(Originally published on LifeSite News)
Pete Buttigieg’s weekend announcement that he and “husband” Chasten are “becoming parents” of twins had the Twitterverse abuzz. Odd phrasing, that “becoming parents” verbiage. More accurately, two men, who are biologically prohibited from “becoming” parents without the involvement and sacrifice of a woman or two, have acquired children.
Even more disquieting, their photo announcement featured the pair seated on a hospital bed, displacing the woman who carried these babies for nine months and labored to bring them into the world.
All the usual media suspects celebrated the arrival of the Buttigieg’s “adopted” children, although the men have been suspiciously quiet regarding the children’s origins. Could it be that following Chasten’s July Washington Post interview in which he mentioned their desire to adopt, a birth mother in her last trimester, in the rare 2% of women who naturally conceived twins no less, suddenly decided to place her babies with the celebrity couple? Possible, but unlikely.
It’s more probable that these children were manufactured by Big Fertility and gestated in a hired womb, an assumption informed by the fact that the likelihood of twins jumps to 40% in IVF procedures, which is of course the only route to a surrogate pregnancy. Whether intended parents shelling out six-figures are seeking more “bang for their buck,” or in the case of gay couples where both men want a genetic tie to their offspring, twins are a staple of surrogate pregnancies.
Photoshoot comes at the high price: Twins losing their mother
When it comes to children’s rights, there’s a big difference between adoption and third-party reproduction. Adoption is an institution centered around the best interest of children, Big Fertility is a marketplace centered around the desires (and checkbooks) of adults.
But part of adoption’s “best interest of the children” involves prioritizing mothers and fathers. While there are scenarios where a gay couple may be the best available placement for a child, given the 1-2 million couples seeking to adopt 20,000 available newborns each year, it’s doubtful that a married mother and father were unavailable for these twins.
If the birthday of these two precious babies was simply about celebrating adult desires, then fanfare is in order. But the central characters of this saga aren’t the adults, they’re the children. For these twins, the cost of their “two dads” photoshoot comes at the high price of losing their mother. And if they are the result of surrogacy? It’s possible these babies have actually lost three mothers.
These twins will be separated from their genetic mother. Whether that woman is also their birth mother, or if these babies were purchased from an egg “donor” catalogue, they will likely experience the identity struggles long observed in adopted children and now reported by donor-conceived children as well.
Like other children raised apart from their biological parent(s), these twins may wonder about and search for their missing mother, hoping to see their features reflected in her face, obtain their complete medical history, or perhaps ask “how could you abandon me?” Even when raised in a heterosexual home, children separated from their genetic mother often feel that knowing her is critical to their identity:
She is the woman who gave me life. And no amount of contracts, technology, emotional manipulation, and money is ever going to rip her eye colors from my irises, or her dimples off my cheeks, or her lips off my smile, or tear her out of my DNA. She is my ancestor. She is my foremother. She is me, and I am her. The bond we have is almost like the bond I have with God. Thank goodness I got the chance to meet her.
Remember that time Donald Trump enforced the devastating policy of separating children from their parents at the border? #FamiliesBelongTogether trended and mental health professionals clamored that failing to recognize “separated children grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma.”
Yet when the time comes to celebrate a “Modern Family,” a family structure predicated on child separation, those warnings are replaced by enthusiastic endorsements.
The reality is that losing a parent is always traumatic for children, whether at the border or at birth.
We don’t place newborns on the chests of their mothers so they can forge a bond, we do so because they have an existing bond. Studies show that separation from the birth mother causes “major physiological stressor for the infant.” In addition, even brief maternal deprivation can permanently alter the structure of the infant brain.
While there are times when adoption is necessary, adoptees have long reported the loss of their birth mother resulted in a “primal wound” which hindered attachment, bonding, psychological health, self-esteem, and future relationships. Despite the fact that adoptive parents tend to be more educated, and spend more time and resources on their children, adoptees remain at increased risk of suffering mental health issues. Thus, whether the intended parents are gay or straight, we should never intentionally sever the bond between children and their birth mother.
Social mother starvation
Children need a mother in the home, a “social” mother. Decades of research (and common sense) indicates that mothers and fathers offer distinct and complementary benefits to child-rearing. Child development is maximized when children are raised by representatives of both halves of humanity.
What’s more, they crave the love and affection of a male and female parent. When kids are denied that distinct maternal love, they often experience mother-hunger no matter how doting the father(s) may be. Samantha is one such child:
“I felt the loss. I felt the hole. As I grew, I tried to fill that hole with aunts, my dads’ lesbian friends and teachers. I remember asking my first-grade teacher if I could call her mom. I asked that question of any woman who showed me any amount of love and affection. It was instinctive. I craved a mother’s love even though I was well-loved by my two gay dads.”
None of these three mothers are optional in the life of a child. Nature got it right by insisting that all three mothers be found in one woman and by making it difficult to separate them. When one or more of them are lost, children suffer. When that loss is intentionally inflicted, it’s an injustice.
What about the “no difference” studies?
Lest you knee jerk and regurgitate the “research shows children with same sex parents fare ‘no differently’ than kids with opposite sex parents” line, here’s a little thought experiment. Anytime sociologists are studying family structures other than same sex-parenting, they overwhelmingly agree that:
- Biology matters. Biological parents stack the deck in favor of child safety and thriving throughout their childhood.
- Gender matters. Mothers and fathers offer distinct and complementary benefits to children.
- Parental loss is harmful. Children experience diminished outcomes when they lose a parent to divorce, abandonment (even if subsequently adopted), death, or third-party reproduction.
So how could it be that same-sex parented kids magically fare “no differently” when, by the very nature of their family structure, they are always missing a biological parent, always deprived maternal or paternal love, and always arrive in their home via parental loss? The answer of course is that those “no difference” studies are methodologically flawed.
No matter how they came to be in the Buttigieg household, mother-loss is never a cause for celebration. If the media were in the truth telling business, this couple’s “gotcha day” photo would be captioned, “Two powerful men sentence twins to a lifetime of motherlessness.”