Wednesday, January 26, 2011

She Looks Just Like You

She Looks Just Like You; A Memoir of (Non biological Lesbian) Motherhood by Amie Klempnauer Miller was a quick read last week-end. Maybe I picked it up because my friend Michelle mentioned on a FB thread about pastors (who buy on the average 12 books a year and read 3) that she doesn't buy books she agrees with, "What's the point?" she queries. Maybe I picked it up because of my irl friend who was restored from a lesbian orientation, (which included a committed on-goingrelationship and multiple failed attempts at ivf with her lesbian partner) after an encounter with the living God.

Miller recounts the difficult first year this couple has when they introduce a child through ivf. By her own admission the lesbian community relates more like a roving encounter group, very much self focused. But isn't that the crux of homosexuality. At the most intimate moments, one looks into a mirror. Ultimate narcissism. Introducing a helpless baby into the mix, well, it's no wonder that Miller and her partner struggle to come to terms who is who and what is what. They are deconstructing and redefining. Schaeffer asserts that homosexuality is philosophical and indeed, it is post-modernism in living color.
"If reproduction has traditionally defined the culmination of the straight experience, the childbirth education class is graduation practice." Well, yea. Traditionally you can't really get there without a sperm and an egg and traditionally sperm wasn't readily available at Stuff Mart. It's ironically funny isn't it, that as a group I would wager, homosexuals adamantly defend evolution, yet they will defy it to reproduce. Miller states the obvious, "pregnancy slaps you in the face with the knowledge that much of who we are is defined by our bodies." Yea, but we are getting to the point with medical technology that that is no longer as true as it once was. Technology without ethics is going to change the world, as it already is.

Miller spends a lot of the book talking about her angst as she struggles to define who she is within the relationships and family that she and her partner have created. She struggles with who she is as a parent in a family that is redundant to another parent, including what should she be called. The power of Naming. They eventually decide on Mommy and Momma. Redundancy. She struggles with her value.

The reader slips easily into understanding the crisis that a newborn forces this dink couple to confront. It almost all sounds normal- the decisions about staying at home, activities for the baby, daycare or no, the stay at home mom struggling with a sense of self.  And then the author talks about participating in one of the countries largest Gay Pride parades and the reader remembers once again that this is not merely a couple transitioning from couplehood to parenthood. It's 2 women who are raising a child within the context of a lifestyle that would preferably redefine family in to whatever we want it to be for the moment. Homosexuality, by it's own admission, is not monogamous. It is not even physically safe. It is not a legal contract, as much as homosexuals would like to change that. What is it then? Sex with someone of the same gender. Adding a child to the mix does not a family make.

A personal memoir of the struggles lesbians go through to find acceptance,  this book is just as much about deconstruction of the meaning of "family." The author address this early on in the book, "It's an odd thing in the gay community that family is both devalued and hyper is the ties of family, the ties of blood and marriage, that are seen as irreversible, supposedly inescapable. But in our (gay) world, the line between friend and family are blurred, making both simultaneously essential and extraneous."

Exactly so.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Very insightful post. The idea of "Ultimate narcissism" is I have never considered. Your friend's conversion in the first paragraph was a blessing to read. God is good.