Accept no substitute.
Great piece. This must have been hard to write.
It's something I think about often and it tears me apart. How do we update our DNA to suit the times? How do we force babies to adapt? And I think they CAN survive not having a mother but I do think there is a part of them that will feel empty and hollow. Here's how I know that: I had a mother but I didn't really have a mother. My mom had four kids before the age of 25. I was in the middle. I know I did not get the bonding I needed, or the love. And I know what that has done to me. When I became a mother I was suddenly aware of just how important a mother is in ways a father never can be. It's a biological connection that we, like almost every other mammal on the planet, have an adaptive trait. We have to have that bond between mother and child for survival.
If I had magic powers to change the world I would write laws that the only surrogacy allowed is if the mother is involved in the raising of the child too and is around for the early years and co-parents with the gay dads. I would not deny the biological reality of the needs of the child.
I don't think that makes me homophobic. Just a worrier.
One thing you left out, Peachy: Military spouses are particularly targeted for surrogacy. We tend to prove our fertile female bonafides earlier in life than the general population (rarely will a surrogate who hasn't already had one or two healthy pregnancies and deliveries be hired to carry another's baby), and our healthcare is 100% covered by your tax dollars. We're also on the hunt for ways to support our families, as frequent moves (and changing licensure laws and requirements across state lines) make finding employment extraordinarily difficult. A lot of us are also stationed in CA, the Wild Wild West of (and therefore a global destination for) artificial reproductive technology. Why not have someone else's baby for a big infusion of cash, especially while your husband is deployed overseas for the better part of a year, and needn't be reminded daily that you're carrying someone else's child? Surrogacy organizations know all of this about us, and target accordingly.
Finally, I'm willing to bet that if we were more honest with young women about the (fleeting, delicate) gift of their distinctly female bodies and their fertility, far fewer would be willing to sacrifice themselves this way. Of course, some women will always find themselves in desperate enough circumstances to be willing to do anything, but we should be protecting them, not enabling those who would abuse them.
Tough one, I needed Kleenex. Married at 40 and unable to conceive naturally, the binders of pretty people at the clinics did not survive my prayers. Adopting an embryo from a Christian network interested me, because the numbers of abandoned embryos (still) haunt me. We couldn’t do it. I was already a devoted stepmom. I did school pickup as a girlfriend to my now husband. I was granted miraculous bonds with his children, unusual and I knew it. Their Dad elevated me because I knew stuff. I had changed my brothers’ diapers and worked day jobs as a nanny. It seemed I already had donor egg children growing in my kitchen so I turned to God and thanked Him for what I already was given. They were also giving me an opportunity to respect and redeem their birthmother, despite my strong opinions of her choices. She’s their Mom. My peculiar vantage point has been transforming my heart for a decade. Not everyone gets to be a Mom. Especially when you use your 10-15 most fertile years standing on a rickety stage in your ambition and your unhealed capture--by this culture you describe, an expert of the depths of it. Now I am a walking example of Isaiah 54. I am devoted to the women who seek my help, and the book I am writing. It is a warning and chance I hope to grant women through a megaphone of my educational mistakes. I am so grateful for your courageous lion hearted voice and your book. I cried so much when I read it. You are such a crucial and inspirational voice Peachy, thank you.
There is a reason that they won’t take eggs from a mother who is a Native American. I live in Oklahoma where a good percentage of the population has a Native American ancestor. I am a registered Cherokee though I look like your average Caucasian female. Anyway, if a Native American woman gets pregnant and decides she doesn’t want to keep the child, she cannot just give it to anyone. The tribe can and will intervene to make sure that the child stays with a Native American family. I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center and saw this happen many times. These egg “donation” centers won’t take eggs from women w/ Native American heritage because the tribe can prevent the would-be parents from taking custody of the child.
God bless you for writing this! You and your readers might like the amazing work of Katy Faust at Them Before Us, working hard to shift the focus to where it truly belongs: not about an adult’s desire to custom order the baby he wants, but about a child’s deep fundamental need to be loved and raised by her mother and father:
The Handmaid’s Tale line is also spot on. These people are so, so stupid…
Anyway, thank you!
Ps guys, don’t be a normie!
I have the same concerns about single women choosing to have children without a father. My own was killed when I was 5 and I still miss him every day of my life, now in my 70's. I remember very little about him and wish I knew what books he read, what he did in school, who his friends were, what he loved about my mom, whether he liked sports, and so much more. My mom would never intentionally have deprived me and my brother of so much.
Denying a child a mother is a hell of price to pay for being stylish.
