Lesbians and Motherhood: "Birth" A play by Karen Brody
By Cynthia Rodriguez
Just the mere thought of bearing children makes my uterus scream. As far as I can remember, I have NEVER wanted to have my own children. I'm talking about having that whole production going on physically inside me for almost a year, and then POP, having something the size of a watermelon shimmy out of the hoo-ha. I hardly liked MYSELF as a child, much less others. I've never really felt that whatever it is that women go through with the feeling of maternal instincts, wanting to get pregnant, feeling their biological clock ticking,tick tock, tick tock, blah, ditty blah. Tick away clock! I DON'T NEED YOU. Never did.
I've been saying all this since I was a child, then a teenager. By the age of 13, I wanted to get my tubes tied. Of course, they didn't let me, and no one believed me for a LONG time. People would always say, "You are too young. Give it time. Someday, you will want children." I'd be like, "No. I don't think so." By the age of 13, I knew 3 things about myself for sure. 1- I would never have children 2- I'd be an artist someday (I knew THAT since like Kindergarten) and 3- that I was GAY (this last one I'd be in denial until my early twenties). On that note, I'd say I was pretty aware of myself, and who I was at a very young age which is rare for most people. Once the late twenties turned into the 30's, people finally began to realize that I was not kidding. As sexually active as I'd been since 19, yes, I've been with men, for me, I was lucky to never have gotten pregnant. I've always been pretty strict about the whole safer sex thing. I always got the strangest looks, and interesting reactions from people when I would tell them, not only did I not have children, but I had no interest in having them. They'd look at me like I had two heads. There was a time that I think I actually felt guilty for not feeling guilty about it. I got over that.
Now don't get me wrong. It's not that I dislike children. Not ALL of them. I won't lie. Many I DO dislike. As a matter a fact, some I just downright despise. I don't like all adults, why should I like all children? But in all actuality, I've always been great around kids. I seem to have the same effect with kids, as I do with animals. They are both drawn to me for some reason. I believe children sense the big kid in me that I am, and animals, people's pets and so on feel a connection to me as well. What I like to think is my "animal magnetism".
But that's just me. But just for the record, I absolutely don't have anything against parenthood, or any woman who decides to pay a visit to the mother-hood. Of course, as it eventually happens, I have dated several women with children. I have played the role of temporary "step-mom" numerous times. I was even in a serious, living with her, kind of relationship with a pregnant woman. (No, it wasn't mine, and yes, I know what it feels like to have sex with a pregnant woman) I was even the Coach when the time came. I think I did quite well, too. I'm just proud that I never passed out. It was actually an amazing, beautiful experience that I will never, could never, forget. I felt that all this needed to be said, so you wouldn't think because I had made a decision long ago to be what is called "child-free", that I was completely repelled or appalled by the thought of pregnancy, or pregnant women (who I think are beautiful), or just the whole idea of motherhood, just because I chose not to do it myself. If anything, I always felt I'd be a great "Dad". I don't know if it's because I may have what many of my friends believe to be a higher testosterone level than most women which would attribute to many of my ways of thinking or whatever it is. I always felt I was more suited for that particular role.
Now enough about me, (for now). I want to talk about a play I didn't even know existed until not too long ago. Recently a friend of mine invited me to see a play she was in called "BIRTH" by KAREN BRODY (appropriately shown in May, Mother's Day month). The way she described it to me was that it was basically like the Vagina Monologues but about...birth, pregnancy, motherhood. The birth monologues. For some reason, I was instantly fascinated by the idea of that, and I knew I absolutely had to see it. For some reason, I felt like I needed to somehow get in touch with that part of my gender even though I was happily child-free. Part of that was probably from working at an abortion clinic for so long, that for a change, I wanted to hear the stories about, and be around women who actually WANTED to and chose to continue their pregnancies, at whatever time it was they did it. Of course not having to do anything with my staunch pro-choice stance.
So I walk into this YOGA center where the play was held, filled with granola crunching, berky wearing, tree hugging hippies, (not that there's anything wrong with that, I have a little bit of that in me, too)I walk in there looking like a Hot Topic goth in my black in red, and Docks, feeling completely out of my element surrounded by women lugging around their offspring in baby slings that look like they are carrying bookstore messenger bags. After a lovely pre-play reception of sushi hor'dourves, and spring water, the moment arrives. I boldly take a front seat to what I know will most likely be a somewhat uncomfortable, but educating and surprisingly very entertaining journey that will enlighten me to something I will never relate to, but hopefully come out with a better understanding. There was an informative Q&A discussion panel after the play, as well.
It was incredible. I didn't think I would get out of it as much as I did. Not only because the cast was superb, especially my friend, with their realistic, sensual, howl sounding labor pain screams that pierced your core, and at times made me both cringe, and excited me. Story after story, coming from women from very diverse backgrounds, made me appreciate the road I've never traveled, and gave me a whole new perspective into the world of motherhood. The roller-coaster of emotions, the blood, sweat, and tears, and all the phases from conception to the actual birth. Of course part of me couldn't help watch, and listen, and think almost the whole time, "OH MY GOD, WHY would anyone want to put themselves through all that?" But again, that's just me.
I learned some technical terms, including what a "birthing ball" is. Midwives, doulas, and birth pools. The importance of lactivism. Realizing that the mainstream birth business is business as usual like any other, and much of it is just plain scam. That the C-section is practically an epidemic anymore. That women aren't given enough options when it comes to their birthing options. That there ARE alternatives to what they are taught. That there is A LOT of information out there if you look for it, and organizations, groups, and resources more than willing to help you with that. And that Lesbians, too, can benefit from all this knowledge if they choose to bear children, which of course, is okay.
You have to look up local groups like in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania there is ICAN, La Leche League, and the Midwives Alliance of Pennsylvania. And others like Empowered Birth, and BE BOLD. Check out www.boldaction.org for more information.
Did this learning experience change my mind about what I want? Um, NO. On the contrary, I'm waiting patiently for early menopause to kick in, thank you very much.
However...to all you beautiful Moms out there, blessed be.