“The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of a Nonbinary Childhood” by Krys Malcolm Belc— Looking at Gender Identity

Belc, Krys Malcolm. “The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of a Nonbinary Childhood”, Counterpoint, 2021.

Looking at Gender Identity

Amos Lassen

Krys Malcolm Besc’s “The Natural Mother of the Child” is a collection of essays that look at how the experience of gestational parenthood–conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding his son Samson eventually clarified his gender identity. Belc is a nonbinary, transmasculine parent who has studied the interplay between parenthood and gender. Giving birth to his son Samson clarified his gender identity and allowed him to project a more masculine self.

When his partner Anna adopted Samson, the legal documents listed Belc as “the natural mother of the child”, however.  By considering how the experiences contained under the topic of “motherhood” don’t fully fit with own experience, we look at the common perceptions of what it means to have a body and how that body can influence the perception of a family. The book directly examines the documentation often thought to constitute and in doing so, the author constructs a record of one’s life–childhood photos, birth certificates–Belc creates a new kind of life record, one that addresses his own ambivalence about the “before” and “after” of trans stories and these are different from his own life experiences. 

This is a book that will keep you reading in one sitting. Belc discusses his parenting experiences as a trans man and they are fascinating. This a book for all parents and also for anyone wo loves fine non-fiction.

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