Exploring yourself is never an easy topic to wrestle with and explain to others. I had a pretty normal childhood, I guess. We moved a lot and I was an only child. My parents were married for 20 years and then at the age of 15, my mother decided the marriage was over. I had very limited contact with my father after that, partially because my mother didn’t want him to be a part of my life and wouldn’t let me see him much. She was very angry with him, and with men in general. Although my mother didn’t have her first partner until I was in college, she prepared me over the years for the day she would “come out” to me. I remember many conversations where she made it known that she didn’t like being a girl growing up, wanted only to play with the boys, didn’t like dolls and “didn’t know what to do with such a girly daughter that liked dresses and everything pink.” When I was in high school, I became a pretty good athlete and she bragged to others about how I could keep up with the boys in my sport. It was ingrained in me that I didn’t need a man in my life for anything. I took some paths in my early dating life that I am not proud of. Looking back, I think I was seeking the love of a man in my life, since that was absent and I gave away more of myself that I wanted to.
Then I went to college and my mom had several partners. She never told me that she was dating or that she was lesbian. I would come home from college unexpectedly and there would be a woman in my mom’s bedroom getting ready to leave for the day. I got to know several of her “best friends” but there wasn’t any honesty with me. When I started dating my husband, my mother was not happy about it. She could tell that it was pretty serious, but that is not the path that she wanted me to take. She said hurtful things to my husband about how horrible men were. She raised me in a Christian church environment, yet she was telling me that we should live together instead of getting married, that I shouldn’t get married and should focus on my career and saying things like, “are you just going to live off of love?” She refused to be a part of my wedding and the planning of it, until one week before, when she called and demanded that she be the one to walk me down the aisle instead of my father.
Several years into my marriage, and before kids, my mother decided it was time to tell me that she was lesbian. She and her long time partner were planning on getting married in a state where it was already legal. She asked that I not tell the rest of her family and hoped that I would be understanding of her new life. I expressed that I didn’t have the same opinion of lesbian marriage that she did, due to my Christian beliefs, but that I still loved her dearly. I felt that in her asking me to keep it a secret, she was separating me from the only family I had.
My husband and I eventually had children, I decided to stay home to raise them and we have led a pretty “normal” life. My mother has been against me at every step and is very verbal about everything she feels I am doing wrong. Several years into parenting, I decided to go to counseling, because my anxiety and depression was becoming overwhelming and I needed some advice on how to deal with that and get to the root of why I felt that way all of the time. I didn’t want that to be how my kids remembered me or pass that stress on to them or ruin my marriage. Through counseling, I was able to express many things in a private, non-judgmental environment that helped me to understand myself and the root of my struggles better.
Part of the issue was the weight of pressure to be someone I was not, but other things surfaced having to do with being the child of a lesbian mother. I struggled with thoughts of: “If my mom is lesbian, why was I conceived? Was I born just to show the world that my mom was “normal”? Why was she married to my father for 20 years if she was really lesbian? Either she was lesbian all along, or she isn’t now and is living that way. The result in either case is her lying to me and all her family for many years.”
I still love my mother very much and her partner is a great person, but being the child of a lesbian mother can be very difficult. Emotionally, I deal with the ramifications of what her decision means for my life. I am wading the waters of how I explain their relationship to my young children. Trying to figure out how to make sure she knows that I love her, without leading her to believe that this means that I agree with her views on gay/lesbian marriage and parenting. The main stream world thinks I am a monster for disagreeing with her views and many female Christian speakers and authors seem to project the “all you need is love” motto with no practical knowledge or advice on what that is supposed to look like in daily life. It has become a lonely part of my world with nobody to talk to about my struggles, because according to most of the world, I am a horrible person for feeling the way I do. My hope is that in speaking out about my story, somehow it will give people a new perspective and give kids of gay and lesbian parents a voice to make changes for their future law making decisions that affect them.
I see through my own life that each child needs to be around both biological parents, unless the circumstances deem that impossible. Kids should not be forced to live without one of their parents by the other person’s desire to have a child at all cost. I also feel that children, even adult children, should not be used as a pawn to further one’s political views. In this country, the rights of adults are becoming increasingly more important that the rights of children and someone needs to stand up for those that aren’t allowed to voice their opinions.