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The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood

de Krys Malcolm Belc

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732368,645 (3.75)Cap
"Essentially this book is a heavily visual memoir-in-essays that explores how the experience of gestational parenthood-conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding my son Samson-eventually clarified my gender identity and allowed me to project a different more masculine self. Ruminating on how the experiences contained under the umbrella of "motherhood" don't fully describe my experience amplifies the outsiderness the speaker, who is almost always addressing a cis "you," sometimes his mother, sometimes strangers, mostly his cis female partner. Instead of using a straight narrative, the book circles around this concept of motherhood and of my relationship to it. The book is also an archive of my queerness, of childhood photos of me smiling impossibly wide, of my original birth certificate and the legal documents surrounding Samson's adoption. It's a direct engagement with the documentation we think constitutes a record of one's life. The book ends on an exploration of how much we can really know when we enter into parenting a person, and of my ambivalence about the "before" and "after" that is so prevalent in trans stories and that feels so outside my experience as a nonbinary transmasculine person"--… (més)
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Es mostren totes 2
It feels mean to have issues with a clearly heartfelt autobio, and yet I was overall unsatisfied with this one. The changing addressee was confusing and annoying, and I'm not easily confused and annoyed. I didn't understand why it added anything for some sections to be (ostensibly) addressed to Belc's wife; I have to assume it was pure ~aesthetic. I was interested to learn about the history of ultrasounds, and also, I now get what people mean when they say they're sick of braided essays.... ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
Belc is a beautiful writer, and has taken an interesting approach to sharing his story of being a transmasculine parent to two children carried by his wife, and to one child whom he himself carried. The book addresses the experience of pregnancy for him (confusing, painful) and the experience for both him and for his son of being/having a father who was also a gestational host (beautiful - special for having this connection as gestational host and genetic match but also isolating.) Belc chooses to structure the discussion around things that in and of themselves are both prosaic and essential -- this is about the paperwork. Belc tells stories around his own birth certificate (which at least as of the writing of the book he had not yet changed to reflect his gender despite having gathered the documentation to do so), his son Samson's birth certificate (where he is listed as the natural mother of the child), the birth certificates of his two other sons whom he adopted after his wife gave birth and to whom he does not have a genetic relationship, his marriage certificate, photographs, and other corporeal indicia of who he is and who he has been perceived to be. It is a smart and surprising way to anchor his story. And this is Belc's story. I wanted a little more about his wife Anna, because it would help me better understand the family dynamic (Belc does talk about the ways in which the son he gave birth to his like him, and his other sons like their mother and sperm donor.) I absolutely get the reason to focus the story away from that larger family story, I think its a smart choice, I am just saying for me as a reader I had a lot of questions that left me from feeling like I was missing something, but that is me. Overall this is a really great portrait of a loving family (which includes Krys, his wife and their kids and also Krys' parents and siblings), and I highly recommend the read to anyone who wants to better understand one person's experience of gender and gender dysphoria and parenting as a transman.

I would like to be all rah rah, but I did have one major issue with the book. Belc falls back on this idea that certain behaviors are man things or women things. There is not one way to be a man or a woman, and for a book that is based on the premise that gender is nonbinary it was disappointing to see Belc focus on the manliness of his anger, violence, and impatience vs. the womanliness of his wife's peacefulness, level-headedness and friendliness. He can be any kind of man he wants to be, but his masculinity is not dictated by some archaic definition of gender. ( )
  Narshkite | Jul 30, 2023 |
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"Essentially this book is a heavily visual memoir-in-essays that explores how the experience of gestational parenthood-conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding my son Samson-eventually clarified my gender identity and allowed me to project a different more masculine self. Ruminating on how the experiences contained under the umbrella of "motherhood" don't fully describe my experience amplifies the outsiderness the speaker, who is almost always addressing a cis "you," sometimes his mother, sometimes strangers, mostly his cis female partner. Instead of using a straight narrative, the book circles around this concept of motherhood and of my relationship to it. The book is also an archive of my queerness, of childhood photos of me smiling impossibly wide, of my original birth certificate and the legal documents surrounding Samson's adoption. It's a direct engagement with the documentation we think constitutes a record of one's life. The book ends on an exploration of how much we can really know when we enter into parenting a person, and of my ambivalence about the "before" and "after" that is so prevalent in trans stories and that feels so outside my experience as a nonbinary transmasculine person"--

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