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Posts Tagged ‘Surrogate Motherhood’

A favorite of mine from first grade (1966) and now being read by my first grade daughter, this classic by P.D. Eastman tells the story of a bird who hatches when its mother is away, and of the search for its mother. The bird queries several animals and machines before being reunited with and introduced to its mother in the end.

It’s a whimsical story of a baby’s innocence, silly really. As I child I knew that one could only have one mommy. As I grew and learned of adoption, divorce, widowhood and remarriage, I learned that one could have more than one mother, step or otherwise, in sequence. Still, the thought that a child could not know its own mother, or have more than one are the impossibilities that drive the trajectory of the story line. Who knew that those impossibilities would become commonalities.

Today’s New York Post tells the story of a woman who was mistakenly implanted with another couple’s embryo at an IVF clinic. Read the story here.

The story is harrowing on several levels. It reopens for me the question that was the topic of my senior thesis in college, the year of the first surrogate baby:

What defines motherhood?

Certainly the origins of the zygote are a compelling case. But the baby becomes literally the flesh and blood of the woman in whose womb it grew. Its rhythms in sync with hers. It’s collective consciousness at birth all shaped by the in utero experience. What is natural and soothing is the sound of the birth mother’s voice, heartbeat, etc.

I honestly do not know who the mother is here. I tend toward the one in whom the baby grew, as that is the only ‘natural’ dimension of procreation in the whole sick and twisted process of bringing the child into the world through artificial means.

Your thoughts folks?

At least in the less complicated world of my childhood, there was a simple, natural, and happy ending to the book. What a terrible waste that this rupture consumes so much time and energy from the scientific and medical communities, when our time and talents could be and should be used for advancing humanity, rather than inventing new nomenclature and new laws for a new hybrid race of humans.

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