Today in My History
2002: Death Rewrites Your Addressbook
2003: Busman's Holiday
2004: A Hum-Dinger
2005: Tossing the Diaper Rash Water
2006: Kill Me, Kill Me Not
2007: A Senior Pajama Party
2008: Santa Barbara Choo Choo
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EIGHT IS ENOUGH
22 February 2009
I have been toying with the idea of joining the madding crowd in speaking out about the recent birth of the octuplets.
I guess what finally made me decide to explore my own feelings (not that it matters one whit to the situation) was learning that the woman who had agreed to act as Nadya Suleman's publicity person was receiving death threats. Not only death threats, but horrible things like people threatening to cut her up into little pieces and leave the pieces in the grossest places on earth.
A bit extreme, don't you think?
My feeling on the subject is that the mother is clearly in need of some psychological help with her addiction to babies and to mothering and to help her resolve the issues she has from her past, but this outpouring of outright hatred for her is horrendously misplaced.
There are so many issues here overlapping that it's difficult to group them all together.
Should the doctor have implanted six embryos? Apparently she had six embryos implanted each time she got pregnant and the most that ever came of that before was twins, so that is for a medical review board to decide, but here again, if we have Right to Life people to believe, there were six potentially viable human beings who would be allowed to die if he didn't (that is not necessarily my view). She owned the embryos and should she be permitted a say in what happened to them, even if the potential outcome could have been predicted? If she demanded that she be implanted, perhaps the doctor was working under the assumption, based on past experience, that not all of them would make it. He certainly could not have predicted that two of them would split giving her eight fetuses, not a potential six.
I watched the Ann Curry interview with the mother and just marveled at her powers of rationalization. She has six children already because she loves children, didn't feel she had enough attention when she herself was a child, and she wanted to devote herself to her children. But she was working two jobs and going to school and leaving the kids in the care of her mother, who presumably was the person who didn't give her enough attention when she was growing up. Fallacy somewhere, I fancy.
And into this mix, she will now add 8 more children. Two of the older children have disabilities and surely at least one if not more of her babies will have developmental problems. She has no house. She has no partner. How in the world is she going to give these children all the attention she didn't get as a child when she has fourteen children?
Heck, I only had five. I had a husband and was a stay at home Mom and my biggest frustration all throughout the kids' childhood (especially before they got old enough to go to school and have their own friends) was not being able to spread myself thin enough so that each child got enough attention. We set up situations where we could compensate by giving one child one-on-one time (a trip to Disneyland when each turned 4, dinner out with one parent when they got older, so that over the course of a year each child had 2 special nights out, one with me and one with Walt), but of course it wasn't the same as if I'd only had two children. I listen to her talk about all the love she's going to give those kids and I have to tell her that love just isn't enough. If you're going to work, especially if you're going to work and go to school, there just aren't enough hours in the day to give each child the attention you feel you didn't get...and some of those times...no...a lot of those times...you're just overwhelmed with babies and crying and dirty diapers and laundry and everything else to be at your best.
I feel very sorry for her children.
BUT, that said, what makes me the most angry about all of this is the public outcry. I can only "feel very sorry for her children" from my own perspective of what it was like for me being the mother of a lot of kids. I don't know her. All I know of her situation is what gets reported in the paper. I have no business passing judgment on her or deciding that the state should swoop in and put the kids in foster care (yeah--like that's gonna be an improvement!)
I feel sorry that civic groups have felt pressured to take away offers of assistance because of public outcry. No matter what you think of the mother or of her doctors or of the fact that she is definitely going to have to take public assistance to care for her enormous family, why should the children be made to suffer because of unwise decisions she and/or her doctor made?
It seems that other large families have made it with the help of commercial support. At least two large families have reality TV shows. Suleman would certainly make a much more fascinating reality show than people who "only" have eight children.
Perhaps she should not have attempted another in vitro fertilization. Perhaps the doctor should not have implanted 6 embryos, but the fact of the matter is that the babies are here. They are going to need much more than their mother can provide. If companies want to give them donations, if Cable companies want to put them on TV and if that all helps to keep her in diapers and baby food, I say what's the harm in that? It can only improve the quality of life for the babies and maybe Suleman could afford to get some therapy in the process.
Bottom line: It's really none of my business!!
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MILES TO NOWHERE: 96.5 miles