Saturday, January 31, 2009

Octuplets mom obsessed with having kids

I don't really know what to say about this... which as my regular readers know, is pretty unusual for me.

So, opening the floor for discussion, as they say.

What do you think? I just end up shaking my head in abject amazement. A 33-year-old woman with 14 kids? And no husband or grandma to help? Yow! Daisy's mouth is agape.

Grandma: Octuplets mom obsessed with having kids

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jan 31, 10:30 am ET

LOS ANGELES – The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her children through in vitro fertilization, is not married and has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager, her mother said.

Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year.

"It can't go on any longer," she said in a phone interview Friday. "She's got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to get married."

Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth Monday in nearby Bellflower. She was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days, and her newborns for at least a month.

A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said the babies were doing well and seven were breathing unassisted.

While her daughter recovers, Angela Suleman is taking care of the other six children, ages 2 through 7, at the family home in Whittier, about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

She said she warned her daughter that when she gets home from the hospital, "I'm going to be gone."

Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and underwent in vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes are "plugged up."

There were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies and her daughter didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have more children.

Her mother and doctors have said the woman was told she had the option to abort some of the embryos and, later, the fetuses. She refused.

Her mother said she does not believe her daughter will have any more children.

"She doesn't have any more (frozen embryos), so it's over now," she said. "It has to be."

Nadya Suleman wanted to have children since she was a teenager, "but luckily she couldn't," her mother said.

"Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having them, but not the normal way," he mother said.

Her daughter's obsession with children caused Angela Suleman considerable stress, so she sought help from a psychologist, who told her to order her daughter out of the house.

"Maybe she wouldn't have had so many kids then, but she is a grown woman," Angela Suleman said. "I feel responsible and I didn't want to throw her out."

Yolanda Garcia, 49, of Whittier, said she helped care for Nadya Suleman's autistic son three years ago.

"From what I could tell back then, she was pretty happy with herself, saying she liked having kids and she wanted 12 kids in all," Garcia told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

"She told me that all of her kids were through in vitro, and I said 'Gosh, how can you afford that and go to school at the same time?"' she added. "And she said it's because she got paid for it."

Garcia said she did not ask for details.

Nadya Suleman holds a 2006 degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, and as late as last spring she was studying for a master's degree in counseling, college spokeswoman Paula Selleck told the Press-Telegram.

Her fertility doctor has not been identified. Her mother told the Los Angeles Times all the children came from the same sperm donor but she declined to identify him.

Birth certificates reviewed by The Associated Press identify a David Solomon as the father for the four oldest children. Certificates for the other children were not immediately available.

The news that the octuplets' mother already had six children sparked an ethical debate. Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that she was offered fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that she was implanted with so many embryos.

Others worried that she would be overwhelmed trying to raise so many children and would end up relying on public support.

The eight babies — six boys and two girls — were delivered by Cesarean section weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Forty-six physicians and staff assisted in the deliveries.
Forty-six doctors? (Holy shit, I don't think that came cheap.) As I said, I hardly know what to say. It appears the mom has already filed for bankruptcy:

Octuplets' Family Filed For Bankruptcy

BELLFLOWER, California
Jan. 30, 2009

(CBS) CBS News has learned that the family of the octuplets born this week outside Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy and abandoned a home a little over a year-and-a-half ago.

Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman says the mother is in her mid-thirties and lives with her parents.

There's been no mention of the octuplets' father, Kauffman observes.

The grandfather, she adds, is apparently going to head back to his native Iraq to earn money for the growing family. He told CBS News he's a former Iraqi military man.

Kauffman reported Thursday, and the octuplets' maternal grandmother now confirms to the Los Angeles Times, that the babies' mother already had six young children.

And a family acquaintance had told Kauffman that two of the six other kids are twins, and the six range in age from about two to about seven.

The mother's name is still being kept under wraps.

But her mother, Angela Suleman, also tells the newspaper her daughter conceived the octuplets through a fertility program.

Suleman told the Times her daughter had embryos implanted and, "They all happened to take."

On The Early Show Friday, the scientific director of an Atlanta-area fertility clinic blasted whichever clinic did the implantations, saying he's "stunned."

Doctors at the hospital where the octuplets were born, Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in Bellflower, Calif., some 17 miles southeast of L.A., say the patient came to them already three months pregnant.

