It Takes a Village to Raise Octomom’s Kids

Nadya Suleman became a household name when it was revealed that she gave birth to octuplets. That was news enough, but her notoriety grew even larger after it was revealed she had already borne six other children.  Notwithstanding the Duggars, by modern day standards that’s an extremely large family.

But not every child born is considered a blessing, and Suleman’s case emphasizes this.  One of the main concerns raised by commentators is her ability to support her multitude without government aid.  We may pay lip service to the phrase that it takes a village to raise a child, but if it involves our wallets the village has other priorities. Although children contribute to social progress once they become adults, there is substantial resistance to supporting them economically along the way.

TMZ recently reported that Suleman could face foreclosure on her home if she couldn’t make a balloon payment of $450,000 (UPDATE: A payment plan was worked out.).  Predictably, the comments on this report were filled with sexist vitriol regarding her (in)ability to support her family.  One commenter had this to spew:

“Dumb Bitch! She should have thought about that before bringing all those children into the world! Hope they take them all away and she ends up homeless! Nasty Ass! She should get money to get that garage door she calls a Vagina! Fixed!”

Not surprisingly, once news of her financial distress hit, the porn industry came calling. Steven Hirsh recently offered to pay off the balance of her mortgage if she agreed to star in a sex tape. Although there are certainly those who actively choose to participate in porn, poor women sometimes don’t have the choice–it may be the only option left open for them to stave off hunger and homelessness.

Despite the time and dedication that motherhood takes, it is still not conceived of as work, because it is labor largely performed by women and doesn’t produce something that can be sold for a profit. At least in Venezuela, which pays mothers 80 percent of the national minimum wage, or Argentina, which pays mothers Social Security retirement pay without a requirement that they contribute to the fund, motherhood is recognized as contributing to the social welfare.

In  the article “Middle Class and Broke” from The American Prospect, Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi write ominously:

Motherhood is now the single best predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse. And, contrary to every popular assumption, the parents who find themselves in the bankruptcy courts are not chronically poor.

Instead of being seen as casualties at the interaction of capitalism and sexism, mothers who find themselves on the margins economically are often shamed.  Anyone who has ever applied for social services can attest to the rigors and embarrassment required before one is blessed with the scant funding that is available.

And mothers who are poor do not suffer alone.  According to the NCCP (National Centre for Children in Poverty), nineteen percent of children in the U.S. live in families considered officially poor (14 million children) and eight percent live in extreme poor families (6.2 million).

Although Nadya Suleman made the decision to have these children, none of the 14 asked to born. Even if we are contemptuous of her reproductive decisions, should her children suffer? When we fail to invest in children in the form of education, shelter, sustenance and healthcare, we create yet another generation who are not prepared to participate in the modern job market.

Motherhood and children are not nearly as valued as the social myth would have us believe. We do not support them economically nor prioritize their needs in our political decisions. Suleman has committed no crime; she simply chose to reproduce above the national average without a substantial private source of income. For that she is demonized.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photoann/ / CC BY 2.0

Comments

  1. You skipped over the glaring factoids that she hasn`t worked anything but the system for over 10 years, collecting workman`s comp, government grants far exceeding the amount neccessary for her schooling, SSI for 3 of her 6 prior children, food stamps and living rent free in 2 of her mother`s homes which were eventually foreclosed on. This is the SAME period of ten years that she somehow managed to doggedly (pun intended) pursue the very expensive option of artificially manufacturing FOURTEEN offspring.
    So when you say “Suleman has committed no crime; she simply chose to reproduce above the national average without a substantial private source of income. For that she is demonized.” I have to respond.
    Responsible citizens have a right to an opinion about any member of our society that so blatantly abuses the system. Nobody has done what the majority are thinking, which is remove the children and jail the mother. Because as you pointed out, “she has committed no crime”.
    Did you also believe last year that her doctor had committed no crime? You might want to catch up.
    http://www.latimes.com/includes/misc/kamravaaccusation.pdf
    Please pay particular attention to the charge of deliberately creating FRESH embryos with every cycle (when frozen were available) thus creating a STOCKPILE of frozen embryos that “serve no clinical purpose”.
    The wheels of justice turn slowly, and her scams will be uncovered. Meanwhile, we will voice our opinion and “demonize” her to the best of our ability.

  2. Peanut Santiago says:

    Nadya Suleman was getting workers compensation for a BAD BACK when she met up with crazy Doctor Kamrava and started her DELIBERATE journey to mass motherhood. Four single pregnancies and a set of twins while STILL collecting on a bad back. Three of those older kids are disabled. She also got food stamps and other government welfare programs.

    Then she gets the bright idea to go for broke. High order multiples could bring fame and fortune and she wanted Kate Gosselin’s lifestyle. Her crazy doctor, according to fertility experts, implanted 12-14 embryos to achieve an octuplet pregnancy. She has admitted to 11 embryos….though she occasionally sticks to the story of six implanted embryos splitting into two sets of identical twins. (Yet no babies look alike.)

    Medicaid (the taxpayers) probably spent over a MILLION dollars on her pregnancy, delivery, and the postnatal care of the octuplets. And several of those babies are probably disabled.

    She had NOTHING ready for her eight babies and her father and others had to scramble to get her a house and baby supplies.

    She had lived with her mother, trashed the house, and that house was foreclosed for not paying the mortgage. Photos showed a filthy home where no kid should be living.

    When she settled in her new home….she pimped out the octuplets for money. RadarOnline, TMZ, Fox, Eyeworks….a lot of money came in.

    And the money burned a hole in her pocket. She spent like a drunken sailor….manis/pedis, fast food, expensive clothes and cosmetics, outings to Disney and other places, PLASTIC SURGERY, tons of toys….at least two of her kids were going to private school…..

