By the time I got to the end of Adrienne Arieff's memoir tracking the months she spent in India with the surrogate who helped bring her twins into the world, I was tripping over myself to get to a computer and look for an update on those sweet little bundles of cuteness. I almost wish I hadn't bothered looking. Because in my naive celebration of another mother's joy, I'd forgotten the new American obsession with invading the womb and ripping a woman to shreds from the inside out.
As technology has upped the chances for beating infertility, it's somehow become acceptable to respond to news that a woman is pregnant with the words "is it natural?" Attention, America! All babies are carbon-based lifeforms. That's as natural as it gets.
And I'll go one further. Babies aren't "just" natural. They don't give a fig how they got here.
Their mom could have taken Clomid. She could have had IUI. She could have had IVF. She could have used a sperm donor. She could have used an egg donor. She could have traveled halfway across the world and paid a woman whose womb wouldn't suddenly reject an embryo for reasons unexplainable by medicine (Arieff's heartbreaking reason for going the surrogate route).
The result will be the same. A baby who coos up at his mom and/or dad and would really like someone to change that stinky diaper right now, please, or he's going to start screaming!
Want to test my theory? Go ahead. Throw the vile "rent a womb" insult at a mom like Arieff. Now ask her if the fact that she had the misfortune of having to have her eggs and husband's sperm mixed in a clinic and implanted into another woman's womb to get what many of us get through a little fun in our own bedrooms means her child doesn't poop in diapers like the rest of the kids at mommy and me. Does she have sore gums like the rest of the teething set? A tendency to cry just for the heck of it sometimes? A sweet smile? The ability to transform into an angel just by falling asleep?
Babies don't know how they got here. They don't know that when Mom proudly announced to the world that she was expecting triplets some bonehead hijacked her Facebook thread with a rude comment about how that could have happened (true story, by the way). They don't know that mom lost one baby at 28 weeks, and then one at 14 weeks, and then another, and finally just could not take it anymore.
Babies just know when they're wanted, when they're loved, when their diaper is being changed, when their tummy is being filled. Is there really anything else that matters?
What's the worst thing someone's said to you about your baby's "origins"?
By the way, if you want to hear about Adrienne's babies, the book I was reading on vacation so I didn't pay attention to my husband's driving (yikes) was The Sacred Thread. Trust me, you'll want to know about her babies too ... and it won't matter "where" they came from.
Image via smoorenburg/Flickr