She Looks Just Like You - A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood
If one is looking for a direct, heartfelt, and humorous account of the trials and tribulations of first time parents, one has to look no further than She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood.
Amie Klempnauer Miller documents her own experience with motherhood, from the perspective of nonbiological parent. What makes this book uniquely splendid is that it sheds light on the lesbian experience of childbirth and parenting. After around two years of Amie’s unsuccessful insemination attempts, her partner, Jane, decides to give insemination a try--and she finds herself immediately and undeniably pregnant. Early in JAne’s pregnancy, Amie finds herself struggling to make sense of her role and emotions; she explains understanding intellectually that she is an equal parent, but doesn’t quite feel like a mother. She starts identifying somewhat with fathers to be, as she is the unpregnant partner; she finds comfort by placing herself in the role of protector of Jane and their unborn child.
Once their daughter, Hannah, is born, Amie leaves her full time job to take on the role of stay at home mother, while Jane returns to work. Amie is brutally honest in discussing the resulting intellectual stagnation that she experiences, and the exhaustion and accompanying depression Jane is experiencing at the same time. Amie provides a forthright account of how anxiety and fear of their daughter getting sick or hurt initially consumes the couple’s every thought, and also how parenthood has transformed each partner independently--and the two as a unit.
This memoir serves to illuminate both the differences and the similarities between LGBT parenthood and straight parenthood. Ultimately, although LGBT family visibility is increasing, there remains a sense of otherness that is only exacerbated by the hoops that LGBT couples need to jump through: second parent adoption, for instance, or having to explaining to those who ask about one’s "non-traditional" family. Miller skillfully weaves in these personal experiences as well as universal stories of parental hope and love that transcend all categorization.
The result is a delightful novel rich with depth, honesty and wit. This book is truly a must read for any parent or anyone considering becoming one.
by Amie Klempnauer Miller
Publisher: Beacon Press. Publication Date: May 1, 2010. Pages: 256. Price: $24.95. Format: Hardcover original. ISBN-13: 978-0-807-004-692