For Mother's Day, we asked nine queer mothers to reflect on their own personal experiences with motherhood. How it changed their relationships with their own mothers, or others around them, what it's revealed about them or the world, or the ways in which being a mother while queer differs from other versions of motherhood. This is what they said.
Married in May 2019, Ivy and Terry Rebel knew they wanted children since the beginning of their relationship. They are now the parents of one-month-old Luna Raven Rebel.
So far our experience with motherhood has been the most amazing and eye opening thing we have ever been through. We have become such a good team and the love we have for our little girl is overwhelming. It has given us a new found appreciation for our own mothers as well as all other mothers around us. Everyone around us is very loving and supportive but I know that won’t always be the case. We want to protect her from negativity as much as we possibly can, but will also have to teach our daughter to be strong and not let hate or judgment from strangers affect her. The most important thing a child needs is love and she has an abundant amount of that from us. We are blessed with the opportunity to raise an amazing and strong woman.
Married in September 2014, Suhaly Bautista-Carolina and Naiema Carolina are the mothers to two-year-old Luna Kai Carolina.
Naiema on Motherhood
You come into motherhood with the examples of what you've seen, from your mother, your grandmothers, your aunties, and other mothers you're surrounded by. They formed the foundation of who I wanted to be as a mother, and also informed me of who I didn't want to be. It's surprising how much I worry, how much I enjoy motherhood, how much I look forward to the little moments. The connection that I have with Luna is unlike anything I could have ever imagined; when she is hurt, I hurt. I never knew how close I could be to someone else. I've learned that our lineage does not need to be dependent on our bloodline. I didn't even think having kids was possible for me as a young queer person, and I used to think biology was the only thing that could make a child "mine." That couldn't be further from the truth.
Suhaly on Motherhood
I accept and cherish every aspect of who my daughter is and will become because I am so aware now of how absent acceptance was in my own experience as a young, queer, black girl. I never want her to know that type of rejection from her mothers. I realize how often Luna has been my teacher and what a gift and blessing being her mother has been. I am her #1 fan. I realize now why my mother couldn't sleep until we were through the apartment doors and inside our home. There's an overwhelming yearning to keep her safe every second of the day, and I find myself deeply tethered to mothers everywhere who love their children so much that the constant worry over them becomes just an ordinary part of being a mother.
Married in October 2014, DeAnne "Deej" and Tia Blackmon are the mothers to two-year-old Tristan Blackmon.
Deej on Motherhood
When I was around 5.5 months pregnant, my mother (my BFF) suffered a severe stroke that left her incapacitated on the other side of the country — away from me and her soon to be first grandchild — which didn’t help my 15+ year battle with depression. Losing the good health and support of my best friend during my pregnancy forced me to tap into a strength I didn’t even know I had, all for the health of my unborn child. That strength is what motherhood has revealed to me. I always tell Tristan how lucky one is to have the love and strength of two moms because some people only have one, or none at all and I hope that one day, Tristan realizes how special it is. I see so many mothers out there that say “motherhood” is their greatest joy in life. For me, motherhood is my greatest strength.
Mel Roy is a real estate agent in North Carolina and the mother to six-year-old Jax Izzo Roy and five-year-old Ero Kix Roy.
Mel on Motherhood.
There are no words that can fully express what becoming a mother is like. The female body is beyond incredible; we create this little being, grow them inside of us for nine months and then release them out into this world and its as if our heart is walking outside of our body. Children are born and they bring us so many lessons — far beyond the lessons we bring them. For me, my children have brought:
compassion - When you are sleep deprived but all your baby wants to do is nurse in your arms all night, you remember what a shock it must be for them to only know the inside of your body for 9 months then come out into this world and not be held by you.
patience - When you are running late but your daughter can't find her stuffed animal and she won't leave the house without it, you remember the sense of security she must feel when having her little toy by her side.
respect - When you were always taught to "be nice and kiss or hug" a visitor and you now have a child who says "NO" when someone wants a kiss from her and you allow her to have control over her own body because she should never feel forced to kiss anyone.
love - When you really, really need a break and finally get some time alone but all you want to do is look at pictures of them because you miss them too much to be completely away from them.
Married in August 2014, Nyesha and Samantha Davis-Williams are known to many as Two Mommies and a Baby. That baby: two-year-old Abigail.
Samantha on Motherhood
We receive a lot of support from both of our moms and have learned they worked harder than we ever knew — from cooking and cleaning to understanding the family budget. Since becoming moms we have learned so much about parenthood from other parents and some times we realize we have to use our own judgment and choose our path because the viewpoint from others can be overwhelming and at times, overrated.
Abigail’s daycare respects us as two moms, they don’t question our family, although it is outside of “the norm”, especially because they're a Caribbean based daycare. Thankfully we are respected and we do appreciate that. Also, with us showcasing our parenting via social media as well as our book representing queer women of color we do receive much appreciation and respect.
Nyesha on Motherhood
People often question “how” I became a mom without giving birth to Abigail given that I didn't carry her. I don’t take this as an offensive question but more of an opportunity to educate. We did have an error on Abigail’s birth certificate where I was listed as father — the system automatically populated this option after "mother" was selected. Thankfully there is an option for "other parent". This took a while to be corrected but once it was addressed there were no further issues.