The changeling child is always blamed on the fairies, the trolls, the supernatural. The pretty, wide-eyed, fussed over child becomes the monstrous covered in caul and sprawled in the cot. To take the sacred and replace it with the profane, to take the loved and replace it with the feared, to take the beatific and replace it with the demonic.
So goes the story.
Let’s talk about the reality.
The changeling child was conjured – not by the hands of the fairies – but by the hands of the white coat, not by the messy beyond but by the sterilised room. It was not created by the ritual and mythology of the troll, representatives of the uncontrollable, but the ritual and mythology of the needle – the controlled, precise mechanics of modern science. And it was not created by the supernatural but by the unnatural, not man’s inability to control the beyond but man’s hubris that he can tame the wild – bend it to his whims and syringes. Instead of the haphazard, the unknown, the temperamental swap, we have the conveyor belt of changeling children – an assembly line of those that scream.
In the uncontrollable world, parents warned of the changeling child. In the sterile world, the changeling child is unspeakable. Those who point to its existence are simply told not to be so superstitious. After all, there can be no such things as changelings.