Asked at a news conference whether fertility assistance should be provided for a mother who already has multiple children, Dr. Harold Henry, part of the team that delivered the octuplets, said, "Kaiser has no policy on that," adding that doctors counseled the woman on her options.

"The options," said Henry, "were to continue the pregnancy or to selectively abort. The patient chose to continue the pregnancy."

Dr. Karen Maples, who also helped deliver the octuplets, read a statement from the mother saying, "My family and I are ecstatic about all of their arrivals."

The woman and her children live in a neighborhood of small, one-story homes, Kauffman reports, all with two-to-three bedrooms at most. Soon, she pointed out, there will be 14 children and at least three adults living in one of the homes -- until the grandfather heads back to his native Iraq.

Kauffman says unanswered questions include where the woman got the fertility treatments and how they were paid for.

On The Early Show Friday, Michael Tucker, scientific director of Georgia Reproductive Specialists, says all these developments leave him "stunned. As the story's unfolded and it's gone from the potential use of just fertility drugs, or misuse thereof, to actual, apparently, IVF (in-vitro fertilization) with transfer of embryos, this is just remarkable to me that any practitioner in our field of reproductive medicine would undertake such a practice."

Tucker, who has a doctorate in reproductive physiology, says it's "absolutely" possible the octuplets' mother got pregnant with them by taking fertility drugs on her own without the help of a clinic, "and that seemed the most plausible scenario, simply because the profession, we're policed by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, has focused so minutely on the fact that we need to reduce the number of embryos that we transfer. We really are all about seeking the one, the one embryo that's going to make the healthy, single-born baby.

"And this kind of multiple plethora excess of babies is too much of a good thing. And it's rather a slap in the face of the whole profession, simply because it's going in the wrong direction.

"And it's unfortunate," Arthur Kaplan from UPenn (University of Pennsylvania) said, "the media tend to go goo-goo gaga over this and, in fact, it's really a bit of a medical disaster."

"Had she walked into a fertility clinic and said, 'Listen, I've got other children, the oldest seven, the youngest two,' co-anchor Julie Chen asked Tucker, "is there any ethical responsibility on the clinic's part to say, 'I'm not going to treat you,' or, 'You know what? This is not a good idea?" '

"Suffice to say," Tucker responded, "I've been in this business for 25 years now. And it's pretty much standard practice in all clinics to have some form of psychological evaluation of the patient. Also, their sociological circumstances. And I'm stunned, actually, that a clinic would proceed to treat a patient in this circumstance and then even to get to perhaps the transfer of embryos and ponder the transfer in, I believe, the lady's mid-30s, a 35-year-old -- she should be receiving two embryos, maximum, as a transfer into her uterus to have had eight transferred is somewhat -- is extremely irresponsible."
So, there is also the additional question of just how all of these babies occurred... I mean, you don't think mainstream medicine in the USA is UNETHICAL ((gasp)) do you? Banish the thought!


Mama Moretti said...

Living with a mother who is unhappy about this? She doesn't sound like a stable person at all. The fertility doc will have some serious explaining to do if he ever shows up.

Dave Dubya said...

She's a selfish and unbalanced woman.

She's delusional if she thinks the kids will get proper care and selfish to want that many with no means of support.

Then again, I have no kids. How selfish of me!

Ann oDyne said...

1. what fools they were to let out the information.

2. Kaiser Permanente feature (in a bad way) in Michael Moore's SICKO documentary on money-grubber hospitals.
3. Kaiser Permanente sacked the technician couple who killed their children and then suicided the same day as the octuplet news broke.
They had an issue at work and were told to take it up with their union.
4. I feel sad for all the childless women who wish they weren't, and have this stupid woman coming out of their TV sets.

JoJo said...

This woman makes me sick. Now she's gonna be a drain on society's resources. Stupid bitch.

n/a said...

This is the sort of thing that makes me think that you should have to have a license (at least much of a license as you have to have to have a dog) to have a kid. FWIW, I bet she went to Mexico to have the IVF....I hope social services takes the kids.

Renee said...