These comments… Why would anyone think we need to pussyfoot around the truth? The truth smacks, I suppose. But it’s so patently obvious that if your “happiness” depends on the exploitation (or murder!) of others, it’s a disordered happiness and a flat-out evil. No one is entitled to a child, and no one is entitled to a child’s death. If that hurts someone’s feelings, too friggin bad. Buck the freak up. We need straight talk like Peachy’s. And her courage because, trust me, here comes the wrath of the entitled.
IVF itself is corrupt and eugenic. Embyros are routinely screened, selected and either used or discarded.
Pandora's Box has been wide open since 1978. But few want to face reality.
I am so glad I found you. This is horrible and true. I am actually reminded most of something my best friend told me back in elementary school, which was “no” in response to my (very indoctrinated) question about whether she wasn’t happier that her parents were getting divorced than if they stayed together and fought all the time. This is the slippery slope: first we told ourselves divorce is sometimes a sad fact of life, but that gradually changed into reassuring ourselves that in fact the greatest gift we could give to children is their parents’ “happiness”. Then we noticed it is a sad fact of life that some moms and dads don’t end up raising their own kids...but no, never mind, that too is actually awesome and perfect! It’s something to be celebrated! Because look at the smiles on the faces of those two dads! (This is also a corollary to the idea that life is only worth living if you were “planned” and that your worth is based upon how much someone, somewhere “wants” you. These idiots really don’t understand motherhood at all.)
“Well, a mother, a real mother, is the most wonderful person in the world. She's the angel voice that bids you goodnight, kisses your cheek, whispers ‘sleep tight. A mother’s someone who loves and cares for you and tells you stories.’” Wendy, Peter Pan (This must be banned immediately!)
Oof! That was heavy. Well done. I had a smarmy joke on the subject I remember from the only good program that used to be on NPR, Car Talk, but I’ll let it rest. Though you should have issued a spoiler alert on your book quote. I haven’t gotten that far yet...!
The first 5 years of my life it was just me and mom. My dad split before I was born, the Summer of Love and all that being what it was. He reappeared in a positive manner later in my youth and we’ve always had a great relationship since. But I’ll never forget witnessing the miracle of my daughter being born, and being so overcome with emotion, that shortly after I read him the riot act on what a loser he was for not being there for me. Just had to get it off my chest, because I finally understood. Anyhow that’s not the point. The point is all my mom ever wanted to be in life was a mom, and having her all to myself in those first 5 formative years was pretty wonderful.
Lastly, friends of friends I know peripherally. Two gay guys adopted a couple adolescent boys. They’re teenagers now, and it’s a complete Sh*tshow. I know next to nothing about the history of the kids, or the true situation at home. So much to unpack, but the takeaway (their words) is that they never imagined that parenting could be so hard.
I am a retired RN. I did not know that donating ones’ eggs could lead to infertility! This needs to be shouted to the heavens! Enjoy your writing and this was an amazing article. Thank you for what you do.
Wow Peachy....the comments below are as powerful as your essay. Being blessed with wonderful parents (yes a mom and a dad) and being a dad to my wonderful children (with my wife since I was 18) I could not imagine not having that mom and dad and being one. I understand the biological desire to want children even if so many young people now deny that need or even marriage. 25% of people 40 years old live alone!
The issues you bring to light could be solved if only people would break away from surrogacy and choose adoption. There are so many who need the love of good parents. A mom and dad would be preferred, but two dad's or two moms is better than a life of foster care. Love is a basic human need and Fido can't hug you at bed time and say " I love you".
Not sure of the answers here but thank you for opening your heart to us all.
Usually I quite enjoy reading your essays.
I did not enjoy this one.
That does not mean that it is not a well written and thoughtful piece. Good work!
Hi Peachy, this is hard for me to revisit this topic. My husband and I are refugees from Oregon. We left after 40 years of disorder there. Ground zero for the surrogacy industry is Oregon. I've lost count of how many fertility/surrogacy businesses there are there. Oregon's law allows international clients/customers. At one time in my trendy NW Portland neighborhood I located BOTH a busy abortuary (Lovejoy Clinic) AND a surrogacy business -- situated within TWO blocks of each other. So, a baby is murdered at one location; at the other location, a baby is ordered and paid for. Either way, it's a contract on human life. I even created a map to give people the visual. No one responded.
I have on file a Portland Tribune photo from 2012 of a top attorney who is the founder of the NW Surrogacy Center in Portland. In the photo he is showing a homosexual couple at his Pride Fest booth an ultrasound image of a human baby. That photo was taken down by the newspaper eventually. Why is this of interest to me? Because the attorney was our adoption attorney in 1990. John Chally has been awarded Super Attorney for many years running. Most attorneys are free-thinking freemasons. I may post that Tribune article on my Substack.
They can't take our guns so they're taking our minds.