38 votes

A 4-Year-Old Trapped in a Teenager’s Body

18 comments

  1. [15]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    I disagree with his decision not to biopsy the embryos. Sure. It sounds nice in theory. But I went through my own "unpleasant feeling of 'otherness'" as an adolescent, and endured 5 years of...

    I disagree with his decision not to biopsy the embryos.

    We acknowledged that our childhood difficulties had probably made us stronger adults, that growing up as outsiders, while wrenching at the time, had probably helped us find our calling as artists and that the unpleasant feeling of “otherness,” anathema to fitting in as a child, could transform into a feeling of “specialness” if properly cultivated in adulthood. For the first time, I saw our genetic mutation not as a blight but as something that connects us uniquely to our ancestors.

    Sure. It sounds nice in theory. But I went through my own "unpleasant feeling of 'otherness'" as an adolescent, and endured 5 years of bullying and victimisation as a result. I know what it's like to be an outsider. It might have made me the person I am, but it was a bloody high price to pay! And noone should have to pay that price.

    It's not the act of a loving parent to choose to subject your child to a decade of difference and stress and "otherness" just to make them into a better person as an adult. There are other ways to raise your child as a better person than subjecting them to this sort of life.

    It's one thing to find out you have a child with a difference, and then deal with it as best you can. It's another thing entirely to choose to have a child with a difference, knowing exactly what negative effects that will have on your child.

    33 votes
    1. Heichou Link Parent
      Exactly. Growing up being bullied and shamed changed my life and made me a different person, and I'm still here today trying my damnedest. However, I can't say that were I not bullied that I'd be...

      Exactly. Growing up being bullied and shamed changed my life and made me a different person, and I'm still here today trying my damnedest. However, I can't say that were I not bullied that I'd be worse off. In fact, I probably wouldn't have social anxiety, GAD, depression, or the other multitudes of quirks I have due to being a pariah throughout elementary school and a ghost throughout high school. If I found out I could save my child from a debilitating, horrifying, humiliating condition, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I faced my adversity on my own, through no fault of my own, but I'll be damned if I subject my next of kin to the same kind of ridicule for little else than a sense of solidarity in being a special kind of fucked up. I couldn't live a normal life, but I'd do all I could to make sure my child had it better than me

      13 votes
    2. [9]
      moriarty Link Parent
      I tend to agree with you and would certainly do so with my kid, but am a little less inclined to pass judgement of someone else's. Perhaps I'm at the age where I over-sentimentalize my childhood,...

      I tend to agree with you and would certainly do so with my kid, but am a little less inclined to pass judgement of someone else's. Perhaps I'm at the age where I over-sentimentalize my childhood, but despite the otherness and bullying, I think I would want my kids to have a similar experience. I have moved away from my home-country to be with my wife, and although I don't regret it, I do have spells of nostalgia and terrible home-sickness. It tears my up a little to know that my kids will not know anything of what I grew up with, that we will never have a common language and a pool of collective memories, that they will never know the child I was. This feeling of being uprooted and disconnected in this country is bad enough, I hate that I would have it with my kids as well. So I can sort-of understand him wanting to have something that would connect him to his kids, but for me it would be too high of a price.
      What's your opinion of deaf people opting to have a deaf child?

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        I honestly don't know where to draw the line between an acceptable degree of difference to knowingly give one's child, and an unacceptable degree of difference. I think it also comes down to...

        I honestly don't know where to draw the line between an acceptable degree of difference to knowingly give one's child, and an unacceptable degree of difference. I think it also comes down to parental motives.

        In this case, the writer seemed to want his as-yet-unborn son to face the same difficulties as him in order to make him a better person. It seems like an unnecessarily cruel approach to child-raising, on the same spectrum as punching a young boy to toughen him up and "make him a man", or throwing a child into a lake to teach them how to swim. Yes, there was an aspect of bonding involved in the decision, but the conversation between the writer and his father seemed to focus on how the writer's experiences had made him who he is - which seems a bad reason to inflict the same experiences on his son. It smacks of a less-than-empathetic approach to parenting, which would also flow through to other parenting decisions throughout the child's life.

        I suppose I would have to consider the motive of deaf parents for wanting to have a deaf child. There's also the aspect that deafness isn't quite as extreme a difference as precocious puberty.

        And, yes, I know that this discussion can also encompass the choice of parents to abort homosexual children like me. It's a messy, slippery, slope.

        12 votes
        1. [4]
          calcifer Link Parent
          Can you tell homosexuality from an embryo?

          choice of parents to abort homosexual children

          Can you tell homosexuality from an embryo?

          1 vote
          1. Gaywallet Link Parent
            Not now but it might be possible in the future. Even if it's not possible, some quack might tell you it is possible and use fake science to prove it.

            Not now but it might be possible in the future. Even if it's not possible, some quack might tell you it is possible and use fake science to prove it.

            4 votes
          2. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            Scientists have already identified genes which are correlated with homosexuality. And there's evidence that the uterine environment itself influences the development of sexuality and gender. So, a...

            Scientists have already identified genes which are correlated with homosexuality. And there's evidence that the uterine environment itself influences the development of sexuality and gender. So, a hypothetical future doctor could probably tell from an amniocentesis whether the foetus will be homosexual or transgender, based on the foetus's genes or the mix of hormones found in the uterus.