    A team of “nannies” took (take) care of the kids and house while Nadya is out constantly shopping and enjoying herself. She shows little interest in her OWN kids!

    Fast forward. The public is sick of her and her lies, scamming, and scheming. She blew most of her money. Little money is now coming in. Daddy’s mortgage (balloon payment and monthly payment) became due.

    Nadya obviously did NOT pay the rent to her daddy and her daddy did NOT pay the mortgage….. Yet she went on a beg fest to try and get people to pay off the house.

    Then she considers doing porno….and settles on putting a nasty sign on her front lawn telling people to spay their pets so they won’t become an “octomom.” How low can you go to trash your OWN kids? What about her kids’ feelings?

    I fully agree that the kids did NOT ask to be born. However, Nadya Suleman is an extreme case of poor parenting. What would happen to the kids without their “nannies” being there? Would….could…..Nadya do it herself? Would she want to?

    Those kids are innocent….but they need new, better homes with parents that love them, not staying with an arrogant, selfish, entitled, psychopathic birthing unit who ONLY had them for fame and fortune and the plan did not work out right.

    The kids are not to blame. Help them WITHOUT helping their no-good not-a-mama baby machine!

    Some women can give birth….but are NOT mothers. They just are NOT capable!

  3. PS. Venezuela? Argentina? *surprised face* Has WHAT to do with any of this???

  4. Both of you are determined to miss the entire point of this article because as I wrote, you have decided that Ms.Suleman needs punishment. Did it ever occur to either of you that the people that you are really punishing are her children by not ensuring that she has an adequate income to support them. Remember the 14 kids. When a mother is poor that means her children are poor. The first class we have in life is the class that we are born into and depending on what it is our life chances may be drastically reduced.
    Venezuela and Argentina were used as examples of countries that have instituted social pensions allowing women to stay home and take care of their families. It’s funny how this is seen as a drain when a poor woman does this and yet we are continually advocating for more family time. I suppose this is something we believe only rich families deserve.

    Finally, Dixie you can save your condescension for someone else.

  5. We need NO more incentives for this kind of behaviour in the US. If that is what Argentina and Venezuela feel they need to do fine, that is their choice and policy.

    This village in Whittier/La Habra CA is getting a little more than fed up with our “Village Idiot”. Her Eyeworks special showed the children in a horrible light. A 6 yr. old using a pacifier!! Screwdriver being thrown at and hitting her face by her eldest!!!

    These kids get enough ridicule because of her behaviour in the community that doesn’t EVEN get reported, just observed by many eyes.

    She could have put herself and family in the beginning by just saying “thank you”. I’ve yet to see or hear those words grace her lips. Not to Dr. Phil, not to the well meaning folks who donated, time, talent and treasure to help her out, NO ONE.

    She needs help alright, but, not with the mortgage!

  6. Debra Anderson says:

    Did it not occur to you that Nayda Suleman, herself is punishing her children because of her selfish idea to become a “star” on the backs of her own children. How was she going to feed them, how was she going to cloth them, school them, medical attention. Not giving these things ANY thought BEFORE hey are born IS punishing the child.
    What have you done to help the Suleman situation? I get tired of people who don’t put their money where their mouth is. What have you done???

  7. Should her children suffer? No. However, thankfully, most people, even in Argentina make decisions on whether or not to have more children based on such factors as their ability to financially and emotionally support that child. Even with her “I only wanted just one more” BS, she was not supporting the first six, living with her mother in her about to be foreclosed home, collecting SSI, workers comp and school loans to support the 6 children she already had.

    Using valid studies to compare the plight of mothers falling into poverty because of societal inadequacies and injustices and compare that to the actions of Nadya to birth into prosperity is demeaning to hard working mothers everywhere.

  8. The point is that Nadya Only had the babies to enrich herself. Yes, we All know that if the
    mother is poor then the children are poor. She was already poor with the six she already had
    and yet went on to have more. Why do you think that is?? Now she cannot support the 14
    children, 14!!

    She has 8 little babies that are not attached to her at this point and there are
    good,loving families out there that would be able to give them a chance in life. She cannot and
    will not do it.

    SHE is the one who is punishing these children in the worse way, not us who
    do not support her selfish antics.

  9. Debra-

    What have I done? I pray and I watch. To give her money she cannot handle is foolish! I give generously to the charities of my choosing.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Oh, and I certainly DO PAY taxes! You know what helped/helps/will help support her.

    Yes, in America we are allowed to act as selfishly and irresponsibly as we want…until my freedom is impinged upon. I’m very tired of paying for other people’s reckless behaviour! Nadya Suleman is one of the tops on my list. I live here and see first hand WHERE the money goes!

  10. I agree the children should be helped and cared for, and I fully agree that we do far too little in this country to help those in poverty — especially women and children. Our policies do not support “family values” despite the blatant use of that phrase by politicians throughout the country.

    However, Nadya Suleman is NOT the poster child for poor families. She made decisions — and went to tremendous effort and money — to have children that she was not prepared to care for in any fashion — financially, yes, but also emotionally. She did not have her children out of concern or love for her children (either the octuplets or the six she had before). She had children because they filled some pathetic need of her own. And, just to emphasize that this is not about class, I feel the same way about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They may be able to financially provide for their children — but I seriously doubt they are raising them (except when it makes a good photo op) or providing for them emotionally. They also didn’t choose to parent out of love or concern for their children — it fit some nice badge of honor for them, too. When you become a parent — regardless of your social class — you have a responsibility to think about your children and to put them above what you want. I think much of the anger at Nadya is that she so blatantly did not do that.

  11. Poucette says:

    Oh, poor little Nadya, getting “sexist” vitriol thrown at her. It’s not sexism–it’s outrage at her behavior, and concern for her pitiful children. Just because she happens to be a woman doesn’t mean that criticism aimed at her is automatically sexist. And I beg to differ–she has most likely committed several crimes. She belongs in jail, and her children need to adopted out to loving, capable homes.

