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Update on Mother of Fourteen: Nadya Suleman

Nadya Suleman, the mother who recently gave birth to Octuplets, has recently launched her own website.  The website which says, "We thank you for the love and good wishes sent to us from around the world.  The octuplets arrived on 1/26/09.  They are all healthy and growing stronger by the day."

Of course, as indicated by the previous post about this issue, there are many issues to debate and discuss in this woman's choice to undergo invitro fertilization as a single parent with a mother who describes her as a little crazy and "not capable" of taking care of fourteen children.

And so the debate continue, I realized yesterday when I ordered a hot chocolate yesterday at a local Panera Bread and couldn't help but hear an outburst at a nearby table, "And how about that women with fourteen kids?  What is she thinking?"  It's clear the issue of responsible parenting, class, and race aren't going away.  The debates are even going into an Angelina Jolie look-alike frenzy. (Suleman denies this.)

As healthy as it is to debate, I've found the comment sections of sites intriguing.  Nadya Suleman is (unconfirmed) a woman a color, possibly of Latino background, without a partner or suffucient resources to raise the kids.  Is that the reason why people are "hating?"  Becuase they don't see her being able to do this?  

But when we see entertainment like (old school) Just the Ten of Us, or reality shows like John and Kate Plus Eight, or Cheaper By the Dozen, as Kenny Darter points out, we think it's pretty hilarious when White families, who have the means, have a busload of kids.  But if a person without a reality show or partner chooses to, it's deemed everything but good.

It is entirely understandable to oppose this woman's decision.  There are clear reasons why and the safety and well-being of the children are priority.  However, without sufficient information, except reports from gossip magazines as to how she is going to move forward, I am hesitant to predict that these children are doomed or are going to undergo profound trauma. I certainly hope she gets on her feet to do the best she can and live beyond her own decision to have fourteen children.  She has a mountain to climb, fourteen to be exact, but she has legs.

What I find interesting, though, is that throughout history and the world, there are women exactly like Suleman who raise their multitude of children with much less media and attention than Nadya Suleman.  There are women who are neither scorned or criticized for the number of children they have.  They are ignored.  The reaction our country has had to Nadya Suleman confounds me.  On one hand, it's portrayed as a medical miracle, but the backlash is calling her crazy and irresponsible.  The majority of those reports came out after her financial and marital status were leaked.  When we see "single" and "bankrupt," she's selfish.  Focusing soley on Suleman and not the children, would we call her crazy, would we criticize her CHOICE if we found out that she had a millionaire's bank account?  Or if she had a husband who was a CEO?  Probably not, or at least, the criticism wouldn't be so severe.

So what does that say about who gets to have large families?  You can and have the freedom, only if you are financially capable?  Is and should there be a parallel relationship between resources (house, job, daycare, health care, partner, family support, etc) and number of offspring?  Because if there is some sort of invisible rule about class and birthing, then we need to examine it, not just in context to Nadya Suleman, but how that invisible rule extends to all women and families, including those outside our country's lines.  Do we have the same reaction to an unmarried Nicaraguan woman who naturally gave birth to seven?  How is your reaction different?  How is it similar?

The number of children a woman has - either intentional or not - is a layered issue, and often ethnocentric toward western ideals of a two parent unit with resources and health care.  It is an opportunity to delve into your own perceptions of the relationship between freedom, choice, resources, and parenting.  I just hope that there remains a space to richly discuss the issues that have surfaced without berating another woman or a population of women in the process.

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Comments

46 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I think your criticisms of

I think your criticisms of the Nadya Suleman criticisms are a pretty big stretch.

I've been interested to see

I've been interested to see how this would play out in the feminist community. In full disclosure, I'm somewhat biased against large families because of the environmental impact of those families. I've long criticized the Duggars for that very reason and for the fact that if that family was a family of color (or a single mother, etc) they would totally be criticized if they had that many children. TLC ain't rushing to create a special about a large black family, are they? However, I'm a student of critical race theory, and I think race is secondary in this case, if applicable at all. Show me a white, two-income, educated family that can adequately care for eight preemies? Few and far between. Add six other kids, three with special needs, on top of that? Come on. This situation should never have happened.

I think it's different because this woman used an extremely costly procedure, one that many families cannot even afford once, let alone multiple times, bankrupting her family in the process, for her wish for a large family, and now is depending on both government dollars and the kindness of strangers to financially support it. To top it off, she thinks she has the luxury of being a full-time student? I work in higher ed, specifically with working adults changing careers. I know the sacrifice it takes for families to send a parent to school part-time. Full-time is not an option to the people I work with. They have obligations to their families--both financial and in terms of time. I think she was probably spoiled rotten by her parents, who've enabled her out-of-touch lifestyle for way too long, and now she has no concept of reality. And who suffers? Not her. She's got her publicity money coming in--she's a household name right now. The kids will primarily suffer, and the taxpayers of California will foot the bill.

