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The Other Mother: A Lesbian's Fight For Her Daughter.

by Nancy Abrams, 1999; The University of Wisconsin Press; $19.95; (800) 621-2736

"Courage [is] indeed required. But even more than that, if I were to draft a list of necessary characteristics for the potential nonbiological lesbian mother today, above courage, I'd put faith as the number one attribute" (pg. 64).

The Other Mother, written in first person, is a true account of Nancy Abrams, a woman living in Cambridge, MA who, at the age of twenty-two, meets and falls in love with a woman named Norma Friedman. The year is 1986 and the couple decides to have a baby together and embark on what they think will be an exciting journey on the path to shared motherhood.

Before her daughter's first birthday, Nancy Abrams learns that society operates under a "mythology" of motherhood. "If I wanted to be sure people understood who our family was, I had to be painstakingly diligent in my explanations. I also learned how strong was people's need to believe in One Mother, with the same fervor that they believe in One God, or One Nation" (page 105).

I chose to review this book because it examines the challenges and obstacles in lesbian parenting including the arduous task of searching for a sperm donor and withstanding homophobia in childbirth classes (which has, I hope, somewhat improved since 1987). It sheds light on a subject that is often ignored by society and tells the story in a moving and poignant manner. It is a book that I could relate to. as well as a book that I'm sure other lesbians could relate to because it really explores lesbian relationships and the emotions involved.

It is also a book that any mother can relate to because it shows the depth of a mother's love for her child and just how strong that bond can be. This book introduces a predicament that heterosexual mothers do not usually face--the difficulty of defining "mother" when a child has two mothers. Nancy Abrams writes eloquently about her struggle to convince Norma's family, the courts, her lawyer, and their midwife of her role in the child's life and her rights as a mother.

The book also touches on the subject of defining "father" in a lesbian relationship and if there is one present or not. Before their child is born, Abrams states that the child will have a donor, not a father, and she writes of her fears about having an ambiguous role in the child's life if the father were to ever become more than just a donor.

I found this book to be gripping and emotional on many levels. One level was Nancy's deep love for Norma and continuous support of her desire to have a baby and on another level was the passion with which she embraced motherhood and the faith that she never lost.

--Liza Capodilupo is the Communications Director for ALACE. She graduated from New York University in 2001 with a Bachelor's Degree in Women's Studies. She lives in Brookline, MA, has two wonderful parents, one amazing sister, and one incredible partner. She is a labor assistant and childbirth educator-in-training and would love to work with lesbian mothers.

--Liza Capodilupo is the Communications Director for ALACE. She graduated from New York University in 2001 with a BA in Women's Studies. She lives in Brookline, MA, has two wonderful parents, one amazing sister, and one incredible partner. She is a labor assistant and childbirth educator-in-training and would love to work with lesbian mothers.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Capodilupo, Liza
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:585
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