When I was nine or ten, my friend’s mother delivered a stillborn child. I remember the shock and the discomfort of not being sure what to say. Over the next decade, as the risks of smoking during pregnancy received a lot of attention, I wondered what this woman, who often had a cigarette in hand, felt as she read those articles.
On a larger scale, part of growing up is accepting the idea that adults, rather than being all-knowing, make mistakes and have to live with the consequences. Since adults are parents, leaders, politicians and teachers, the victims of those mistakes are often the next generation. That is a harsh reality of life that inevitably affects all human beings in their personal lives. At its best it leads us to mature reflection on the importance of our actions and ideas. When, however, we rush instead to embrace revolutionary societal change, the tragic results can overwhelm us.
Journalist Abigail Shrier wrote a heart-rending piece about politically progressive mothers struggling as their daughters identify as ROGD – rapid onset gender dysphoria. These mothers, who actively embraced societal change on social issues like homosexuality and raised their children to reject rigid ideas of traditional right and wrong, suddenly find themselves heartbroken as their daughters, seemingly overnight, decide that they are actually male. These daughters are often anxious, unhappy and desperate to relieve emotional pain. While, as a society, we might well ask why our teens and young adults seem to be struggling so much, even a few years ago this would have been recognized as a cry for help. Not so today.
Our liberated society, rather than suggesting counseling (how judgmental!) or even slow and steady deliberation (We want change. When do we want it? NOW) rapidly offers these girls hormones and even surgery. And these mothers stand helplessly by as they watch their daughters take irreversible steps that will shape the rest of their lives, cheered on by an adoring group of psychologists, professors and social scientists. In fact, in the eyes of the Left, if these mothers even question their daughters’ actions, they suddenly morph from being cutting-edge, progressive activists into being part of the deplorable nation. Ms. Shrier writes of how alone they feel, unable to share their anguish with others.
I am a mother. I feel no sense of schadenfreude when I read of these women suffering. I do wonder if they connect the dots. Do they realize that this tragedy is a natural next step of believing that traditional ideas are, by definition, archaic; that medical science should be subjective and politically influenced; and that social barriers must be shattered without ever expecting there to be unintended consequences? Do they celebrate as an increasing number of cities and states allow parents to register their newborns as gender-neutral or do they recognize that while they would have applauded this five years ago, maybe they would have been wrong to do so? Do they look in the children’s section of the library and feel queasy knowing that the ideas they avidly supported for decades will bequeath trauma on the young children being propagandized at every turn? Or do they protect themselves by thinking that everything they supported was correct; it is only now that things have moved too far?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do pray that these women find the strength to “come out.” Our culture is in desperate need of change. These mothers’ suffering can serve a purpose if they have the courage to follow in the footsteps of John Newton and declare, “I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.”