I agree with KBO

I agree with KBO entirely...it is not about race and to say ti is about race is very farfetched....there would be nothing wrong if she really was angelina jolie because angelina jolie has the finances to take care of a village....wut disturbs me is that she already had 6 children to begin with and was already using public assistance there 2 get by, then she intentionally goes ahead to purposely get pregnant again...so she coems outta nowhere with a new house, plastic surgery on her face and you mean 2 tell me that u can't c anything wrong with that situation...and just a few minutes ago i hear about her spending over $1000 in MAC cosmetics...so the government and the people who work hard 4 there money r suppossed 2 keep giving her free money 4 something she knew she was getting herself into? PLEEEAASE!!! I am all about caring for the children, but I feel that she is using those 14 kids to get wut she wants to satisfy her personal wants and needs and that is just not something I can respect....and she is definitely not hispanic or black...i assume looking at her features and her name it seems like she may be of middle eastern decent, maybe palestinian or lebonese or something of that nature...then she had the nerve 2 sit there and say that she didn't use public assisitance and that she doesn't consider food stamps to be public assistance. So then wut the hell is it then? So i am suppossed 2 go 2 her website to donate money just so she can go and by herself some new clothing or get her hair done or something materialistic like that? No way!! There is nothing wrong with anyone having a large family, jsut as long as you have the financial resources to provide for that family and not rely solely on goverment assistance and especially money from people u don't even know! Like KBO said...its hard enuff for 2 parents to take care of a couple of children on 2 average salaries, so there is no way in the world a woman who has no job and is on welfare can take care of 14 children especially when a couple of those children have health problems which is even more out of pocket costs! The whole situation in general just disturbs me!

I think your criticisms of

I think your criticisms of the Nadya Suleman criticisms are a pretty big stretch.

Yep. Agreed.

This lady is a unique snowflake of insanity. I will not accept tired memes of racism/poverty/classism with respect to her.

While it is true that women living in poverty have been historically criticized for having "large" families, and while I don't want to add to that, this situation is so intensely fucked up that to try to make those arguments with Suleman as a backdrop holds no water.

I don't support large families, either. Whether they have the money, whether they are partnered, whether they are white or of color, whether have TLC cameras on them at all times. I think it's a bad way to raise little humans into bigger humans and many times it is just a cutesy mask used by a woman who's obsessed with attention/hormonal high/itty-bitty-wittle baby goo goo ga ga bullshit, in which case it has v. little to do with the baby and everything to do with the birther. Not what parenthood is about, in my opinion.

Jesus says: All life is very important. No matter how you are

Jesus says: All life is very important. No matter how you are created.. We are all created by an eternal loving father. The father who is from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.. Remember the warning to those who try to hinder the life of God's Children. The yoke of unhappiness will be upon those that hinder this life given to us.

From the Apostle John we hear the famous line from John 3:16 "For God so loved the loved world that he gave his only begotten son, and those that believe in him will be saved". See, you can trust the Providence of an eternal father like this. He does really love you.

I don't think this is an

I don't think this is an issue of race. I do, however, think it is an issue of class, or rather, the fact that she doesn't have a husband. Let's assume that she had a husband and he made only $30,000 to support the entire family. I think then, the story would be a sympathetic one to most audiences, because since marriage has devolved into this beast that can only be heterosexual and romantic in nature, then love, not money becomes the survival tool.

Then, you would have Johnson & Johnson plastered all over the TV specials and a really heartwarming "it takes a village" montage.

Her business vs. our business

The issue (for me) isn't so much how many children she chooses to have over the course of her life, nor how she raises them. (Those things concern me, but they're legitimately personal decisions.) The thing that bothers me is the medical decision on the part of Ms. Suleyman and her doctors to create and sustain a pregnancy with 8 fetuses (or 7, as they thought). This is simply not good for the babies, and borders on an ethical abuse of medicine.

It's also hard to even believe her website's request for donations when she created this situation very intentionally. I have a lot of sympathy for the kids, but not their mom.

I don't think this was an

I don't think this was an issue of race either. Many people were horrified before her name or photo was revealed. I didn't even realize she was a woman of color even after seeing her picture. Maybe it is an issue of the fact that she's single, but not necessarily because she's without a man. I think maybe she'd garner less criticisms if she was in a homosexual relationship and that these embryos were implanted because Nadya and her partner wanted to have children. (Although, in some parts of the country, she might garner MORE criticisms...sometimes I live in a little bubble of liberalism here in Boston) And maybe there is an issue of class here, but I think it's justifiable concerns, not necessarily classism. People worry about these little babies not being able to get the care that they need.

