Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In the News

Have you all heard about that woman who recently gave birth to octuplets? I guess she's been all over the news lately, and I didn't know anything about it until I turned on the TV last night and a preview of her first interview was on. It was interesting so I googled her (yes, I googled) and what I read just about floored me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I gathered she is 33 years old...she doesn't work as far as I can tell, but is in school to get her Master's degree...she still lives at home with her mother...doesn't have a husband or significant other (not that I think you need a guy around to raise kids...but octuplets!?!?)...already has 6 other children. That's right, you heard me. SIX OTHER KIDS! And get this, her oldest child is 7! For a grand total of 14 children all under the age of 8, including 8 children who are newborns.

...have you caught up to my shock yet? Go ahead, I'll wait!

Don't get me wrong...I'm as open minded as anyone and I fully understand the appeal of a large family. My dad is the third youngest in a family of 12! But to have that many children with no viable means to support yourself much less the entire brood, is just crazy! Not to mention the fact that she admitted to having the children as a means to combat depression and to fulfill feelings of dysfunction and predictability she had while growing up. Now, I ask you, are those any reasons to have babies? I don't think so.

My concern is wholly for the children as I feel that their mother's "desire for a large family" will negatively affect their futures. It's one thing to have many kids (spaced out) as long as you have the means to adequately care and provide for them. But it's a completely different story when you can't even afford to keep your existing children on your own and then decide to go into a fertility clinic with an intent to have more. I, of course do not necessarily condone "reducing" the amount of viable embryos. If it was me and they told me I had 8 healthy embryos and then asked if I wanted to get rid of some, I probably would not. But neither do I condone going in for more when you already have 6 at home to begin with. I don't think it's right to abuse the system for your own psychiatric needs when there are so many out there struggling to have children or struggling to provide for their existing ones.

I don't know what else to say. This was one of those conversations/discussions I was having with myself, before I decided to blog about it and open up a topic with you all. I know I'm probably going to get some flak from some of you about my views but I welcome a healthy debate if it comes down to it.

What do you guys think? Is it a matter of to each his own and should she have been allowed to keep having babies and to live life as she wants? Or should she have been stopped before her recent brood of 8 were conceived?


Dr Zibbs said...

This story is insane.

Amanda said...

I've been one of those people with an unpopular take on this whole situation. First off, I don't think it's anyone's business to dictate her reproductive choices to her, especially in a country where abortion is legal. If we can't keep a woman from killing her children, we shouldn't keep her from creating life. Secondly, I think her mother waaayyyy overstepped her bounds. It sounds like a personal thing that should have been kept personal. Her mother had no right to come forward to the media and talk about her daughter's health and personal decisions. Third, this woman has obviously done a wonderful job with her first six as nothing has come up about any involvement with PCS or other issues like that. Also, the whole big stink about her getting food stamps floors me - I've been on foodstamps for myself alone. Does that make me a less responsible person? I would rather see someone using food stamps to feed their children than see some of the things I've seen at the DSHS office (illegals getting cash assistance, large fat women with tons of jewelry getting ebt and using it to buy junk). Maybe Ms. Suleman has some psychological issues, but geez, who doesn't? I also don't think her age should matter - I don't see people harping on Jon and Kate Gosselin for having six babies when they already had twins and then exploiting their children for financial gain. And they're both under 30. All in all, I think we all need to wish Ms. Suleman the best, and leave her alone. It's really none of our business, and I'm tired of the media trying its damnedest to paint her in a negative light. But that's the media these days for you - there isn't much out there that's totally true anymore.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

My anger over this story had just started to subsided and, like a picked scab, you have opened the wound anew. I try not to judge anyone but I’m willing to make an exception in this case. She should be sterilized. In fact, she should have been sterilized after having six kids and dumping them on her parents.

SkylersDad said...

I think she is being an idiot. Having 8 kids is stupid, because I guarantee you, some of those kids will grow up with life long medical issues. Trust me, I know what happens in premature births, it's how we wound up with Skyler.

Bella@That damn expat said...

White trash par excellence.

'Nuff said.

Oh and I'm digging the new look!

Sassy Britches said...

Holy moly. I am completely uninformed about this story (I'm mean I've heard snippets but haven't looked into it), so clearly with the comments BEFORE me, I have no leg to stand on if I just spout off!

I agree with Amanda in that if we make abortion legal, we should not be dictating if people can HAVE babies. I do not agree that the LAWS should be involved in either case.

However, that does not stop my personal OPINION from entering! I agree with you that if she is indeed using the babies to deal with the psychological issues she has going on, that's just craziness (no pun intended).

~E said...

Dr. Zibbs/ UB / Skyler's Dad: I agree with you.