@JoJO This woman makes me sick. Now she's gonna be a drain on society's resources. Stupid bitch.
Your commentary is beyond offensive. Calling her a bitch for exercising her reproductive right is demeaning. Point of the matter is class location should never be a barrier from reproducing. The problem in this society is that we value things more than people. Assuming that because someone is poor makes them an unfit mother is wrong and short sighted. My grandmother raised 12 children in a two bedroom house with no running water, and all but one of them went on to university and most have advanced degrees to boot. Let me tell you, every single one of my aunts and uncles felt loved. There were times when they had a split a can of cornbeef between all of them as meat. Of course they had to do a lot without but not a one of them wishes that they hadn't been born.

Bryce said...

where'z daddy in all this?

yellowdog granny said...

first of all i think the drs. should lose their license..they are just as culpable as she is..and she's fecking nuts. personally i think they should make her have her tubes tied and take those kids (all of them) away from her because she's batshit crazy.

La Lubu said...

I second Renee. Why such hostility towards this woman? She sure the hell didn't implant herself with all those embryos, nor did she fertilize them by herself. And if she were rich, no one would be saying shit about it, except maybe, "congratulations."

Meanwhile, the first thing that comes to my mind is that she has eight premature babies. Preemies have what they call in the NICU a "honeymoon" period---everything seems just fine, then WHAM! As the mother of an early preemie, I couldn't imagine going through all that for eight babies.

And for all those worried about her children being a "drain on society" or whatever the fuck, RUN, don't walk, to the nearest Ronald McDonald house. You can meet plenty of people who did all the right things, yet still ended up with a sick and/or prematurely born child. Most of those parents have lost their jobs because of it.

This woman needs help, not scorn. If you aren't in the middle of some crisis right now, just be thankful---because when, not if, you do get to encounter some of life's larger challenges, you will find out rather quickly that you lose your "good citizen" badge to get the "no good fucking worthless deadbeat loser" badge in a heartbeat.

shadocat said...

I'm always a little more than suspicious of people in this day and age that have these huge families. As the oldest child in a large family, I'm more than aware of how much time a child needs from a parent, and how that time gets whittled away the more siblings there are to compete for it. I have a feeling this lady is a "collector" in the same way the crazy cat ladies we all hear about from time to time, the only difference being she collects children. That being said, I home this family gets the help they so desperately are going to need.

JoJo said...

Renee & La Luba - Well excuse the fuck out of me for expressing my personal opinion, something that I assumed was still allowed. She's a stupid bitch in my opinion. Brood mare. She has 6 kids that she obviously can't take care of and now she's added 8 more AND files for bankruptcy.

So get off your self righteous soapboxes and realize that I have just as much right to express my opinion as you do. I'm sick of these people who have a million kids then file bankruptcy or stretch social services to the max. I get up every day at 6, get home at 5 and pay taxes up the wazoo so some stupid bitch can have tons of children that I end up supporting WITH MY TAX DOLLARS?

As to what my personal challenges are, and BELIEVE ME they are many, that's none of your business and you have no fucking right to judge me because you don't even know me. Try to remember that we still have free speech in this country and I'm entitled to speak my mind. As are you, but if you don't agree w/ me, you don't have to personally attack me.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Shadocat, that's the word I was looking for, collector. And I instantly thought of the 'crazy cat ladies' too! (GMTA)

n/a--interesting about going to Mexico, do they charge the same as here? All of these fertility docs are saying no American doctor woulda done it.

And Bryce, still no word who the father is. (Inquiring minds want to know!)

sheila said...

Yeah, under UNETHICAL in the dictionary should be her doctor included in HER family picture. What morons. I saw her 'house' on tv. It's not even fit to live in, let alone raise 14 frickin kids in. Stupid people suck. And apparently this one will raise lots and lots of babies.

Angel H. said...

As to what my personal challenges are, and BELIEVE ME they are many, that's none of your business and you have no fucking right to judge me because you don't even know me. Try to remember that we still have free speech in this country and I'm entitled to speak my mind. As are you, but if you don't agree w/ me, you don't have to personally attack me.

Wait a minute. Let me get this straight: Free speech means that you have the right to personally attack and judge the woman in the article whom you know nothing about, but when the tables are turned, you're off limits?

Free speech goes ways. Of course it means you can express your opinion (as far as the blog moderator let us, of course). It also means we can call you out on your shit.