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I don't think it matters

I don't think it matters that she's 'non-white' (I've always hated that term). And it does matter that she's broke. Someone on another thread said she believed people should only have enough kids to replace the mother and father. The children DO have a father, technically, but he never sees them. It doesn't matter that this woman is Hispanic. I know a mother who is going to school full-time with no job and has a hard enough time caring for herself and her 5-year-old by herself. That's one child. How does Nadya expect to pay for her 14 children by going to school. Yes, a Master's may help her out in the long run, but what about the next 2 years, caring for disabled children. It's not about race. It's about having the money and resources to properly care for and raise that many children, which she doesn't. Even though the Duggars and the McCaughey's (sp?) and John and Kate plus 8 have the money and resources (because of TLC and the like), I still think having that many children is selfish. The Duggars especially sicken me. It's like their own little breeding-ground cult: they homeschool all their children and they are all devout Christians. I've had enough Christians in this world telling me I'm a heathen. Yes, I am all for choice, but responsible choices are entirely different. Plus, Nadya is demanding $2 million to tell her story, hoping Oprah will endorse it. THese kids aren't even a month old and she's nearly asking for handouts. If she'd had the money and a male or female partner (besides her parents) who could reliably help out, it might be a different story. But I don't think race has anything to do with it, not from my understanding of the whole situation anyway.

What I find interesting,

What I find interesting, though, is that throughout history and the world, there are women exactly like Suleman who raise their multitude of children with much less media and attention than Nadya Suleman.

Actually, no, there are very few women like Suleman. Yes, there are large families with few resources, but the emotional, physical, and financial impact of adding 8 premature babies -- some of whom are likely to have lifelong health issues -- all at once is very, very different from having 8 babies in as many years.

To me, this is above all a case about medical ethics, and the doctor who assisted Suleman should be under as much discussion and questioning as she is.

That said, reading her statements to the media, this sounds like a woman who is out of touch with reality. Her expectations about how she is going to care for these children are totally unrealistic, and now that she has made herself available as a public figure, it isn't unreasonable to challenge her on that.

Essay is missing the point

I think the essay's author is missing the biggest issue: this woman STROVE to get pregnant and have these children. Yes, women across the centuries and world-wide have struggled to care for large families, but they had little choice in the making of their circumstances. A history professor of mine once told our class this story: he had asked his aged Russian grandmother what women did in the old days when they had their periods, and she had laughingly replied "What periods, we were always pregnant!"

Choosing to have children, undergoing medical (and costly) procedures when you're not financially capable of caring for your current situation is selfish and irresponsible. And criticism of that isn't sexist or racist, it's rational.

She is unique

This is not a race issue, it is not a class issue. She paid good money to have 8 premature children who will each likely have some health issue. Anyone who plans that is irrational and irresponsible. And to add that she already has 6 to care for, I don't think there is anyone in this world who can claim that they have gone through this. She had choices, many women who are born into a world where they marry young due to cultural or societal pressures or obligation and have too many children are not given the choice. She certainly had a choice.

Suleman's race

Hey people she is not Hispanic, her father is Iraqi and her mother is from the Ukraine. She used to be married to a Hispanic man, that's why her last name showed Gutierrez as her last name in one point. Get the story right before you start saying she's something she's not.

I second the notion that the

I second the notion that the subtext of class and race in this women's case vs. cases where white families have numerous children is something to analyzed and critiqued. When white families have multiple kids it seems to evoke something very wholesome and pure while there’s something about single women (especially of color) having multiple children that is very unwholesome and impure. That’s all messed up on a number of levels.
Yet, the thing I'm not willing to give up on is Suleman's use of invitro fertilization to intentionally have eight kids. Remember that in the case of the Goslings (Jon and Kate Plus 8) that having 6 kids as a result of invitro was a mistake, an unanticipated outcome. With all the media promotion of women who have had multiple births, we seem to have lost sight of the idea that this is a non-ideal result, that these people are outliers.
Is there a point where women who choose invitro fertilization enter a realm of unhealthy perception about what the process will do for her? I'm reminded of plastic surgery. We'd probably accept a woman who gets a boob job to correct a lop-sided breast and a nose job to correct a deviated septum. Yet, most of us concede that DDD boobs on a petite woman, a Michael Jackson nose and a total facial transformation to make you look more like a cat are not decisions made by people with healthy self-images. As a culture, can we find a way to talk about healthy vs. unhealthy invitro choices outside of our racist, classist and patriarchal assumptions about who should have children, when and why? I hold out hope.

