A contribution by alsmenschverkleidet
Translation by bleistiftrebellx
I wasn’t free before either. At least my structurally forged chains were of a nice and decent lenght though, so I was sometimes able to successfully convince myself that they didn’t exist at all.
Freedom. Whatever that may mean to you. For me it means holding the privilege of choice, amon other things. Becoming and Being what I am, to live the way I want to. Together with those who are important to me. Without de_gradation, comments, oppression. Being subjected to even worse than that.
The conclusion that I am not sick but pregnant occured simultaneously to the insight that I had been life-changingly mistaken in this case. EqualityTM in shiny writing glued, from now on, onto a family size package. The content unchanged. From human to nothing-but-emissary of my uterus in less than nine months. Compulsory labour following. All rights transferred to the holy mother. Finally, complete mummytation.
An ode to servitude.
If actually something more has been achieved than the highly-praised New Daddies buggy-parading around gentrified hip neighbourhoods, then why are we still missing visible and noticeable consequences everywhere? In the still rare case of their parental leave being longer than some months, their promptly written books or tales of woe that fill the feuilletons of notable daily papers eventually merely get the stamp: REMARKABLE. A monument cast in words to cement the EXEMPLARY EXCEPTION and to pirouette in large circles around themselves… and to not change a thing about the actual distribution of power.
As a person affected by sexualized violence, I have struggled to feel at home in my body again for a long time. Now I was again, and very differently, thrown back to physical traits, and I marveled – bemused or optimistic – at what was happening there for months. Above everything the measuring and commanding units with which a pregnant person today is strictly weighed. If you don’t comply, you’re instantly suspected of being an uncaring mother. Another successful strategy among the many diciplinary actions that focus on the female body, thus legitimizing all forms of appropriation.
Learning that I’m not cis either during this time – not exactly a coincidence. The more people around me insisted on me being on the peak of my femininty, the more I realized that this wasn’t true for me. I felt odd in a comfortable way in this body that hadn’t been there for me for such a long time… I wanted to enjoy that and not have to deal with and be bugged by the attributions of others.
Faded decal pictures of the mother serve as a basis, ostensibly enriched by high gloss covers à la working mum. There’s no room there for the fact that not only women get pregnant and that family does not equal fathermotherchild. The mother remains as a doubly biologically charged hinge-joint in charge of the functionality of the heteronormative system. Even if one resists, one will be pushed back into the old mold via the child. FamilyTM must remain what familyTM always has been. All who (want to) do it differently – only deserters, to be decried.
I didn’t plan to become part of a fathermotherchild ensemble. Even during my pregnancy, friends and I discussed about possible parent-al-ternatives, made plans, laughed and were scared together. After the child was born, for the time being there was neither time nor space to continue working on that. Theorizing about alternatives was now a complete luxury I couldn’t afford to practice. Pushed aside into a wholly one-dimensional layout of motherhood. To be filled in right now, closely emebedded in a tightly measured code of conduct. Misdemeanour leads to penalization by your entire surroundings, first and foremost by fellow parents (solidarity always ends where „my“ child is concernded!) and also everybody who had ever held a book about child development in their hands or seen something about it on TV. Diversity in parenting styles and a seemingly widened definition of family – ultimately another fairy tale of capitalist free market reason. Only going so far that it doesn’t really shake up the Traditional and remains economically exploitable.
Striking up a new song?!
Questioning the mythically overloaded term „Mother“, stripping it down little by little and laying bare with the scalpel of deconstructivism what is at work underneath it, that’s a possible way (for me). Starting far away from the confining one-way streets towards a parting of the ways to explore new variations and concepts of real-life parenthood.
For me, this isn’t about attacking those who (can) identify with the term „mother“ and fill it for their purposes, but to make room for those who don’t. I have met a lot of great people, since the child is there, who go their paths of parenthood with sky-high burdens on their backs… Far too often the supposedly constructive criticism of the mother – from the dissociated examination of (mostly derogatively) so-called mama-blogs to the sole blaming of mothers for all evils of the world – only again masks the many facets of misogyny, more or less aptly.
The child teaches me personhood anew, reminds me of what really counts, and above everything there’s an omnipresent snugly orange-yellow giant love. That only makes me take offence more at the close-knitted confines of the mother role, at how little, in its stereotypical version, it represents me and my life.
For me, family (by choice) and parenthood is what I make of it. It’s not a rigid construct, but fluid and adaptable to the needs of everyone involved, or at least that’s the idea that lights up the path. As practiced by me, it includes friends as much as relatives that are dear to me. I would love to accompany many more children into the world and watch them as they take up space and grow… but under no circumstances do I ever want to go back to that hell of biologistic backlash that I was pushed towards in my pregnant body and that I haven’t left for long yet.
Alsmenschvergleidet is the white genderqueer parent of a three-year-old child, writes for umstandslos.com about queerfeminist parenting issues and occasionally blogs on www.alsmenschverkleidet.wordpress.com, where this text was originally published. The TM or italic letters are meant to point out the problematic constructs behind the thus marked terms.