Here's a quick middle of the day post, loosely related to the conference--in particular, to one comment made at the conference. Here's what I would have said, had this been a conference all about me:
Stop talking about the biology of parenthood, about the fact that giving birth to a child changes things, changes your perceptions of the world.
I have a biological connection to my daughter, in the sense that thinking about her while I'm here at the conference sometimes makes me tear up a bit, in the sense that I wake up in the middle of the night if she makes a noise in her crib, in the sense that her giggles physically alter how my body feels. These biological connections do not come from the fact that she is a person who was cooked up in my body. They come from the fact that she is my daughter, and that's a status, a position, a location, a lived experience.
Why is this important to me, so important that I started fuming, silently raging this afternoon? It's important for several reasons:
- If we ever have a Biffle-Piepmeier #2, that person will be adopted, and s/he will be absolutely as much a loved and valued child in our family as Maybelle is. That person won't be "the adopted child"--s/he'll be our child.
- One of the most beloved people in my world--someone, by the way, who I'm not biologically related to--is going to adopt a baby, and I'll bet good money that she's going to be waking in the night, tearing up, getting all gushy over the giggling, etc. Motherhood is going to feel to her a lot like it feels to me.
- Some of the most important people in Maybelle's life are people that she's not biologically related to, and if anything were to happen to the people that she is related to, she has other folks who would be a family. Not a fake family, an actual family.
- There are people whose biological origin points are so shitty that they get family someplace else.