Memo to Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin: Mothers Are Irreplaceable

COMMENTARY: In their defense of Rubin’s decision to become a father by artificial means, these ‘conservatives’ concede one of the most offensive premises of transgenderism.

Dave Rubin (l) is seen on the set of "Candace" on April 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee; Jordan Peterson addresses students at The Cambridge Union on Nov. 2, 2018, in Cambridge, England.
Dave Rubin (l) is seen on the set of "Candace" on April 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee; Jordan Peterson addresses students at The Cambridge Union on Nov. 2, 2018, in Cambridge, England. (photo: Jason Kempin / Chris Williamson / Getty Images)

I had a hard time watching Jordan Peterson’s conversation with Dave Rubin about gay parenting and transgenderism. I’m deeply disappointed in them. I’ll cut right to the chase. These men claim to be opposed to transgenderism. However, in their defense of Dave Rubin’s decision to become a father by artificial means, they concede one of the most offensive premises of transgenderism. They evidently believe that with enough money, medical technology and legal support from the state, a man can do anything a woman can do. They are literally erasing women, while congratulating themselves on how thoughtful and profound and conservative they are. 

I predict this cognitive dissonance will not last indefinitely. Within five years, Peterson and Rubin will repent: they will either repent of their opposition to transgenderism or they will repent of their support for gay parenting. 

David Rubin and his “civilly married” partner, David Janet, want to become fathers. Rubin learned from his association with Jordan Peterson that parenthood is one of the keys to maturation and a fully actualized life.  But neither of the two Davids is willing to have a sexual relationship with women. Indeed, by defining themselves as “gay,” they publicly attest that they do not respond sexually to a woman. So, they have contracted with a series of women to assist them in achieving this maturation milestone of fatherhood. 

When I wrote my first article on this subject, I knew that they had purchased eggs from a woman they selected from a catalogue. And I knew that they had rented the services of two different women for surrogacy, one to gestate the embryos created with each of the men’s sperm.

I didn’t know until watching this video conversation, that the men have thoroughly studied the benefits of breastfeeding. They have “two industrial freezers full of pumped breast milk.” Where did this breast milk come from? The gestational mothers? Some other women? Do the two Davids think it matters where it came from? We also learn that these fathers are planning to involve “female role models” in their children’s lives, including their female relatives and night nurses.  

So let’s tally this up. We’ve got the genetic mother, the gestational mother, the night nurses, the female relatives and, no doubt, other female caregivers. But we have no legally recognized mother. Not one of these women has a legally recognized permanent place in the children’s lives. All of them are legal strangers to the children. This is literally female erasure — the exact thing that so many female opponents of transgenderism have passionately decried. 

These men have broken motherhood, the most fundamental human relationship, into a series of functions. They’ve transformed mother, an organic, integrated personal reality, into something artificial, scattered and impersonal. 

Middle-of-the-night-breastfeeding illustrates what I mean. Although I have mothered more than 10 children, (depending on how you count: long story) I have only had the privilege of nursing one of those children. I can tell you from that experience: there is nothing like breastfeeding. My whole body relaxed into the care of that child. Getting up in the middle of the night was actually a joy. Nothing else mattered but me and the baby. In the words of one of our favorite lullabies, “Things less important, will just have to keep, while I rockabye my baby to sleep.” I was heartbroken when my daughter gave up breastfeeding at the age of five months.

(By the way, young Miss Chloe Cole, in her testimony to the harms of attempting to change her sex, made this very point. She realized that she would never be able to nurse a baby, because she had amputated her breasts. But I digress.) 

I need not point out that the nice ladies the Davids engage to pump the breast milk and bottle feed the babies in the middle of the night are not going to have that attachment experience. Nor are the babies going to have the same bonding experience they would have with their natural mother nursing them from her breasts. 

Natural motherhood integrates the genetic mother, gestational mother, nursing mother, care-giving mother, legally-recognized mother all into one person. Ordinary motherhood is natural, with nothing artificial, or dare I say, man-made. Most of all, ordinary motherhood is personal. My personal identity is crucial to my child and her identity is crucial to me. We are irreplaceable to each other, unlike the collection of interchangeable parts the surrogacy process relies upon. Does a man of Jordan Peterson’s caliber seriously believe these babies are going to be unscathed by this process? 

Peterson seems as if he really knows better. He even said, “You guys have the resources to navigate all this.” Well, that is true. They do have resources. But a man shouldn’t need extraordinary resources to be a good father. The first duty of fatherhood is to love your child’s mother. Indeed, that is the ordinary way of becoming a father in the first place. David Rubin has already failed in this most basic duty. He will not be able to fully repair this breach, no matter how rich or smart he is, no matter how much society rallies around him. 

All these theories are about to come crashing down around their heads in a few short weeks. The babies will arrive in their lives, changing them forever. All these men’s beliefs will be tested by reality. These men won’t be able to keep their carefully balanced, nuanced positions indefinitely.  

That is why I predict repentance of one sort or another is in these men’s futures. On one hand, they may try to brazen it out. “I was so wrong to be mean to trans people, the sex of the body isn’t so important after all, my partner is a wonderful mother-figure, I’ve ‘grown,’ blah, blah, blah.” Or the two Davids are going to be astonished by fatherhood. Jordon Peterson is going to see the problems in real life and in real time. They are going to see that asking a male partner to play the “female” nurturing role is much more complicated than they expected. One of the children will raise a question or react or behave in some way that will prompt these men to ask, “What have I done?” At that point, all their past life decisions will come into question. 

For me, an infertility crisis in my mid-thirties prompted me to start walking back my life decisions. I ended up reconsidering everything I’d done and believed since about the age of 14. I came back to the Church. I can testify: there is life on the other side of repentance. I pray these men take the right path.