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Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All!

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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  224 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
A 2006 Lambda Literary finalist in the LGBT anthology category

After author Harlyn Aizley gave birth to her daughter, she watched in unanticipated horror as her partner scooped up the baby and said, "I'm your new mommy!" While they both had worked to find the perfect sperm donor, Aizley had spent nine months carrying the baby and hours in labor, so how could her partner cla
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Paperback, 171 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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The Kid by Dan SavageFairyland by Alysia AbbottConfessions of the Other Mother by Harlyn AizleyFamilies Like Mine by Abigail GarnerDoes This Baby Make Me Look Straight? by Dan Bucatinsky
Nonfiction: Gay & lesbian parenting
3rd out of 122 books — 23 voters
Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young32AA by Michelle CunnahA Bad Bride's Tale by Polly WilliamsManhunting by Jennifer CrusieA Promising Man by Elizabeth Young
Undies (no people!)
17th out of 30 books — 4 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 596)
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Beth
Mar 03, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it
As much as I wanted to be a mother, I hadn't really considered that I wouldn't be the mother carrying my child - that I would be the "other" mother. This book was a great help when I was suddenly confronted with being the non-birth mom and let me know that I was not alone in this strange position. Straight society doesn't really have any good labels or concepts of what it means to be the non-birth mom and the dyke community is still trying to define it. This book shares the personal stories of n ...more
Ashley
Dec 29, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any nonbio mom
I got this book suggestion from my friend Audrey and I'm so thankful I did. This book was wonderful and it felt really good to have a little insight from other people in my situation.

Re-read:
I am so glad that I read this book again now that my son is going to be born in a few short weeks. Reading the book comforts me because it can feel like such a lonely affair, being a nonbio mom. I can't wait for my son to arrive and to conquer the challenges that life as a nonbio mom holds for me.
LJ Enriquez
Jan 03, 2012 LJ Enriquez rated it really liked it
This book was definitely interesting. As a heterosexual woman, it really opened my eyes to how heteronormative society is, both in regards to parenting as well as pretty much everything else. This book shares the stories of women who are trailblazers in a sense, forging a path where there previously wasn't one. The women talk about the struggles of lesbian co-parenting, but I noticed that the overarching theme was that you love your kid, whether they are your biological kid or not. These women a ...more
Valarie
There were some real gems in this book, and virtually none of the contributions were unreadable, which is rare for a compilation book. Several stories were dull, though.
Natasha
Dec 08, 2011 Natasha rated it really liked it
Good range of stories. Definitely a recommended read for those starting a "non-traditional" family.
Sarah
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Overall I thought that this book provided an interesting and diverse look at being a non-biological lesbian mom. That said, some of the people in this book seem a little kooky, and I hope that I don't experience these problems because I am not nuts. It drives home to me that so many situations are so unique and there really is no guidebook for how to be an "other mother". As someone who is planning to be a non-biological bisexual mother, I found some of the rahrah lesbians talk a little limiting ...more
Valentin Mihov
Jan 24, 2015 Valentin Mihov rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-have-it
From Publishers Weekly

More than 15 years into the lesbian baby boom, Aizley's collection of first-person accounts by nonbiological lesbian mothers is a long time coming. Nonlegalistic and (mostly) nonharrowing, these tales are only tangentially about powers of attorney, two-parent adoption, and custody battles, instead illumining what it is to be mom and not-mom at the same time. Some pieces explore the feelings of envy and loss of would-be but infertile mothers learning to accept their easily

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Kat
Jul 15, 2013 Kat rated it really liked it
There were so many points of view in this book, it's almost guaranteed you'll find something close to your own. Even though I am planning to be the biological mother, I read this book to see if it would be useful for my wife. She still hasn't read it, but I have essays marked for her!
Stina
Jun 04, 2012 Stina rated it really liked it
I didn't enjoy every story in this book, but overall I really enjoyed the perspectives. My favorite quote from the book was something a non biological mom told her child "You didn't grow under my heart, you grew in it."
Rebecca Cohen
Oct 12, 2012 Rebecca Cohen rated it it was ok
The writing in this book was mostly mediocre but it was nice to read stories of other nonbiological lesbian mothers. Next time, they should find people who can write better.
Anna
Jun 13, 2011 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
I just read it to make my hormones act up. Parts made me want to cry... Wow. I don't think I could handle being the non-bio mom!
Phoebe
Apr 03, 2009 Phoebe rated it liked it
If you have a particular interest in the subject, it's worth a read. Otherwise, pretty repetitive and predictable.
Jodi
Aug 25, 2008 Jodi rated it really liked it
I cannot believe that 1. I actually read this, and 2. it was extremely helpful.
Courtney
Jul 01, 2015 Courtney rated it really liked it
Some stories offered great insight in regards to being a non-biological mom. Others were dull and/or pointless and didn't contribute much to the rest of the compilation.