Nadya Suleman

I think the issue, and the only _real_ issue, is that of money. I'm perfectly happy for Ms Suleyman to have as many children as she wants, and as I don't know her personally and have not seen any evidence that she is a neglectful or abusive mother, I have no reason to doubt her parenting skills, at least no more than anyone else's. But I am quite troubled by her decision to have (and by choice, not accident) such a huge number of children when her financial resources are so limited (and even if she were to get a very high-paying job, how much do you need to earn to support _fourteen_ children, especially as a single-income household?). I find it very troubling that she chose to have far more children than she (or anyone other than Brangelina or Bill Gates) could support. To me, that implies either a) that she's seriously out of touch with reality, or b) that she assumes that other people (i.e.: California taxpayers) will be expected to support her and her children. That is the only issue--not her race, her ethnicity, her single status, or anything else--which I find so troubling about this story.

I do not see race as a

I do not see race as a factor in her negative public perception at all. The fact that she spent a lot of money for fertility treatments to have more children, when she couldn't properly care for the six she already had, is the real issue here. That is the real crime and in my opinion translates to child neglect. It is not as if she accidentially got pregnant. I think the world would look differently at her if that were the case, regardless of race.

Misplaced priorities

I think these criticisms are a poor attempt at playing devils advocate. I think the issues here have absolutely nothing to do with race, her material status, or her income status. In fact, she had plenty of income from her disability checks that she chose NOT to spend on her existing children (braces, college funds, piano lessons, new shoes anyone?) and instead spent it on IVF. Who's to say that her online donation page is actually for her 8 premies and not for another litter? She could probably get more IVF in Brazil. She's educated, able bodied, and supported by family (so far anyway). She's in a better situation than most single moms...or was. The real issue here is her poor judgement....or worse, mental illness. What's the turning point? Does she need to have another set of twins before we can discuss the fact that maaaaaybe she's tweaked?

more hate...

Thanks for reading. Here's more hate for everyone...
http://hateonme.com/2009/02/11/football-please-and-hold-the-domestic-vio...

Thank you, Bitch

Thank you, Bitch commentariat, I will now remember that feminism is about criticising poor women for their reproductive choices and making unfounded assumptions about family arrangements, as well as totally failing to hear what someone is saying.

I think your outrage isn't

I think your outrage isn't unwarranted, but a bit over stated, perhaps. If we can't have frank conversations about these issues among like-minded people (people who are mostly likely women and/or feminists) where can we have them? If you take issue with certain aspects of the way people are framing this isssue, please point them out. But, if you want a political movement bent on unwavering concensus, become a conservative.

I am offended at being

I am offended at being considered of "like mind" with some of the commenters to this article, who have used extremely sexist, ablist, and classist language to describe a woman they know little about.

I have pointed out very clearly where I have problems with others' framing. How about responding to what I say instead of my tone?

I agree that this

I agree that this conversation has gone a bit overboard in certain directions, especially with the "over breeding" arguments against this woman. Many of the arguments that seem to get the most play have classist and racist undertones (and overtones) that commenter’s don't seem to be willing to be unpack in all cases. At moments it seems we've taken up the same tone the author of the original post is troubled by - that Suleman's decisions are ours to dissect and criticize through our subjective middle class norms about what is right and wrong and normal and abnormal.

But my problem with your tone is that I think you're being a bit snide about the fact that there is disagreement - as if this were a betrayal of what it fundamentally means to be feminist or leftist or whatever. And to address the point you're making, I think you're suggesting that Suleman is being criticized because she is a poor woman of color, but actually there is a fair amount of disagreement in the comments as to whether this characterization is accurate. I won't claim to be an expert, but my understanding is that Suleman has not identified as a woman of color and the thing that most threatens her economic security is thousands of dollars of debt from reproductive therapy. Would you support Alison Stewart's (Martha Stewart's daughter) decision to electively have eight kids at once through invitro because she is white and has unlimited access to cash? I think that would also raise concerns.

Suleman has access to reproductive choices that feel so differnt than the reproductive health choices that most women seek like access to birth control, the right to choice when to have children or not, and health insurance. How do we make sense of that?

I'm curious to know how you do think about this case. I assume because you've reacted to other commenter’s that you have a dissenting opinion, but I'm left inferring what it is and where it comes from.

who have used extremely

who have used extremely sexist, ablist, and classist language to describe a woman they know little about.

