Monday, February 2, 2009
News of the day~
So what do you think about the octuplets? There are judgements flying right and left and I guess I'm sitting back to see how it all plays out before I develop a firm opinion about it. I mean, none of it is my business, obviously. But it's on the news and I've seen other people commenting on it and I'm just a bit beside myself. The mother of all these babies is 33 years old, unmarried according to her mother, and lives with her parents. She also has 6 other children all under the age of 8. My first thought upon hearing that set of facts was "Is that woman freaking nuts?!??!" Okay, part of me definitely STILL says that. But I'm trying not to.
Then the news reports start coming out with things like the grandmother saying her daughter plans on talking to Oprah, and Diane Sawyer, and she needs money from media deals to support her family. Um. True? Fabrication? I have no idea.
Next comes the commentary comparing the mother of the octuplets with Kate from "Jon & Kate plus 8" fame. Anyone who reads here knows I watch that show, and under the influence of Ambien ordered their book unknowingly. I read it - with full consciousness. One huge difference between Jon & Kate and the octuplet mom, is that Jon and Kate used IUF which is intra-uterine fertilization. The ovaries are stimulated with the use of fertility drugs and then the sperm is introduced into the uterus. From there - what happens, happens. Kate & Jon did not set out to have 6 babies. But when they found out there WERE 6 babies, they chose not to have "selective reduction". They are a very religious couple and that, to them, was not an option.
The octuplet mom had in vitro fertilization, if reports are correct. She had 8 fertilized embryos implanted in her uterus at once. I don't doubt that she didn't think they would all take but oh my gosh - she doesn't have a partner, and she lives with her parents! Why would she take the chance of having 8 babies all at once? Now she has 14 children, all under the age of 8.
There are people who criticize Jon & Kate for putting their kids on TV and all that, but honestly, after being approached about doing what started out as a documentary, I think they ended up doing it to provide for their family. I think that if at any moment they believed as parents that the show is a detriment to those children they will stop doing it. But for now - the opportunities their show has afforded their family have been fabulous. If you watch the show I think you will find that the kids (the sextuplets and their twin sisters) are all quite well behaved and well adjusted. Kate is a super OCD mom who keeps germs at bay and everything and everyone organized. Jon is a very involved dad, very loving and totally hands on, as much of an equal partner as he can be considering he does have an additional full time job.
In the case of Jon & Kate I think they ended up with a situation they were not expecting, and have done the best they possibly could under the circumstances. It turned out they were a likable couple and their audience embraced them, even if they did feel inadequate when it came to cooking (all organic) and cleaning and all the stuff Kate does with 8 kids that most of us don't do nearly as well with 2 or 3.
Now back to the octuplet mom. I wish I knew more. Here is my main concern. People are becoming more and more taken aback about her situation to the point of condemnation. Regardless of whether or not she went about this in an irresponsible and reckless way in many people's minds, she is going to need help. There are going to be 3 adults and 14 children in a small 3 bedroom house. Every one of those babies will need to be fed and diapered and held and rocked, over and over every single day. When Jon & Kate came home from the hospital and brought those babies home, they had lists of volunteers from their church and community lining up to help. People contributed diapers and clothes and money and time and their hands. They came in shifts, stayed up at night with multiple babies, took care of them and the older 2 girls, and for the first year all of those people, all those who volunteered were necessary. Kate is one of those control freaks who had trouble accepting the help but she realized very quickly how absolutely crucial all those people were for the well-being of her babies.
This mom of octuplets is not coming across very well in the media. Even though all the facts aren't out yet and people are not sure they know the whole story, what they DO know is enough to make them criticize this mom. I understand, I am trying my best not to do it myself. But what I am afraid of is that the lines of people wanting to help, those shifts of neighbors and friends and community groups reaching out to help will not materialize - because people are judging the mom and not thinking about the babies. You know, she's a nut - why should we help her? She asked for this, let HER deal with it!
I wish all babies were born into the very best families and the very best situations but it just doesn't happen that way all the time. There are 8 little babies, preemies, who are going to be coming home in the next few weeks or months. Will there be enough people who can put their opinions aside and help? Easy for me to ask sitting here in Illinois when those babies are in California, isn't it? I have to ask myself what I would do if I were there, in the immediate vicinity of that family, such as it is. Would I volunteer? Would you?