If you're wondering just how self-centered and me-focused the average American has become, you need look no further than how that average citizen regards their offspring. Before they're brought into the world, those who haven't yet joined the party are at the mercy of those already in attendance.
If you can't hold it, bring it!
Colleen Pavelka opted for an early delivery on January 19th because her husband might have missed the Saints-Bears playoff had she waited for the baby to come on its own. It's entirely possible the baby would have waited until after its January 22nd due date to greet the world, but for Colleen and her husband Mark, that wasn't a risk worth taking.
Given the importance of football in the Pavelka household, and how seemingly okay the Pavelkas were with this decision, one wonders how many more times the new baby will be forced to accommodate Daddy's addiction and Mommy's subservience.
Would you like that with fries?
Meanwhile, Cara Reynolds of Collingswood, New Jersey, is not happy with those who are critical of using embryo screening as a way to produce a child with a disability. Reynolds is a dwarf and wants a child who is also a dwarf. She had considered embryo screening, but now plans to adopt a dwarf baby. "You cannot tell me that I cannot have a child who's going to look like me," Reynolds said. "It's just unbelievably presumptuous and they're playing God."
Who's playing God? Presumably it would be anyone with their hand in creating a child who, without interference, would never have otherwise existed. Cara would have us believe it is not those who use this cafeteria approach to baby making, but rather those who would disallow it.
The debate centers on the definition of "normal." Many within deaf and dwarf cultures don't consider themselves disabled. To some dwarf and deaf would-be parents, designing a child like themselves is no different than designing a child with a particular hair color or talent in mind.
Maybe, just maybe it isn't about you.
Perhaps what all of these would-be parents are missing is the ability to refocus outside themselves in preparation for the most important task of their lives – a mindset not lost on many of us who are already parents. Deliberately creating a child to one’s specifications, as if a child were a car or a house, is probably the most selfish thing I can think of, second only to abandoning a baby who wasn’t born just so – you know, like they do in male-obsessed cultures when a child is born sans penis. Sure, the latter is considerably more tragic – and it doesn’t make the former any less tragic.
My children wear glasses, take thyroid medication, and have ADHD. These things have impacted their experiences and have come to define them as people. Too, who they are (as a result of what they were born with) has had a profound impact on my life as a person and as a parent. I asked my children if they would, given the opportunity, change these things about themselves, and all three of them said, “No!” Would they have preferred my trying to make them more like me? All three noted my quick temper and crippling fear of heights. Again I heard, "No!"
It would have been reprehensible to tweak away nearsightedness, hyperactivity, or a hypoactive thyroid. For all I know these very traits, if you will, are the flipsides of their artistic talent, their humor, and their compassion. They wouldn’t be the people they are today had they been born differently – which is to say, they wouldn't be who they are had they been born to selfish, myopic parents.
If you can’t deal with a normal or abnormal child, regardless of how you define either term, then you don’t deserve to be a parent. Parenting is a privilege, not a right – just ask Mother Nature. Those of you who really think you have the right to play God (yes, Colleen and Cara, that’s you) don’t need medical technology. All you need is Toys-R-Us.Powered by Sidelines