May 31, 2012 at 10:03 am EST | by Terri Schlichenmeyer
Double blessing

‘My Two Moms’
By Zach Wahls with Bruce Littlefield
Gotham Books
234 pages

(Photo courtesy the publisher)


For author Zach Wahls, family has a familiar meaning to which many can relate, but his normal is slightly different as he explains in his new book, “My Two Moms.”

From the moment he was conceived, Zach Wahls was a member of an unusual family.

His mother, Terry, was an unmarried internal medicine physician at a Wisconsin hospital when she decided she was ready for children. But first, she had to convince IVF doctors to do the procedure because they said they did not “do” illegitimate children.

A few years later, she had the procedure again with the same donor and gave her son a biological sister because a family was what Terry always wanted. It was icing on the cake when Terry met Jackie and they fell in love.

For most of his early childhood, Zach Wahls didn’t think much about the fact that he had two moms. It was no big deal to other kids, so it was no big deal to him. When the family moved to Iowa to live closer to Terry’s mother, though, Wahls encountered teasing and bullying.

But his mothers had raised him with good values and they instilled a sense of character in their son. They taught him that boys and girls are equal but different and that there is no better gender. They showed him that the world is “rarely black and white.” He learned that words can hurt, and so can being told you have no rights.

From his “Short Mom,” he learned the meaning of commitment and loyalty. His “Tall Mom” taught him cheerfulness. And when Zach Wahls was asked to testify in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee, both moms’ lessons of bravery were evident.

Looking for a book that will warm your heart and make you proud of young men like this?  “My Two Moms” will do the trick.

But while the book is endearing, it can be a choppy read. Wahls (with Bruce Littlefield) bounces from thought to thought in this memoir, giving us half a story here, half there, and something completely different in between. That’s appealing, in an eager-puppy sort of way, but this literary spill makes a mess sometimes.

Still, Wahls’ main message boldly holds this book together and overcomes the chaos to shine through. Love is love is love, he shows his readers, and gender doesn’t make any difference. Gender is not what makes a family.

In his book, Wahls asks, in many ways, “What’s the big deal?” and I think the answer lies in his story. If you’ve been asking the same question, look for “My Two Moms” and pick it up.


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