Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters
What a cool blog. I wish I were as good a writer, and as good about updating my blog as this woman. I love her post with "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou. It's about how femininity is something other than the ability to reproduce, or any other stereotypical thing.
Infertility definitely makes you feel less than female, especially if you had always assumed you could reproduce on your own without medical intervention, and especially if you were brought up to believe that part of being female is to be a mother (which is generally the case). I often feel inferior to women who get pregnant without trying, or who try for awhile and then get pregnant. I know a woman who just had her third baby in three years, and while I don't really think that's for me, I still envy her fecundity. Sure, she's in her twenties, but I could never have done that, even at 20.
However, it's important to remember that not all women can or want to give birth to children. Many women choose to be child free, and many others are never able to get pregnant and carry to term a child. Does that make them less than female? I don't think so. Being a woman is so much more than that. In addition, in our ever more crowded world, the ability to reproduce in large numbers is not really considered by many to be an asset.
It also connects to the idea of same sex marriage -- if a heterosexual woman who is infertile, either by choice or circumstances, wants to marry a man, she can, but if she wants to marry a woman she can't. In either case, no biological child will issue forth from her loins no matter how often she consummates her marriage (unless, as an infertile, she uses advanced reproductive technology -- and unless she is young enough and rich enough to do so). Why should it matter than in one case the other person has a penis? With me, my pregnancy was induced the same way a lesbian woman's in my La Leche League meeting in Richmond, CA was -- at the Kaiser fertility clinic in Oakland, on a doctor's table. Sure, my husband's sperm was involved, but it could easily have been donor sperm, for all my husband was involved in getting it into me. And in my case, I have been with women in the past, so it's doubly odd for me that my choice of a man as a partner has such impact on our ability to raise a child together. It doesn't seem fair to me, but then again, neither is infertility, and nobody has a law about that (yet) that creates it. Other than, perhaps, the lack of laws protecting us from toxins and stress, which no doubt created infertility.
Back to being a woman. What is it? Having a vagina? Two X chromosomes? Lots of estrogen? I have lots of estrogen, but for a time I also had lots of testosterone (due to my PCOS), and I probably will again once C stops nursing (breastfeeding has really given my body a break from much of the PCOS). Am I less female? I'm still a woman, aren't I?
Anyway, you go girl!