  12. My goodness Renee. What neither you nor have done is convince any of us why those 14 children are any more deserving of public handouts/support or any of the finer things in life than the hundreds of millions of children who’s parents struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs every day. Why should Suleman and her children get special breaks and donations just for existing when families of our military go without each and everyday? Why should we give a flying fig about what a selfish, insane woman is doing when there are children in every city in every country around the world who have neither a bed to sleep in tonight or medication to keep them healthy?

    Her kids mean no more to me than every other child out there. And I refuse to vault them to the head of the handout line just because she had them by the litterful.

  13. Peanut Santiago says:

    Why should Americans help (donate to) a woman who made money (pimping out her octuplets) and blew all that money mostly on herself? Bad enough our welfare might have to support her and her kids….but we do NOT want to give her donations too.

    Most likely, for the first time in 2009, Nadya had a good amount of money in her hands. What did she do? Spend it. However, she did not pay off her (father’s) house. She did not put it in the bank. She did not do anything to prepare for the day when the income might be less.

    She spent her money on expensive clothes, cosmetics, outings, toys….plus fast food and anything her little heart desired. She probably blew it all while “nannies” (the hired help) took care of her kids. Two of her kids went (go?) to private school.

    We are heartless? We are sexist?
    I am an older woman, mother, and a (former) breadwinner…now disabled.
    I sure don’t have any money and easily fit in the poor category…or close to it.
    I sure am NOT an elite! The notion just makes me laugh.

    I am horrified by the selfishness and un-motherly actions by this woman who just managed to be good at reproducing!

    Feel free to support her financially….and just watch her burn through the money mostly on herself, ungrateful, and when the money is gone….go on another begging spree.

    Those kids should be adopted out.

    If you wish to really help….there are PLENTY of poor, hardworking, American mothers who need and DESERVE the help.

    Do NOT waste your time helping Nadya OR feeling sorry for her! She is just plain no good.

  14. donedonedone says:

    I find it really odd, especially in light of you writing in Ms., that you are completely ignoring the father’s responsibility in all this ..

    She did not get these eggs fertilized under her pillow. If this guy kept on giving her more sperm –for a total of 11 separate in vitro series–despite knowing what increasingly perilous condition his own kids were in, he is equally as culpable. So why isn’t anyone going after him, too? He wasn’t lending her his car keys. He was deliberately spawning and walking away.

    Since he is purported to be a very well off local doctor—- and he’s not the fertility specialist- –that makes this even more unethically heinous. I can’t understand why they are not both arrested for child abuse. Maybe eventually they will be.

    Why are the men in this, who could have stopped this at any time over a decade and never did, not being given the same scrutiny?
    Even rabbits don’t breed so haphazardly and certainly have more of a relationship with their young.

  15. Ms. Martin, your comment included the statement:

    “Did it ever occur to either of you that the people that you are really punishing are her children by not ensuring that she has an adequate income to support them. Remember the 14 kids. When a mother is poor that means her children are poor.”

    As Ms. Suleman herself would say, “I feel obligated, almost compelled,” to challenge your assumption that she is “poor,” in terms of not actually *having* enough financial resources to support her children (unlike so many parents in our country who ARE truly struggling to give their children the basics of food, clothing and shelter). A “poor” mother would not have had the resources to undergo almost ten years of the hormonal therapy and IVF procedures that created her large family. And, over the past year, Ms. Suleman’s income has been far more than most American families will see in a lifetime. Choosing to spend this money irresponsibly, instead of prioritizing the need for a roof over the family’s head, was a matter of personal choice, not economic necessity.

    For that reason, your suggestion that we, as the general public, should assume responsibility for “ensuring that she has an adequate income to support them” is not a workable solution in this case. Ms. Suleman’s actions over the past year have shown us that making more resources available to her will do nothing but contribute to more irresponsible spending, which brings no benefit to the children. As long as the children remain in her care, no amount of money will have a positive impact on their situation.

  16. Hopeflys says:

    The children should not suffer but how do you support them with their mother in the way. The octuplets were homeless at the time of their birth. When they were born Nadya’s six older children were living with her mother in a filthy rundown home that was headed into foreclosure. The hospital would never have released those babies to that house but that is where exactly where Nadya was content to have her six older children living. There was no home for the octuplets to go to, no cribs for them to sleep in, no cozy layettes, no diapers, nothing in place to care for eight tiny babies. In the early interviews none of this seemed to bother Nadya. When asked how she would support them she would always talk of “little opportunities”. People donated so much to her over the year and we watched as she got manicures and shopped for sexy nightgowns. She wears designer clothes and sunglasses and carries designer handbags. She is spotted in Nordstroms and working out at the gym. This begs the question, when you donate money to support her children where does your money really go. She has known about the balloon payment for a year. Much like the day the octuplets were born she and her family are again facing foreclosure. And again much like the day the octuplets were born she points her perfectly manicured finger at us and challenges our values. Everything has been given to her to take care of her family. She has a college degree, she has babysitters, she needs to get off her ass and get a job just like the “villagers” she keeps hitting up for money. On that mortgage loan application under the employed section it would look way better to fill in “Walmart greeter” than unemployed.

  17. Mom of 3 says:

    “When a mother is poor that means her children are poor.”

    AND, since the beginning of time, “poor” children have far lower chance of survival than children born into plenty.

    Since the beginning time the greatest joy and success of the human experience was the birth of a child. The darkest despair, the death or suffering of a child. So we reproduced carefully and cautiously. The attractive mate was one who was healthy, could prove their skills to provide and protect, and would stick around to impart those skills so the next generation could survive and provide.

    Women today have a choice about when and with whom they have a child with, so I DO have more prejudice than compassion for women who impose poverty and poor outcome on children because they “accidentally” got pregnant. I also believe that women who choose irresponsible men as mates are equally irresponsible.

