You've probably heard about the Southern California divorcee with six kids who recently gave birth to eight more. The first media stories about it were abuzz with excitement, but now they've become more restrained as people begin to ponder the implications of this event.
There are reports that the grandmother is so exasperated with her daughter's obsession with having children that she's threatened to leave her to her own devices. If she thinks it's bad now, just wait till the babies come home! The mother of the octuplets, Nadya Suleman, lives with her parents in a modest three bedroom house and apparently is unemployed with no source of income, and her parents themselves purportedly declared bankruptcy recently.
I feel upset about this story. Not so much about the mother herself, because I think she was almost certainly emotionally disturbed to be in her situation and still seek fertility treatment. What I find most upsetting is the doctor who agreed to help her have more children.
I don't know precisely what kind of treatment this doctor rendered, but it seems likely that it was a kind known to carry a significant risk of multiple births. I think this doctor's license to practice medicine should be revoked, or, if that's impossible under the existing laws and regulations, I think he or she should be hounded out of practice. Right now that's not possible since we don't even know who this miserable excuse for a doctor is. But if I knew who it was and I lived in Southern California, I'd want to be out picketing this doctor's clinic.
But leaving my anger and disgust aside, I worry about the children. Not only about the octuplets, but also about the other six young children, at least one of whom is reported to be autistic. How well can a single nutcase mom and her parents take care of all of them? No doubt they'll have help, monetarily and in other ways. I expect a book deal and a new cable channel series about them to compete with Jon and Kate Plus Eight. Perhaps it will be titled And Eight Make Fourteen.
But Kate has Jon to help her raise their set of twins and set of sextuplets, and even then it's a full time job for both of them, requring logistical planning and coordination that would impress the hell out of General Petraeus. How well is Nadya Suleman going to fare with fourteen kids and no Jon to help out?
And what can we as a society do to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again?
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