I’m a “real” mom too

Finley, age 1 month. Credit: Julia Bright of Exclusive Moment Photography.

Let’s keep talking about assumptions, ok? When our first daughter Finley was born in 2011, I was so happy. I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to hold her constantly. Meg had had a very difficult pregnancy, lots of nausea and discomfort. She could barely eat hot food. I spent a lot of time at Subway getting her subs and cold drinks. She was kind of miserable being pregnant and I don’t blame her. It didn’t look like a ton of fun to me. But she did it and labour and delivery which also turned into 36 hours of hell. But then Finley was born and she was perfect.

Lots of folks see me with Fin and just assume that I gave her birth to her. We both have blond hair and light eyes. Finley, when she was a baby, looked just like Meg. She has Meg’s eye brows and face shape. She was a chubby and happy baby. When the three of us went out together, people would ask us who her mom was. I always said, “we both are”. But it broke my heart almost every time to have to say it. It hurts a little less now but I know that there are people who don’t think I’m her “real mom”. I’m not the one who carried her for nine months, I didn’t give birth to her. She and her sister Lenni, are however, in every way imaginable, my children. Finley is strident and confident, outgoing and thoughtful. Lenni is hilarious and goofy, sweet and caring. They have certain characteristics of mine and Meg’s but they are uniquely their own people.

I think what it so difficult about not being the “bio mom” is not that they don’t look like me, because, I don’t care about that, it’s what other people assume our relationship is or will be. It’s the lack of understanding that other people have about our family that makes me the most upset. And it’s not because it bothers me, it’s because I know, someday, it may bother one or both of our girls. They may get teased or worse about “not having a dad”. It’s being different that they’ll be teased for and that’s just something that we have to help them through.

One morning a couple of months ago, the phone rang in our house and Finley answered. A telemarketer asked her if her Mom or Dad was home, to which she promptly replied, “blah blah blah, I don’t have a dad, goodbye”. So, win for self assured kid. Check. Loss for phone etiquette, ok. Something to work on. But overall, I’m giving it to the kid. xo Janet

Published by Janet Gwilliam-Wright

Feminist and queer. Professional teller of truths. Slayer of personal demons.

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