    I especially despise “women” like Nadya Suleman, who with the maturity of a preteen, has child after child to provide HERSELF with an identity, status, and an EXCUSE to remain dependent on her parents and her VILLAGE. Even worse was that she irrationally and without conscience or care for her 6 children already living in poverty, implanted 12-14 BLASTOCYST embryos to produce a WINDFALL of low birth weight babies!! Why?

    [OK, she is an extreme outlier, and crazy, which is a good reason NOT to encourage or subsidize her without a lot of professional supervision.]

    So what is the Village to do? Don’t these subsidies sometimes perpetuate the cycle of dependence? A hundred years ago, before any social safety nets, didn’t the harshness of life itself self limit casual reproduction?

    Are children now an entitlement whatever the circumstance? Are the children less entitled to a fair shot at life? An afterthought?

    I’m thinking mothers today are not so devalued as children are. If we valued children first, we wouldn’t make them if we couldn’t provide for them.

  18. JaneMarsee says:

    Ms. Martin should it be my responsibility to support your child? If you say, “it’s not, my husband and I support our children”. That’s the right answer. It’s the parents who are supposed to provide for their children, not anyone else.

    Nadya knowingly had 11 rounds of IVF, while on Welfare, SSI, Workman’s’ Comp and MediCal. She has never spent a day working to support herself and her children.

    No doubt she watched TLC, for the umpteenth episode, and decided, “Ah ha, I’ll have 11 embryos stuffed into my uterus and be just as rich and famous as Jon&Kate.” Is TLC responsible for this fiasco, should they be supporting all 14 of Nadya’s children? By your logic, as you stated, they should.

    Jon & Kate pimped out their sextuplets quite nicely to the tune of several million dollars and Nadya and Company thought that octuplets would be a shoo in for multi-millions.

    Nadya’s timing was wrong. We are in another Depression and people have had a belly full (pun intended) of these HOM (high order multiples) moms who think they are so special. Kate and Nadya are opposite sides of the same coin. No difference. God did not intend for women to give birth to litters of babies. Both of these women did so via artificial means.

    Nadya went through at least $450k in 2009. If she had been taught to be responsible, not entitled, she could have paid her mortgage off in time. But, Nadya acts and thinks like a 13 year-old girl. Who would give a 13 year-old such amount of money? Well, Radar, Eyeworks, ABC and others in the media business did. If you gave Nadya $10 million dollars, she would be broke in another year and still not have her home paid for.

    Do not; do not attempt to put the blame on the hardworking, taxpaying American citizens who have carried Nadya’s lazy ass for over 10 years. That is a guaranteed method to get comments–which you have probably learned already.

  19. Danica Flattery says:

    I’d like to correct your assumption that Nadya hasn’t committed a crime (until the Federal Investigations against her are finished we truly don’t know). There are some glaring problems with the records, gotten by the Freedom of Information Act. While this woman was on food stamps, had no job that the IRS knows about, and only getting workman’s comp for 10 years, she had 11 IVF treatments, (110k to 165K estimated value) resulting in 6 pregnancies. I’d personally like to know how she paid for her IVF, or what services (egg donation possibly?) she traded for IVF and if they are taxable. I’d also like to know if she was getting any form of welfare at this time, since, if she did, she’s got some serious explaining to do to the IRS, The State of California and other Government and Federal agencies. Since 3K is the maximum amount of assets you are allowed, how did she PAY for her IVF? Nadya herself states she had gotten assistance for 1.5 years before the birth of the Octuplets. As you can see, there’s a huge problem in documents gotten from the Freedom of Information Act, the times and dates specified, and Nadya receiving of welfare benefits…

  20. If you can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em!!

  21. Oh, I will whole heartedly advocate for those children any day of the week, but what I refuse to do is enable their mother.

    And since I can and will continue to advocate for their mother, I will argue, vehemently, that at least the eight babies be placed into permanent and open adoptive homes. It remains to be seen whether Ms. Suleman is qualified to take care of a dog, but what is already clearly established is that she is incapable of being a provider, nurturer and parent.

    By allowing the 8 babies (well, technically toddlers) to be placed in open adoptive homes, they can grow up knowing eachother, their older six siblings and their biological mother. BUT the adoptive parents can provide them with what the mindless breeder can not – love, stability, a safe and appropriate home, and a loving and nurturing care giver.

    I highly value motherhood. I highly value family & children, but neither of these facts can logically correlate to Nadya Suleman. The fact is that she IS a mindless breeder, as apparent by the soon to be PETA sign in her front yard.

    She committed years of fraud (welfare, worker’s comp, and maybe a few other programs. Need proof? Well, it’s out there. Just google it. I know people have compared the workers’ comp records to the infertility medical records and then understand that she was illegally obtaining welfare while paying tens of thousands for back to back to back in vitro fertilizations – all while on disability for an injured back that allegedly left her unable to work, function and suicidal! Oh, dont’ take my word for it. READ THE RECORDS. Do a little investigating!!!)

    I spent my professional lifetime in service of families and children. I worked for CPS and I do understand the system (and it’s broken). If the system had been functioning properly, people like Nadya Suleman couldn’t exist. They would have been caught with the first scheme, the first fraud, the first deceit.

    The sooner those children are removed from their exploiter, um, I mean mother, No, I mean EXPLOITER, the better chance they have for normal and healthy lives. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. And as a tax payer, I will happily subsidize adoptions for those children. I will happily contribute to their upbringing, but only if they are removed from the home of a severely mentally ill and exploitative parent. (Remember, this is the woman who is now broke and can’t pay her mortgage, but dropped thousands upon thousands of dollars on designer wardrobes, plastic surgery, and an entourage. )

  22. Correcting a mistake: I can and will continue to advocate for those CHILDREN.
    This is what happens when I get all fired up! I think it correctly in my head, but then I’m three sentences behind when typing.
    Sorry. I think the intent is clear.

