Octuplet Mom is a one-woman Mommy War
In the facts of the case, what she has done is at the very least highly unsustainable. A single Mom by choice to 6 + 8 kids, with no income, living with her parents. She says she'll support her kids financially once she finishes school, but in the meantime it has been reported that her father will go back to Iraq to work as a translator to earn money. That in itself breaks my heart.
The Today Show broadcast the first part of Ann Curry's interview with Suleman, who described the emptiness in her life she was trying to fill up with children:
“Describe what you felt you lacked within,” Curry said.
“Feeling of self and identity,” Suleman replied. “I didn't feel as though, when I was a child, I had much control of my environment. I felt powerless. And that gave me a sense of predictability. Reflecting back on my childhood, I know it wasn't functional. It was pretty dysfunctional, and whose isn't?”
You can't fill a gaping hole in your identity with children! You should not try to! Our children are not here to save us. This is obsession--if six children did not fill that hole, how will adding to the brood help? Ironically, now she will have fame, if not fortune (but probably that, too in the form of someone's idea of a reality show), knocking on her door, which is a very dangerous game to invite into your family's life.
I am a proponent of reproductive rights and I really hope that Suleman finds a way to beat the odds and do well as a mother of fourteen children ages 7 and younger. (Though how that could be possible is almost beyond the imagination. You'd have to travel by bus just to leave the house. I can't imagine them all going out at the same time--there would always have to be a caregiver at home. The huge Duggar family is spaced out over about twenty years, so that the older kids can help take care of the younger siblings.)
The medical ethics here are off the charts. The conversation about mega-multiples is finally turning away from "medical miracle" to "medical malpractice." I hope the fertility industry is going to find itself regulated sooner rather than later as a result of this case.
I don't want to see us all dump on Suleman in thoughtless ways. I'm disturbed to hear that she's received death threats. When we see a case this extreme, what are the implications of judging, or witholding judgment? Will my feminist credentials be yanked if I say that common sense tells me that this woman's situation is totally crazy and misguided? What does our reaction to Suleman teach us about ourselves?
If anyone has a fresh lens with which to look at this situation, please comment.