12 February 2021

The girls' tenderness for 'the two dads'.

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Some time ago on the blog "Dad by choice"a video with two children and their two fathers sending Christmas greetings via Skype to their 'surrogate mother' (belly-mummy) overseas. Everything is perfect, smiling children, caring fathers, Christmas home, gifts, the belly-mummy, the mum-belly in connection with her children and husband: a 'big extended family', says the end of the video.

Many comments express puzzlement at this narrative of absolute happiness: Skype is not enough to heal the wound of separation from the mother.. Others build a wall of solidarity with the two men, especially from young women.

Why do girls empathise so easily with the procurers of surrogacy, especially if they are gay? Why, on the other hand, is there no empathy for the children whose mothers have been taken away, nor for the woman who gave up her body - invariably in exchange for money - for gestation and childbirth, and who is praised for her ''sense of responsibility''?free choice"?  

Rational arguments have no place in the discussion, the solidarity of many girls with the 'two fathers' seems instinctive, visceral, unquestionable. It is at least partly an automatism: the rights claimed by the LGBTQ+ world cannot be opposed, especially if you are modern, progressive and left-wing. Those who do are right-wingers, and therefore as a matter of principle any discussion is nipped in the bud.

But surely there is more -and that is the main issue-: the difficulties of young women with the idea of motherhood. The plan is that of symbolic motherhood rather than that of real mothers, the women who gave birth to us, who brought us up and who may still be with us in our everyday lives. Maybe it is our good fortune to have had a sufficiently good mother (Donald Winnicott), most of the time fortunately it goes like this. But nwe neither want nor can we identify with herThis difficulty grows from generation to generation, even if the real mothers of today's 20-year-olds are certainly different from those who experienced Feminism in the 1970s.

Those who are mothers today have been children since 1968, they have absorbed and experienced a strong idea of freedom, they have usually studied, worked, and have a much more active and aware sex life. An enormous leap compared to the mothers of the previous generation. Yet for the daughters of these women the stereotype of the oppressed and losing mother is still very much alive. And it is partly justified by the loneliness and fatigue they have seen, the lack of help, the sentimental disappointments they have witnessed, the low social esteem for the maternal role they have observed. Real life is made up of women who give up work for good after their second child and even after the first birth, with the bitterness and frustration of depending on others to get by. How, then, can we expect girls to see in motherhood positive models of self-fulfilment?

The 'surrogate' mother, on the other hand, is a model of 'self-entrepreneurship'. female, one who uses motherhood to her advantage, does not suffer it as an obligatory destiny but chooses it as a source of income and gives the opportunity to new families, really different, really free and modernto realise their projects. We do not see her physical and psychological fatigue, the risks to her health, or the state of need - great or small - that drove her to lend her body and separate from her child. She is someone who has chosen, who exercises her 'right', who is a mother but is not, or rather is in a modern way and 'for others'. that they could not be, in the case of gays because they are male. The arguments are not so far removed from those used to defend the right to sell one's body in prostitution: there it is 'sex work', here it is 'mother work'.

From these arguments There is a lack of awareness of bodies that appear disembodied and dematerialised. After all, GPA is just a highly medicalised 'technique': sperm that fertilise ova given for money by a young woman with an excellent phenotype (beautiful, with a high IQ and a good education), subjected to risky hormone therapy and painful surgery for this purpose. And then the embryo implanted in another body that is also normally destined to disappear from the scenelacking any particular genetic qualities. This body also underwent hormone therapy to accommodate the 'unnatural' pregnancy, a body that never seems to suffer, neither risk miscarriage (the 'product of conception' is genetically completely unrelated to the woman), nor an abnormal pregnancy, nor run any risks at the time of delivery. No blood, no pain, no dirt. In most cases, the baby is delivered 'cleanly' by scheduled caesarean section. A body-machine that does not feel (like the alienated body of prostituted women), does not throb, does not scream. No guts, no blood, no tears. 

Perhaps only one question could shake the confidence of these girls: would you donate your eggs? So why don't you do it, if you think it is an act of great generosity? The law allows it. And another one: Italian legislation prohibits surrogacy, but it has already happened - even in Italy - that a court has allowed gestation for others: what is stopping you from making yourself available?

Francesca Cirelli and Anna Perenna

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