Thank you for chiming in.
I understand where you’re coming from. My coparent and I are currently trying to find language choices that work for both of us.
The issue has many layers. While to many people it might have been apparent (obvious?) that I played the role of ‘father’ in the kids’ lives, I actually actively mothered them in many ways. I don’t know how to explain that in words that don’t sound like stereotypes — all I know is that, long before I transitioned, I felt my feelings, and my parenting style, were much more akin to what is conventionally understood as ‘mothering’ than to male parenting.
Your position closely mirrors to that of my coparent — down to the analogy of remarrying and a newcomer claiming the title of Mom. I accept that such a view exists. I definitely do not share it. I am not a newcomer — I was present in the early conversations about having children, in the conversations as to what their names would be, conversations about whether or not we believe in circumcision. I attended every ultrasound, every doctor’s visit. I was there for each birth. I held the babies as they were born.
As I said, I do understand the framework that leads you to write as you do — and I’m not upset by it (saddened, perhaps). I do respectfully disagree.
I do bristle up at your word choice in “To be able to just switch genders and act like its no big deal to be called mom”. I think this sentence is ghastly. This decision tormented me for a lifetime. The choices I’ve had to make have been devastating. I’ve lost family and friends over this. There are physical side effects to my transition. My career was affected. This is not some flippant, light whim, and your characterizing it as such is a) extremely ignorant and b) pretty heartless.
I disagree as well that I’m “making it just a word.” It is a big deal to me. It is a huge deal.
You say “you sympathize so much” with my struggles — I’m skeptical, based on the dismissive words you use to describe the intense angst I feel as a parent, the dislocation I feel by being denied the most natural word a female parent would use to describe her relationship with her kids.
I’ve been talking to a friend — a psychotherapist — and we’re working on an article about the shifting of privilege. The discomfort experienced by the privileged when they have to share privilege with those who didn’t use to have it. I keep thinking of school desegregation — but many other examples come to mind. How resentful men were of women drivers, etc. And it’s not even giving up privilege, it’s just sharing it. We humans seem to be so adverse to allowing others to wear privilege we’ve claimed for our own.
It is true that this is hard on my coparent.
It is hard on me too.
A compromise or middle ground will be reached through dialog — and this middle ground will be something that does not dismiss her feelings, and something that also does not dismiss mine.