Renee said...

I hardly attacked you though you seriously deserve it.

I'm sick of these people who have a million kids then file bankruptcy or stretch social services to the max. I get up every day at 6, get home at 5 and pay taxes up the wazoo so some stupid bitch can have tons of children that I end up supporting WITH MY TAX DOLLARS?

Referring to women as stupid bitches because they refuse to do your bidding just serves to prove what an ignorant fucking sexist shit that you are.
A good society takes care of those that are disadvantaged and your tax dollars go to pay for a whole lot of evil in this world and in fact the least offensive thing that you will ever support in this life is a child.

Try to remember that we still have free speech in this country and I'm entitled to speak my mind. As are you, but if you don't agree w/ me, you don't have to personally attack me.

I love the way you free speech advocates primp and preen until you get called out on the hateful nonsense that you have to say. You don't want to get attack keep your hateful, ignorant, misogynist mouth fucking shut.

@Daisy I apologize for losing my temper however that troll had it coming.

La Lubu said...

Try to remember that we still have free speech in this country and I'm entitled.

There, JoJo. Fixed that for ya.

I'm assuming you are male, since your insults on this thread are all female-directed, with no scorn reserved for the men involved in this story. "Stupid bitch", "brood mare"? Really? Check yourself.

And I do mean check yourself. I don't care how many "good citizen" points you rack up. I get up at five in the morning. Does that mean I'm a better citizen because you loll around until six? Hmm? Because the minute something seriously bad happens in your life, all those good citizen points will amount to exactly jack and squat. The minute you don't have a job, the minute you fall ill or disabled, the minute you can't manage to be in two places at the same time to work and care for a loved one---you will become the person you love to insult.

And you'll probably be upset at all the folks calling you a worthless deadbeat drain on society, too. I didn't personally attack you. Reread the comment. But when shit happens, you will be personally attacked, with the same vigor that you are attacking some other poor soul.

You might want to ask yourself why it's so important to kick someone when she is down. Or, why it seems your target has to be a "she".

Amterasu said...

I'm all for choice, but this is just insane. There is no excuse for a big family in this day and age. I feel sorry for her and sorrier for the kids. Also- for every woman who is infertile and seeking treatment, there are probably ten who are hoping that they are infertile.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Renee, Jojo is opinionated, but not a troll. She is one of my regulars and I love her. But like most Deadheads, she will speak her mind!

I enjoy heated debate on my blog, so it's fine with me. I think our culture disallows strong debate from women, so I like to encourage it. I'd strongly debate too, if I knew what to think!--and as I said, I still dunno what to think. I am also pro-choice, but I am leaning towards thinking of this event as medical malpractice. I'd like to know where she had the embryos implanted, and just who is the father. It takes a village to raise octuplets, and this isn't only about her.

What social conditions allowed this to occur? (Why would anyone want to live out the "old lady who lived in a shoe" Mother Goose fantasy in real life?)

Jojo, and apparently, she is already hustling the kids, so they won't be on the public dole--she is going on Oprah, Diane Sawyer, writing a book, etc.

Zan said...

Here's the thing about being pro-choice (which I adamantly am): that means people get to make choices that I disagree with. Would I personally have 14 children? No. That's pretty close to my idea of Hell. However, this woman has the right to have children. She has the right to exercise her reproductive ability. Is she a good mother? I have no idea. Neither does anyone else on this thread, unless they happen to know her personally. It upsets me that people are using her economic state against her, to call her a bad mother or a stupid idiot or whatever insult you care to throw. That's bullshit. My grandmother raised five children and my great-grandmother raised 14 (Oh no! How dare she have that many children! The stupid, idiot brood mare! Grrr.) in poverty. For a lot of that time, they did it without the kids father's around. (My great-grandfather died early and my grandfather was a womanizing, drug and drink addicted moron who my Grandma refused to take back while she was pregnant with her last child.) Know what? Their kids grew up to be decent, responsible people who would happily kick the asses of anyone who talked badly for a second about their mothers. Being born into a large, poor family does not mean you're going to be a drain on society. Please. No more than being born a wealthy only child means you're going to do wonderful things for the world. Get over yourselves.

