Origin Narratives and Stratified Reproduction
I explore lesbian mothers’ narratives of pregnancy, birth, and adoption in relation to the fertility and adoption industries. I use the stories of these mothers to explore the scaffolding of power regulating motherhood, and the ways that it varies from state to state, as well as the conflictual terrain of public representations of lesbian-headed families. Stratified reproduction between lesbians and heterosexual women, and between lesbians of different races and socioeconomic statuses, fundamentally shaped these mothers’ family-making experiences. Whatever their responses to mainstream expectations regarding motherhood, their family-making practices were articulated and evaluated—by themselves and others in their social worlds—in reference to heteronormative social practices. Whether rejected or embraced, pervasive mainstream representations of motherhood and family shaped responses and social interactions. Laws and policies also shaped the ways that families were formed and understood, yet families carved out creative family structures and understandings of kinship relations.
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