Wanted: Baby-Maker

January 11, 2004 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Writings | 2 Comments

(written August 2002)

It was an interesting premise, one that had me glued for an hour to the television set. The drama unfolded on a TV show called The Practice with my favorite character Eleanor Frutt (played by Camryn Manheim) being brought to court by her bestfriend.

The storyline went something like this: Eleanor Frutt decides she wanted a child. But since she is with no one at the time, she decides she’d probably do a better job at parenthood going it alone. She enlists the assistance of her friend who in turn, agrees to be the sperm donor.

At this point you might ask: so is she suing him because he changed his mind? Not yet. It gets weirder.

To make the agreement official they execute a contract in which, among other things, it is stipulated that he would give up parental rights to the child. In plain English it means the child will never learn who her father is. The father’s name will not appear on her birth record, and he will have no visitation rights, the child will not take after his surname, etc. The bottom line is, his role stops the minute he donates his swimming little soldiers.

The guy apparently had a change of heart and decides that hey, this is my baby too. Why should he be denied a role in the child’s life? And that’s how Eleanor Frutt landed in the court as the defendant in a civil case filed by her own bestfriend against her.

The storyline got me to thinking about my own interests as a single young man in the middle of his career and who, I’d like to believe, is on his way up. I like my life the way I live it now, and I am not about to change it anytime soon. At the risk of sounding callous, sleeping around gets me what I want in the most cost-effective way; why would I want to give that up?

But something tells me that I am not complete without finding an expression for all the tender instincts that I have bottled up inside of me. A partner just won’t cut it. I want to prove to myself that everything I am working for is headed in one direction. That there is somebody who will ultimately benefit from all the days I spend toiling and slaving my butt off.

A baby would be the highest expression of that desire. With children, there are no false starts; no second chances, no wallowing in what ifs and in doubt. Once one is brought into this world, for better or for worse that child becomes your responsibility.

A few years from now, I will be ready for that responsibility.

When that time comes, I do not want the attendant messiness that comes with a lot of relationships. The problem is, would there be a woman out there willing to bear my child for nine months without any strings attached? In Eleanor Frutt’s predicament I would be her bestfriend and she would be obliged to give me my baby and while I will not deny her of her rights as a mother, I will have custody. Will there be a woman out there willing to affix her signature to a contract that will basically stipulate that I will be raising the child on my own?

Is Philippine society ready for such an unorthodox set-up? Is my generation really a harbinger of change, will people my age really, as the stars would have it, be the one to redefine our concepts of family, parenting, marriage and relationships? How many people out there are ready or willing to push the envelope, reshape the boundaries and redefine what it means to be modern individuals?

On a theoretical level it all sounds so nice and nifty. The mind is a fine arena for dissecting lofty ideals. But here on the ground, it is another matter altogether. When it comes to statistics for example, I might find myself on the losing end of any attempt to raise a child on my own.
It appears that the numbers are stacked against me. Studies in the United States, for example, show that single-parent families, especially among people of color, are at higher risk of living in poverty. Children who grow up in single-parent homes are more likely, they say, to be prone to substance abuse, be more shy, or worse, be convicted of a crime.

The other side of this are the claims, backed as well by studies that say such breakdowns or failure of parenting are as much a function of economic forces more than social ones. I tend to agree. It doesn’t matter if a child grows up with one or both parents if in the end they don’t even have the power or the means to buy their own food. Conversely, I know a middle-aged woman who earns substantially enough together with her husband. But their kids are still flunking their way through school.

I guess the key is to be ready. It will be tough, I know. My financial capability, perhaps my motives — and definitely, my lifestyle — will be suspect. People will doubt, people will ask. But the bottomline is, I still want to have my own child. What I saw on TV last week, and what I read online nowadays will hopefully prepare me when I do decide it’s time. I guess that till then,
I’ll just have to keep climbing up the proverbial ladder of success, build up for the future and stack up on condoms.



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  1. Hi Vince –

    Hope, much like happiness, is a thing you have to work at – it doesn’t fall on your lap like an over-ripened fruit. Sabi nga ng Dalai Lama – being happy takes much effort but once achieved is worth every ounce of effort we put into it. Belated happy birthday.


  2. Homer!! Thank you for dropping by. Hopefully I can make it next Friday. Thanks, how did you know it was my birthday? I guess it was obvious from my Sept. 23 post, right? It was on the 25th actually. 😀


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