  23. Mom of 3 says:

    A friend just called me out for being harsh for calling women who have children with irreponsible men equally irresponsible. I agree and apologize for making such a broad brush judgement.

    But ponder on this: It takes a woman TEN YEARS to financially recover from having a broken relationship/marrige that involves a child! Ten years! Is this fair? Of course not. Do we dream of moving our children from place to place, and crappy school to crappy school, while subsisting on food stamps and low ball child support?

    Knowing the consequences poverty would have on a potential child, shouldn’t we be more careful and discriminating when selecting a mate?

    As for the Octomom, she galls us because because as a white woman with a middle class background, she imagines her unemployed lazy self as somehow too good for section 8, ENTITLED instead to a half million dollar home she has no means to pay for! And because of the FOURTEEN CHILDREN she schemed up, we should out of sympathy bump her special ass to the head of a gravy train???

  24. The attitude displayed in this thread is exactly why some of your inner cities look like third world countries. This rugged individualism is not only socially irresponsible it widens the gap between rich and poor. Since when is raising 8 children all under the age of 2 not work? Give me a break.

  25. PioneerGrrrl says:

    Having been on foodstamps myself after growing up in a rich suburban family, I know how difficult applications to the program can get. Texas requires applicants have under 5,000 in financial assets when we apply.

    But I can feel for her kids. They had not asked for this sittuation. And they will have lots of issues to deal with as they get older, including the purpose of having been concieved.

    And I realize that were she not white, conservative politicians/pundits/talk radio would be constantly using her as ‘the reason’ why whatever now exists of the social safety net must immediately and permanently be dismantled. However she is instead an ‘individual’ who merely made a bad choice for herself.

  26. Mom of 3 says:

    Renee, I think the Octomom was a poor chioce as an example of the very good issue you are trying to raise. She has FOURTEEN children under the age of 8. Is that work? of course! Is it work that one person can manage or afford? Of course NOT. So why did she embark on this irrational madness? BECAUSE SHE IS NOT RIGHT IN THE HEAD!
    In her case her children are FAR more at risk because of her mental incapacity and immaturity than her financial one. I hope she is NEVER left alone with those children.

    I don’t know the inner city, but in my very rural area, heroin and meth are as cheap and common as cigarettes. Being a teenage mom is considered a step up from being NOTHING. Being NOTHING looms hard and inevitable for the many teens in my area that are themselves the neglected and invisible children of passed out mothers. Having a baby wins you drama, attention, welfare benefits, and an excuse not to go out into the scary world you have no experience with. I know MANY kids who have never been out of the county. Never been in a mall, a restaurant [not Mc Donalds], an elevator, a bus, or even a pool!. Neither have their parents. They have no guide or model. They are afraid, so they find a way to stay, and repeat their parents familar if unhappy lives.

    Benefit programs and Childrens Medical Security are available, but only as beneficial to children as the parent makes use of them. Children with parents who are mentally ill, disabled or have substance abuse issues suffer the most. Their “caregivers” may not be together enough to provide regular meals, supervise schoolwork, or even notice a childs illness.

    I don’t have a fix or an answer. Throwing money at mothers is not the solution to child poverty and suffering. In my experience many girls need help, and hope, and options BEFORE they GIVE UP and become mothers.

  27. PioneerGrrrl says:

    And I look at a former high school classmate of mine who, despite having difficulty raising the child she was pregnant with during high school, has decided to have another one.

    I know she loves children very much. But loving children is not the same as being able to adequately provide for them in a state with a threadbare social services network. Texas is notorious for inadequate benefits.

    Even if she’s now married, she’s having problems collecting childsupport from father number one. He’s not paying up.

    I wish that our ‘upscale’ suburban high school had provided comprehensive sex education. She had needed a more realistic perspective on what becoming a teenage mother actually would be like.

    Going to a very conservative church romanticized motherhood to the point where she was excited about becoming pregnant. Sad but true.

  28. Renee wrote: “The attitude displayed in this thread is exactly why some of your inner cities look like third world countries. This rugged individualism is not only socially irresponsible it widens the gap between rich and poor. Since when is raising 8 children all under the age of 2 not work? Give me a break.”

    I honestly think you’re not understanding the outrage and frustration concerning Nadya Suleman. I am one of the biggest bleeding hearts on this planet. I spent my professional life advocating for families and their well being. I personally founded a small, non profit group for assisting people who have fallen on hard times, and the vast majority of people who needed my help were people who fell on hard times due to no irresponsible action on their own: illness, disability, spouse left, house burned down, etc. And even those whose downfalls were due to an irresponsible decision, we still had an open arms policy. we helped without judgment. It was our place to assist in healing – not place blame.

    But there is just so much that is misunderstood about Nadya Suleman. There is so much that not come to light.

    For example, did you know that while she was spending tens of thousands of dollars on back to back to back in vitro fertilizations, she was telling the medical review doctors (for her workers comp disability case) that her back was so painful that she couldn’t get out of bed. She also told the workers comp doctors that she had put having children on hold b/c she was now battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts — WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT!!! She told the doctors that her life had been destroyed by the on the job back injury. She couldn’t leave the house, socialize with friends, or even get out of bed. She said that she often thought about killing herself b/c she couldn’t deal with teh pain, and part of that heartache was stemming from the fact that she now didn’t believe she could ever have children. But she was pregnant from IVF. She was outright lying to the disability/worker’s comp doctors, refusing to cooperate with treatment plans b/c she was pregnant and didn’t want them to know.