But I think we know quite a bit about this lady. She's made many media appearances, we've had statements from her parents.

And because this is online, you'll have to fisk out the ableist, sexist and classist statements. It's not enough to announce "I'm Offended!" and expect everyone else to authomatically feel shame and then shut up.

I will now remember that

I will now remember that feminism is about criticising poor women for their reproductive choices and making unfounded assumptions about family arrangement...

No. That's not the case. Nadya Suleman is a crazyface who is bringing children into the world by unethical medical techniques and most people doubt her ability to care for them.

Just because you have a uterus and make a choice doesn't mean I will stand by you. It's not about her deciding not to shave her armpits. She is bringing multiple children into the world via scientific parlor tricks and acting like this is good parenting, and worthy of public admiration and financial subsidy. Irresponsible. And not just her - the Duggars, the Gosselins and all the other mega-families - they all make me sick and should not be encouraged.

Okay, add ablist, sexist,

Okay, add ablist, sexist, and classist to that list.

If this is feminism I want nothing to do with it.

We're always the racist ones...

I think this has nothing to do with race, i never even thought of the idea until people like you to inject race into the subject to cause controversy. The problem is that she now has 14 kids that her, being unemployed, means that the government aka YOU, THE TAX PAYER are going to have to pay for these children as they grow up. It is abuse to the system of welfare.

This is ridiculous. Yes, it

This is ridiculous. Yes, it does matter if she is "financially capable" or more so "financially responsible." This woman has already lived off of others for long enough, it's atrocious. Wonder how she paid for the procedure, wonder who's paying for the hundreds of thousands of medical bills? I won't even get into the future food, diapers and care cost that will be the taxpayer's responsibility. Daycares require more than one person for 14 children and they are certified child care specialist, something I strongly doubt this mentally unstable woman is. I would be more understanding if this was a natural occurrence, but it's far from that. She deliberately put herself in this situation and now expects everyone else to bail her out. No money+no partner+no conscience+no skills= NO FUTURE for her poor children and a mess for society to clean up.

I'm really grossed out by

I'm really grossed out by the rhetoric of "she's spending our tax dollars" or the more subtle version, "think of how much it costs to keep all those babies in the NICU"

I'm not going to uncritically defend a woman who has, judging from what her family and she have said, made a pretty ill-thought-out decision to have so many children at once. fine.

But ugh, seriously? Suddenly we're all horrified that this wasteful beast and her brood are spending our precicious tax dollars on oxygen and antibiotic. The horror!

I don't know how much it costs to keep 8 babies in the NICU for a month. I wonder how it compares to what John Thain spent to redecorate his office.

I mainly wonder what kind of fucked up people are deciding that money spent to keep babies alive is something to resent.

I'm really grossed out by

I'm really grossed out by the rhetoric of "she's spending our tax dollars"...

Yeah, I agree. That money part has never been my issue that really shits me about this situation. We spend as a nation a lot of money for other ill-thought-out things. Like wars. And now the barn door is opened - she had the 8 babies, too late - so hell yeah, we've got to care for them.

As much as I find arguments that begin with "Think of the Children!" somewhat suspect and disingenuous, I have to say that the well-being of "The Children" - in this case, Suleman's older 6 children, plus the infant 8 - is what I am most disturbed by and concerned about.

What kind of face time can all 14 of these kids expect from their mother? I have a child - just one, thank you - and I work from my home and even making sure that I manage my time with my ONE CHILD is a lot of work. It's just...a lot of work. Now families with 7 kids or whatever might laugh at me, but my nature is not to deal with people in large crowds very well, so I find the enormity of these families very uncomfortable. And in the developed world, it's just not a given anymore. We have birth control methods these days, we aren't agrarian - what is the real motive for such large families? I'll take a dim view of these motives until someone can point out cases that are positive.

I don't think we can disregard how much social cost there is when people aren't properly nurtured by caregivers. I don't care if you have the babies as singletons, naturally, or by accident or by design. I don't care if you have money or not. Do you have time? Do you have the ability to plan? Are you thinking about your children as individuals you are preparing for the world? What is your motive? People gotta think about that shit. I'm sorry - when they have a baby, it's not just about the parent.

A Woman's Response-Ability!

The whole human race - lead by women, who give birth - needs to get real and accept that we can not possibly sustain unlimited, exponential population growth on a limited physical plane.

This woman and her choices are ridiculous; An extreme example of an untimely, inappropriate, abandoned sense of community responsiblility not only for the well-being of these 14 unfortunate babies, but her self and most certainly the planet.

