About the author:
Jennifer Berney writes to explore the human state of longing. Her essays have appeared in Tin House, The Offing, Brevity, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other publications. Jennifer grew up on the East Coast, but spent many summers falling in love with the Pacific Northwest, where the trees, mountains, and water seemed to put all worries in perspective. She has made a home in Olympia, where she lives with her partner, two sons, a corgi, a mutt, forty-one chickens, and many honeybees.
Jennifer holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Washington, and teaches writing at South Puget Sound Community College.
The Other Mothers by Jennifer Berney
A story of fertility, feminism, and family
Jenn Berney was one of those people who knew she was destined for motherhood—it wasn’t a question of if, but when. So when she and her wife Kelly decided to start building their family, they took the next logical step: they went to a fertility clinic. But they soon found themselves entrenched in a medical establishment that didn’t know what to do with people like them. With no man factoring into their relationship, doctors were at best embarrassed and at worst disparaging of the couple.
Soon Jenn found herself stepping outside of the system determined to disregard her. Looking into the history of fertility and the LGBTQ+ community, she saw echoes of her own struggle. For decades queer people have defied the patriarchy and redefined the nuclear family—and Jenn was walking in their footsteps.
Through the ups-and-downs of her own journey, Jenn reflects on a turbulent past that has led her to this point and a bright future worth fighting for. With clarity, determination, and hope, The Other Mothers gives us a wonderful glimpse into the many ways we can become family.
"In The Other Mothers, Berney gives us the fascinating history and social context for things like queer family-making and sperm donation, but she also shows us what it feels like to go through it. Candid and human but always generous, this is a story of stubborn hope and defiant love. I inhaled it."
--Meaghan O'Connell, author of And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready
"Jennifer Berney's The Other Mothers is a heartfelt journey into the rough and rewarding world of queer family-making. Personal, political and beautifully written, this book is both a moving memoir and an important document of the needless struggles too many queer families experience in their efforts to have children."
--Michelle Tea, author of Modern Tarot