Family / Parenting

Lesbians Raising Sons

It was the winter of 2001 and we were heading to the clinic for an ultrasound that could possibly tell us the sex of our baby. We had not been able to agree on whether or not we would find out, however.

Luisa did not want to know because she wanted it to be a surprise and I wanted to know because surprises are for chumps.

So, we were still pleading our cases to each other as I was lying on that exam table in a hospital gown which, in retrospect, should have given me bargaining power but did not. “We” eventually decided that we would have the tech write the sex on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope that we could open later if “we” chose.

Let’s be real – as soon as Luisa left for work, I would have been holding that envelope to the nearest lightbulb to peek.

It never came to that though because as soon as the tech said, “I can tell you what you are having…”, Luisa blurted out, “OH MY GOD I WANT TO KNOW TELL ME!” He looked at me and I sighed in a way that said, “It’s hard being the patient, reasonable person in this relationship” and then nodded.

“It’s a boy.”

We were thrilled and I immediately started looking for books about lesbians raising sons. I found one that I am not going to mention here by name because it might very well be a great book but, at the time, it wasn’t the book I wanted to read because it was full of angst and I had no concerns or reservations about raising a son.

I never worried about raising a son without a male role model. I grew up in a very matriarchal family so maybe that experience freed me from the expectation, maybe it reassured me that all would be well.

I realize that some women do worry about role models though and I respect that without judgement. I have had other worries – like the time I was convinced my son had rabies because he had a fever. So, yeah – clearly, I like to spend my mental energy on things that are a little more realistic.

My son is now 11 and I think we are doing pretty well, though I will admit that boys and girls are different and I no longer believe that all of those differences are socially constructed.

More than anything, I’m just happy to see the person he is becoming – someone who is kind and compassionate, comfortable with his emotions and has a great sense of humor. As parents, we have to remember that we are raising people and each one comes with gifts and challenges regardless of their biological sex.

Plus, when lesbians raise sons, you get conversations like this:

buy prednisone overnight delivery Son: “Mom…I’m pretty sure the cat is a lesbian.”

Votorantim Me (lying on the couch with the cat on my chest): “Why do you say that?”

Son: “Look at her! She’s lying on your breasts – again. Only a lesbian cat would love your breasts that much.”

My son is going to be a gift to the world. You are welcome.



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  1. Yay! I, too, find myself remarkably without angst about raising our son. (it’s extra remarkable because I have angst about everything.) or, anyway, my angst is not over his being a boy.

  2. I have a friend who is a lesbian mom of a son and she likes to say her son is surrounded by male role models. They just happen to be male family members or close friends. We learn about how to act in the world from more than just our parents.

    • ALICE! So happy to see you pop up here. My kids actually have very few male role models which is weird but seems to be fine.

      Also…you haven’t made me a drink in awhile…

  3. Thank you for this. Also thank you for your gift of a son.

    As fate would have it, I’m currently reading Dr. Peggy Drexler’s Raising Boys WIthout Men, published in 2005 (methinks not the volume you were thinking of). It’s an expansion of a groundbreaking study that was published in a peer-reviewed journal, and she looks at single straight moms (by choice & by circumstance) as well as lesbian moms. Her subtitle may indicate some of her findings: “How Maverick Moms are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men.”

    Her conclusion is not at all that dads are unnecessary, but simply that “A good parent, whether mother or father, will enable a boy to develop to his full potential as a young man, as long as his individuality, his manliness, his courage, and his developing conscience are respectfully and fully supported.” Sounds kind of “duh,” but some may disagree. Fortunately she’s had 207 pages of research and interviews before she gets to that point.

    My next thought? I’m going to totally bum-rush my brother-in-law for an essay for this place. His dad left when he was four, and his mom’s second husband came out when he was around 10, and the rest of his mom’s partners have been women. At 49 yrs old, he’s an amazing, profeminist, football and sports-loving man and a fantastic father. (I’m biased.)

    Can’t wait to see what comes of our sons, but I do have very high expectations, for better or worse.

  4. I was totally panicked when we first found out we were having a boy, and then fairly quickly adjusted to the idea to the point that I would have been totally panicked to have a girl by the end. Realized just how much my fantasies about having a daughter were about getting to make sure that “she didn’t have to do what I had to go through” … not the best model on which to base a parent-child relationship. We have two sons now, and have a lovely relationship with their donor/dad (who, unfortunately, lives in a different city) and other men in their lives. I have never worried that they don’t have male role models – they have plenty. I think that loving parents of any sex/gender are what’s important.

  5. Like Susan, I was terrified when I realized I was having a baby boy. I’d suspected since about 6 weeks of pregnancy. (It felt like there was a teenage boy occupying my body and eating everything in sight.) I felt like I didn’t speak “boy” and was insanely worried.

    I read Raising Boys Without Men while pregnant, and it was incredibly reassuring. My take-away at the time was, essentially, “make sure he has the opportunity to find male role models, and if he wants or needs them, he’ll take advantage of the opportunity.”

    Lucky for us, my childhood BFF now lives 6 blocks away, and her husband is a stay at home dad. Even luckier, when we moved the kids to the school theirs attend, he offered to do after-school care for Noah and Josie. For free. For as long as his kids are there too. Prior to this school year, we called their home “the happiest place on earth” because Noah loved being there so much, and had only ever left without sobbing that he didn’t want to go on one occasion, when it turned out he had the flu.

  6. He’s got it all wrong. If your cat were a lesbian, she’d be lying on top of another cat…because she likes other pussies, obviously.

  7. It’s been wild to raise two young men. And now, we might sit at a restaurant and be unsure who is doing a better job flirting with the waitress, mom or sons. So it goes.

  8. He will certainly be happy and well adjusted and safe from harm.

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