Usually people get all giddy when news of a multiple birth gets out. They “oohh” and “ahhh” like it’s a supernatural occurrence when it was just, like, a medical procedure in most cases (people know darn well the female human body cannot naturally become pregnant with more than three babies, please). The freebies abound in the form of diapers, formula, and free homes in some cases.
So last week a Southern California woman gave birth to octuplets. However, this week she is getting trashed in the media because she has six other children, between the ages of two and seven, all conceived through in vitro fertilization. Apparently, people are angry that she is going to get too many freebies; freebies they have decided in their all-knowing wisdom she does not deserve for having too many children. One conservative talk-show host in Los Angeles even said “people are ready to boycott any corporations” that help the octuplets or the mother. Kinda mean.
Okay. Who the heck made these people judge and jury over this woman? Why do these other families that have multiples deserve compassion and help, but this woman does not? Is it because there is no spouse? Is it because she has a total of 14 kids now? It seems that if you aren’t living your life in the way others deem “right”, I guess you don’t get any compassion or empathy. You have to earn these things, because they certainly aren’t free flowing. Wow, who knew!
I’ll co-sign that what this woman did is weird. These are a lot of kids to take care of and our bodies are not made to carry and birth more than three babies at once. It’s life-threatening for both mom and babies.
However, there is one part of the story that is being ignored. After having her first six kids, this woman had left over embryos. She did not want to throw them away. And when every embryo implanted successfully, she did not want to abort any of them. I would think conservatives would jump for joy that she made this decision, and I’m sure some are. But others are judging her, IMO, unfairly. Would they rather have had her throw her babies away? Or abort a few of them? No one is saying.
I think this brings to light the complicated situations we’ve created with assisted reproduction. I read a book on this very subject, called Everything Conceivable, by Liza Mundy. A great read on the history of assisted reproduction, a billion-dollar industry, and its impact on relationships. Mundy raises a lot of interesting questions and highlights the moral and pragmatic decisions would-be parents have to make. Terms like “left-over” embryos certainly make me uncomfortable.
As for the SoCal woman, yeah, she’ll cash in on her notoriety. Like none of us wouldn’t cash in, too. Those babies gotta eat somehow.