When I dated a woman with any seriousness for the first time, I was living “in community” as part of a Catholic volunteer program and working with some incredibly wise, steadfast, radical nuns and priests. To my surprise, about two months into the relationship, I began fantasizing about having her baby. I imagined being pregnant – with swollen feet and the skin stretched tight across my belly – and I imagined the child as a screeching baby eager for mother’s milk, and later as a two-year-old getting his first haircut, as a three-year-old giddy with running. He was always a boy and he was always hers as much as he was mine, as evidenced by his eyelashes, and the shape of his chin, the almost naughty twinkle in his eye and the strength of his hands.
I can’t explain it. I didn’t set out to have these fantasies. They showed up in my dreams at night, and in the daylight – as I rode the bus, typed a report, or stood at the photocopy machine. And then they stopped.
I should have guessed by their abrupt stop that it was time for our romance to end, but I was still shocked three weeks later when she broke up with me, and I obsessed for years to come about what might have been if we had found a way to make it work.
Why make it work? Make what work? People stay together every day, intent on making it work. We were completely wrong for each other. We knew it early on – and yet – hormones and passion are powerful deciders of fate. What if we really had that baby boy?
Luckily as lesbians, we have to make more active choices. Every day choices, little and big choices. In or out? Out or in? Out to whom, and when, and how? And babies!
We can adopt. We can inseminate. Or we can have sex with a man. Each comes with its own rights and responsibilities, some easier to codify, to legislate, to agree upon than others – but we have choices and each choice requires definitive action. And for this, I will be eternally grateful.
So far, biology isn’t likely to deliver me a kid who looks like both his moms. He may smile like one mom. Or pitch like his donor. Or pout like his older sister. But the truth is, I want the kids I have. I do. They’re mine. Both of them. By love and adoption. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We are lucky as lesbians. We have choices. There are no accidents. Our families are wholly, freely ours to invent as we go. And for this – especially for this – I am truly grateful.