    Did you know that her 6 previous children were living in squalor in her mother’s house that was foreclosed on? And her own mother has said that Nadya never paid her a single cent in rent. And did you know that she lied to her mother and said she wasn’t pregnant – she had a tumor when her mother questioned her about having another baby? (After her mother was raising the 6 older children). And did you know that this house was filthy? and nasty? And instead of providing a descent home for the 6 older children, Nadya squandered her “riches” on additional in vitro procedures? When she was not caring for the older six children at all, she was secretly going in for additional IVF procedures.

    And as a former social worker, I don’t see how it’s possible that Nadya could have qualified for food stamps or additional income/asset based assistance programs, if she had in excess of $10,000 for the in vitro procedures. These assistance programs ALWAYS have asset limitations. It is typically between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on where you live. According to the most conservative estimates (and Nadya’s own words with Anne Curry), she spent in excess of $100,000 on IVF. So how did she qualify for poverty programs, if she had over $100,000 to spend on IVF?

    The anger and outrage expressed against Nadya Suleman is not applicable to other mothers, single mother, or poor individuals. The “inner city” comments do not apply. Nadya Suleman is a unique case that brings out the fire in people, even absolute bleeding hearts like me. And if each of us would pause and think about what it must be like to be one of her “little opportunities” (I mean CHILDREN), then we would all share that outrage.

    Remember, this is a woman who ripped up a picture of Kate Gosselin! Nadya said that Kate Gosselin was “fake” and “attention seeking” and that she would never, ever, ever, ever, ever stoop so low as to be photographed in a bikini. And fast forward, and there Nadya Suleman is, in all her plastic surgery glory, on the cover of a magazine in a bikini!!

    Nadya Suleman does not deserve our pity or sympathy. Her children do. And if people were to step in and generously donate money to “save the children” – there is no doubt these funds would be blown on star bucks coffee, the make up counter, more plastic surgery and designer clothes.

    Please, do not take my word for this: you are a writer, a researcher. DO THE RESEARCH!! The worker’s comp documents are available under the freedom of information act, and now that Kamrava is under fire, parts of nadya’s medical records are now available too. Get them. READ THEM. See the lies. See the fraud. And then let’s see how you feel about her? Think about each of those precious 14 lives, each one being tossed aside for the next pregnancy. And think about her using FRESH embryos each time (and then remember her RO interview with her mother where NS says she had to use the LAST 6 frozen embryos b/c if you don’t use them, you lose them. She said that she considered frozen embryos to be “her children” but if you read the medical records, you will see that she used FRESH ones every time, and there are untold numbers of frozen ones still out there!

    Nadya Suleman is a professional liar. She lies. That’s all she does.

    But again, I strongly and emphatically encourage you to not take my (or anyone else’s) word for it. READ it for yourself. DO some research. I think you’ll see your perspective shifting a bit. Even a bleeding heart liberal, such as myself, cannot excuse what Nadya Suleman has done.

  29. Here’s a link to my hometown’s blog:

    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/newbury-vt/T7QGOD4PJ7V4TSL5D

    As you can see, the issues are not just financial.

  30. Most of all, I don’t understand how anyone could defend a woman that intentionally
    implanted 11 embryos. Yes, eleven. Even if you overlook the rest of her situation,
    you must face the fact that she implanted 11 embryos. How is that defensible behavior?

  31. I say again, this post is not about defending Nadya Suleman or her reproductive choices. What people are not understanding is that a failure to support her financially, means that the children are going to suffer. You may feel as though her method of conception is problematic; however, that in no way erases the fact that these children need to be fed, clothed and housed.

    Until such time as she is legally found guilty of something, everything else is simply speculation. If child protective services had a reason to seize these children they would long ago have done so. There are 14 siblings involved and the best case scenario is for them to stay together and grow together, which I believe would be unlikely in the system.

    Also, the amount of ableism in this thread is DISGUSTING. Simply because someone is neurologically atypical, does not mean that they are an unfit parent. Again, this is probably something that could be managed with a supporting community, but it seems that society would much rather crucify the woman.

  32. Renee-
    I don’t understand you ignoring the basic fact that responsibility for raising children does not fall on “the village” but rather the parent. Being a single parent by choice doesn’t negate that responsibility. Nor does it entitle her to more support than single parents by circumstance.

    Refusing to enrich Suleman via lucrative media contracts is not the same as impovrishing the children. Suleman is capable of working to support the children. Perhaps her job opportunities won’t support the life style unto which she would like to become accustomed, but that is the plight of many working families out here in the real world.

    Suleman can work a J-O-B and still be entitled to many benefits such as WIC and Medi-Cal, which are income and family sized based. It may not be glamorous. It may not get her picture taken by the paps. But it’s more honest than breeding a huge litter of children in order to gain fame and money.

  33. So I’m assuming the posters who are frustrated that this woman is using up government aid are also pro-choice. One common theme in responses is, “she should’ve been financially able to take care of 14 children. Because she can’t, they will suffer.” Her case is special in that she saught IVF treatment, but there are plenty of women who seek momentary attention/affection via unprotected s.e.x. On possible outcome of unprotected s.e.x. is a child. The child is conceived without regard for the woman’s financial capability. So given that it’s easier to change a law than a cultural/emotional norm, is everybody very pro-choice?

  34. Let’s first of all estabalish that Suleman chose to have these 14 kids in the U. S. and not Venezuela- so bringing up what those countries do is irrelevant.

    You also have to acknowledge that the offer by the porn company was a publicity stunt. Nothing more, nothing less. Like PETA, it was a very cheap way to get their brand out there.

    Suleman chose to have a large family. By definition, that also means she chose to be the one responsible for supporting them. It’s not unreasonable to expect that a parent work to support their family, whether that family consists of one parent or two. It is unreasonable and unethical to breed a large family with the expectation that everyone else will pick up your tab. Ms Suleman is capable of working. Yes, she may not make enough to support 14 kids in La Habra. She may have to move. Oh well, that is the plight of families all around this country. She may not make enough to keep the kids in private school. Again, no one is guaranteed the right to a private school education. Right now in California under WIC guidelines, she could earn around $140,000 per year and still be eligible for benefits based on the size of her family. That’s hardly living at the poverty level.

