An acquaintance reported recently that another guest at a BBQ was loudly critical of people who used IVF services and declared that children born via IVF ‘have no souls’. As my friend (unknown to the gathering) was mid-cycle with her latest IVF attempt in conceiving a child, thins was highly distressing to her. As the mother of a child conceived via IVF, the comment was insulting to my son and I was understandably indignant . You don’t know whether to laugh or cry at dim-witted comments like that.
Young Donald is now 21 so I have had plenty of time to observe the soul-less creature. He was a fairly conventional kid really. Baulked at eating vegetables, had too much screen time, thought that I nagged him too much and protested at being made to walk or ride his bike when surely it would be much quicker for me to just drive him.
Admittedly he didn’t have much of a religious upbringing – well none really. I had to attend a church service in an official capacity when he was about four and took him with me. We sat up the front with the dignitaries. During one of the hymns, all in attendance standing of course, I looked up from my hymn book to realise that he was standing on the pew along side of me, conducting the rest of the congregation. I don’t think that we have attended a religious ceremony since then, except for a recent wedding in Japan in a Buddhist temple. I guess there wasn’t the need for someone without a soul.
When small Young Donald loved cuddle time (and still gives me beaut hugs), is always ready to give his mates a hand, and is very generous – especially for a soul-less person. He has morphed from at times being a morose and moody juvenile to being a socially adept young man who charms one and all with his conversation. It gives me a frisson of pleasure when people seek me out to tell me what a personable young man he is and how much they have enjoyed their conversation with him. What a pity he doesn’t have a soul.
I am reminded of a Valentine’s Day a few years ago, when Daisy was very much a feature in young Donald’s life. He took her out to dinner, selecting a cuisine the he knew she would enjoy. When he brought her home, he had set up my massage table in his bedroom and scattered the whole room with red rose petals. When they arrived home, she was greeted with soft lighting and massage oil. Whatever else she was greeted with, I as his mother don’t really want to know, but think what he could have done if he actually had a soul.
I started to wonder just what might have been intended with the reference to ‘soul’ and resorted to online sources for interpretation and definition. There were many, all much of a muchness and Wikipedia captured the essence with this explanation.
“The soul, in many religious, philosophical and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal and in many conceptions immortal essence of a living thing.”
I’m not going to debate the presence or otherwise of a soul, whether from the religious, philosophical or mythological perspective. In my son however, I can see and hear the essence of many who have gone before – my parents and probably their parents and it is possible that his essence will be reflected in those who are to come. I see mannerisms, I hear laughter, I see reasoning, I see a sense of social justice, I see an observant young man – and I see an individual. This individual has a resonance that impacts not only on myself, but also on his mates and those he holds near and dear. Does not that impact render one immortal and if so, is that the influence of a soul, that incorporeal essence of being?
Whether or not my son has a soul is irrelevant really. What that man was insinuating was that my child, and others who were conceived via assisted reproductive services, is somehow deficient and not a complete human being. It’s that sort of bigotry that has fuelled the justification of those who would impose segregation on others, and worse. I just hope for his sake that when the time comes that he wants to reproduce, that his swimmers are up to the task. How would he cope with fathering soul-less children of his own? That would be karma.