I didn't have my boys so that one of them could find a cure for cancer, or because I thought I would be the best mother in the world. I did it because I believed that my life, and my husband's, would be happier and more fulfilled if we had mini-wes to love.
She goes on to add that the experience of having children inevitably makes one become less selfish, which is of course right.
What worries me is the attitude she highlights, that even when reasons are thought to be good in themselves, children are still used instrumentally, for a purpose that is other than their own. It is at least part of what we mean by human dignity. Every human being has his own dignity and purpose which is quite apart from the purpose to which that person will be put by others (state, parents, medics &c).
The idea of having a child to make necessary treatment for another, or because it makes me a happier person or, frankly, even because it makes me a better person (thought that isn't quite what Mrs Pelling is saying), reminds me of Huxley's Brave New World, with human beings created for one purpose or another.
In the end it is this point that we need to get across, I believe. Once one understands it, all the rest falls into place; surrogacy, abortion, even contraception.
A child is not created to be loved; it is created to be, and to be an image and likeness of God. And that is why we love it. Because it is loveable in itself.
I know there's nothing here either very original or very interesting. I was just moved to post it because of being struck by people's funny views of altruism, highlighted in Mrs Pelling's article.
On a related topic, in First Things, Lord Nicholas Windsor has published a passionate cry for the defence of the unborn. He observes that while we congratulate ourselves on all the strides made towards social progress in Europe, we still ignore the elephant in the room of abortion; a massacre that truly disgraces us all, and has somehow ceased to appall.
And, while on the subject of The Sunday Telegraph, today's issue has a photograph taken by the noisy cameras yesterday in Westminster Cathedral. It is quite apparent, however, that the author of the accompanying article, Jonathan Wynne-Jones, did not think it worth accompanying his photographers to the ceremony, given the number of inaccuracies in his column.
It is always a salutary thing to remember how many silly things one can catch journalists saying when writing on subjects that one, the reader, knows something about. It should always remind us not to trust them too much when they write on subjects about which we know little.