A new show on NBC this fall is called “The New Normal.”
NBC explains that “these days, families come in all forms – single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors… It’s 2012 and anything goes. Bryan and David are a Los Angeles couple, and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed, loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie, an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother, Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious eight-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke - but also fertile - Goldie quickly becomes the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family. (Emphasis added)
So, is NBC right? Is parenthood or family in any form really “the new normal”?
No, certainly not.
Simply because it is 2012 does not mean that “anything goes.” That’s a really immature and dangerous perspective on sexual relationships, through which children are often conceived. But these producers know that showing babies born to “one-night-stand donors” isn’t going to tug on the heartstrings of America. And so we learn that these men are in a “committed, loving relationship,” as if this is the key to gay parenthood. And these guys have it all, except for “one”thing that’s “missing” – a baby. Now, most things aren’t missing until they are lost and it’s important to recognize that two people of the same sex never lost the ability to have a baby, because they never had it in the first place.
Might this seem sad? Certainly. It is also sad when a married couple wants a baby and they’re infertile, or a single woman really wants to be a mom but never marries or has kids. It is sad when someone desires a child and can’t conceive… but children are gifts and not privileges.
Kids deserve a mom and a dad as nature guarantees them. Adults taking up the “right” to having children however they choose does not trump the right of a child to have a mom and a dad – a mom and a dad who provide maternal and paternal gifts that cannot be interchanged or replaced.
So, to get that child they want, the men turn to an “extraordinary woman.” Who, in the trailer is described as “an easy-bake oven with no legal rights to the cupcake.” Is that the kind of “extraordinary” that women should strive to become? Of course, the reason that all is well is that she wants to make money as a surrogate to provide a better life for her 8-year-old daughter. Recently, I read about a woman who prostituted herself when she was broke and 6 months pregnant to save up money to support her baby. Is she “extraordinary” too?
Simultaneously, this character is escaping her “dead-end life” and her “small-minded” grandmother. No doubt, the woman is small minded. She is racist, crude, and of course, seems to hate homosexual people. And speaking of her own child, in the first seconds of the show’s trailer, she says, “I thought [my baby] was a fibroid tumor. By the time I figured it out, she had a face and I was screwed.” I’m not so blind as not to see that these producers are portraying people like me (who believe in natural marriage and family) as this woman: hateful, aggressive and “small-minded.” How sad.
In reality, the small minds we ought to be desperately concerned about are ones like Shania’s, the 8-year-old daughter. She is an 8-year-old who will have a half-sibling conceived as a commodity. She is an 8-year-old who is more likely to drop out of school and become a single mom herself because she doesn’t have a father in her life. She is an 8-year-old who won’t understand real love, because her mom can’t even define it. “Love is love,” as she says in the trailer.
Shows like this fog up the truth about love, marriage and family, painting a picture of what could be. But the truth is that… this can’t be.