Thursday, February 12, 2009

8 Precious Lives Caught in the Cross-fire

I'm sure you've all heard the news story about the Suleman octuplets born last month in California. I'm pretty fascinated by the science of multiple births, so those news stories always catch my eye. When I saw the headline that octuplets had been born relatively healthy, I thought, "How wonderful. I'll bet that husband and wife [who I assumed had been previously infertile] are absolutely ecstatic."

Then I read that there were six other children at home, making 14 total. Though many people were in near-outrage over so many children born via IVF, I still felt on the parents' side. After all, I've always been taught that children are a blessing and you shouldn't judge other people's decisions about how many children they have. I felt totally prepared to defend the Sulemans to anyone.

The problem is, there aren't two Sulemans. There's only one. A 33-year-old unemployed single woman gave birth to all 14 of these children, from the newly-born octuplets to the oldest (a 7-year-old). 14 children under age 8. Nadya Suleman lives with her mother in Whittier.

As soon as I found this out, the tide changed. So many questions were raised: how on earth is Nadya Suleman going to pay for these babies? Was the doctor who implanted the embryos acting ethically? How are ANY of her children going to receive individual love and attention?

She has already asked the state of California to pay for the $1.3 million dollar cost of birthing these babies. She already receives disability payments and food stamps, yet somehow she doesn't consider this welfare. I visited her website. On it is a PayPal link where you can donate money.

She plans on returning to college to complete her masters' degree in the fall, and says she will rely on volunteers to provide daycare and supplies. My brother is completing his masters', and he rarely has a spare second to do anything. How can she care for 14 kids ALONE while doing that?

So I was curious as to what you all think. Here's my 2 conclusions: how sad that 8 beautiful babies are caught in this ugly cross-fire. Their unemployed single mother has already received death threats and been villified by the press.

And lastly, CHILDREN NEED TWO PARENTS. The older Jack becomes, the more I am convinced of this. Now, I'm not debating the merits of single parents. I've known many to be wonderful. And of course, just because you have 2 parents present at home doesn't mean you will be well-raised. But ideally, I firmly believe one should not bring 14 lives into this world, knowing you have no means to care for them and no father in the picture. Most single parents didn't choose that route -- through death or divorce, that's what life handed them. But this woman actively chose single motherhood for so many. And somehow, that doesn't feel right to me.