I do not for a minute mind my tax dollars going to support this woman and her children, or other families like this. Don't these children deserve to have health care? Don't they deserve to have food? Don't they deserve to have a shot at a good life? Then why in the world would I mind helping out?

And if, in fact, this woman does have some sort of psychological compulsion to "collect" children -- I certainly don't mind some of my tax money going to help her get treatment. Why would I? A society is only as healthy as it's most vulnerable members. I want a healthy society. If it takes some of my tax money to achieve that, I don't mind. It's much much preferable to having my tax money going to support a fucking war.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Zan, but what about child endangerment and child abuse and all of that stuff? We could certainly argue that having 8 children at once endangers their health and safety. It is a virtual certainty that some of these kids will have problems. In this day and age, when a parent deliberately endangers a child, they usually get called on the carpet for it in some fashion, don't they? As I said, I think it is medical malpractice, the equivalent of experimentation. It hasn't happened before.

I know you feel bypass surgeries are abusive and often a result of head-tripping someone into getting one... I think we might make the same case here. I would not call her a brood mare, for the simple reason that she seems to be in the state of mind that regards such a situation as a POSITIVE: "I reproduce, therefore I am"... are feminists allowed to question how this state of mind came to be, the way we question anorexia or any other unhealthful choices women make in a society that does not value us?

That is where I am personally coming from.

Zan said...

Questioning whether she should have carried all 8 to term comes close to messing with medical privacy. Personally, if I found myself pregnant with 8 babies, I'd selectively abort down to two. But that's my choice, as a woman with reproductive freedom and the right to medical privacy. Is having all 8babies child abuse? I don't know, considering that the alternative would have been aborting some of them. And if we say it is, in fact, child abuse, where does that leave us with parents who knowingly give birth to single children with serious defects? Is giving birth to a child you know will have a serious disability child abuse? If so, how serious does the disability have to be? Is having a child you know will grow up to die of Huntington's serious enough? Is Down's Syndrome? What if you know beforehand that your child is going to be intersexed? Should we punish those parents for committing child abuse? The line gets too slippery way too fast for me. I mean, I have Lupus. It's a pretty sucky disease and causes me no end of pain and grief. Should my parents have not had me? Or should they have been charged with child abuse? I really don't like where that train of thought leads.

There's a good case to be made that the doctor and/or clinic where she had the transfer breached medical ethics by transferring 8 embryos. That's far more than the standard of care allows. (I believe the SOC says for a healthy woman her age that no more than 2 should be transferred at one time.) There's a good case to be made that the doctors absolutely should not have done this, despite the patients wishes.

As far as questioning why she felt the need to have this many children, I believe we as feminist absolutely can question what society factors brought her to that decision. But we can do that without resorting to calling her names or suggesting that her right to exercise reproductive freedom -- or that her children should be taken from her simply because she dared to have them! I believe those factors can be understood. Like you said, I do believe bypass surgeries are most often unnecessary and mutilation of perfectly good bodies, but I do understand the pressures that drive many people to undergo them. It can be a fine line, but we can absolutely examine and critic the reasons people undertake the actions they do without judging the people themselves.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Zan: It can be a fine line, but we can absolutely examine and critic the reasons people undertake the actions they do without judging the people themselves.

Certainly, I agree.

I think some of us had that shit (more babies = godliness) shoved down our throats, and bristle at the very idea. Just as you might be critical of bypass surgeries, which is why I mentioned it. It is hard for some of us to be impartial on the "breed mare" issue... women in my family used the term "breed mare" to DEFEND themselves, as in shouting: "I won't be your goddamn breed mare!" to a pressuring-husband, often old-school Calvinist, Mormon or Catholic. BREED MARE meant FUCK YOU, and it's hard for younger women who take birth control and sexuality for granted, to remember that now, she reminded everyone gently. Some of the most critical women in this thread are over 40, and remember, there is a good reason for that.

I'd be curious to know if Nadya grew up in a traditional religious environment that taught her that having lots of babies guarantees your way into heaven, regardless of how they are raised. If so, I hold the misogynist upbringing
as accountable as I do the greedy fertility docs. But I will be curious to see these interviews, and if she seems like a self-possessed and intelligent woman, I am fully capable of changing my mind. If she comes off overly-flaky, not-smart, fanatically religious and/or addled, I'm afraid I will employ my fall-back position.

