These days it seems that nothing is safe — even the prestige granted by the adjective “natural.” It still works at the grocery store, where it evokes images of pristine farmyards and cattle that are so lovingly tended that they never get sick and need antibiotics.
But it has become a suspect word when used around neurasthenic topics in our culture, like family structure and reproduction.
To whit, a recent article in the Journal of Pediatrics that criticizes campaigns promoting breastfeeding as “natural.” The authors contend that the use of the word may be ethically problematic and even stigmatizing.
They are afraid that touting breast milk as nature’s genius infant aliment — complete and balanced nutritionally, warm, clean, abundant and cost-free — will bolster dangerously old-fashioned ideas about mothers, fathers and biologically determined families.
They are right to fear these campaigns that reinforce sex roles. If natural breast milk is better for babies than formula, then the classic family scenario that produces it may also be best: tired but happy mother imparting nature’s bounty day and night, proud father making it all possible with his protective care.
To those who are working hard to create a new world order, lifting up the naturally occurring family stigmatizes all the other arrangements made possible by the erasure of sex differences and the concept of gender as fluid but also somehow fixed.
As the authors put it, “Coupling nature with motherhood, however, can inadvertently support biologically deterministic arguments about the roles of men and women in the family.”
The unstoppable fact is that biology is inexorable and not infinitely malleable as transgender ideologues would like to think. A woman is beautifully equipped, with a uterus, ovaries, wide pelvis and a complex mix of hormones to conceive and bear a child.
It is the most natural and elegant process in the world. And to cap off the wonder of a lively baby emerging from the birth canal is the sudden production of sustenance in the breasts, magically capped with nipples that fit perfectly in the newborn’s mouth.
Mother’s milk can sustain a baby for many months. The father, on the other hand, can only stand by, protective and supportive, while all of this beauty is happening.
This is nature, the nature the authors are afraid of making too much of. They are afraid because in the brave new world of transgender ideology, biologically determined sex differences are simply obstacles on the way to one’s preferred gender, and a family is anything you want it to be.
The classic, biologic family that exists and has existed always and everywhere is a result of sex differences and the complementarity of the sexes. It happens naturally and easily when a man and woman meet and fall in love, with all the right built-in organs and hormonal cascades.
Troubled men and women who are not comfortable in their bodies, who feel somehow “other” than their biologic sex, are being told by those who promote transgender ideology that the natural order can be safely set aside.
They are being taught that through hormones and surgeries they can “become” the other, and that the ordinary miracle of mother, father and baby will somehow occur for them, too, though they have left the natural path.
But the surgeries will not deliver, and the transition will result in only the approximation of the real thing. Instead of relief for their painful inability to accept themselves as nature beautifully made them, they are trapped in a damaged body, pretending to be what they are not. Sky-high suicide rates are a sign of their often piteous state.
I am sympathetic with the authors when they complain that making too much of nature drives us to reject manufactured improvements. Vaccines are a wonderful improvement over succumbing by the millions to viral epidemics, and modern farming methods have delivered countless people from famine.
With my first three babies I used baby formula very happily, as it enabled me to go back to medical school and residency after six-week maternity leaves without pumping. I breastfed the fourth to see what it was like, and I gave my fifth, whom we adopted, formula. They are all equally smart and healthy, and beautifully attached.
But rejecting natural men and women, and the natural family, is a bridge too far. It is damaging to individuals who are being “transitioned” into broken facsimiles and damaging to a society that is already suffering terribly from the destruction of the classic family.
Nature cannot be erased or entirely overcome. Ditto sex differences and biologic imperatives. This is scary to the authors who want a world where everything around sex is fluid, including motherhood. They are fighting a losing battle.
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, coming to the U.S. at the age of 11. She has written for USA TODAY, National Review, The Washington Post and The New York Times, and has appeared on CNN, Telemundo, Fox News and EWTN. She practices radiology in the Miami area, where she lives with her husband and five children.
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