Am I A Mother



Am I A Mother

(For my daughter)

I have submitted this poem to "Child Bearing Poetry Anthology"
but when I go it back it was completely rewritten be their editor
altering the meaning and content which if published would have
been offensive to transgender people like myself.
Here is the snippet from their email accepting my withdrawal:

"We know that transgender voices have sometimes been excluded
on the topic of childbearing, and therefore are very keen that this
is not repeated in our anthology..."

It's so sad and disappointing that they did the same thing and
repeated the behaviour that they were trying to avoid.

Am I A Mother?

I was recently
"How does it feel to you,
a transgender woman
to be a father?".

Yes, I do have
a daughter.
No, I did not
give birth to her.

So, do I have
a right to choose
to be called
her mother?

Will she ever
call me

My helpful friend
suggested "It is
good to remember
that it is only a role
we are playing
for someone
and the gender
of the titling
of that role
can be as fluid
as we choose
to make it."

Perhaps, this
seems like a
sensible advice?

But the role
of the words
is hardcoded into
the preconceived
perceptions of

And the meaning
of the words
is wired into
the DNA fabric
of our society.

I did not give birth
to my daughter,
I was the first person
to hold her
(well, apart from
the surgeon but
that doesn't count).

This was not
as glamorous as
you may think.

My first thought
"Oh my God,
put her back!".

She looked like
from one of the
"Alien" movies
(not sure which
part as there
were so many).

I am so glad that
they did not
put her back,
as after a good
wash she actually
looked not so bad.

She was mine,
she had my
long feet.

This was a beginning
of my "love affair"
with my daughter:

feeding her,
changing her nappies,
bathing her,
(well, I almost
drowned her
feeding ducks
(which I made
more interesting
by the use of Hot
English Mustard),
gardening together,
cooking Polish
(that she still
loves so much).

Her favorite was
bed time stories
and me singing
her lullabies.

She especially
loved the Polish
national anthem
that I sang to her
as she was
falling asleep.

I still remember
looking at her,
trying to read
her dreams.

Later on,
we sort of got
separated when
she discovered
the world of boys,
the world of girls,
and all
other things
that normal
teenagers do
(which I am
not going to
mention here,
as this would be
too embarrassing
for her).

She is now back.
She is no longer a girl.
She is a beautiful
young woman,
who still calls me
and I suspect
she always will.

So, do I have a right
to remove from
her daily dictionary
a word so irreplaceable
in every girl's life,
the word

Do I have
a right to choose
to be called
her mother?

My helpful friend
reminded me again
that it was
my daughter
by being born
who made me
a father,
so, a role that
I am playing,
a naming of it,
the meaning
attached to it
I should leave it
for my daughter
to decide.

Will I ever regret
if she no longer
calls me father?

Will I ever regret
if she will never
call me mother?

Kylie Supski.

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