In honor of Mother’s Day we caught up with heymama member, Jenny Greenstein, wife, mother, and all around good soul, who shares what being a mom is like in her two-mama household. Jenny is a freelance stylist, consultant, style coach and founder of the Your Soul Style blog, which she uses as a platform to empower others to find their OWN rhythm, become their OWN style-makers and be the most beautiful version of themselves (ROCK ON MAMA!).
Jenny is looking forward to a Mother’s Day of pampering with a massage and some good food, but admits that what she’s most excited about is spending undistracted time with her two girls, daughter Vida and wife Dina. Read below to hear more from this soulful mama as she shares her experience raising a child in a same sex household. #GIRLPOWER.
I recently got super emotional while going through my iPhone and finding a photo which included not one, not two, but three positive pregnancy tests. I was trying to free up space on my camera roll for more photos of my beloved daughter, Vida, but this was one I couldn’t part with. Despite her being nine months old, a flood of familiar feelings came rushing in from that day. Since we are a lesbian couple, it had been close to two years of planning for this moment. There was so much to set-up before we even started the clinical part of the process. When I found out I was pregnant, I remember screaming, crying, and jumping around my apartment like a crazy person. In the truest sense, it felt like a dream come true. Up until then, I was losing hope that motherhood would actually happen. And there was nothing more in this world that I wanted than to become a mama. I craved it so deeply and it occupied every inch of my mind and body. Thankfully, on our sixth round it worked, and the soul we were waiting for found us; she was perfect and worth the wait.
Motherhood has easily been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I like to believe that all mamas feel this way, but with more planning to consider as a gay couple, I think there is naturally an extension of gratitude. It was a long, hard, and taxing process, but I don’t resent it. It was a blessing in disguise and has contributed to my overall experience. I’m not sure I’d be the same type of mother had it come easily. Don’t get me wrong, I face typical challenges that all women do as first time mothers, but the deep-rooted gratitude helps me manage those difficult mama moments. It reminds me to remain selfless, focused, and grounded when I think I’m losing it. It always brings me back to my center. Perhaps that’s one of the benefits of parenting in a same-sex relationship; because it is impossible to follow a traditional, biological path, it requires us to step outside of the knowns. It took a huge investment of time, emotions, physical commitment, money, and resources to make it all happen; we wouldn’t have gone through with it if Vida wasn’t truly and deeply wanted.
Life with two Moms is the same, but different. While I don’t believe that men and women in modern day society should conform to stereotypical parenting roles, there is cultural defining behind genders. However, the lines are blurrier when it’s two women. Dina and I tried to figure out who would handle what when I was pregnant, but like many parents find – planning ahead of time was useless. You just can’t know until you know, which has been my daily mantra since giving birth. Once Vida was here, we organically fell into our roles; me, the primary caregiver and Dina, the second parent. I sort of predicted that would happen, but we still exhausted the conversation beforehand. Although our current individual responsibilities are more concrete now since I nurse Vida and manage her sleep/nap and eat schedule, there will be constant shifts as she gets older. If there is anything I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that everything changes, and nothing stays the same! A week could go by where Vida is close to sleeping through the night and Dina and I go on and on about how we’ve finally hit our stride, but then the following week she’s up 2-3 times a night for days straight and we’re crying over exhaustion. It often seems there is no escaping the great baby sleep debacle whether you’re two moms, two dads, one dad, one mom, one of each sex, or whatever! We do experience crossover of responsibilities and become territorial about what we each are handling, but I assume that happens in all relationships. Or maybe that’s just par for the course when dealing with two of the same sex?
It gets a little tricky when Vida calls, ‘mama’ since we have no idea if she’s talking to one of us or both of us, but eventually she will understand she has a ‘mommy’ (me) and ‘mama’ (Dina). For now, we both respond. I joke with Dina and tell her that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, but in all seriousness, I do believe that who we are to Vida has everything to do with who we are as individuals (rather than what our gender is). I also believe this is how it should be if you were a man and woman too. Every couple finds their own version of balance, and although we’re not a perfect system (who is?), we have created one that makes sense for our family.
Since I became Vida’s mommy, I’ve crossed over into another side of life. While Vida was the one who arrived earth side, I experienced my own rebirth too. I’m not the same person anymore. A light which I never knew existed was turned on and my purpose here has changed. There are moments when I think about the future and wonder what life will be like growing up with two moms. Both Dina and I have a father and a mother so won’t necessarily be able to relate to Vida’s experience, but that will be integrated into the values we teach her as she evolves, demonstrating that it is our own uniqueness which makes us beautiful, and what makes you different is what makes you, YOU. Being the daughter of two strong, confident, and empowered women is more than I could ever ask for my child. As far as I’m concerned, Vida having two mommies makes her the luckiest girl in the world.
Photos by Sari Wynne @sariwynneruff