Having kids is something many same-sex couples work towards for months and years. In the last decade or so, the options have opened up significantly for couples who can’t conceive on their own. But not everyone is meant to be a parent.
“There’s such a stigma attached to being a woman that doesn’t want chil- dren, gay or not,” says Kacey Fields. She says that she never pictured herself with kids, but that changed when she began to date a woman who had a young daughter. “When we met, I knew she was a mom,” says Fields. “At the beginning of a rela- tionship, you think, I like this person. Why not? I can do this.”
Fields and her partner dated for six years, during which time she never felt quite like a stepmom. For Fields, it felt like an opportunity to see what parent- ing was like without giving birth, which she always knew she didn’t want to do. “Everybody says you see it differently be- cause you’re not the biological parent, but I don’t think that argument is valid at all, because plenty of kids are adopted,” she says. “There’s plenty of people out there who have non-biological children who are really good parents and everything is just fine.”
“She had a mom, a dad and grandparents. We never pushed for me to be called ‘mom’ or anything.”
But it was never comfortable for her to take on that parent role. At 20, Fields found herself living a life that seemed to belong to someone older–daycare, mini-van, white picket fence, dogs. “It’s strange to think back on this other life,” says Fields.
At the same time, Fields and her partner tried to keep up with their friends, who didn’t understand the responsibili- ties of raising a child and were more inter- ested in partying. The tension between the two lifestyles was always present.
During the relationship, Fields was never sure where she fit in. “When she was little, she would call me, ‘my Kacey,’ but that stopped,” she says. “She had a mom, a dad and grandparents. We never pushed for me to be called ‘mom’ or anything.”
Tired of living in a Manitoba Housing building, Fields began to think about go- ing to university. “At the time, it seemed so far away and so unachievable,” says Fields. “September 2007 is when I started school and by January 2008, we were separated. University kind of opened things up for me and I realized, I don’t have to have this life.”
Fields has put to rest the idea that maybe, deep down, she is supposed to be a parent. “Now I can look back and say that I tried it. Maybe it could have turned out differently with someone else,” she says. “But I think I’m just not that type of person.”
Despite the pressures that all women face when it comes to kids, some don’t feel that parenting is the life that they want. Fields and her partner discussed their plans for when the kid would turn 18 and they would be free to do what they wanted, but Fields says that felt wrong. “I’m in my 30s, and I still call my mom all the time just to talk. You never stop being a parent.”
Fields says that if it’s something you don’t really want, it won’t necessarily
get easier or feel right as time goes on.
It’s one of the hardest jobs there is, she says. “Every parent is going to make some mistakes, but what if you really fuck it up? I avoid all blame,” Fields says with a laugh.
–Alana Trachenko is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer who’s excited to be an aunty.