I am preparing myself for other motherhood. I am trying to remember that just because people are nosy about us -- wanting to know which of us gave birth, where the sperm came from; and will use expressions like "real mom" and "daddy" -- that it doesn't mean they are necessarily bigoted and hostile. Adoptive parents get those horrible "real mom" comments all the time; single moms of all varieties have to live with the "where's daddy?" question. I will try to develop stock answers and offer them in a civil tone of voice. OTOH, I will not punish Mookie when she smacks the little brat on the playground who says that I'm not her real mom and that she is a fag and that we are all going to hell. I will hug her and hand her over to Amy, who will explain gently that violence is not a good solution, and should be avoided whenever possible, even when dealing with little brats who desperately need to be smacked upside the head. I will say, "Yes, of course your mama is right," and enroll her in karate classes.
I am preparing myself for other motherhood. I am wondering if I will feel the jealousy, ostracism, and loneliness that I've read about, while Amy and Mookie bond in ways that I can not share. I don't think I will. One thing that separates me from a lot of the women I read about is that I've never wanted to give birth to a child. I spent most of my thirties in (what seemed at the time to be) a stable relationship with a man, so I could have had a baby then. I kept waiting to get that urge, to hear that biological clock ticking, but instead I just kept getting older and having kids kept seeming really unappealing. If I had gotten pregnant by accident, I would have survived, I’m sure, but as for actively seeking to be pregnant? No, thanks.
After Pete and I broke up, I thought about adopting kids. So many of them needed homes and families and love, and there I was thinking only about myself. It made me feel selfish, and I started looking into it. Then I met Amy. It was clear from the start that if I got involved with Amy the result would be lifelong commitment, marriage, and kids, and an end to my grumpy hermitlike existence. Oh well. I really didn’t have any choice in the matter, since there was simply no way I could live without her. And, well, lifelong commitment, marriage, and kids aren’t that bad, as enjoyable as a grumpy hermitlike existence can be. Besides which, as Amy pointed out, hermits have notoriously lousy sex lives. (Then again, so do parents.)
So, here I am, me, the one that doesn’t want an alien being growing inside me and then tearing my body apart in screaming pain and then sucking and chewing and grabbing at my boobs like a little leech for the next year. I don’t think I’ll feel jealous at all. I think I’ll be happy to be the other mother, the one does half the diapering and feeding and shopping and worrying, but not the nursing or the bleeding or the stretching.
But the reality is, I don’t know what it will feel like. It is all new to me. I know I can feel great love for children, a love that is different than what I feel towards adults. I know that I am excited to be embarking on this new adventure, in equal partnership with Amy. I know that it will be very hard but very rewarding, because that’s what absolutely everyone says, and absolutely everyone can’t be wrong.
So, I am preparing myself for other motherhood. Not fatherhood, but still parenthood. Not one kind of motherhood, but another kind of motherhood. I am terrified and happy, worried and excited, hesitant and delighted. I’m probably as prepared as most people who set out to explore this strange new world, not knowing what I will find hiding around each bend. Wish me luck.