A couple of days ago I received an email that I had a pending comment for a blog post I had written nearly a year ago on another blog I co-author with a dear friend. The post was about my experience of being rejected by our daughter as her non-gestational, non-bio mother. Of all my posts, this first one gets the most hits and responses. I wonder sometimes how people stumble upon it since many of them have zero personal connection to me. Did they type in “non-gestational mother” and it lit up in the search field? More, I imagine a solitary parent, putting fingers to keyboard and typing in words like, “isolation”, “rejection”, “preference for biological parent” and hitting the Google button of “I’m feeling lucky,” knowing nothing could be further from the truth in that moment.
I share my story of queer, non-gestational motherhood to connect with you. I admit that partly it’s a selfish plight.
I have been writing for It’s Conceivable since the fall and I have yet to receive even one comment on the site. I’m not sharing this because I feel bad about this fact or because I’m making a shameless plug for you to comment (although of course you are welcome to). I say it more because I wonder about the readers and how my posts, particularly those of a vulnerable nature, are being received. I get plenty of comments from friends in-person or on my Facebook page when I share one of my It’s Conceivable essays, so I know people are out there reading them, but never a one from these anonymous parents I have yet to meet. I wonder about them. I do see some “likes” and “views”, so I know people are somewhere, reading along. I can only hope that they find something in my writing that provides some meaning for their life; or at the very least that they don’t feel so alone. Receiving this recent comment to the essay I wrote a year ago, reminded me that there is value in putting myself out there. If I can serve as a queer, non-gestational life line to a forlorn parent, I am happy to toss a ring to their aid.
People throughout history have sought out connection with others who have similar experiences or backgrounds for this very reason. The Internet gives us even easier access to share our stories and connect with one another. Across the country, typing away on our computers, the glowing screens lighting up our faces, we create a virtual constellation of sorts when we tap in to one another. Last night, at a new writing group I joined, a friend shared how horribly she’d slept the night before due to an intense thunder and lightning storm. Another member of the group chimed in and said she had as well- the thunder booming over the barn she slept in with her other housemates at the farm she occupies. Ridiculous as it may seem, I sat there somewhat amazed: I had slept terribly too, waking up with each flash over my body, and feeling strangely frightened like I had as a child. And worse, I felt so alone in the darkness and the sporadic light. Hearing these two women’s confessions of thunder and lightning induced insomnia, and also experiencing this same sleeplessness myself, I pictured our bodies awake across our little valley in three separate towns. It was a reminder of sorts… that rarely are we the only ones who are experiencing things that trouble us. I’m tossing my ring over boat; casting my line to carry on the constellation.
Charlotte Capogna-Amias started writing in high school and produced two DIY zines in which she had a fan base of fellow punks around the country who were also trying to make meaning of their lives through stories, rants and art. These days Charlotte studies in the Amherst Writers & Artists method and her writing on parenthood has appeared in Hip Mama magazine and the forthcoming web publication of This Bridge Called My Baby. Charlotte is the co-founder and facilitator of the Queer Non-Gestational Parents Group- a support group based in western Massachusetts. Charlotte has a Masters in Social Justice Education and works for a university support program for students who are low-income, first generation college students or have a disability. Charlotte lives in western Massachusetts with her spouse and energetic two-year-old daughter. In her spare time (that was funny), Charlotte is working with her friend and fellow blogster, Betsy Fife Archer, on a guidebook about becoming a queer, non-gestational parent. She and Betsy blog at turkeybasterandabottleofwine.wordpress.com