Tuesday, August 19, 2008


In my dream the other night, I was angry because I was being co-opted in motherhood; all my efforts where appropriated by others who felt they had that right before I even had a chance. (In the dream, I didn't even get to see the baby before my family took it.) I had gone through nine months of pregnancy, labor, etc., only to have others treat me like I was just making something for them.

It's an interesting issue, to be sure. You may have noticed in my previous post that I mentioned that my little sister is kind of complicit in the co-opting of her own motherhood: while she protests verbally, her actions are the opposite. She needs help, but she is getting the help from people who don't trust her to manage things on her own in any way. As a result, getting someone to babysit so that she can work becomes a battle to have custody of the child at all. And as a teen mother who is very insecure in herself to begin with, she's losing.

I imagine she is very conflicted. It is hard to go from not having your own independence and concrete identity to motherhood in our culture. (Young women are not prepared for it. Not that they should or shouldn't be, but that's just the facts as I see it.) Which is why this new baby worries me so much. My sister could get even more lost in all of it. Or she could get it together somehow. I don't know.

While I know that what is happening to my sister won't happen to me, and wouldn't have happened to me at her age (not just because I wasn't sexually active, but because I am an altogether different person) there is still the danger of some co-opting, no matter what. Family and government, for better or worse, tend to think they have a right. This is a real stress for me when I think about having children someday, because I wildly disagree with my family on many issues, and with the government on some key points. For instance, I know my family will want me to bring the kid(s) around for key holidays, etc., but... I am not Christian. They aren't really, either - as long as I can remember, my family has practiced a kind of secular Christianity. Mainly, I think, to conform with society. Rebelling against that will be an uphill battle.

Hell, just telling them I think midwifery is a better option than an OB/GYN would be huge drama.

Fortunately, I don't get any pressure from my parents to "give" them grandchildren; if they spoke like that to me, I'd move to Alaska. Or New Zealand. And then have kids, and send them photos every now and then. I won't be having children because it fits into their plans. Or even the father of the children's plans. I'm firmly behind equal co-parenting, but I'm not having kids as a present for someone else. No sirree! It happens to be my body, my life.

So, many dreams. Nightmares. Nights awake, analyzing. Wishing family wasn't just a collection of people with similar genes who can be loved, but not necessarily liked, or even lived around harmoniously.

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