I am ambivalent about the morality of assisted reproductive technology (ART). That may be a reason why, despite being a fascinating scientific area of study, I chose not to go into Reproductive Endocrinology. More’s the pity as there are less than 200 board-certified reproductive endocrinologists in the Philippines, a nation of 120 million.
This article is not about doctor-shortage (although it is tempting to make it about that as I have a lot of rant on that topic as well), but rather this is my ruminations about parenting.
The best and worst thing about having a progeny is being confronted with one’s mortality. It need not be a biological progeny: one can have a Grand Life Project — like maybe, “Giving Women the Right to Vote” (Alice Paul), or “Ensuring Philippine Freedom From Colonial Spain” (Jose Rizal), or “Ending Marcos Tyranny” (Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino) etc etc.
If the point of living is to prepare us for dying then what better way to spend that prep time than to strive for something we are really passionate about. Life is to foreplay what orgasm is to dying.
Progenies remind us of death because they are what come after us — the orphans we leave behind.
It would be a wonderful universe if we leave our orphans with a situation that is better than what we had. Unfortunately, more often than not, the Universe is cruel and uncaring. Our orphans are left destitute and scrounging for a place (any place) to exist. How many orphans have perished at the demise of their parents, I wonder?
We are puppies, kittens, cubs, nestlings, fingerlings, tadpoles, caterpillars — left behind by mothers and fathers who did not survive our births.
Of course, it is a self-defeating attitude to resent a parent for not being strong enough to live. One is never ever ready to face a parent’s death. And a parent will never be able to protect its kid forever. That is Reality, sad but true.
I was walking along a foreign road this morning, tears streaking down my face, remembering my mother. I would give an arm (the left one as I am right handed) to see her again.
Before she died I asked her plaintively what am I going to do when I have a kid of my own and she is not there. She said that I have my aunts to help me through that.
Well Mommy, that is an unsatisfying answer, I have expected something more Buddha-esque from you. To give you credit though, you have gone through more pain in your life than I can even imagine, so maybe I should cut you some slack for not being more philosophical.
While we are at it Mommy, let me remind you that being a doctor was never the greatest dream of my life. I can save a thousand bodies from dying an untimely death, but that will not satisfy my soul as much as making up stories can. Yes, I would rather be a professional liar than a professional healer. How’s that for a life goal, mother?
Were you a good parent or a bad one?
(I would think that I have a right to judge you as I am your progeny. And since you are dead, eviscerating you in print won’t matter very much.)
What makes a “good parent” versus a “bad parent”?
Should parenting subsume one’s life at the expense of everything else, the way women have done for centuries?
Why are biological progenies supposedly more acceptable than non-biological ones?
The world is overpopulated with humans so what is the point of having more of us?
Mommy I don’t want to sound nihilistic (although I know I am), but maybe your biggest mistake was having me?
I keep thinking that if I did not come along, you would have lived longer; the same way your older sister (the one who went to another country and shares my name) is now living her life to the fullest.
What was the point of having me Mommy?
Seriously … I cannot understand. That is my problem.