Cassie – On the brink of identity

“When I married a woman, I believed my sexual orientation would no longer be a question that people wanted an answer to. I was wrong. When I conceived via in-vitro fertilization, carrying my wife’s egg and giving birth to a baby that was genetically hers I thought my (our) motherhood status would be pretty straight forward (no pun intended). It was not.”

NAME: Cassie

AGE: 30

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My biggest struggle as a woman is without a doubt regarding identity. I’ve always felt on the brink of everything, never fully emerged. I’m kind of a feminist but don’t quite fit the profile. I’m almost gay but not quite gay enough. I’m a woman but not exactly in the standards one expects. Oddly enough I feel my most womanly when I am filling stereotypically masculine roles; driving my car, being a boss, fucking my wife, providing for my family. I am learning that you can never get too comfortable as a woman though and that learning curve has been a painful one. Every major life event has impacted my perception of womanhood and following every event I had hope that the identity I hadn’t yet embodied would suddenly become crystal clear, to me and to others. When I married a woman, I believed my sexual orientation would no longer be a question that people wanted an answer to. I was wrong. When I conceived via in-vitro fertilization, carrying my wife’s egg and giving birth to a baby that was genetically hers I thought my (our) motherhood status would be pretty straight forward (no pun intended). It was not. As I got more and more comfortable in these roles as a wife in a same-sex marriage and as a mother to a child that is not biologically mine, I scheduled my hysterectomy (for health reasons) and everything I felt I had built in terms of this identity no longer mattered. I would remain this woman that I had worked tirelessly to become but I would also be uterus-less, fallopian tube-less and cervix-less. What would my life as a woman be now and was I capable of facing it? The pathway from my insides to the outside world would physically be sewn shut, never again to be accessed. The same insides that had carried the precious life that is my child. My flawlessly fertile insides that had filled me with pride when in-vitro succeeded on the first try. The insides that had never let me down until now. Never a failed or unwanted pregnancy, never so much as an unexpected early or late menstrual cycle and now I was forced to face this literal and figurative removal and closure. Post-hysterectomy I find myself back at square one but this very thought has made me wonder; maybe there are no other squares. Maybe women are beings of doubt, of change, of adaptation and more importantly of evolution. I look around me and I note that I have one sister, one wife, one daughter (and one female dog). Since I do believe in fate I can’t help but think that maybe as Walter Egan would say, I am the magnet and they are the steel. Maybe I need and crave their female energy and likewise. My physical womanhood is never something I have cared a great deal about (beauty standards are far from my biggest hurdle). My mental and spiritual womanhood however, is a work in progress with no sign of end results.