She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood

She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood

by Amie Klempnauer Miller
     
 

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After ten years of talking about children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that.

Over the next nine months, as her partner became the biological mom-to-be, Miller became . . . what? Mommy's little helper? A faux dad?

As a midwestern,

Overview

After ten years of talking about children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that.

Over the next nine months, as her partner became the biological mom-to-be, Miller became . . . what? Mommy's little helper? A faux dad?

As a midwestern, station wagon-driving, stay-at-home mom—and as a nonbiological lesbian mother—Miller both defines and defies the norm. Like new parents everywhere, she wrestled with the anxieties and challenges of first-time parenthood-including neurotic convictions that her child was chronically ill and the muddled confusion of sleeplessness. But unlike most mothers, she experienced pregnancy and birth only vicariously. Unlike biological parents, she had to stand before a judge to adopt her own daughter. And unlike most straight parents, she wondered how to respond when strangers gushed, "I bet Daddy's proud," or "She has your eyes."

Miller began searching for a role that would fit her experience, somewhere in the unexplored zone between mother and father, gay and straight. Sometimes she felt like a dad in drag, other times like a lesbian June Cleaver. Through it all, she and her partner became something new—even as the presence of a baby rattled the bones of their eighteen-year relationship.

Part love story, part comedy, part quest, Miller's candid and often humorous memoir is a much-needed cultural roadmap to what it means to become a parent, even when the usual categories do not fit.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
03/01/2014
Writer Miller and her longtime partner thought that they were ready for parenthood. But when her partner got pregnant and gave birth, they faced many issues that straight parents do not. How would their daughter distinguish between "Mama" and "Mommy"? Miller humorously describes this and other "simple" situations.
Kirkus Reviews
In this poignant debut memoir, Miller explores the meaning of motherhood, family and the "gayby" boom. Rather than approaching the issue of gay and lesbian parenthood from a political angle, the author takes up the emotional and sociological aspects of nonbiological lesbian motherhood, providing a fresh, insightful perspective. After nearly 20 years of commitment, Miller and her partner decided to have a child. The obstacles and joys they faced-some expected, others unthinkable-provide the meat of the narrative. Miller attempted to get pregnant for two years, then handed the reins to her partner, who promptly got pregnant on the first artificial insemination. The first half of the book is dedicated to the process of impregnation and the pregnancy itself, with the author revealing her hopes, fears, insecurities and attempts to navigate her place in the future child's life, neither as the biological mother nor as the father. Following the birth, Miller had to undertake the process of becoming an equal parent, both legally and emotionally. She faced many of the same problems as heterosexual couples-guilt over working, guilt over staying home, lack of sleep, etc.-and others particular to her situation as a lesbian: What should she say, if anything, when people assume she is the biological mother? Will her daughter's preschool be tolerant of nontraditional families? Rather than providing abstract philosophical musings on such questions, Miller unveils deeply personal reflections on the meaning of parenthood in a rapidly changing society. An introspective work that lays open the inner workings of lesbian parenthood while effectively demystifying parenthood in general.
From the Publisher
“[A] sweetly humorous and insightful account of uncommon motherhood.”—Booklist
 
“An introspective work that lays open the inner workings of lesbian parenthood while effectively demystifying parenthood in general.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Mothers as well as fathers will recognize themselves in Miller’s brave, poignant, and funny memoir about parenthood. Both unique and universal, Miller’s honest and hopeful voice shines a bright light on the adventures of creating a family in the twenty-first century.”—Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and I’m Looking Through You
 
“Take one big heart, a heap of talent, and a whole lot of courage and you get Amie Miller’s She Looks Just Like You. Miller is a graceful, witty, compassionate guide along the journey that is lesbian parenting."—Harlyn Aizley, editor of Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807004708
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
05/04/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
974,313
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Amie Klempnauer Miller is a frequent speaker about gay and lesbian families, and her writing has appeared on Salon, in Brain, Child and Greater Good magazines, and elsewhere. Miller works as a development con­sultant to the public media industry and lives with her partner and daughter in St. Paul, Minnesota.


From the Hardcover edition.

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