This started off as a rant I was going to unleash by reblog, but I mulled it over a bit and decided to put this in its own little box, here. My least favorite fandom Natasha trope is definitely the one where she’s secretly jealous of other women, their children, their fertile wombs. I’m not sure I like what Morgan did— I don’t particularly like retroactive trauma inflicted on my favorite characters. But I understand what he was doing.
Morgan’s Natasha is not someone who would have wanted children. I don’t think it would have ever even occurred to her, to be honest, she seems pretty oblivious to the fact that Sally Anne Carter wants her to be her mother. But Morgan’s point was about control, about choice. Whether a woman wants children, or not, is up to the woman, period. Taking that choice away from them, that’s an unspeakable act, no matter what.
But Natasha’s canon has always been about loss, about the things she’s given up as much as the things she does. That sort of picket fence married-with-kids existence has mostly been presented as dystopic: that can be as much a charade as the spy games can. But for Natasha, the possibility of anything resembling ordinary is something she’s had to give up. You have to, to be extraordinary. And that sharp knife of uniqueness hits her in a particular way, because she doesn’t have flashy powers. She is the sum of her skills, her experience, her hard-lived life, and not a lightning bolt or a lab experiment.
What I’m saying is that Liu’s story isn’t about Natasha-as-mother versus Natasha-as-soldier the way Morgan’s sort of was. I didn’t make these posts to revel in her canon’s darkest moments, or to imply she has some secret motherly ambition left in her heart unfulfilled. I don’t really think Natasha wants kids, personally. I don’t think that’s what those stories were about. What I think her story is about, is death, and sacrifice, and how you can lose so much without giving up on anything. That’s how I see it now, Natasha having a daughter, and then not, and then never.