            1 vote
          3. [2]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
              ... so yes. If the foetus contains the genes which have been identified as correlating with homosexuality, or the uterine environment contains a mix of hormones which are known to influence sexual...

              Most evidence suggests children's sexuality forms in the womb...

              ... so yes.

              If the foetus contains the genes which have been identified as correlating with homosexuality, or the uterine environment contains a mix of hormones which are known to influence sexual development, these could be used to identify a potentially homosexual child.

        2. besa Link Parent
          It doesn't have to be a slippery slope. The only way homosexuality would negatively impact a child's development is through social ostracization/emotional distress caused by it, it carries no...

          And, yes, I know that this discussion can also encompass the choice of parents to abort homosexual children like me. It's a messy, slippery, slope.

          It doesn't have to be a slippery slope. The only way homosexuality would negatively impact a child's development is through social ostracization/emotional distress caused by it, it carries no inherent threats to their mental or physical health. A good question might be "could this condition still negatively affect my child if it grows up in a completely positive and supporting environment?"

      2. [2]
        jackson Link Parent
        I'd want my kid to have as many opportunities as possible. If there was a chance that I could choose an embryo that's not deaf, I'd go for it. If all five had the deafness gene, I'd still have the...

        I'd want my kid to have as many opportunities as possible. If there was a chance that I could choose an embryo that's not deaf, I'd go for it. If all five had the deafness gene, I'd still have the kid, definitely.

        6 votes
        1. moriarty Link Parent
          I apologise if the question is too personal but are you deaf?

          I apologise if the question is too personal but are you deaf?

          1 vote
    3. [4]
      diode Link Parent
      Why give in to the majority like that? By eliminating your descendent's "otherness" you're making the implicit acknowledgement that somehow your "otherness" is inferior to the default, or at least...

      But I went through my own "unpleasant feeling of 'otherness'" as an adolescent, and endured 5 years of bullying and victimisation as a result.

      Why give in to the majority like that? By eliminating your descendent's "otherness" you're making the implicit acknowledgement that somehow your "otherness" is inferior to the default, or at least not better enough to warrant the ostracization.

      From the romantacized way the author described himself and his ancestors it seems that part of the author views his condition as making himself superior in certain ways.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        It's not a matter of giving in to the majority. It's a matter of not wanting to put my own (extremely hypothetical) child through the same misery I went through. Admittedly, my "otherness" is of a...

        It's not a matter of giving in to the majority. It's a matter of not wanting to put my own (extremely hypothetical) child through the same misery I went through. Admittedly, my "otherness" is of a different type to the author's, but it still gave me a very good sense of what it's like to be bullied for being different - and it's not nice at all. Why would I want to inflict that on my own child? Why would any parent want to do that to their own child?

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          diode Link Parent
          Without knowing either of your situations on an intimate level, I think the author believes that there are benefits to his condition that outweigh the ostracization. For other conditions it may...

          Without knowing either of your situations on an intimate level, I think the author believes that there are benefits to his condition that outweigh the ostracization. For other conditions it may not be the case, so I apologize for my phrasing of "giving in to the majority".

          1 vote
          1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            As I mentioned elsewhere, my situation is that I'm gay. That's the difference that got me bullied and victimised for 5 years in high school. Sure, it's not a disability or a biological issue, but...

            As I mentioned elsewhere, my situation is that I'm gay. That's the difference that got me bullied and victimised for 5 years in high school. Sure, it's not a disability or a biological issue, but it still gave the experience of being bullied and ostracised, which this author was willing to inflict on his son.

            I don't agree with the author that it's worth inflicting that sort of misery on your child to make them a better person at the end of it. It seems like a cruel method of raising a child.

            4 votes
  2. calcifer Link
    This guy got very lucky but what he did is extremely stupid and cruel. He risked a painful and scary childhood for his son because he wanted him to suffer just like he did.

    “It’s a boy!” I cried, just like in the movies.

    We named him Ned after her beloved grandfather. We brought him home and lay around the house and stared at him for two weeks while friends and family brought us food. And then we got the test results.

    They were negative. Ned hadn’t inherited the mutation. My friends and family reacted appropriately — with relief, with congratulations, with happiness. I barely reacted at all.

    This guy got very lucky but what he did is extremely stupid and cruel. He risked a painful and scary childhood for his son because he wanted him to suffer just like he did.

    14 votes
  3. moriarty Link
    A fascinating personal account of a person afflicted with a rare genetic condition, Testotoxicosis, causing puberty to begin at the age of 2 and how it affected his and his forefather's life

    A fascinating personal account of a person afflicted with a rare genetic condition, Testotoxicosis, causing puberty to begin at the age of 2 and how it affected his and his forefather's life

    11 votes
  4. Kogara Link
    I've never understood this idea of letting conditions like this continue out of choice, after reading about how it made his childhood hell and all the dad's before had also had a rough time with...

    I've never understood this idea of letting conditions like this continue out of choice, after reading about how it made his childhood hell and all the dad's before had also had a rough time with it, I was pretty sure he would make the call to terminate the embryos. But no, it's the usual "I don't suffer from X I live with X". Yeah I live with glasses on and I've probably had somewhat of a different life compared to if I didn't wear them, doesn't mean I want my child to have shitty eyesight too, and that's just minor short sightedness let alone a life long condition that causes massive changes. I honestly can't look at people like this and say they're good parents.