JoJo said...

Thanks for taking up for me Daisy.

Although I do find it equally repugnant that she's now going to pimp her kids out to get money.

JoJo said...

PS Just one more from me, promise: I have never had the desire or drive to have children, and I don't even like babies all that much to begin with. Hence, my very opinionated view on this subject. I don't know what it's like to want children, as I never have wanted them, ever. I didn't even like babysitting. I've never even changed a diaper.

Meowser said...

I would agree that this woman's alleged "selfishness" is way down the list of things I would even think about in this situation, even if I do share some other people's concerns for both her and the kids' well-being.

Like Renee and others have mentioned, it's eminently possible to raise 12 kids, even in poverty, and have them turn out just fine. And anyone who really thinks money is what makes the difference between children becoming "a drain on society" (whatever the hell *that* means) and not, obviously hasn't met as many trust fund kids as I have. (All the money in the world won't prevent someone from thinking they're immortal when they put eight different powdered substances up their nose on two hours of sleep and then get behind the wheel of the Ferrari at 4 AM.)

I do think medical ethics should have forbidden that many embryos to be transplanted. And I'm pissed as hell at a society that tells women they're nothing without baybeez and creates such a yawning gap between rich and poor.

I don't have or want kids either, JoJo. But I've no illusion that I'm going to be the one perfect person on the face of the earth whose actions will never be costly to her fellow humans in any way. And if either of my parents ever did become so combative in their old age that no nursing home would take them -- something you can never call in advance -- I'd be well and screwed if I expected I could keep my job and care for either or both of them simultaneously. And I'd be a deadbeat loser too, just like that.

Renee said...

Can we please stop using the term pimp her children out. That is extremely offensive. Many women earn an income writing about their experiences as mothers and yet we do not refer to this as pimping out their children. Do you think they would have all those cute stories to tell if they didn't rely on what the kids said or did? No one refers to Jon and Kate as pimping their kids and yet clearly they earn an income from allowing TLC into their home to film everything. We are associating this word with her because she is a single mother. Despite our claim to respect motherhood the single mother is one of the most despised person in our society.

Darinsgirl5 said...

I just read Nadya had recieved $165,000 in diability benefits over the past 6 years due to on the job back injury. Now what angers me is how a woman can be too disabled to work for a living but is healthy enough to have 14 children!! Especially 8 at once!! Maybe Nadya needs to get off the diability and get back to work! I for one do not want to work my but off to pay for her family with my tax dollars while she gets a free ride from the government. Not tomention all the endorsments she will get when she gets her own TV series!

Anonymous said...

The mom is going to be known as a menace to society. Living with her parents, unemployed, already had 6 kids and now 14. Could she even support herself? OMG, the doctor who did this should go to jail, and the mom should seek some mental help because I think she's got some issues.

PDizzle said...

There is no disputing the fact this woman will drain public resources. She has 14 kids, collected 165k in disability, filed for bankrupcy, and hired a damned publicist.

Exercising her reproductive rights? Why is it that families that want children generally try to insure they are able to provide for their children ahead of time? Responsible couples insure they have the resources to take care of their kids BEFORE they try to have children. They don't give some abstract and dubious statement claiming they will go back to college to take care of the children.

Problem with our society being the value of material over people? Hardly. What people are arguing is the fact the woman is not financially fit to care for 14 children by her self.

No doubt, the doctors and people responsible for helping this woman conceive this many damn children need to be evaluated as well.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Renee has further blogged about this subject at GLOBAL COMMENT:

Nadya Suleman and the Choice We Never Respect

Kristin said...

Renee, La Lubu, and Zan are all right on target here.

A number of things could really be checked here:

First, this is a progressive feminist blog, amirite? Maybe we could kill that racist "welfare queen" stereotype that folks keep
alluding to in order to justify your vitriol against single mothers.

Second: Daisy, you ask about a husband or grandma to help out... Um... I mean, she *might* very well have a partner who simply happens not to be sanctioned by the state. As we all know, not all parents happen to be straight. In any case, we don't know. And the great thing is: We don't need to! As with everything else involving this woman, it's none of our business.