Amanda: 1) I agree that no one should tell her what to do and not do with her body but having kids to try to cure your own mental issues is wrong as it negatively affects not only you, but those who depend on you. 2) I think her mother is somewhat justified in speaking her mind as she is the one helping take care of the kids and helping provide financial assistance...her daughters choices affect her too. 3)No, being on foodstamps does not make you a less responsible person...but being on foodstamps and not working while going to school with 14 kids at home is questionable. I am all for higher learning but I think in her situation, the well-being of her children should come first. And instead of going to get your Master's degree, I would be less upset with her if she was actually working to provide for her children. 4) Yes, people have mental issues, but it's not right to keep having babies to try to solve those problems. 5) Jon and Kate are both over 30...had the means to take care of all their kids on their own even before the TV show was produced...and what's more, they are taking care of their own kids and not relying on the grandmother to help. They have had their own criticisms about having a TV show "exploiting" their children but the way I see it, if it helps feed their kids then so be it. They only had two kids at home when they received the news they were having 6 more...not 6 all under age 7. They chose to have the 6 because they didn't want to choose which of the 6 to kill. Im sure you can empathize with them. They didnt go in wanting to have as many babies as possible as Ms. Suleman already admitted to in her own words. THANKS FOR THE COMMENT!! I love a healthy debate! :)

Felisa said...

WHAT?! So you're not going to like me anymore after I have 5 babies straight out of college with no man to help me out?

I'm just kidding. I've heard about this and it really shocked me. I know, I know... it's her body. But can she take care of those children? No. Who's going to be paying for them? The government. I'm not at all criticizing people who have to get help from the government (because many have to) and I'm usually not one to judge people. However, she has put herself in this position which is obviously beyond unwise. With no man to help her, every single conception was planned out by her. I don't think the government should be allowed to sterilize her... that's insane. But to maybe let her see a therapist or something to make her a tad bit more sane? I'm all for that.

Also, this woman is putting every single child at risk because it does take 2-3 years for most women to be healthy enough to have children again. 14 children in 7 years?! Sheesh.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Well, it was really, really stupid to have six (as she claims) embryos implanted at a time, especially with 6 kids at home, since that could have easily killed her.

I'm all for to each his own, but think about the amount of money that California is going to have to fork over to help pay for these kids. Ridiculous.

Not that the government should have any right to say what she can and can't do with her uterus, but the doctor should have talked to her about it. Like, sit her down and say "Seriously? C'mon!"

words words words said...

I think what she's doing is morally abhorrent, yet I agree we can't really make a law against it. What we CAN do is go after the doctor who agreed to implant eight embryos for a woman in her situation. There has to be some kind of professional judgment there, and while we can't make a law about how many babies you can have, I think we CAN get away with a law about whether you qualify for extraordinary means. There must be some constitutional legal recourse to address a woman like this who thoughtlessly pops out children that will inevitably be wards of the state.

The best part of this story is that the master's degree program she's in is Family Counseling.

Cora said...

I know! Talk about nuts! I'm with Words, the doctor NEVER should have put that many embryos in no matter what she wanted. The doctor should have refered her to a psychologist. I mean, if this is how she battles depression, is she going to have MORE the next time she is depressed? I imagine raising 14 kids solo would be quite depressing personally. Again, I think the doctor had no business taking her on as a patient.

Bella@That damn expat said...

Have you seen this:

HOLY CRAP! She's asking for online donations. This just keeps getting more and more fucked up.

LegalMist said...

The woman is completely irresponsible. But I don't think it should be illegal for her to decide to have another child just because she already has [insert whatever number you like here] kids. As long as there is no indication that she has neglected / abused her kids, and so long as her parents are willing to help out, it really is not our decision to make.

I also don't think the doctor should be deciding for her whether she should try to have another kid, although I'd make an exception if he suspected a mental disability that would prevent her from caring for the children.

However, when you are dealing with a woman who is obviously reasonably fertile and capable of carrying babies (she already had six kids), I do think it is medically irresponsible to implant 8 or more embryos. I know that the fertility doctors generally implant lots because there is a high percentage that do not survive. But it does seem like the doctors could do a little more individualized risk analysis re: the number of embryos needed to ensure a pregnancy. Surely in this case two or three embryos would have done the trick to get her pregnant! And then if one or two didn't make it, she'd still have had a baby on the way, but not EIGHT!!!! That is just nuts.

And, I have to say I think she was very irresponsible and even downright stupid ("Here's your sign!") to allow implantation of 8 or more embryos at once, when she already had 6 kids. Octuplets was a real possibility from the moment of implantation, and it is just nuts to go forward with that. She should not have done it. But she did, and as long as she takes care of the kids decently, the media really should leave her alone.

As far as going to school versus getting a job, if the degree will help her earn more money while working fewer hours so that she can actually see her kids and make enough to support them, and her parents are willing to support her while she gets the degree, I say, why not? Realistically, without a good degree and/or good work experience, there is no way she would make enough money to pay child care costs for 14 kids anyway, so she might as well stay home and feed them, clean up after them, etc., while studying and hoping to increase her earning capacity. She is very lucky to have her parents assisting her. I hope she returns the favor for them if / when they need it.

~E said...

To all: I think we are all in agreement for the most part. I just can't help but feel sorry for those kids. And as Bella pointed out, she is now asking for donations.

..:: C ::.. said...

Don't forget this other great line:

Suleman's publicist did say that Suleman gets $490 every month in food stamps.

So tax payers are already paying for her to keep popping out kids. I'm sure with her mental condition, Jerry or Montel could knock on the door for the future rights to show their redneck drama starting in about 3-5 years. Because as messed up as she is, it's only going to go downhill from there.

Amanda said...

Regardless of people's opinions on this woman, I think it certainly doesn't call for this: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,491806,00.html

There are far bigger things to be angry about. I'd rather my tax money went to help her out than for a lot of other things our tax money funds.