Shira Spector's story, in particular, was extremely annoying to read. I do not like her writing style at all. She tried way too hard to be witty, funny, and "different", all of which her story was not. In the end, it offered absolutely no real insight, as often times I kept forgetting what the hell I was even supposed to be read
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Jennifer Heise
Jan 10, 2016 Jennifer Heise rated it it was amazing
What a great collection! As a parent in a different kind of non-traditional family, I was drawn to this book by the idea of learning about others' experiences, and I definitely got what I came for.

This covers a very wide range, from "Watching" where the 'other mother' originally intended to be the birthmother but Nature didn't cooperate; to the "Lesbian Dad" (a non-biological lesbian parent who chose the "Dad" role as her model); to women who have already been birthmothers and are now experienci
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Anna
Jul 08, 2009 Anna rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this book, I really did. In retrospect, I can't say exactly what those high hopes were based on, but I really thought that an anthology would be the perfect way to learn about the experiences of non-gestational mothers, to read a bunch of varied and interesting essays on the subject.

Instead, I think the anthology format was working against this subject matter. Almost all of the anthologized essayists related more or less the same narrative arc to the reader: "Being the 'oth
...more
Jess Moss
Dec 23, 2015 Jess Moss rated it it was amazing
I feel like this book is extremely important for lesbians who plan on having kids with their partners. I plan on being a biological mom someday, and I learned so much from this book. I am recommending that my partner read it as well. The stories were emotional, well-written, and honest.
Eva Leger
Jul 02, 2009 Eva Leger rated it it was ok
Recommended to Eva by: found it on PBS and thought it looked interesting
This is the first book I've read on this subject so it was definitely enlightening. I liked that it was set up as essays from various authors, with it like that instead of novel form, I was able to set it down when I wanted, pick it back up, and not feel like there was a great big gap.
I also liked the fact that the essays were so different from each other. I could tell write away that some of the authors I would get along great with and others I didn't like so much. Even the authors I could tel
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Reblaw7
Apr 19, 2014 Reblaw7 rated it liked it
I liked the variety of perspectives. I have heard from non-gestational mothers that this book as a whole presents a more negative impression of the experience of non-gestational mothers than what they experienced.
ghini
Jul 11, 2016 ghini rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fabulous.
Emily
Aug 13, 2009 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: queer, parenting
I am really glad I read this book, because it made me think of a lot of the stuff that I sometimes don't want to think about when it comes to lesbian/queer/same-sex parenting where one of the moms gave birth to the kid(s). The stuff I'm like, ehhhh, maybe we just won't have to deal with that....That's the stuff that of course you should deal with asap.

I'd really like to hear what anyone else who may have read it thinks about it, especially in relation to their own experience.
Deb
Sep 17, 2008 Deb rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: lesbian moms who have time on their hands to read (HAH!)
Bought this at Michigan. SO far enjoying it and having a lot of head nodding moments! Even the title though....I hate being defined by what I am not instead of what I am. Ultimately this book was disappointing. It started out well, then the quality of the writing decreased dramatically and the stories became redundant. A good first effort though and a topic that will hopefully be further explored.
Elena
Sep 27, 2012 Elena rated it really liked it


I came across this book at work and was interested in reading it since I often care for new families consisting of two moms. I felt like it was a gift to read about all these different families. The women were thoughtful and lovely.
Megan
Sep 11, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was very fascinating. I am not running towards the baby-making, but it was really interesting to read the thoughts of non-birth parents. There are essays by femme mama's and butch identified baba's and all sorts of things.
Dawn
May 17, 2009 Dawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is definitely worth a read if you are a lesbian mom. It was interesting to read stories told from the perspective of non-biological moms.
Liz De Coster
Jan 14, 2009 Liz De Coster rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, glbt
Like so many story collections, this one felt uneven. Some reflections were interesting, some less so.
Tamara
Nov 25, 2009 Tamara rated it really liked it
This series of essays provides a much-needed resource for lesbian couples considering motherhood.
TJ
Mar 31, 2009 TJ rated it liked it
Good stories. Gives a lot to think about. Hope and joy in the stories, but also truth
Casey
Jan 27, 2009 Casey rated it really liked it
Everyone could benefit from reading this book. Read it!
Kelly Cole-Sutton
Apr 21, 2015 Kelly Cole-Sutton rated it really liked it
This was just the book I was looking for.
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Harlyn Aizley is the author of the memoir Buying Dad and editor of the anthology Confessions of the Other Mother. Her writing has appeared in literary journals and magazines including 96 Inc.,, Berkeley Fiction Review, and Boston Magazine. A native of New Jersey, she lives in the Boston area with her family.
More about Harlyn Aizley...

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