Andrew Solomon has written a book about the mothers of children who have what he calls a built-in obstacle to being loved: children with disabilities, transgender children, children who resulted from a rape, etc. He is always at pains to introduce Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity with abundant disclaimers, lest his fellow card-carrying liberals accuse him of being against abortion. He quickly makes common cause with his interviewers by pronouncing the views of former U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock “hideous”: A woman has a right to abort.
This is a very tricky balancing act indeed, since many of the victims of rape he interviewed for his book, after they wrestled hard with the thought of bearing the child of a rapist, came to the conclusion that they love their child. Solomon hastens to mention that many other women have not been able to come to terms with what happened to them and are not able to love the child. He has testimonies from mothers who say that every time they look at their son or daughter, it reminds them of the trauma they went through, and their hearts cannot warm to the human reminder.
But the triumphal stories in his book put the lie to Solomon’s underlying pro-abortion thesis that some suffering in life cannot be overcome and that we must rid ourselves of the suffering at all costs. But the very fact that some women do work through the pain to come to a new depth of character is evidence of the purposes of God in allowing suffering. Even if it were only one woman in a thousand who testified to that overcoming, it would be enough. Solomon is on thin ice, and he protesteth too much.
I have sometimes been momentarily shaken by the reports of this or that person who made a claim that seemed to contradict God’s claims in Scripture. But Solomon’s book is a good reminder to me that if there is a discrepancy I should side with God’s Word over man’s:
“… Let God be true though everyone were a liar …” (Romans 3:4).
I should trust His every word and do not lean to my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). For we have no idea, actually, of the life of the woman who claims it was impossible to love her child. We do not know her, really. But we do know God.