Third, is there a reason why people think it's a-okay to claim that someone is mentally ill ("unstable," "delusional") and then hurl insults at her? Likewise, is there any legitimate reason why someone who is disabled would be more likely to be an abuser than anyone else? And yet, that assumption is all over this thread. It's called ableism. And, Daisy, I'm surprised, 'cause you're usually good about calling it out.

Now, maybe some of you think none of us disabled women should ever bother reproducing at all. If that's what you think, have the integrity, please, to own up to that and stop directing your hatred at this *one* particular woman. I'd rather know in advance that I should never invite you over to dinner in my home.

Finally, those of you who are oh so concerned about your precious tax dollars going to this woman? Well, first of all, I think they *should* go to people who need them in order to care for their children. But besides all that, you might turn your vitriol toward the major banks and their recent "welfare" windfall. I mean, if you really wanna gripe about the misuse of tax funds, how's about that Super Bowl party put on by the Bank of America? Just sayin'.

Ravenmn said...

Hi Daisy,

Your point about pressure to have lots of children is interesting and something I personally never experienced.

However, there is little evidence that Suleman was subject to such pressure, so I'm not sure you would assume so. If we believe her mother (whose words sound pretty bitchy, and therefore less trustworthy to me), the daughter was pressured to not have any more children.

Suleman has a degree in child development, she has an expressed love for children, she talks of a support network to help her. She's using the publicity to provide care for her family. That's quite a bit more than a lot of parents provide for their children.

What is hateful is the people who assume she cannot provide a good home for these children simply because she is poor. That's nonsense as many other comments have shown.

I'd gladly help her out with my taxes. In fact, let's cut the tax breaks given to only one major oil company and we'll have enough money to lift all children out of poverty!

Kristin said...

Yes. What Raven said. Especially this:

"What is hateful is the people who assume she cannot provide a good home for these children simply because she is poor."

DaisyDeadhead said...

And, Daisy, I'm surprised, 'cause you're usually good about calling it out.

Since I specifically requested participation, I've taken a deliberately hands-off approach to this thread. As usual, it doesn't necessarily mean I agree or disagree with whatever people say.

For the most part, particularly on argumentative threads like this one, I think people's comments speak for themselves.

Natalia said...

I'm going to speak personally here, so I don't muddy the debate over on GC (where I need to keep my hands off things, unless they get very wild).

First of all, I too disagree with the "stupid bitch" thing. I know a lot of people are going to express emotion on this issue, especially now that we are in an economic slowdown and things don't look good, but Nadya Suleman is not the person we should be blaming.

Like Daisy, I have been wondering if there is an issue of medical malpractice behind the curtain. We'll never hear about if there is - because the medical industry does a *great* job of covering its ass.

I've known several really large families in my lifetime so far. I think the importance of having extended family around to help out cannot be overstated. I hope Nadya Suleman has that, but, either way, I wish her all the best. If she doesn't have it, it doesn't mean she "shouldn't be allowed."

I do know one mother who had thirteen children because... well, I cannot say that there is a "right" reason and a "wrong" reason to have a kid - but to call her abusive would have been an understatement.

People have big families for different, often overlapping reasons. We cannot say what reasoning was behind Suleman's decisions, since we don't know her - and I wish we wouldn't assume. To automatically assume that she has a disability of some kind - and then leap from that into assuming that she therefore must be an abuser - well, I think it does most folks with disabilities any favours.

There are mothers AND fathers (let's not forget about them) whose main interest in having a large number of kids stems from an unstated desire for abuse. But we can't issue a remote diagnosis of Nadya Suleman and automatically claim that this was her reason as well.

I think that many of us have not yet forgotten the appeal that large families had in agrarian societies. The world might have moved on, but we don't just unlearn all at once. Centuries ago, a woman who *didn't* try to have as many children as possible was often labeled a "fool" and so on, because a) kids tended to die, b) you needed help to tend the land, c) a large family was like a more or less secure investment in the future.

It's possible that Nadya Suleman tapped into something like that - the idea that a lot of children is a safe, secure bet.

It's certainly not unheard of, though it's just a hypothesis.

Finally, this woman is NOT "pimping out" her kids. She's tapping into the media resource. Considering all the scorn that has been heaped on her, I think she's entitled to the money.

