Mother of God: Two Guys Almost Lost Their Pet Human Child

We all need to feel sorry for two men who, as Buzzfeed reports, nearly lost custody of the male human child they had bought and paid for, through the unreasonable malice of a rogue judge.

The male human child was the byproduct of an otherwise unrelated instance of artificial reproduction in the form of in vitro fertilization, and thus he is actually the biological offspring of another couple, friends of these men, who didn’t want him. The two men already have custody of two other human persons of the female variety, whose biological origin is apparently unimportant other than that they too were brought into the world through surrogates. (These women are always referred to in this type of journalism as “surrogates” — what precisely they are a surrogate for it is unfashionable to mention — or “gestational carriers.”)

Buzzfeed is of course at pains to detail how unspeakably bourgeois and in fact even wealthy these two men are. One, we read, is quite fetchingly the president of a lobbying group, the National Association of Manufacturers, which may explain why he believed that manufacturing a child in the womb of a paid surrogate was a reasonable thing to do. This man is also referred to as “a conservative Christian” for reasons that are unclear. His partner was “a federal lobbyist for Capital One” until he quit to care for their growing family pursue the couple’s litigation efforts full-time. Such wonderful, human people.

The rest of the Buzzfeed article centers on the controversy about whether paid surrogacy ought to be legal, because it’s 2016, and why shouldn’t two rich white gay men have the best children money can buy?

I of course take the view of the benighted Wisconsin judge who tried to frustrate their plans. Two human bodies were bought and sold in this transaction: one the surrogate whose womb is effectively rented; the other of course being the child. (To be fair to the child’s new proprietors, they were not responsible for his genesis in a lab; we can blame his biological progenitors and their medical collaborators for that.)

I hope this child and his putative siblings have a lovely childhood, and that in experiencing the joys and challenges of parenting these unique human beings who, despite their unusual origins, are unique persons made in the image of God, their “dads” will become better people.

The worst thing about this story is Buzzfeed‘s relentless spin, which I am trying, perhaps recklessly, to un-spin. Buzzfeed weasels its way past all kinds of problematic moral situations with the words it uses to frame the story. Surrogates, for instance, are always “used,” as providers of gestation-as-a-service. They are rented bodies who seemingly do not relate as mothers to the children they carry.

While refusing to dignify the surrogate with even a transient motherhood, Buzzfeed refers to her two clients as “dads” and “fathers,” even as their biological fatherhood is specifically disclaimed. Buzzfeed calls the boy “their son” even before they attain legal custody of him. What exactly makes them his parents? Presumably fatherhood is something that can be purchased once one achieves the appropriate socioeconomic status.

As usual, the early Christian church was on this issue before today’s sophisticated surrogacy techniques were ever contemplated. One might ask: Could not the Virgin Mary be seen in the same light, as a “gestational carrier” for the Son of God, who inhabited her womb through no human agency?

No, said the church at the third ecumenical council in 431. Mary was to be honored, not as one who merely provided the material for his human life, but one who, having carried and given birth to the incarnate Son of God, remains forever His mother, and not the mother of his humanity only, but mother of his undivided person, rightly to be called Theotokos, the Mother of God.

May she also be a true mother to the motherless, through the merits of her blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Featured image: “Romulus & Remus” by CellarDoor85, CC BY-SA 3.0

10 Ways to be a Hipster Conservative Mom

by Kate Petruchionis

1. Shop at a Thrift Store. This may seem obvious, but thrift stores not only supply great vintage finds for you and your hipster-man, but they are also a great way to clothe your little mini-hipsters. My husband and I have purchased four articles of clothing brand new for our two daughters combined in the two years since they were born. All the rest of their many, many clothes have either been hand-me-downs or thrifted.

2. Stay at Home. This is a great way to embrace both your hipsterism and your conservatism. Staying at home provides so many opportunities for developing independence and creativity; and it’s certainly a sturdy bit of conservative tradition. But for the hipster generation, staying at home with the kids is definitely not mainstream. All the women our age are going to work and waiting for kids.

3. Ditch the contact lenses. As a stay-at-home mom, you really don’t have time for contact lenses anyway. Go ahead and wear those big glasses proudly. And if you’re like me, you can’t drive without your glasses, so you never can wear sunglasses. But it’s okay; think of all the money you save not having to buy name-brand sunglasses! Contact lenses are not nearly as traditional as REAL glasses and they’re definitely too mainstream to be worn by a real hipster.

4. Let your kids listen to your music. Nobody really likes “kids” music anyway; I remember being a kid and not liking it. Just give them the good stuff. My two-year-old’s favorite song right now is “Ho-Hey” from the Lumineers. This might be because I pick her up and swing her back and forth when we hear it, so maybe it’s just the swinging that she likes. But I like to think it’s her great taste in music. Traditional music—folk and classical—is a great way to give that conservative change-resisting bent to your kids. They can listen to the same music their grandparents listened to while looking askance at “radio music”.

5. Read them real books. You like being well-read; read them classic children’s literature too! Trust me, the good ones have stuck around because they can stand being read over and over and over and over. Some of the others we hide away in the closet because my husband and I can’t handle reading them one more time, for a few weeks, at any rate. Hilaire Belloc wrote some great pieces of sarcastically witty children’s literature. And reading Belloc to your kids will set them up for reading The Servile State when they’re more independent readers; a great bit of intellectual conservatism that is too neglected in our mainstream capitalist society.

6. Embrace the mom-hair. If you’re staying at home, you’re probably looking for ways to trim your budget anyway. Learn how to do haircuts and styling at home. I’ve had one “store-bought” haircut in the last three years. It is possible to layer your own hair, especially if you style in the messy waves department; slight unevenness only adds to the careless look. Better yet, give capitalism the wave-off and barter for your haircuts. Know another stay-at-home mom who is better at cutting hair than you? Trade for something you’re good at. Chances are she would like to have something you can do, too.

7. Give your kids non-mainstream gadgets too. Baby gear is a total racket. The one piece of baby gear you absolutely must have: something to wear your baby. My two-year old still likes being worn (and she’s over three-feet tall, so if you have big kids, make sure it’s comfortable) and my four-month-old has enjoyed it nearly her whole life. You can make your own, buy an organic one, or buy one from the many Etsy moms who make them at home. Most of the mainstream baby things are a waste of money, take up too much space in the house, and fuel the radical consumerism that has taken over American culture. Besides, what could be more traditionally conservative than baby-wearing and wooden toys and rag dolls?

8. Wear layers and prints. Again, this is perfect for moms who are hipsters; the first outfit you put on in the day will probably get jelly stains, spit-up puddles, or craft project paint from that old thrift store furniture you’re refinishing. So go ahead and wear something that you can mix and match (or mismatch) by the end of the day. You’ll save a lot of time by not having to change your entire outfit. This applies to the mini-hipsters as well. They do not limit their messes to mom’s shoulders; their own clothes fall prey as well.

9. Wear scarves. It’s like a bib, only for the fashion-conscious. Better yet, make scarves for the whole family. And this “bib” will enable you to keep wearing your favorite thrift-store finds a little longer by covering up all those stains. (This is equally applicable to the hipster-mom as well as the mini-hipster.)

10. Wear skinny jeans. Whatever you do, don’t wear mom jeans! If you do, don’t worry; you can use the denim to make some cool Pinterest projects. And moms still want Pinterest even if it has gone mainstream. If you can’t do the skinny jeans, just find some that don’t give you the mom-jeans look. They might be a little less than conservative, but you wouldn’t be a hipster without them!