Identity is complex thing. It’s personal, so very personal. And yet, it’s also very public. Identity can be shaped by DNA, by interactions, by role. By the intersection of all three and more. But my identity, is not up for debate.
You don’t like being called Black? That’s fine I respect your use of the words African American to self-identify but I remain a Black multi-racial person. You don’t like the word fat? Also fine you be thick, big boned, curvy while I declare that fat is no worse than thin no different than tall. You don’t like birth mom I will call you first, natural, original. I will drop the qualifier all together it’s usually unnecessary anyway. But I will not let you dictate who I am.
I am a birth mom, or rather I am my son’s birth mom. Not because I am limited to a one time event, but because along with all the other things we share we share that special moment. I am the only person on the planet who can lay claim to having birthed him. I was there, I could have died, I wear the scar with pride. On that day over 15 years ago, with my own mom by my side I brought forth the first born of the next generation of my blood. I did that. With help I created a human being whom I love more than my own life and then I, and I alone, gave birth to him. I am not ashamed nor will I allow anyone to demean what it means to me that I survived that. That he survived that. That even if only for moments I looked into his eyes as my own mother held him near my head as I lay on the operating room table.
I’m not offended if you refer to me as a first mother, I was his mother first. I’m not offended if you refer to me as a biological mother, his biology is in part my biology. I’m not offended if you refer to me as a natural mother, it has long been the opposite of legal mother and that I am not. But I will not allow anyone to steal from my the joy I have in remembering him happily introduce me to his friends at age 4 as “Kat, my birth mom”. I will not allow anyone to erase the elation I feel when he takes my calls or returns my text after “Kat Birth Mom” flashes across the screen. I will not allow the disdain of others to tamper the pride I feel each time I glance at the family picture he drew at age 8, a picture he included me in unprompted.
I know I am more than a walking uterus. I know I am more than an incubator. I am one of my son’s mothers, I happen to be the one who gave birth to him. I am his birth mom.
Do you. I’ll do me.