Yesterday morning, I sat in a local doctor’s office with my son. He was getting his pinky finger examined as we thought it might be broken from a recent dodgeball accident in PE. As my son, Liam, who is nearly 12 years of age, sat on the examination table, I sat in a chair nearby. Gone were the days I answered questions for him. He held his own in a diplomatic conversation with a new doctor he had never seen.
As she clicked through the general questions on her computer screen, she came to one that elicited a mocking response: “Are you pregnant?”. My son awkwardly laughed and said: “No ma’am, that’s scientifically impossible.”. The doctor, a warm and friendly sort, obviously looking for interaction from my child, said: “Well, someday it might not be. Science is changing so rapidly that one day, men may just be able to carry a baby!”. I immediately looked from the doctor to my son, curious at his reaction. He stifled a slight look of horror and awkwardly laughed.
The doctor went on to share with us that male seahorses carry the babies in their unique ocean-dwelling species. Confused as to why we were having this strange discussion when we were there to examine Liam’s pinky, all I could think to respond was: “Seahorses are cool.”.
The doctor left the room moments later and I looked directly at my son. “Listen kid, even if science allows you to carry a baby, I would much prefer you do it the old fashioned way….you know, via Stork.”. He rolled his eyes and indulged his somewhat shocked mother: “Yah, that freaked me out.”. Which brought me an odd sense of comfort.
How times have changed
As comedic as the exchange was, it occurs to me these are not the types of questions I had as a child my son’s age. There was no talk of males carrying babies. College students identifying as cats and demanding litter boxes in their dorms. M&M characters being adjusted to appear sexless, in a vain attempt to appeal to all. A pesky virus that has changed our society in countless ways, some of which we have yet to even acknowledge.
No matter your thoughts, feelings, beliefs on any of the controversial topics of today’s culture, I think we can all agree it is a different world our children have inherited than that in which their parents’ (my generation) knew.
I truly hope my sons grow up to know themselves, treasure their unique personas, and value the gift of individuality given by their Heavenly Father. I have learned the difficult way that comparison to others is a hollow vacuum of desire that will never end in fulfillment. Instead of celebrating what society deems success, I pray my two sons will identify with the Lord of all creation, including their unique, individual, beautiful, independent little boy, daily growing into young men, selves.
Just because we can do something, it doesn’t mean it’s right
Just because science deems a possibility, does not necessarily mean it is God’s desire for his children. Where that question begins and ends is a unique journey for us all. I pray for my children as they navigate a culture I grew up completely oblivious to.
And while seahorse males were miraculously created to carry their species’ babies, I humbly ascertain that human males continue to produce the old-fashioned way. While there may have been times in my pregnancies that I wished I could trade places with the father of the babies inhabiting my womb, pregnancy, birth, and those first few months of tender baby bonding are priceless gifts I would not have traded for anything the world could offer. Some of the sweetest memories were created during that time. The first flutter of a kick. Seeing my stomach expand from one side to the other as my unborn baby playfully ran laps in my belly. Hearing the heartbeat for the first time, coming from the not-yet-protruding stomach I was hopeful would provide the safest, warmest home for my growing baby.
While this was a thought-provoking topic that the doctor randomly introduced upon our visit, I was much more comfortable with a possible broken pinky. I left the office feeling grateful that I was there to overhear this snippet of conversation, rather than wonder aimlessly what crazy ideals are infused into my children’s heard day in and day out, that I am not privy to.