There are so many things for a woman to devote her nurturing abilities to without unthinkingly and narcissistically making more human babies currently. It's as simple as paying attention to what's screaming for it, which includes millions of human babies, animals - pick a cause! - going without parents period.

As the vessel of delivery, it's a woman's responsibility to take a good look around and see for real if where she's bringing a baby is even fit in the first place. It may be sad that people don't support a "birth first" attitude anymore, but it's a hard, fast reality that it's because we don't need more human babies and are already hugely "taxed" ecologically and otherwise.

http://www.vhemt.org/ - It's all in this link.

Time to step (& wake the fuck) up, people!
When balance is restored on the whole, the necessarily fewer human - and other species' babies will ALL be treasured again... For NOW, our own MOTHER EARTH obviously must come first needs a break from propagation madness, she can't support endless babies being born and sisters must personally take the initiative in reducing birth rates because all women feel the effects of the extra burden being placed on her every time another human is born and yet more is left unattended to.

Money does matter

Criticizing her for being broke is valid. The kids' well-being is at stake, and it takes more than love to raise healthy kids---it takes money.

I have always been annoyed by parents who bring forth too many kids---my annoyance was there long before Suleman. Usually I am the lone voice in the wilderness, but it so happens that Suleman's case is so extreme, so unimaginably over-the-top, that most people agree with me.

Thoughts on class and abortion.

The pink elephant in the room (that's the color of the animal in this expression, right?) when it comes to multiple births caused by fertility treatments like the ones Suleman received is the fact that at some point she would have been advised by doctors to reduce the number of babies. Assuming she was given this advice, she declined.

Generally, when these new mommies and daddies of 6 or 8 find their way into the media spotlight their message is "having 8 babies fulfills my natural mommy instincts. God wants us to be parents. I said no to the evil doc who suggested I abort a few, because that shit would be immoral."

I did a little research, and found there is a class issue at the center of this debate. As a woman who is less than rich, Suleman was likely implanted with more embryos than advisable to reduce the overall number of times she would need to be implanted and therefore to reduce the cost. This is why the women we see with 6 or 8 babies tend to be poorer than those who have single babies or twins as a result of in vitro (like celebs). In other countries there are incentives to undergo the treatment more often and have fewer embryos implanted each time, but not in the U.S.

Ultimately, the thing I think we need to talk about is, do these ladies and the media that surround their experiences reinforce the notion that abortion is immoral? Is this a chance to talk about how abortion is immoral, without actually talking about how abortion is immoral?

How has the media attention that these mothers received underminded not only a broader abortion discussion, but also the choice of other mothers to reduce their pregnancies? It is my strong held belief, ladies and gents, that when you undergo in vitro, get pregnant with 8, and abort 4-5 to increase the health of the remaining 3-4 - Dateline will not call.

Perhaps the class issue here is that a woman like Suleman does not have a choice to reduce the pregnancy. She doesn't have the financial resources to make the ideal "choice" from the onset and she has no class peer role model suggesting that such a thing is anything but immoral. While I think we need to be careful about how we take Sulman (the individual) to task for her decisions, I do think we need to interrogate what her case means for other women. Apologies for the length of this comment.

You can't defend this woman by drawing on fiction

Look, television shows are fantasy shows and we are no longer an agrarian culture where men keep women barefoot and pregnant having as many kids as possible. We are in a modern society where people are supposed to consider the ramifications of their sexual reproduction.

And I have to comment on this in particular

So what does that say about who gets to have large families? You can and have the freedom, only if you are financially capable? Is and should there be a parallel relationship between resources (house, job, daycare, health care, partner, family support, etc) and number of offspring?

In answer to all those questions - yes.

Money CAN bring freedom, anybody that has had to pay their way through college and then had a successful result of getting an education knows this. Poverty always brings slavery. If you're poor and don't think you're a slave, it's because you've never experienced freedom.

And it should be blatantly obvious that if you cannot afford children, you should think twice about having them. After all, you're not the ONLY one involved in the result of the decision, the innocent kid is too.

I feel sorry for these children. They have a crappy mother. Anybody that doesn't see the crappiness of this mother must have had a really lousy childhood. I'm from a Catholic family, and I'm the last one of the youngest - of 4 and it's not even as bad as it sounds, my brother is adopted. My parents were not rich but they provided for us well, they were good loving parents who took an active part in raising us. They did their best, and they worked hard to raise us properly.

This woman - she's just a fucking asshole and would be if she was white, black, pink, green OR married. If she was in a polyanderous relationship with either several men or even several women or a combination thereof, I don't think I'd have a problem with it as long as the family unit could actually afford to raise the kids as well as give the children a decent upbringing. She has given these kids a really bad start in life. What a fucking dick she is. She appears to have done this for publicity, and fucked over 7 people for life to get her 15 minutes of fame. What a goddamned shithead.