    No one is guaranteed the right to have money thrown at them just because they have a large number of children. I do blame some of this “gimme” mentality on TLC and it’s glorification of high order multiples and irresponsible breeding. But just because you’ve done what someone on tv has done doesn’t give you the right to expect to be lauded and showered with freebies and cash. That’s delusional thinking.

    As for Ms. Suleman not having done anything that warrants legal intervention, let me refer you to the fact that all 14 of her children were conceived while she was on Workers Comp leave with a “severely injured back”. So severe was this injury that she had back to back pregnancies, some only 3 months apart. She also posed with her children riding on her back- as does every patient who is so injured they can’t work…these are all in pictures SHE sold to US Weekly Magazine. Workers Comp fraud is a felony in California.

    I’m very surprised that Ms Magazine allowed this article to run. It really does seem to he the antithesis of everything Ms. stands for : equality, personal responsibility, bettering the lives of women…

    No, these 14 children didn’t ask to be born. But they do deserve a mother that takes responsibility and lives up to her obligations. Enriching her and her need for starbucks and A&E clothing does not benefit the children. Not by any stretch of a twisted imagination.

  35. Whether one is pro-choice or pro-life is completely irrelevant. Yes, sexual relations can always result in A child. Maybe two or maybe even three. Most of the time – JUST ONE. Nadya was implanted with ELEVEN fresh embryos. Now, biologically, our bodies cannot conceive eight babies at once. Why? Because biology and nature knows what Nadya foolishly did not. No single human parent is capable of providing for such a large number of offspring at the same time. Nadya sought unethical reproductive assistance in order to violate the laws of nature. She is not a victim. She violated medical guidelines (along with a foolish and corrupt doctor) and IS responsible for her actions.

    She did not have a bit too much to drink one night, stumble into an infertility clinic, pass out on the exam table and wake up pregnant with eight babies — all against her will. Nope. Not hardly. Nadya went against common sense, good judgment, medical guidelines and every social norm we had in order to gain her infamy with her famous brood.

    Are the children to blame? Absolutely not. Let’s save them – I’m all for it! Place them in open adoptive homes. That’s the only way to let them even have a chance at a normal life.

  36. “So I’m assuming the posters who are frustrated that this woman is using up government aid are also pro-choice.”

    Yes K.I.M., I am Pro-Choice. But more than that, I am Pro-Responsibility. One of the biggest lies told by this woman was that the children were born because she didn’t want the embryos destroyed and she couldn’t afford to keep them frozen.

    The charges against Dr Kamrava have shown that was a complete fabrication. She used fresh embryos for this pregnancy despite the fact that there is a surplus of frozen embryos still there in Kamrava’s lab. Why not tell the truth? Because it doesn’t make for good sound bites when you are asking people for money.

    What Suleman is demonized for is not choosing to procreate at above the national average, but of choosing to procreate without giving thought to how she was going to support those kids. Giving birth does not make one a parent. Providing for your children is a major component of parenting.

    The saying “it takes a village” does not refer to everyone else paying for your kids, but rather that it is everyone’s responsibility to look out for, protect and to guide children so that they do what is right, what is moral. It’s sad that such a famous and prophetic statement has been trivialized and used as a catch phrase for those who see nothing wrong with shirking off their personal responsibilities on to others.

  37. In further support of what n4b just wrote:

    During the Radar Online interview between Nadya and her mother Angela, Nadya repeatedly argued that she HAD to use the remaining six frozen embryos. She viewed them as her children. She said repeatedly “You use them or you destroy them. They were my children. I had all of them (the remaining frozen embryos) implanted.”

    Once the medical records came to light, it was discovered that Nadya used FRESH embryos each time. She did not have six embryos that were frozen, in danger of being destroyed or lost. She used FRESH embryos, and she did not use the six she had previously claimed. Medical records verify that she had ELEVEN implanted, far beyond the recommended guidelines, which is why Kamrava is now under investigation. Nadya was SCHEMING and PLANNING and HOPING for a high order multiple pregnancy. It was her cash cow. It was her way to riches, fame and her own pseud0-celebrity status.

    Look, I am a total bleeding heart. I can find sympathy in my heart for just about anybody. But in this case, it’s the children who need our support and help. And we are not helping them by allowing their mother to exploit them for pseudo-celebrity status.

    For those who may feel Nadya’s situation just sort of “happened” – do you realize it took more than TEN YEARS of planning, manipulating, scheming and defrauding to get to where we are now? Do you realize there are 14 innocent lives being held hostage to an exploitative parent?

    And guess what – I’ve seen children placed in foster care for WAY LESS. I’ve been parental rights terminated for way less. California just must have a very lenient CPS system, because in almost any other state (particularly the more religious conservative states) those kids would have been yanked long before now. The adoptions would already be finalized in the state where I worked as a CPS worker.

  38. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make, Ms. Martin, where Nadya Suleman is concerned. Most people acknowledge that we ARE going to support Nadya Suleman and her children financially. Her family’s food, clothing and housing will be paid for by taxpayers, that is a certainty — and it’s nothing new. Taxpayers have been supporting her and her first six children for more than ten years. What I (and many others) object to is meeting her calculated demand for wealth and celebrity, and your suggestion that she is entitled to our approval or respect. I (like others) have no intention of cooperating in providing her with any of those latter specific “rewards.”

