One of the things about being in a family where both parents are not genetically related to our kids is the fascinating way people struggle, or don’t, to identify us as mamas. It has become more pronounced since Linnea was born, where there have been comments about Leah being ‘a mom now’, or Linnea ‘looking like her mama!’ As opposed to looking like her MamaLee.
Some of this may be just that I notice it now more as the non-gestational parent. Some may be borne of the fact that, at least for now, the maternal genes run strongly in each of our daughters. I’m sure there’s a factor of carelessness – the assumption that either a) we would know that people ‘didn’t mean’ that one of us was less of a parent to either of our kids, or b) it never crossed their mind that calling a gestational parent ‘mama’ would be an exclusionary act. Whatever the root, however, these off hand or pointed comments all leave me feeling somewhat bemused by the clues as to how others actually see our family, and sad that anything about our daughter’s parentage is a question mark.
So far I have mostly made gentle prods. When someone says ‘she looks like her mama!’ I respond with ‘which one?’ I am not looking to start a Thing. But especially as our children become old enough to hear these questions I feel like I need to have clear and calm corrections to provide, if not for the benefit of the recipients, then for my daughters.