Molly Westerman's Reviews > She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood

She Looks Just Like You by Amie Klempnauer Miller
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Jan 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: pregnancy-birth-parenting, memoir, nonfiction
Read in January, 2012

An engaging memoir. She Looks Just Like You describes Miller's experience of early parenthood, starting with the decision-making process (baby or no baby? if baby, how?) and ending when her daughter Hannah is eighteen months old. It focuses on Miller's emotional experience as she tries to conceive but can't, as she accompanies her partner Jane through a pregnancy, and as she transitions from a full-time job that she didn't really like into full-time motherhood with a very tired nursing-and-working partner.

The narrative also spends a lot of time considering the impact of having a baby on Miller's relationship with her partner--an impact that sounds, like, totally overwhelming and kind of scary. They no longer talk about anything but the baby. They lose each other and themselves for a while. And, unsurprisingly given the context of Miller's life and also the subtitle of the book, there's a great deal of reflection on what exactly her role is, how to talk about her own parenthood in a culture and language that don't allow an obvious space or name for her.

Although I am a woman married to a man, raising our biological child together, this family's experiences resonate for me far more than does mainstream parenting culture, just because we're sort of weird in various ways. I share many of Miller's feelings of not-fitting-in-with-the-other-mommies, although I recognize that the "nonbiological lesbian" parts of her motherhood put a considerably different spin on all that for her. We parent differently--some snipes at baby-carrying types and the section on crying-it-out feel really strange to me--but she feels like a real person making real decisions, whether her particular strengths, struggles, and choices overlap with mine or not. I also like that the narrative voice doesn't seem universalizing.

There's a more detailed review at my feminist parenting and books blog, First the Egg.
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