Beware of baby lust! It may sound harmless, but severe cases of baby lust may be more dangerous than you know. People who truly suffer from baby lust can often be emotionally-fragile, and sometimes psychologically-imbalanced, neither of whom may be the most ideal folks to surround the tiniest, most vulnerable of human beings.
In one bizarre case in Australia, an embryo donor recently discovered on social media that a couple in Sydney falsely reported their donated-embryo pregnancy had failed, in order to nullify their agreement to keep in touch with the child’s genetic parents. The case is now under official investigation, says Natalie Parker, the embryo donor, who told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I think (the baby’s gestational mother) had baby lust. She was just thinking about the baby, and now that she’s got the baby she wants to enjoy it herself and not acknowledge it’s got other connections outside the family.”
This sounds an awful lot like any number of open adoptions in which promises made aren’t kept, doesn’t it? Yet the detrimental impact for the child/ren involved in either set of circumstances can potentially be catastrophic. The excessive measure of any parent’s desperate desire for a baby rarely bodes well for their child’s future ability to successfully fulfill their parents’ expectations, over time.
Who Lusts for Babies and Why?
“Baby lust” isn’t the sexual passion by which babies are created. Baby lust is the obsessive fever for a baby that drives otherwise sane adults do turn into drooling, baby-talking idiots who pine uncontrollably for the smell of Johnson’s Baby Lotion and who coo incessantly at strangers’ photos of infants online.
We suspect the phenomenon is a conspiracy of Mother Nature, the purpose of which is two-fold; it ensures the propagation of the human race, which is likely a good thing, and it ensures that defenseless newborns have the power to get someone to care for them, which is essential, of course.
Everybody loves babies! (Understandably! We do, too.) Baby lust can strike both females and males, and it affects people at any age. Babies make us feel needed. Their mere existence give us all hope. As Carl Sandburg once said, “a baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” Babies don’t argue, they don’t talk back, and their innocence restores our faith in humanity. The sheer act of cuddling a baby causes the average person to experience a release of hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, which make us feel good, so is it any wonder that anyone suffering through an unhappy marriage or a painful infertility diagnosis or the emotional tidal waves of adolescence may mistakenly think a baby is the answer to all their problems?
Baby lust is not inherently bad, but it can make good people do bad things. Women sometimes put themselves in highly risky sexual situations in order to obtain babies for themselves. Young males eager to “sow their seed” can impregnate multiple females concurrently, with no intention of supporting any of their offspring. Elderly women sometimes undergo what is called “pseudocyesis” (phantom pregnancy) when their minds are so fixated on babies that their bodies sometimes conspire to mimic gestation. In recent years, the American news media has covered a horrifying array of reports of attacks on pregnant women and medical facilities by those seeking to steal babies. “Fetal abduction” is the phrase coined to describe baby lust at its very ugliest, perhaps. (In North Dakota, a couple who conspired to steal a baby from a pregnant woman just stood trial for her murder.)
How Baby Lust Corrupts Adoption
In adoption, baby lust can become problematic when it causes people to lose sight of the ultimate needs of children. Babies are traditionally more sought by adopting families, because of the false assumption that they are “blank slates” and therefore more adaptable than older children with their own set of needs and issues. Infertile couples sometimes long to adopt newborns only because it enables them to experience the entire span of child development, which also permits them sometimes to pretend that the child they are raising was “theirs from the start.” (The healthiest adopters opt for fully open adoptions, in which adoptees know for life all the people who belonged to them from Day One.)
Ask any adoption professional who has worked in the field for a decade or more about baby lust, and they’ll tell you how hard it can be to find adoptive homes even for toddlers? They’re likely to mention the would-be adopters who reject even a one-year-old as being already “too old, because we really want a baby, at least for our first adoption.” That’s baby lust speaking, right there.
Baby lust can sometimes compel the nicest of people to overstep moral boundaries in their pursuit of a baby to adopt. This happens when folks make adoption promises they cannot keep, or overextend themselves financially, in order to entice a prospective birthparent to place with them. (And it doesn’t just affect Americans, either. In China, last year, a couple who tried for 18 years to have a baby boy stood trial for buying a baby on the blackmarket, a crime too rarely prosecuted in the US.)
Look: there’s nothing wrong with infertile couples longing to adopt a newborn baby. Yet the truth is that newborns are only newborns for the first few hours or days, and most of that time, they’re sleeping. There are more than fifty prospective adoptive homes awaiting every one baby placed for adoption in America these days, and the number of available infants for adoption shrinks every year, while the numbers of children in state foster care already freed for adoption rises daily.
That, perhaps, is the biggest problem with baby lust, if you get right down to it.
If adoption about finding good homes for children that need them most, not good children for homes that want them most, then at some point, we’re going to need to all quit pretending that the only children who deserve loving homes all still fit into newborn diapers.
So what can someone stricken with a bad case of baby lust do about it? For starters, join your local chapter of RESOLVE and pursue some professional counseling, too, if needed. Volunteer to rock babies at your local NICU. Sign up to do nursery care at church on Sunday. Get licensed to foster babies for Child Protective Services. Offer to babysit for new parents in your neighborhood free of charge. Collect donations for the March of Dimes. Get your baby fix fulfilled by doing good for other people’s babies then take some time looking at all the former babies still awaiting families in America’s Heart Gallery, and you might just find a way to cure your baby lust in the process, in the very healthiest way possible.