The 'Opt Out' Mom

Most parents know the admixture of fear and excitement that precedes the arrival of a new family member. Whether biological, surrogate or adoptive, a thousand questions haunt us: Will we be good parents? Can we avoid the mistakes we feel that our parents made? Will the child be healthy? Will we have the capacity to love and nurture the child often at the expense of our needs and desires? Do we have the strength and stamina to see this through to the end which may mark our waning tenure on planet earth? Of course this is not an exhaustive list, and people by virtue of their individual life experiences, personality, emotional landscape and thought processes may categorize these feelings differently, yet the basic essence remains the same. We are human, and as such recognize our fallibility. But for those who desire to procreate and to experience the challenge and accomplishment of unconditional love we push through these doubts to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

One does not have to give birth a child to become a mother or provide the sperm that fertilizers an egg to become a father. Certainly, this is one means by which people can become parents, but just as many people choose surrogacy and adoption. Out of the millions of people who choose the latter, there exist an incalculable number of great parents who open their hearts so completely that the love and care they exhibit toward their children is indistinguishable from that of biological parents.

Unfortunately, far too many children fall prey to parents who are emotionally and spiritually stunted. These individuals join the rank and file of a cadre for whom the desire for children is commoditized to meet the procurer's need for psychological or physical dominance, conformance with societal norms, free labor, or sex. I am intimately acquainted with the trauma a bad parent can inflict upon a child. During my childhood, my father's hatred toward me manifested in both emotional and physical abuse which took years for me to process. Through intensive psychotherapy I continue to process and reconcile a world which had been turned inside out by the shortcomings of my seemingly omnipotent parental figure.

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