My friend and I – both of us queer — were having a discussion the other day about parenting. I’m not sure of the statistics, but I asserted that most people become parents somewhat by accident – or let’s make it sound less like a car-crash – they are surprised by parenthood. Yes, I give profuse thanks to Margaret Sanger’s efforts to help women plan their pregnancies, and to Planned Parenthood and the like for continuing that legacy, but let’s face it: sometimes sex and planning don’t go together. And most people still get children by having sex. (Unless they get them from a family member who can’t care for them – but aha! There you have another surprise.)
By surprise pregnancy, I don’t mean the participants are merely careless. Some are hopeful or lonely or leaving things to fate. Or maybe thinking it wasn’t really that time of month and it seems so unlikely and what would that even be like anyway, so wow, maybe the hot-tub will kill the sperm anyway!
Well, I fell into that last category – despite being queer. My friend (with whom I was having this discussion) commented on aging out of the pregnancy option because gay people just have to do so darned much planning to get a kid. That’s not true for all of us though. Life is big. In my case, I was in college and my son’s father was my best friend – and sometimes we, well, you know, had a little fun. (And wow, even if you’re young – snap out of it! The hot-tub defense is just delusional.) The fact of the matter is that when it comes to parenting, motivations, dispositions and family types – one simply can’t stereotype.
Three cheers for family planning – it’s great when cognition and sex can happen in short succession. It’s also great when a variety of family types (including gay, straight and others) are respected enough to obtain children in other ways. One can’t stereotype about anything but the basics: we all need adequate income, healthcare, clean, vibrant public spaces and of course, public policies and systems that support families – mothers in particular. (We’re the ones to carry the children – and still most likely to care for them, after all.) We need friends and families – in all forms. We need the ability to nurture love – all the surprises we can…
Kimberly Dark, Queer Parenting, activist mom, activist art, mamazina, lesbian moms, mama, mamapalooza, museum of motherhood, feminist moms, accidental parenthood
Bio: Visit www.kimberlydark.com
Kimberly Dark is a writer, mother, performer and professor. She is the author of five award-winning solo performance scripts and her poetry and prose appear in a number of publications. For more than ten years, Kimberly has inspired audiences in fancy theatres, esteemed universities and fabulous festivals She tours widely in North America and Europe anywhere an audience loves a well-told story. The Evening Echo in Cork Ireland says “the balance between objectivity and intimate analysis certainly gives Dark an edge and has made her a force to be reckoned with on every level.” The Salt Lake Tribune says, “Dark doesn’t shy away from provocative, incendiary statements, but don’t expect a rant. Her shows, leavened with humor, are more likely to explore how small everyday moments can inform the arc of our lives.” The High Plains Reader in Fargo ND says “Dark’s skill as a storyteller gets to your heart by exposing hers.”