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Don't Try to Be a Mommy Unless Daddy's Around

By Mark Davis

Carmela Bousada of Cadiz, Spain, is one pooped mom.

Anyone can understand why. She has just delivered twins, and as moms of pairs will attest, they seem to conspire to sleep in shifts so that napping while they nap is often quite impossible.

Empathy for Ms. Bousada would seem appropriate, except that she has engaged in the modern trend of treating procreation as purely for the fulfillment of a parental urge, no matter how bizarre the circumstances.

She is 67. She lied to a California fertility clinic in order to secure her nearly $60,000 in vitro procedure. The clinic has an age limit of 55, a wildly generous window considering the chromosomal roulette that kicks in with pregnancies even 15 to 20 years earlier.

But there she is, talking to reporters about how much she wanted to be a mom. Sadly, what she did not want to be is a responsible mom.

Taken as a whole, from discouraged 30-somethings who can't find a man, to gay couples and now to the elderly, I have about had it with people bringing kids into the world with the express intent of denying them a married mother and father.

That ideal is not always possible. Mothers and fathers sometimes leave - or die, leaving the other parent to cope. And sometimes the results are inspiring.

But any woman seeking pregnancy with no regard for providing a married father is guilty of skewed priorities.

While the subject of empathy is still fresh, I have nothing but support for women who long to be mothers but just can't find the right guy. Keep looking, ladies, and I wish you well. But don't tell me you're going to go ahead and have a baby and look into finding a daddy later, just because you want to "complete yourself" or some other selfish twaddle.

If my point is that anything short of married parents in the delivery room is an affront, where does this place me on the subject of the Mary Cheney pregnancy, featuring the vice presidential daughter I have met and whom I like a great deal?

Consistency requires that I stick to my standards. The lesbian couple does not intend to deny the baby a second parent, and a dad isn't exactly plausible in that scenario. But for the bottom line I would turn to Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and current presidential contender, who said on Sunday's Meet the Press: "Unfortunately, so much of this argument has been framed about what the same-sex couple wants. But the real question needs to be child-focused, not couple-focused. ... That's true for whether the couple is same-sex or heterosexual."

Mr. Huckabee's chances of achieving the GOP nomination may be only slightly greater than my own, but that's a great quote, and I hope it spreads.

I also hope something else spreads - a sense that if you're going to make a baby, you should expect to be alive on prom night. I stand on the edge of the metaphoric stage for preaching on that subject; I will turn 50 this year, and my kids are 15 and 3. But when my son turns 18, I will be younger than Ms. Bousada is today as she admits to exhaustion.

Good luck with all that, ma'am. And good luck on her other quest - for a younger man to raise her kids when she dies. "I would have loved to get pregnant with a man by my side, but it didn't work out that way. Now I've got to look for a dad for the kids. I'd like to meet someone a bit younger than me. They'd have to like the children, of course."

Of course.

I love her spin. "It didn't work out that way," as if an angel put a seed in her womb and now she just has to cope as her 70s draw near.

Ms. Bousada, like many others, has failed to recognize that while it is the noblest of instincts to want a child, that urge comes umbilically attached to a responsibility to follow it only under the ideal circumstances of a married mother and father, both of whom are hopefully well shy of retirement age.

Mark Davis is a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. The Mark Davis Show is heard weekdays nationwide on the ABC Radio Network. His e-mail address is

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