Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eight Is Enough...Isn't It?

Right now, a lot is being said about the octuplets, and about their mom, Nadya Suleman and the decisions she's made involving choosing IVF as a single mother. Over at Jason's blog, he pointed out that no matter what your standpoint on this news story is, it raises some important questions, and shouldn't be taken lightly. Mary also wrote a great post about it over here, and I could not agree more with everything she so compassionately said. However, I feel the need to share my own personal viewpoint on this news story.

I watched Ann Curry's Dateline interview with Nadya, and came away concerned. For her and especially for her 14 children. Yes, that's right, 14. Nadya said that she 'tried the marriage route' first, but it didn't work out-she wasn't able to conceive. But 'her dream' was to have a big family, because she was an only child who always wished for siblings. So, even after her marriage ended in divorce, she pursued IVF (in-vitro fertilization), because 'nothing was going to stand in the way of her dream'. She saved up money and ended up having the same fertility doctor implant her with embryos, fertilized from the same $perm donor, a family friend, several times. The first four times, she gave birth to one baby each time. A couple of times, the embryos 'didn't take', and the next-to-last time, she gave birth to twins. Then she decided to try once again, and her fertility doctor implanted six embryos (which he said he had done each time). A few weeks later, she discovered that there were seven babies growing in her womb (some of the embryos had split into twins). She carried the babies nearly full term, and gave birth via C-section, and after seven children had been born, the doctor reached to remove the placenta, and discovered an eighth baby waiting to be born! Miraculously, all eight babies survived the birth and weighed between 1 lb 8 oz & 3 lb 4 oz.

The birth of these octuplets has raised a lot of controversy having to do with IVF itself, specifically the process that Nadya's fertility doctor used in implanting SO many embryos. I have heard comments to the effect that a typical IVF implantation would involve 2 embryos. As far as my own opinion about IVF, I have not thought through the issues surrounding it enough (many of these issues affect a pro-life standpoint) and I do not know enough about the process to comment on the responsibility of this doctor's decision.

At the beginning of the interview, I was pleased with Nadya's pro-life comments...she talked about how every pregnancy is a life, each child is a precious gift from God, and she wasn't going to entertain the notion of 'selective reduction' for her octuplets, and I nodded in agreement. By the end of the interview, however, I began to be disgusted as she contradicted herself many times. At one point, she said that 'if her (other 6) children would have told her they didn't want her to have any more children, she wouldn't have'. But in the beginning of the show, she said that one of her reasons for getting the embryos implanted was that she believed that they were lives that God had created and deserved a chance to live. Do her other six children's desires cancel that belief out?

I also had strong concerns about the fact that she has no income at this time. She and her children have been living off disability payments and student loans, which have now run out. She is going back to school, and claims she will have income after her education is complete, but until then, who will feed her children? Not to mention take care of them while their mother is at school?

I think for me personally, the most concerning thing is Nadya's attitude, which implies that 'her dream' of having a large family is more important than the well-being of the children that she's choosing to bring into the world. To follow your own desires and dreams, not caring how your actions will impact your children's lives, this is NOT love. In fact, this is the epitome of selfishness.

Now, I understand as well as anyone the desire for children. My own dream has always been to have children and be a stay-at-home mom, taking 24/7 care of my babies. I'm very thankful that God has blessed me with a husband and blessed us with a child. If I were single, I know that my desire for a husband and for a child would be very strong and very painful.

But I would hope that I would choose what was best for the children whose lives would be involved, instead of following my own dream at any cost.


Anonymous said...

Good post. There has been a LOT of talk about this as of late in newspapers/news and yes even at my supper table lol. I checked out the other blogs you mentioned who talked about this issue. The whole thing is incredibly mind boggling. That is the kind of news that sells sadly and it is being broadcasted and ridiculed by many. Reminds me of a bunch of yelling people holding up signs and protesting for the sake of having an opinion. I just want them to get the same assistance that would be given to any who had such large number of multiple births. If I have any lingering feelings of disapproval they are directed towards her doctor who is in a position of leadership and council. An educated medical professional - the people we all I would think look up to.

I'm rambling lol. She definitely has issues but dealing with 14 children, other than her appearances in the media really has no time to think or care about all the negative criticism going around. She's almost a celebrity now. Praying for her and her children.

Emily said...


I really appreciate your honest, compassionate, yet firm stand on this recent news story. I find it similarly disturbing at what cost these 8 precious babies were brought into this world. What's done is done; but I wonder if this kind of selfishness will manifest itself in more and more of similar cases?

Carrie said...

Thanks for your comments, Shanilie & Emily- you know, another thing that hit me after watching the interview was that she didn't ASK to have the octuplets...she had the same number of embryos implanted as she had other times, and it just turned out that way. So it's not like we can judge her for choosing to give birth to octuplets, you know? :)

Shanilie, I think you're right on that she does need assistance- and prayer!

And Emily, the whole reason I wrote this post is because I'm also afraid that this selfishness is becoming a trend among women who want to be moms, but don't want to work at a marriage or accept that it may be God's will for them to be single (and therefore to have no children).

Fiddledeedee said...

Very well said. This story has been twirling around in my head and I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around it.

I know that I am awfully concerned for these children. And I have some serious questions about this mother's motives.