked to her. It was sort of deflected onto my older brother, but I’m sure she’s not actually picky about the source. And I’m like “well, yeah, eventually” but I don’t want to say that to her because it’ll be another nail in the coffin of me being the good, normal daughter [sic. Also, yeah, I’ve since blown the hinges off this particular coffin, so…] that somehow justifies her life choices. And I don’t want to be that.

But I don’t think there’s any way for me to privately have kids. So it’s going to a really stressful thing for me, ultimately, to try to walk that line between alienating people and making sure that I have enough space and independence to handle that part of my life the way I want it to be handled, and to be a parent without being a ‘mother,’ in the same way that I try (but often fail, at least in the ways I am perceived) to be married, but not, you know, in a straight way.