I never planned on becoming a mother. I never met anyone I liked, and I just didn’t want the pain and the heartache and all of the work it would have entailed. If that makes me selfish, then call me selfish. I am, or at least I was.

But when we heard they were endangered, you know, my maternal instincts just sort of kicked in. I scarcely know why. I am way older and should be past all of that. But I’ve got a perfectly serviceable uterus and they are our allies so I volunteered to be a surrogate.

It’s all done with genetic engineering and a ton of artificial hormones so we don’t reject the baby. I’m a big hormone cocktail. We all are, all of the volunteers. So I fly off the handle unexpectedly sometimes, or I cry at the drop of a hat, or I just want to eat pizza and drink chocolate milk and watch old movies on the viewer.

They’re so grateful. So incredibly and sweetly grateful. How can anyone say no to that? 

And so here I am, in the most unexpected place for me, the maternity ward. And with the most unexpected people, because the gene donors are considered kin and they came for the birth. The nurse hands me the bundle and a bottle of mineral-based formula and I gaze into gold and violet eyes and suddenly I am a mother.

JR Gershen-Siegel is a Lambda Literary Award nominee (2014, Untrustworthy, under SF/F/Horror https://www.lambdaliterary.org/current-submissions/). Her current project is a trilogy of science fiction works taking place in Victorian Boston, called The Real Hub of the Universe. Her work has been published by Riverdale Avenue Books, Jay Henge Publishing (Unrealpolitik), Hydra Productions, , Empyreome, Theme of Absence, and Writers’ Colony Press. By day, she wrangles business credit blogging. By night, she writes. She lives in Boston with her husband and twice as many computers as they need.