"We are One"

I was viewing profiles and happened to see that one of our members described herself as a mother of a certain number of children, which I will not disclose because I do not want to make her feel singled out or embarrassed. But this always strikes a nerve with me when transwomen insist on calling themselves "mothers" in reference to their children.

I view motherhood with reverence because it is so special in human experience and the connection between a biological mother and her child is most often one of the strongest to be found. Certainly there are exceptions with mothers who abandon their children or leave them for adoptiion, but in general a mother without thinking would give her life for her child.

What troubles me is the seemingly flippant way some of us label ourselves as mothers when we did not conceive, carry nor give agonizingly painful birth to our children among the many points that may be made in the child bearing process and the experience between mother and child.

Now I will concede that some children for want of a mother in their lives or possibly because the children have such a strong connection with their female trans parent would want to refer to the trans parent as their mother. But for us to insist that we are mothers to our children, especially at their discomfort, is ludicrous at best unless we are truly fulfilling that role and the children have completely bought into this title regarding their relationship toward us.

Would I have liked to have given birth to my daughter? You better believe it. One of the agonizing emotions I experienced over time was not being able to have the experience of mother to my daughter, but I fulfilled the role of a dad instead as best as I could, and according to her was excellent in that role. But my ex spouse deserves that title of mother, not I ,and my emotional pain over not fulfilling that role can not overide reality nor my responsibility to preserve the relationship as my daughter desires. For now I am still dad to her, despite the permenant changes which seem to bely that perception.

Maybe at some point, as Caroline Grace suggested, I may be worthy to be called a paternal mom, but that is my daughter's choice and I will not attempt to pressure her into changing her labels.

I salute all mothers, and I mean no insult to anyone here, but my intention was to inject some reality into our often fanciful, foggy walk in the path we have followed.

Views: 930

Tags: childbirth, children, mother

Comment by Stephani Krzysik on September 8, 2011 at 6:58pm

I am a woman who helped conceive a beautiful, loving, intelligent, caring daughter who is going on 26 and still calls me dad. Do I have an issue with this? No way. She has a mother and at no time will I ever assume that role or title. 


Any one who has done the same as I and transitioned becoming the person that they wanted to be, in my opinion has no right to be called "mom." When someone has begun to live full time as a woman and either through adoption, in vitro fertilization, or by natural conception with a partner who is able to conceive than by all means can they be called mom.



Comment by Monica Lorraine Beaudry on September 9, 2011 at 12:09am

My daughter often calls me and wishes happy mothers day and happy fathers day. Her mother ran off with a musician when she and her brother were in diapers. I think I earned it doing both jobs keeping a safe clean house and breaking my back at a thankless physical job to keep all of us going.

I do get your point though. I think some wish for too much and should settle for parent if Dad doesn't fit. But then we are all different in how we view things for one reason or another and are entitled to their opinions.

Comment by Dawna W on September 9, 2011 at 10:27am

fabulous ... i wont wax on .... but sounds exactly like something I would have written :)

Comment by Marsha M. Marsha on September 9, 2011 at 12:28pm

Cerise, first I take umbridge for the patronizing shot you took at me in your comment, "I would think that you would want to keep your definition of "mother" to yourself",. I would have expected a more gentile comment from a professional counselour. What "definition" did I give for mother? I would ask you to please read the blog again and you would see I did not state the biological mother is the only criterion for one being recognized as a mother.

Saint Suelle, I understand you are well versed in biology, as you have blogged and commented on the Wolffian/Muellerian concept before, but you seem to be stuck describing the "trees" and I was blogging about a "forrest". I also see where you state, "I was a mother in every respects to my children other than in the uteran capacity. That does not make me any less 'biological' a mother than the Uteran Mother." How can you be no less the biological mother? I assume the sperm to produce your children belonged to you and by definition that makes you the biological father. As far as being mother in every respect, would your ex (whom I assume is a genetic female) agree? More to the point, ask you children the simple question, "Who is your mother?" Do you honestly believe they would say you are?

