Friday, February 6, 2009

All Her Children

You wouldn't think I'm in a light-hearted mood and reveling in Fridayness, though I am. I probably shouldn't even go there but what's the point of a blog if you can't occasionally empty your mind of its thoughts? This has nothing to do with DIY or anything really except that if I don’t get this out and I have to hear or see one more media report on it before I do, my head may explode. You’ve been warned.

I’m a single, 40ish woman. I’m not in a serious relationship. I’m an only child. I longed for siblings while growing up, and I’ve always wanted children of my own. I still feel a little bit cheated in that department. But as the sun begins to descend rapidly on my time in which to become a mother, especially in the most conventional way, maybe I should find myself a donor and run myself over to the nearest fertility clinic.

Knock me up, doc.

Never mind that the economy’s in the crapper, I’ve got a house to maintain, and I’m already worried about staying employed to do it. I’m relatively certain this is not something my insurance plan covers. Even so, I could probably still find enough money to do the procedure. Maybe by mortgaging This D*mn House and selling off some possessions, I could squeak by. After all, it's what I want and this is all about me. Aren't I just a portrait of responsibility?

And if it worked, I could have a baby – or two. Or four. Or 12. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it?

Well, it is -- and that's the point. But what if, for the sake of argument, we said I didn’t have a job, or a house to mortgage? Oh, and I already HAD SIX KIDS?! That’s not just crazy, that’s selfish, and irresponsible, too. And Nadya Suleman –the new mother of 14 after having octuplets last week – maintaining that it is anything else is nothing short of delusional.

I’m not saying she set out planning to have this precedent-setting brood. Still, I burst out laughing when I read that she “only wanted to have one more baby.” Um, sweetie, you’ve GOT SIX AT HOME! One still IS a baby! Well, OK. If this was someone who decided to be a single parent, had the financial, physical, and emotional wherewithal to do it, just to have a child, I’d still disagree with them philosophically, but hey, live and let live. Lots of women do it every day. More power to them if they can handle it.

I’m not doubting for a second this woman’s ability to love all her children. But I am saying unequivocally that she did not act in the best interests of any of them. (I love my dog and cats, too, but that love isn’t doing enough for them unless there is food in their dishes and a roof over their heads. What if I suddenly decided to go adopt 11 more? How could I hope to provide enough love and sustenance for all of them without drastically taking away from the original three? The answer: I couldn’t.)

Who is going to take care of the 14 of them – financially and physically? Is she just going to foist all this on her parents? The state? The federal government? God knows they already have enough people they can't take care of.

I know plenty of parents ready to pull their hair out with two or three under the age of 10 or 12. But FOURTEEN under age NINE?! Supposedly, she has collected (depending on which news report you believe) $150,000 to $170,000 in disability payments from a back injury 10 years ago, worsened by pregnancy! Hello. Anything in this woman's head? She was not even thinking about her health or of jeopardizing her ability to care for any of her other children. What if this pregnancy had paralyzed her? Yeah, that would have been great for all her children! Really good thinkin' there, mama.

It’s a substantial sum of money, probably gobbled up by her fertility treatments, but a sum that wouldn’t even cover half of the birth expenses of the octuplets. Even assuming she still had the full amount, and that she had only one more baby instead of eight, that breaks out to less than $25,000 per child. How far will that go? Not far. Parents, I know you agree on this if nothing else!

This woman has no long-term resources, no support system, and, dare I say it, no sense.
She told morning TV she wants to be a counselor. I think she should get counseling first. Clearly, she needs it before attempting to help others.

The thing that gets me the most is the bad light this is casting on infertility treatments generally and the implantation of multiple embryos. They do this because first, it gives them the best chance to become pregnant, and second, because this is both an emotional and expensive procedure. Why wouldn’t you want to get the best odds possible? I know several people who have had them, resulting in one, two, and in two cases, THREE babies! For the others, it resulted only in more heartbreak.

Where the light should be shone instead is on the doctor who agreed to do this and on the people close to this woman. Her own mother even said she has problems. Why didn’t someone intervene? Reproductive rights are one thing. This, however, is insanity. I guess no one ever bothered to tell her that just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

So, I guess that’s it. I’m going home tonight and telling the mother that I’m planning to have children. Lots of children. As many as I can, as soon as I can.

I’ll be committed before sunrise.


Karen Anne said...

Yes, very crazy. What I can't understand if how any doctor would do this. From what I read, she is living off her parents, who think she's bananas.

Life is too short to list all the ways she is going to fail 14 kids. Plus the almost guaranteed medical problems octuplets will have.

BPOTW said...

You are so right. She's mentally not all there. The Duggar mom, Lord help her...and He is, is different because she's spread the kids out and has a working husband to help support them. This woman, you're right, is being selfish and only thinking about herself.

How about donate her embryos to a couple who is desperately trying to have kids? Don't know if that's legal...but it makes more sense than what she did. How about rocking babies at the hospital or volunteering in the church nursery to get the baby fix? There are so many other avenues she could have taken.

Why S? said...

Since I have no maternal drive whatsoever, this woman's motivations are far beyond me. She is all out nuts. I don't know what kind of fortunes she thinks counselors earn but she is out of touch with reality in many, many ways. I don't know many 2 income families that could support that many children.

As for the fertility industry, I have to say, while I sympathize with your situation, I don't think our society is best served by overriding the wisdom of Nature. There's a reason some people have fertility issues and I think we should respect that there is a reason. Imposing on the natural order of things seldom brings about good results in the long run and on a crowded, polluted planet seems less likely to.

Sorry. I know your issues are different, more of circumstance, but I can't boo hoo if this casts a bad light on fertility treatments.

Karen Anne said...

I disagree with Why about fertility treatments.

Certainly a loving parent or parents who are able to take care of a child should be able to have one. It's cruel to suggest otherwise, imho. If we left everything to nature, half of us would be dead from various diseases.

That said, we have a big population problem and anyone having more than two biological kids is not doing the right thing, in my opinion.

NV said...

Let me be clear -- I'm not having ANY kids. Total sarcasm there. I just used that as a way of showing how all out crazy it is to make such a decision, with circumstances like mine, just because I might WANT to. And, how that couldn't be anything but selfish and irresponsible to boot.

I do know people who've gone down this road both for good and bad. Most have beautiful families as a result. I would never want to deny ANYONE that right.

This gal's situation is so very insane though. Unlike the Duggars (who needed no fertility help) or Jon and Kate, she has no resources, no support system and no real way of making this work.

I wouldn't want to say that anything beyond two is irresponsible either, if they can be cared for. With fertility treatments especially you don't know for sure how many you're going to get. You may only get one the first time. Try for a second, and you get six!

Adoption doesn't always work either. Sometimes people wait forever and by the time their number is up, they're considered TOO OLD!

Like most things in life, there's no easy answer that everyone will agree with.

Why S? said...

Karen Anne, I didn't mean to be insensitive. Sometimes I'm just like that naturally. And I know what you mean about leaving everything up to nature and most of us wouldn't be here. Believe me, I've considered that argument. I was an asthmatic/pneumonia prone kid and I know I wouldn't be here if left to Nature. But I still believe what I wrote. Peace.

bettyl said...

I think we all agree that the crazy woman is crazy.

But, you're not. There is nothing wrong with wanting kids. If you can find a way to get it done [and be relatively satisfied with your decisions] I say 'Go find yourself a donor!!'

I know I am glad I took a big risk moving to NZ. It's not perfect, but I'm sure glad I did!