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Mother's Day for Wives

05/03/2009 Comment

Lots of Mother’s Day buzz surrounds a book from Ayelet Waldman. She’s a media darling because of her radical liberal views — and buzzy because she “admitted” loving her husband more than her kids.

The Church would echo her daughter’s sentiments about that admission: “Duh.” But we remember Walman’s far more troubling 2006 admission ...

In a USA Today interview about her new book, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, Waldman defends common sense in parenthood.

Her article, from 2005, admitting that she loves her husband more than her daughter is rambling and focused on the bedroom.

But here’s the essence:

I do love her. But I’m not in love with her. Nor with her two brothers or sister. Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I’m not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.

It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

An example: I often engage in the parental pastime known as God Forbid. What if, God forbid, someone were to snatch one of my children? God forbid. I imagine what it would feel like to lose one or even all of them. I imagine myself consumed, destroyed by the pain. And yet, in these imaginings, there is always a future beyond the child’s death. Because if I were to lose one of my children, God forbid, even if I lost all my children, God forbid, I would still have him, my husband.

But my imagination simply fails me when I try to picture a future beyond my husband’s death. Of course I would have to live. I have four children, a mortgage, work to do. But I can imagine no joy without my husband.

The Church would tell her she should love her husband more than her children. Much more. Far more.

She may be experiencing the truth of the Church teaching: Spousal love should be exclusive, lifelong and procreative. A healthy relationship with a child is none of those things.

Waldman can be credited for being honest.

Which is the best you can say for her 2006 essay, “Looking Abortion in the Face.” 

She reports that she had a second trimester abortion, and has decided not to mince words:  “He was my baby, and I chose to end his life,” she writes. “I wept for the fetus I killed—and I have no regrets.”

This is the dark side of Waldman’s declaration that spousal love is greater than love for child.

While loving Dad more than daughter is necessary and beautiful, it can be scary in one who is callous to moral commitments or has rejected the right to life. Women are killing their babies for their boyfriends all the time. And Waldman’s reason — her child was “diagnosed with a genetic abnormality” (Down Syndrome?) — is chilling.

Can a mother really have no regrets about killing her child for that?

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About Guest Blogger/Tom Hoopes

Tom  Hoopes
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Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.