I also was a mother to my children in many ways, in fact, my ex and I were gender stereotype atypical. But I would never usurp that title from my ex, not so much for her sake, but for my children who would without hesitation identify her as their mother. I also realize, that in some cases, families have two recognized mothers, but that establishment is made and agreed upon among the family members. Such a case is our site founder Chloe Prince, who's boys have from the very early years of their lives been taught they have two moms, and I believe the titles given to differentiate between the parents are still in affect.

The crux of my blog is twofold: 1. Are we redefining biology so we who were born with male genitals can feel more female about ourselves by equating ourselves with the title our spouse? 2. Do we assume we are mothers to our children without their consent or recognition of what we believe to be true of ourselves?

I also perceive how many who have raised children, whether presenting in female or male, may be understood to be the "mother" to their children. Many biological mothers have ceded their right to be called mother because they abandonned or horribly abused their children. So yes the definition of mother is broader than simple biology and with transmen giving birth and transwomen (Cerise's neighbour) breast feeding the children they "fathered"(sperm donour) I can see where social definitions are being expanded, how ever it will be very interesting as Dr. McGinn's children develope who they will refer to as mother? Maybe both? But that would be the childrens choice not the parents.

By the way one of our members, Erica Fields, cofounded Transparents Day on the first Sunday in November so our children can recognize the parent in their life who transitioned in their own way. This is yet another alternative for our children to honour the parent in their life who has transitioned to their true gender

Comment by Jennifer Janzen on September 9, 2011 at 3:25pm

Marsha, I read your blog with interest and I agree with you up to a point. My viewpoint differs from your perception that a 'mother' has to have a biological connection with a child and therefore has conceived, carried and given birth to that child. My ex and I adopted my daughter (our third child and only adopted child) when she was only 7 mo. old. I can tell you quite unequivocally that my ex is the mother of my daughter. Her relationship with our daughter, although not a biological one is one of the strongest, loving relationships I've ever witnessed. You do all adoptive parents a disservice by negating that bond. I do agree however that insisting that I should be called her 'mother' would be quite ludicrous as she already has a mother, but if she decided on calling me mother who am I to denounce that? My children are working through my transition right now and one of the first things they considered was what to call me. The oldest boy has decided he is going to call me mom2 in public and I'm not going to correct him. Thank you for your thoughtful words but I wanted to defend all adoptive mothers out there. 

Comment by Lauren Elisabeth Tancyus on September 9, 2011 at 5:29pm

Good Gawd Marsha! Always creating controversey! LOL! Who would have thunk?  (Ummm, Cerise is an M.D.) It is too bad that Pink Essence has degenerated to the point where anyone who wants to express a view that may be controversial for whatever reason can't be discussed with reasonable debate.

Funny, I don't take such offense with people who have views diametrically opposed to mine and sometimes am even willing to alter my beliefs in the face of a solid supporting arguement. But, you know what they say, that's show biz.

Comment by Traci O'Gara on September 9, 2011 at 9:22pm

Funny how we argue so strongly for eliminating gender binaries, but when challenged to understand another concept using the same logic (St. Suelle's), we can't see "outside the box"....

Do we have to have a "winner" in this debate girls?  Open your minds...

Comment by Lana Fisher on September 10, 2011 at 1:20pm

Many things have been said here, and I agree with many of the concepts put forth by Marsha, Teagan, and other stronger minds than mine.  I have only one thing to say here.  


I am a woman.  I am a parent.  That makes me a mother.  You might as well blog about how an adoptive mother shouldn't "force" her adopted children to call her mother simply because they didn't gestate in her uterus.  The concept is preposterous, and frankly a little misogynist.  


I am my son's mother, even if he never recognizes me as such.  You make me sad by pretending I don't have the right to define my own relationship with my own son. 

Comment by Lauren Elisabeth Tancyus on September 10, 2011 at 2:31pm

What was the part you did agree with Marsha and Teagan, Lana?

Comment by Lana Fisher on September 10, 2011 at 2:47pm

I agree that we shouldn't try to "push" labels on our children.  We shouldn't try to force them to come to see us as the mother we are to them.  We should love them, unconditionally, and do our best to be the best mother we can for them, to help them grow up strong, happy, and healthy.  And maybe one day, we'll be lucky enough to hear them call us "mom".  


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