Like Renee pointed out - she can't win. If she uses government assistance, she's a "welfare queen" or whatever. If she goes on TV, she's "selling her kids."

Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with people cashing in on sudden fame. Their privacy has already been invaded, might as well get paid for it while they're at it.

I'd interview her myself if given half the chance.

ecofeminist said...

i cant believe feminists are approving of this shit. this womyn's carbon footprint is the size of manitoba. 14 kids, thier kids, and thier kids? she's starting her own fucking city! YES a drain on resources - what's wrong with stating the obvious? there is no rational excuse for 14 kids, no matter how they were concieved. selfish and an environmental disaster. i wouldnt call her a "bitch" since dogs have no choice, but people do.

Ravenmn said...

The problem with the carbon footprint argument is that all I need to do is round up fourteen of my childless friends to agree to counteract the impact of Suleman's 14 children. Issue solved. Now what's your argument?

Senchi said...

carbon footprint: what about all the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren (etcetera) produced by these 14 kids? sure go round up hundreds (thousands) more of your childless friends if you can find that many. silliest (most reductive) argument i've ever heard.

Daisy said...

LA police to investigate threats to octuplet mom

By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES – Police said Thursday they will investigate death threats against octuplet mom Nadya Suleman and advise her publicist on how to handle a torrent of other nasty messages that have flooded his office.

Word that the 33-year-old single, unemployed mother is receiving public assistance to care for the 14 children she conceived through in vitro fertilization has stoked furor among many people.

Police Lt. John Romero said officers were meeting with Suleman's publicist Mike Furtney about the flood of angry phone calls and e-mail messages against Suleman, her children and Furtney.

"We are aware of the media accounts of the threats, and that they are being sent to the West Los Angeles detectives for appropriate action," Romero said.

Furtney said 500 new e-mails were received early Thursday.

"We're talking to the Los Angeles Police Department to get their best advice as to how to regard these messages," Furtney said as the phone in his office rang constantly.

He is also consulting with a security professional to get advice on any precautions that might need to be taken.

Suleman is living in an undisclosed location and spends time with all her kids every day, Furtney said. The octuplets are expected to remain in the hospital for several more weeks.

Not all the calls have been angry. One family from the Midwest has invited Suleman and her brood to live on their farm, Furtney said.

"One thing that keeps me from jumping out the window is that we've heard from many people offering some kind of support: clothing, food, financial or other help," Furtney said.

Suleman has been supporting her six other children with $490 a month in food stamps and receives Social Security disability payments for three of the youngsters that could total $2,379 a month.

She has estimated her in vitro fertilization procedures have cost $100,000.

Suleman has said she saved for the treatments by working double shifts and also used money from a disability award exceeding $165,000 that she received after an on-the-job back injury.

The benefits were discontinued last year.

The Suleman octuplets' medical costs have not been disclosed, but in 2006, the average cost for a premature baby's hospital stay in California was $164,273, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eight times that equals $1.3 million.

For a single mother, the cost of raising 14 children through age 17 ranges from $1.3 million to $2.7 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rachel said...

I want to make two points..
1. Most people who have larger families do not have all of the children at once, which endangers not only the children, but the mother. I have heard that with that many babies, a uterus could rupture...then where would everyone be? I have also heard that it is considered safe (among medical guidelines) to only implant 2 eggs in a woman under the age of 35, so her doc had no business performing such a risky procedure.
2. Many people with large families in the past still supported them without gov't assistance. The children go without many things, which I think is fine--we have become way too materialistic--I know that my own have too many toys! In the past, if you had a large family, you took care of all of them. I am not sure when gov't assistance came to be, but it definitely did not exist in my grandmother's time. She had 6 brothers and sisters, and her father worked himself into an early grave taking care of them.
3. more point, and then I'll stop. When my daughter was born, my husband and I were still students, and I was terrified while wondering how we would take care of her. Fortunately we had parents who were able to help out. Shortly thereafter, my husband became employed, and we are now self-sufficient. That said, I cannot imagine having 6 children for whom I could not provide, and then deciding to have even 1 more. Any way you look at it, that is selfish. And I am not talking about providing with toys, etc. I am talking about food, medical attention, and love. It is not possible to do alone.