Is name-calling really

Is name-calling really necessary? Really? Can't we discuss the situation without sitting around calling her names? Yes, she screwed up. Now what? She can't put the babies back and calling her names (crazyface, etc) isn't going to change anything.

My problem with Ms. Suleman

My problem with Ms. Suleman is that she doesn't have a job to speak of, so she is counting on the governement, her parents, and others to take care of her behind as well as her children's! Yes, many women have huge broods (Certain family memebers are in her [Suleman] situation where they have kids that they can't take care of) and have very little income and/or time to adequately take care of their children, but whereas those women might have had sex and didn't get abortions or give their children up for adoptions, this woman made a conscious decision to have a procedure done that most working couples can't even afford! Then, on top of that, she already has six other children that she is barely getting by with, and to add icing on the cake, she's pushed her parents into bankruptcy (To be perfectly fair, some of the blame goes on them too because they've enabled this behavior.)

Just from what interviews I have been able to stomach, this woman is living in a fantasy where everything is going to work out without her making any effort; she has all these "goals," yet no plan! I honestly couldn't care less about the amount of children she has, what I'm agahast at is frivolous this woman's attitude seems to be about her children. To me, it seems like these children are like playthings to Ms. Suleman and that make me want to bash my head into a wall.

Ms. Suleman

I was raised in an orphanage! A lot of children with disabilities got dumped there. Ms. Suleman is extremely selfish. Its not about her, its about the babies. I fear that most or some will be disabled in some way. Her fantasy is to be famous, and that's where her energy is spent. Its not about her, race or marriage status, that's disturbs me. It's the welfare of the fourteen children. Handicap children are hard to adopt.

Media focus is a diversion and an attack on poor women

I thank the writer of this post for challenging the media monopoly on the discussion of Nadya Suleman. On a personal level, thinking about this woman's choices as if she were a co-worker or acquaintance, most of us shake our heads in dismay. Certainly it is hard to imagine telling a friend that you thought it would be a good thing for her to take fertility treatments so she could have large numbers of children with no realistic ability to support them. That said, if she were a friend we'd want to be supportive of her even if she made choices we felt were bad.

But the media is not Suleman's friend. What they are doing to her has nothing to do with a discussion about good choices, good parenting or personal responsibility. They are making her a poster child for attacks on poor women and especially women of color, whipping up hysteria about the "welfare mothers" who are supposedly bleeding us all dry. The writer's point is well taken that if Suleman were wealthy this story would have been a one day deal . . . an oddity that everyone would have gotten over. And if she were white and married she might at least have acheived the kind of pop star fame that has been awarded to "Jon and Kate Plus Eight."

The Nadya Suleman "story" is intended as a gross diversion about the personal irresponsibility of poor women and working class women and especially women of color at a time when corporate America has just gotten through looting billions from us in order to feed - and continue to feed - lifestyles of luxury and excess that most of us can't even imagine. How dare the corporate media portray Suleman as irresponsible at a time while the owners of the media and their buddies on Wall Street are standing with their hands out for our tax dollars in the billions?

For another critique of the media hysteria against Suleman, and one of the only other ones I have seen to point out this hypocrisy, I recommend "Motherhood, malice and the media" http://www.workers.org/2009/editorials/media_0226/

Its about the money

Look its fine to have as many kids as you want but when someone like her comes and asks for money (i.e. tax payers, her website) then its an issue. (what i mean is she is eventualy gonna have to to give them up or the state will take them away due to a number of reasons) we already have to many god**** kids that are a burden to the states and federal system. Why should we give a fuck when people have too many kids that they have no financial means to take care of them? beacause we end up funding there stupid habits and consequently those kids end up being career criminals. period.

Do you eat the right foods?

Do you eat the right foods? Not too heavy, no cancer risk you're posing to yourself? Not a smoker? Do you wear your sunscreen and your seat belt? Do you work in an industry that has wrought world financial ruin? Have you ever had irresponsible sex? Are you getting enough sex to stay healthy? If not your personal decisions could be costing me money, and I'd rather give it to a baby that has poor parents because at least they aren't making decisions yet. You probably don't cost me a cent, don't drive on the roads I pay for, don't send kids to public schools, don't show up on my insurance premiums, drive a hybrid only when necessary, you probably don't make a single decision in your personal, private life that impacts me or the rest of the world in a single way. If you do, we might find out and nationally ostracize you, threaten the well being of your family, or take them away and put them in a system that makes most abusive homes look like a paradise. There are many societies that are even less able to be accountable for one another than we are, maybe you will appreciate living in that environment. We are the only ones foolish enough to be less willing rather than less able.

