The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood

Counterpoint. Jun. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9781640094383. $26. MEMOIR
This memoir and call to action centers on what it means to be a parent, when being a parent conflicts with your identity and sense of self. When Belc, who is nonbinary and transmasculine, finds out that he’s pregnant, he struggles deeply with his body and the reality of creating life. Belc’s experiences illuminate how female-centric our understanding of pregnancy is, and how that gendered perspective shapes the medical systems and legal processes individuals must go through during pregnancy and parenthood. The U.S. medical and legal systems are not designed to meet the needs of nonbinary parenthood; through detailed legal records and reflections on his experiences working with the state, Belc demonstrates why the system must be reformed. This memoir is driven by Belc’s distinctive voice and worldview; it’s reflexive and extremely blunt. At times, his stream-of-consciousness style can be disorienting—but then, discovering, navigating, rediscovering, and renegotiating yourself and your place in a world that wasn’t built for you is also disorienting.
VERDICT A wholly unique memoir that will speak to readers navigating nonbinary parenthood, as well as those who seek to understand the limitations of the U.S. legal system when it comes to nonbinary and trans parenthood.
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