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Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-Biological Lesbian Moms Tell All Paperback – May 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More than 15 years into the lesbian baby boom, Aizley's collection of first-person accounts by nonbiological lesbian mothers is a long time coming. Nonlegalistic and (mostly) nonharrowing, these tales are only tangentially about powers of attorney, two-parent adoption, and custody battles, instead illumining what it is to be mom and not-mom at the same time. Some pieces explore the feelings of envy and loss of would-be but infertile mothers learning to accept their easily pregnant partners. Others examine the "lesbian daddy" role, as in Polly Pagenhart's exceptional "Confessions of a Lesbian Dad"; and the lesbian stepmom role, like CNN reporter Mary Cardaras's "Family of the Heart." The most moving essay, "And You Are?" by Hillary Goodridge, describes the peril of being the other mother who is a legal and familial cipher, unrecognizable as "real" family to either partner or child in the eyes of anyone but them. These essays explain what it is to be biologically estranged from your spouse and child(ren) and the daily struggle for approval and acceptance that these women face in society and sometimes even in their own homes and hearts. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

What of the "other" mother, the one who provides loving maternal care and some or all material support but hasn't gestated or given birth to the child? The contributors to this book of answers to that question don't shy away from "other" moms' jealousy for the "flesh-on-flesh, boundaryless nurturing" of the breastfeeding bond; the ambivalence of being 40-plus and hitherto "too busy healing my inner child to have my own kids"; or such wrenching experiences as a disharmonious split with a mentally ill partner who wouldn't allow visiting privileges, let alone partial custody ("even when it became clear my ex could no longer parent[,] . . . I didn't have a chance because I was a biological stranger in the eyes of the court"). Editor and biological mom Aizley's representative selection of the voices of those who, to the usual maternal trials and tribulations, add the difficult, revolutionary task of creating and defining unusual roles within and outside of their homes constitutes a valuable addition to the gay studies and women's issues shelves. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807079634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807079638
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Business Travel Gal on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
All the wrong thoughts to be bringing into this new stage in your life. The word "confessions" in the title should have clued me in to the fact that this book wasn't going to be about all the beautiful things happening to my partner. I don't disagree that other mother's really do have these thoughts, but its not a celebration book by any scope of the imagination. Do NOT give this book as gift to the "other mother" in your life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gina on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this book because my wife bought it for me long before she was ever pregnant. As soon as she became pregnant (2 1/2 years later!) I finally picked it up and started reading it. Now don't get me wrong...this was a GREAT book! It just scared me a little bit! Until I read this book, I never really thought twice about not being the bio mom, but after reading it, I was worried that our baby may not bond with me, that I may not be able to give him/her what my wife, as the bio mom, could give him/her as far as comfort. I was worried about the bottom line...I am not, and will never be, my child's biological mother. I spent the first 34 years of my life as a heterosexual woman, was even married to a man, but never had children. Now, after 5 years of being with my amazing wife, we're having a baby, and I don't really know how to feel! Because of that, I was inevitably looking for direction, help, input, and stories from women who were in the situation of having a baby with another woman. I mean, when a woman has a baby with a man, there's a mommy and a daddy...and usually each has their stereotypical roles, and the bonding is different for each of them. Now, let me say, I KNOW our baby (and subsequent babies - I plan to get pregnant next!) are EXTREMELY lucky to have 2 moms...I feel, the BEST of both worlds...but being the non-bio mom is scary. I'm NOT afraid of having a baby, and have been exposed to MANY babies that were not my own, so I'm not worried about being a "good mom", I guess I am now more worried, because of this book, as to how the baby is going to bond with me.Read more ›
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sara on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book provides a much needed voice to the world of parenting essays and writing. The essays range from serious to hysterical, covering a wide range of experiences. I highly recommend the book for all parents, gay, straight, biological or non-biological. It's about being parents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookbird on September 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gave me a framework to understand my world. As a lesbian stepmum facing isolation, discrimination and the difficult dynamic of being part of the family (and yet separate), this book brought stories of positivity and uniqueness to my life. I truly loved it and have recommended it to many of my friends. I spent the whole book saying to myself, "YES i know exactly what you mean... that has happened to us too!!"

It really lit a spark in my heart -- full of hopeful possibility and strength. This book reminded me that we are making our own worlds - one family at a time. :)

Very affirming! Don't hesitate - buy it!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Beesley on July 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
As the biological lesbian mom, reading this book; as our little boy still squirms around in my belly, has helped prepare me/us for some of the other issues or concerns we may face as a lesbian couple preparing to raise a child. It has been a wonderful tool for my partner and me to discuss topics and concerns that we hadn't yet thought of. It has also given me a new perspective and sensitivity to the issues she may be faced with as the other mother.

I especially enjoyed the variety in authors. Each chapter takes on a whole new personality, making it very diverse and quite entertaining. Each story is so well written and articulate, not to mention funny, heartbreaking, and touching.

A great read for anyone who is looking to be entertained and enlightened.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Likecroft on May 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Enlightening, but also sad--it doesn't shy away from the difficulties and regrets women may face in making choices and claiming and shaping roles for themselves that women have traditionally not made or held. Reading it made me decide I need to think hard and do much more reading and exploring the options and my feelings and capacities before I consider becoming a mother or an other-mother with a female partner.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jackiet on June 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was really great. As a "other mother" myself, I was thrilled to hear about this book, and it is all it says it shouls be- funny, sad, cute. I loved reading it, and have telling friends to buy it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great book for all parents - lesbian, straight or otherwise - who want to find their own unique way of parenting and defining their own parenting self. Especially useful for those who work in the birth and breastfeeding community and wish to understand their clients particular challenges.
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