  39. Jessica Stites says:

    I think commenters are misreading Renee if they think the point of this post is to excuse or defend Suleman. The phenomenon that Renee is examining–one that is exemplified in the comments–is the DEGREE of uproar against Suleman. When a skateboarder, snowboarder, or a skier engages in risky behavior leading to a severe injury that costs oodles in health insurance $$–far more than they paid into the system–do we feel quite the same rage? What is it about footing the bill for Suleman’s particular brand of risky, self-serving behavior that so sets us off?

    I’d venture to say it has to do with the fact that she’s a mother. And that’s where the feminist angle comes in: Why do “irresponsible mothers” so incense us? Why isn’t an irresponsible father–a man who’s fathered 8 children he can’t, or won’t, support–making national headlines? Perhaps this is because our society idealizes and relies on the “selfless mother” to donate her labor to child-rearing, rather than assuming societal responsibility for the well-being of children.

    I’m also wondering if Suleman is getting some of the spillover of rage at “welfare queens” that’s been so fomented by conservative pundits. We essentially cut off poor women in the 90′s from the support they needed because of the specter of the inner-city single mother–Black, of course–driving a Cadillac on the government’s dime. Nevermind that no such example ever existed. Nevermind that the majority of welfare recipients were actually white. Are we easily riled up over Suleman because we’re she’s the latest “welfare queen”?

    To me, it’s worth having both government support for children and reproductive choice for women with the knowledge that perhaps they can be abused. I guess that makes me a liberal! But I err on the side of allowing a few people to abuse their rights, because no system is manipulation-proof, so that the vast majority of people can have those rights. And I question whether Suleman’s irresponsible behavior is so much worse than the many, many other brands of irresponsible behavior out there.

  40. I think that a lot of the anger on this thread is really misdirected. I don’t necessarily agree with Suleman’s choices but I don’t believe that we should slide down the slippery slope of questioning womens reproductive choices. Where do you draw the line? When do you decide that a woman should not have any more children and how do you enforce this?
    I see a lot of complaints about tax dollars and abuse of the system and I say to you that there are far bigger criminals in the U.S. than a woman who has had more children than she can afford. I think that capitalism trains us to attack certain groups while allowing the White male bourgeoisie to exploit without concern. No matter how much you think Suleman may have cost you or continue to cost you, I promise that this is a drop in the hat to what some of your industrialists have cost the nation.
    Suleman is a straw woman handed it you to direct your rage so that you are distracted from the many crimes of the ruling elite. If you consider what she and her children will cost the state on until the age of 18 it is actually quite insignificant. And no supporting her will not give rise to more people making the same decision. The U.S is already not have enough children to cover the rate of reproduction and soon will be dependent upon immigration. I submit that if Suleman where White, with money this conversation would not even be occurring in the fashion that it is.

  41. Note from the moderator: Some comments on this thread have been deleted because they violate our commenting policies on racism and/or ad hominem attacks.

    http://msmagazine.com/blog/contact-us/#comment

    You can send feedback on moderation to blog@msmagazine.com.

  42. Gillian says:

    She was so “poor” that the parents she has lived with (and been supported by) her entire life listed a mere $1 million dollars in liabilities on their bankruptcy petition last year. And three homes. And four automobiles. The poor darling was was left with nothing but the $165,000 workers’ compensation payout (collected for a back injury sustained during her only period of employment ever — an 18 month stint as a psyciatric hospital aid) and a $30,000 “inheritance” as her “fun” money. Yes, truly an under served member of our community.

  43. Jessica- if she had money to pay for a whole bunch of kids and nannies, then there would be no point to this article, would there? Then color wouldn’t even begin to play in to the rebuttal by you and Renee.

  44. Gillian says:

    Renee asks: “Since when is raising 8 children all under the age of 2 not work?”

    When you’re pimping them out to the tabloids to pay for nannies to raise them while you check out for a manicure and a shopping spree at Bebe? Of course, it’s “work” for someone. Just not for Nadya Suleman.

  45. RUserious says:

    Screen shots are nice.

  46. Mom of 3 says:

    It seems like MS. magazine is picking and choosing the women it will support. The rural woman of Vermont don’t make their cut. Nice.

  47. Gillian says:

    I must admit that I’m more than disappointed in the fact that I have been moderated here today for nothing more than expressing an opinion that differs from the author. Having just read your comments policy, I want to say that it sounds uncomfortably like “be good little girls and we’ll let you comment” and also rather reminds me of the old “if a man speaks strongly, he’s a strong man. If a woman speaks strongly, she’s a bitch.” Way to infantilize your commenters Ms.Com.

    Shame on you for this craven nonsense. You just lost someone as a reader who used to be proud of having been an original subscriber of Ms. Magazine.

  48. Mom of 3 says:

    So the Amber’s and Brandi’s of my community, who get beat up on the side of the road, and who’s baby’s are called inbreeds, aren’t worth the time of day to “the sisterhood” os MS? Why? Because they don’t fit in to some academic theory of Renee’s “that capitalism trains us to attack certain groups while allowing the White male bourgeoisie to exploit without concern.”!!! What the FFF does that mean to an invisible 9 year old living on ramen noodles while her mother is passed out on the couch?

    I am gettig really POed! You people seem more invested in some pet social theory than helping real girls have better lives.

    I wrote in because I LOVE my community , and we need help. I see bad things every day. Must be nice for you to live in the abstract. Spout about race and class and do nothing. Shame on you!

  49. If people wanted to help Suleman’s kids, but were concerned about Suleman misusing the money–which is what I’m hearing here–then how about creating a college fund for the kids that they can open when they’re 18?

  50. Uh, Jessica? In the interests of the journalistic “integrity” quoted on this site’s comments policy, you might want to disclose the fact that you are an associate editor of this online publication. Something you failed to do in any of the comments you’ve posted in support of the author’s position.

    • Jessica Stites says:

      Sorry about that. Full disclosure: I am associate editor at Ms. And I’ve deleted my ill-considered comment about “buying babies” after a conversation with RUSerious.

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