22 June 2010

Anniversaries to Come

On my way to class, I bumped into Anne, whom I hadn't seen in months.

She's a geneticist and biology professor who came to the college two years ago.   At an orientation the September before last, she greeted me and recalled something I hadn't:  A couple of months earlier, she was on campus for the first time and was trying to find an office.  I walked with her to that office--human resources, if I recall correctly--and gave her a sort of mini-tour.  

And, not long after that orientation, I saw her again and she mentioned that she'd found this blog.  She really liked it, she said, and admired my courage in my transition and in discussing it publicly.  It's still odd, to me anyway, when people say I have courage for doing what I've done.  I did only what I needed to do.

We met several times during the subsequent year, my last before the surgery.  Ironically, she gave birth around the same time I had my surgery.  She was on leave in the fall and was in only part-time--mainly for her research--in the spring. That's why I haven't seen her.

Now her baby is about to turn one year old at just about the same time as I am.  I would like to mark the occasion with her; we talked about having lunch one day.  

She has said that I was also giving birth--to myself.  I agree with that, but I think the purposes and outcomes of those births are different.  The surgery is already starting to seem less like a point of demarcation than it had  been, or than I thought it would be.  I've had the surgery; I'm continuing and changing my life, and while the surgery has been important, it is really, at least in some way, nothing more than a means to an end.  Some would argue that seeing the surgery in that way, and that it's "fading into the background," as someone else remarked, is a sign that it and my transition were successful.  I would agree with them.

On the other hand,  Anne's child will always be a reminder of her having given birth.  Or so I would expect.  As an event, I'm not sure that it would "fade into the background" because I do not know what purpose, if any, having a child fills--especially for the mother who already has a child.  

I know that many women--including a few I know--had children because they wanted to be mothers.  While I can understand, at least to some degree, wanting that, it seems to me that having a child and becoming a mother are not things most women do in order to fulfill some other purpose.  Instead, giving birth and becoming mothers are things  that women seem to do for their own reasons, possibly to fulfill some inner purpose.  Somehow I don't think they do those things with the expectation that they will think less about them over time.

Anyway:  Anne, if your reading this:  J'en souhaite une bonne anniversaire pour l'enfan--et pour toi.