The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I just don’t see an end in sight for the intense media coverage given to Nadya Suleman, or as I prefer to call her: “Octo-Mom.” As more and more information about her life and 14 kids seems to unravel, I become even more enthralled with this woman and her peculiar reproductive habits. I can’t help but to DVR her father’s interview on Oprah or perk up each time her name is mentioned in the news. It’s like a bad car accident—all you want is to find out what’s going on even though you know you should be paying attention to driving. I must admit, I am probably the worst “rubber-necker” there is—but not in a morbid way that I want to see blood on the pavement or body bags. I want to see paramedics giving CPR or firemen rescuing someone from a crumpled automobile; I want to see people saved.
I’m afraid this is the same reason I like to hear about Octo-Mom. I think her babies need saving. That’s why I was pleased to hear that a non-profit neonatal care group, Angels in Waiting, has agreed to help her out. The organization’s website informs us that they provide care for foster children, especially the “forgotten” ones such as “medically fragile preemies, infants, and children.” Of course Octo-Mom’s babies are not foster kids, but Angels in Waiting clearly saw a desperate need for their services.
Just two days ago, Octo-Mom brought home two of her babies for the first time. Fortunately, Angels in Waiting nurses and nannies will be available to help her through the unimaginable struggles she has in store. Instead of bringing the babies home to her mother’s house, she was able to take them to a new home—which she recently bought with money raised from the myriad of media appearances she has made in the last month or so.
After looking back at some of her earlier interviews, I learned that she had initially turned down help from Angels in Waiting. Why? Because they would not allow her to have a reality TV show. Hmmm…this just seems a little off to me.
Of course if I was unemployed, poor, and the mother of 14 kids, I might turn to the media as well to fund my children, but something about all of this puts a bitter taste in my mouth. I think the name for it is: irresponsibility.
Now, I am not a psychologist, doctor, or even a mother so I’m probably out of line to pass judgment on Octo-Mom, but I have grown up with many different types of people and now, at age 22, have a good idea about how they “turned out.” One thing I know for sure is that parents can sometimes make life much harder for their children. Octo-Mom is a little delusional to think that a certain number of babies, nose jobs, or Angelina Jolie lip implants will cure the discontent she has with her life. Now these children are going to have to bear the brunt of her insecurities.
Aside from potential mental or emotional issues, there is simply no way these 14 children will be able to experience the same benefits they would if they belonged to a financially sustainable, normal-sized family. Will they grow up feeling loved? Will they have adequate clothing? Will they get help in school? Will they be given the chance to go to college? Will they all be healthy? All these things matter. I feel that these kids are at a severe disadvantage and that makes me sad. Why bring kids into this world if you cannot provide them the best possible opportunities and means to grow into successful adults?
The blame should lie partly on Octo-Mom and partly on her IVF doctor. They brought these children into a home that is unable to give them adequate support. It will be only a few years from now that a team vocational nurses and nannies won’t be able to help them. Instead it could be Social Services or Child Protective Services—hopefully not.
Despite my disagreement with her pregnancy, the fact is that these babies are here and they need to be taken care of…adequately. I hope that somehow this happens, even if it has to be with a reality TV show. I guess I could try to find time to tune-in between episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8.

*For the record, Nadya Suleman denies getting plastic surgery to look like Angelina Jolie. To me, her face just looks a little too unnatural.

Laura Woods


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