My grandfather is the eldest of thirteen children. That’s right, thirteen. His mother was unmarried, and as unheard of as it was back then, a good Catholic woman was supposed to have a large family, and that’s what she did.
The oldest of his sisters has 13 of her own.
I went to elementary school w/ a set of twins who were in the middle of about 15 kids.
I don’t remember hearing anyone shaming them for being from large families. I don’t remember hearing anyone complain that having that many children was a sure sign of mental illness, or that it is abusive to the children to have that many. I mean, that doesn’t mean that the Invisible Pink Unicorn isn’t really pink, but there you go.
But sure enough, Nadya Suleman has octuplets, adding to the six she already has, I was able to cue the shaming like I can cue the three note ending to a Mozart Concerto.
These families that I knew growing up were applauded for their love of children. When the mother of my friends from school spoke of adopting after her youngest two reached school age, everyone just agreed that it made sense. She was used to having children in the house. Not one person ever accused her of being “addicted” to children, only of loving them so much.
So, why then is it assumed that Nadya Suleman certainly have mental issues, or that she must certainly be addicted? She wanted a large family, and her plans and decisions didn’t flow well w/ what her more conservative mother thought was ideal, so that suddenly makes her a bad person? If her mother had such a problem w/ Nadya’s freedom of choice, she certainly needed to recognize that she, too is an adult, and needs to use her words, and deal w/ her own choices. Can’t we just accept that she has always wanted a large family? I know plenty of people who grew up as only children who feel that same way.
Angela Suleman also revealed that her daughter’s obsession with children caused her considerable stress, and led her to seek help from a psychologist, who had told her to order her daughter out of the house.
“Maybe she wouldn’t have had so many kids then, but she is a grown woman,” Angela said. “I feel responsible and I didn’t want to throw her out.”
If she didn’t want to help her daughter, that was her right. No one forced her to go along w/ her daughter’s plans. Angela Suleman, while crying out for her daughter to take responsibility, needs to take her own advice.
That brings me to another thought: Who the hell’s business is it how many children Nadya Suleman has, or why? I have seen all over the internet and the news people feeling free to tote out their opinions on this matter, including questioning her mental condition, the ethics of a doctor helping her w/ IVF treatment, the appropriateness of her having so many children w/o a father in the picture (but who the hell is to say that there isn’t one, or that she doesn’t have a partner that no one knows about?). I see a ton of people judging whether she deserves these children, or the government support she receives for her disability. I have seen one person argue that since she is in fact disabled that she had no business having more children. I would kindly ask holders of such sentiments to go fuck themselves, as I do not believe that those of us struggling w/ disabilities need to be told what to do w/ our reproductive systems. Passers by are always quick w/ an opinion on how others should live their lives, but as I have said b/f, if it isn’t your body and it isn’t your circumstance, and I only give a little leeway to a person’s personal physician, then said people should butt the fuck out.
Something else troubling that I am reading in the news reports and online is that people are simply awestruck and dumbfounded that a doctor would implant so many embryos, and even more troubling is this:
Then there is the question of why doctors allowed Suleman to keep all eight embryos once they took hold in her womb, despite the enormous risks to her: even having triplets puts a woman and her babies at huge risk of death or serious injury.
Excuse me? Allowed her to keep? I know that the forced pregnancy squad is all over telling a woman what she can and should do w/ her body, but I get a little more than outraged when anyone presumes that they have the right to tell a woman that she should or should not have a baby, or babies, as the case may be. No one except for Nadya Suleman was in charge of the decision to carry all eight of those fetuses to term, no one. It was her choice and hers alone, and until people on both sides of the choice argument begin to wrap their self presumed superior minds around that little fact we have a long way to go b/f women are seen people w/ full agency, let alone equal. Post feminist world my Native Ass. That faked outrage is really funny, since I hear all the time from the Anti-choicers how pregnancy isn’t dangerous in the least, and that there really is no health risk that should allow a mother to abort. Even in a case of multiples.
There are two sides to choice. A woman’s right to choose is exactly that, and it doesn’t matter how squicky you feel about it. The only fucking thing that matters is that woman and what she wants w/ her body. This woman has a plan, based on her own interview, and we may not like it, we may not all agree w/ the way she is doing it, but tough. It’s Not. Our. Call. Her right to become a mother is just as sacred as any woman’s right not to. That is worth defending.