An Open Letter to Motherhood

I was listening to a podcast today. The discussion was on motherhood and how it has shaped the hosts into the individuals they are today, specifically them as queer individuals. As I was listening I began to think about my own thoughts and feelings on motherhood both in myself and my own mother. I have a very complicated view of motherhood being a trans woman. As I listened to their discussion, my own thoughts began to drown out the conversation being had and I began to have my own dialogue about the topic.

I love my mother very much and I am very grateful to have her in my life. We are not always on the same page nor do we have the same view on things, but she is my number one supporter and fan. I see how she has shaped me into the woman I am today. She was the first woman who showed me that women can be beautiful without makeup, she was the one that taught me that emotions were okay, she taught me how to have a no-nonsense type of attitude. She has truly impacted how I live my everyday life. I continue to see how I am impacted but her motherhood. One of the questions that the group discussed was if they were scared of turning into their mothers and I’m not sure I can answer that question right now. I don’t think I am scared to turn into my mother, but I am scared that I won’t. To me, it seems that her nurturing soul is something that has come so naturally and I am terrified that I won’t have that. I want to be a mother and I want to have a family, but I fear that I will be a terrible mother.

Last semester I took my first Gender and Women Studies class and I fell in love. One of our sections was all about birth and we had to watch live birth. I was kind of excited since I have never seen live birth before. When we watched these live birth scenes, I started to cry. I wept because it was beautiful. Most of my classmates were disgusted, and I agree that the scenes were graphic, but I just cried. I cried hearing people fear the process, I cried when people said they would never have children, and I cried for myself. I cried because I realized I would never get that. The mothers talked about the intimacy and love that comes with having a baby and how important that first interaction is with a baby, and it broke my heart. I feel that I will never get that with my child, that there will always be something missing because of us missing out on that moment. I cried and talked to my professor and she just talked me through it. I still feel like crying thinking about that moment. I then stopped and thought “is having a child the only way to be a mother?”  

I stopped and reflected on how I mother others, another topic discussed by the group. I describe myself as a people person, though I am a little shy. I love people and getting to know people and becoming friends with people around me. When I first started to become a leader within my different student organizations, I just thought that I would be able to make some change within the organization. I was terrified to have a group of people that I lead. I was scared that these people would see me as a child. I was scared they weren’t going to like me and quit. As my time as a leader comes to an end for the semester, I look back and realize that I was so much more than just a leader, but I was a mother. I had a committee of people who I took care of to the best of my ability. I wasn’t cooking and cleaning for them or getting on to them about how dirty their room is, but I was making sure they were okay. I would sit down and talk to them and help them. I took on this role whether intentionally or not because I crave to mother. I know some of them will read this article and they might feel differently about this, but I feel that it’s true. I am taking on a bigger role next year and I am scared. I am taking this role because it feels natural for me. The role is all about being a nurturing person and I am so excited and nervous. I feel like I can do it, I feel like I have the skills, but there are so many things that I fear.

As I continue to grow into a woman, I also grow into motherhood. If I were to ask my mom about how she became a mother, she’d probably tell me that it took time, and having a child doesn’t make you a mother. Motherhood is something that comes with age and experience and, like anything else, sometimes you make mistakes. I am scared moving forward in life and in my role as a leader, but mothers keep moving even when they’re scared.