octomom

i think you are so damm stupid, like you now have it made everyone paying and helping you and wow getting free money and house. you say on et that you are fancinated by psycologist and shrinks, well let me tell you you sure do need one. and why do you need 12 nannies riduclouss grow up and face the world, you wanted them you got them deal with it freak and a lier

are you serious?

why are people "hating"?

let me explain to you.
people like this are a drain on our country and undeserving (for the most part) of our tax dollars. why? its called "milking the government tit". what do i owe this lady? nothing. what does the government owe this lady? nothing. so, in your opinion, it is fair and acceptable for a cheeto-eating welfare mom to continue to do NOTHING (as in, not working. as in, not contributing to our society AT ALL)..and we should all have to support people like this? that is utterly and profoundly STUPID. and it is also EXACTLY the problem in this country. people like this feel they are OWED something. so, instead of going out and WORKING (gasp!) for what they want, they expect it to be handed to them.
and your analogy to "white people with the means have busloads of kids" is called being RESPONSIBLE and able to take care of your family. they dont ask for goddamn food stamps or free rent. condoms cost lots less than free rent and food stamps.
and your comment that she is "a woman of color" makes me want to vomit. so, in that case we should support her in her irresponsibility? typical race-card liberal bullshit. guess what? my wife is a "woman of color". guess what else? SHE HAS A JOB.

octomom

ALL RIGHTY!!! CALLING WOMEN FAR AND WIDE THIS BROD HAS IT FIGGURED OUT!!!! JUST PLAY ON THE SYMPATHY OF YOUR KIDS, BUT JUST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE MORE THAN TEN (or it won't work te he). BITCH YOU DISGUST ME!!! I HOPE YOUR KIDS ARE REMOVED AND PUT INTO LOVING FOSTER HOMES WHERE THEY CAN HAVE NORMAL LIVES. AS FOR YOU, YOU SHOULD BE PUT TO WORK DOING COMMUNITY SERVICE, GIVING BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY FOR ALL THE BS YOU CAUSED OTHERS

Nadya Suleman

The amount of hatred that has been directed at Nadya Suleman has been nothing short of astounding. She has received death threats, been analyzed on Dr. Phil, and has saturated the airways and internet. I believe her plight, both her decisions and the backlash, is a telling indicator of where we are, and what we as a society have twisted.While there are plenty of rocks to throw, and targets besides Miss Suleman, we need to consider that perhaps her decisions, while they are naïve and perhaps rooted in fantasy, are a result of what has been touted as socially acceptable and even championed as heroic; single motherhood by design. The birth of these babies has opened a Pandora’s Box. The issues stemming from this one incident are vast, sprawling and have tap roots that will be painful to dig up, for her and for us.

Wrong, Just Wrong

First off, financial ability to sufficiently provide for your children, no matter how few or how many is definitely an issue. After reading some of the comments here, I find I agree that a) this has little or nothing to do with race or financial status and b) why is everyone focusing on this woman when we probably know someone like her personally? I have a cousin who is white and married and she's been pregnant 8 times and has 5 kids, but she and her husband are financially strapped, yet still she continues to get pregnant because of her and her husband's refusal to use any form of birth control. This is someone in my own family, and not nearly on the level of Nadya Suleman (none of her pregnancies have been the result of IVF or any other fertility treatment or procedure and she doesn't have as many kids) and I find it appalling. Yes, children may be a "gift from God" but I don't think that he/she intended for human beings to abuse that privilege and thus become a drain and a nuisance to the rest of us. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, but if you can't provide for the kids you have I think it's incredibly wrong to expect those who have chosen not to have any to pick up the slack. Not to mention the tremendous strain on a woman's body being pregnant that often or with massive multiples is. What happens to these kids when mom's body finally gives out from the constant strain of pregnancy? Who will take responsibility? The government? Like I said, kids are great, but I fervently believe that each woman has the right to decide whether or not she has any kids and that if someone chooses not to, they should not be penalized via taxes by those who chose to have children they could not financially provide for. It's disgusting really.

She is the MOST

She is the MOST irresponsible person on the planet earth and a religious fanatic! As a tax payer, I refused to support her. Her new babies should be adopted by the state of California then to couples who can afford raising children. Nadya 's actions has become an insult to most Americans. In addition, she has three children with special needs. How many more does she want? Kids with special needs require extra time and support; Nadya has displayed poor parenting skills already. She needs professional help. No taxpayers should be held responsible for her stupidity.