Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Uterine Politics

Okay, like you, my first thought went something like this: 14 kids?!? What, is she nuts?
But then I sat myself down and had a little talk with myself. I asked myself what, exactly, it had to do with me? I’m not the one who has to change the diapers, play chauffeur or listen to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano for the one millionth time. It isn’t my kitchen doing the cooking, my TV doing the entertaining or my nights not doing the sleep. So, why do I care? And I decided I don’t. I decided to get out of the woman’s uterus and let her live her own life.
I’ve read blogs that rant about what a bad mother she is, how selfish and unnatural. Don’t know how those blogging women got so God-like all of the sudden, but I don’t have any idea about the kind of mother she is now, or what she’ll be like as a mother of 14. If I had to guess, I’d say that sometimes her kids will hate her, sometimes they’ll love her, and when they go to their family reunions years after she’s dead, they’ll look at each other and say, “Did we grow up in the same family? That was not my experience at all.”
And what’s so unnatural about 14? If we’re talking about natural, contraception is not natural. In fact, it’s pretty chemical and man-made. Exactly man-made, actually. And 2 generations ago, 14 kids wouldn’t have been all that bizarre. Maybe the unusual part is the viability of the children. 2 generations ago, they would have been more likely to die from diphtheria, polio or a kick to the head from a horse.
I think a part of me is jealous. No, I don’t want 14 kids. Sometimes, to be honest, I’m not sure I want the 3 I’ve already got. At least I don’t want them so loud and smelly and complaining. But I would love to pick out 14 names, snuggle 14 wriggling bodies, and put up 14 pictures of 14 lovely babies. I think dinner with 14 children would be a diary-worthy-experience every time. And think of all the built-in baby sitters! If child A didn’t want to play with B or C, she’s got 11 more options. Certainly some of them will end up being best friends.
I keep thinking of the scripture in the Bible that says that her children will rise up and call her blessed. Maybe not when they’re teenagers. Maybe not at all during this life. But in spite of whatever challenges that woman faces, when I think about her in the future, I hope I’m a little less Enquirer-prone and a little more "call her blessed” in my thinking.


The Stevens said...

I was thinking about writing a blog about this. so I'm glad that you did.
I grow tired of hearing too far liberals complain about overpopulation and the irresponsiblilty of big families. I feel like people should be understanding and helpful for this woman and less critical. Maybe she is a supermom and really can do it all. I will definitely pray for her. Because I pray a lot just for my TWO children!

Tori said...

That is beautiful and well put. There's no way to know what kind of mother she or anyone else is based on the number of kids she has.

buttercup said...

I am so out of the loop. I don't even know what you're talking about. But it seems like its a big deal. That's what I get for being too exhausted at the end of the day to watch the 10 o'clock news anymore.

Irish Cream said...

There are only two complaints I have with her having 14 kids. And it isn't the 14 that I'm concerned about, it's the 8. What IDIOT doctor would put a patient's life at risk to give birth to 8 babies?!?

OK, and if that isn't enough for you... who is footing the bill to pay for these tiny premature babies that are currently costing MILLIONS of dollars to keep alive, and will probably cost MILLIONS of dollars to the state to keep them going their entire life- at least through childhood. They are at such high risk for things like cerebral palsy, blindness, etc. I don't know about you, but when a person makes a decision that results in reaching into MY pocketbook, I do get a little testy...

As for how good a mom she is? I have no way to evaluate that. I'm glad she's willing to raise 14 kids, and pray for her that she can give them the love and training she needs. I hope she has a great support group, too! (ya know, the whole village to raise a family- but maybe she's makin' her own village)

Shelly said...

My personal beef about the situation is this.....If we're all supposed to keep out of a women's uterus and let her have as many abortions as she wants, why is it suddenly ok to attempt uterine control is she wants a lot of kids? I also think that the fertility specialist was out of their mind and sure hope she has some sort of financial security (not to mention tons of help), but the principle of "a women's right to decide" being ok in one instance, but not the other is infuriating.

BlueSkiesBreaking said...

On the news here they interviewed all these local moms and they kept saying how selfish they thought she was. I guess if sacrificing all your free time, your sleep, your sanity, for the next 18 years of your life is considered selfish, then sure she is. What it really comes down to, in my book, is how this is any of our business? If, after a time, it looks like the kids aren't being taken care of or that their needs are not being met, then we have an obligation. But, for now, who are we to judge? Prematurely or at all?

halsadick said...

Live and let live.

This Heavenly Life said...

I agree with Shelly. If we accept in vitro and abortions and fertility drugs and birth control to manipulate creation as we see fit, how can we then turn around and critisize when it is done outside of our comfort level? How is it OK for us to judge her and no others, just because we don't know the particulars of their lives?

As far as the doctor goes, from what I understand, it's common to implant several embreyos, and he is doing his job...as his patient requested. Again, once you enter these waters of creating and deciding how/when/where to allow it to happen, it all gets pretty murky anyway. How was he to know it would be so unacceptable? He does it every day, for patients who may seem much more likely to be bad parents than this lady probably seemed.

It is her uterus. We all make our own choices. Only God knows what will happen next.

Tara said...

Beautiful blog post. I do have issues with this woman, but it has nothing to do with the number of children she has chosen to have per se.

I have issues with the choices she has made in her life and the fact that she is doing these children a disservice in the kind of family she is bringing them into. She is not married. Those children and all children deserve to have a father in their lives. I know that doesn't always happen, but it's not right to purposefully bring children into the world through fertility treatment without a dad. Plus, she NEEDS the help of a dad or some kind of supportive family.

She's unemployed, so how is she going to financially support these children? Oh yes, the citizens of California. I'm glad I don't live there! And if she is on public assistance, then taxpayers do have the right to tell her what to do. If it's ok for the government to tell bailout recipients what to do, it's ok for the government to tell welfare recipients what to do. That's the price you pay.

I am also disturbed with her reasons for having so many children. She wants lots of children because she felt lonely and unloved as a child. Should someone have children for her own narcissistic purposes? Probably not, although I'm sure it happens all the time. I'm about to have my first baby, and I'm not entirely sure why my husband and I decided to have a baby. It is definitely not because I felt lonely or unloved as a child. I don't think having children is necessarily a selfish thing. It is inherently unselfish and proof of hope in the future. Can some people have children for selfish reasons? Yes, but I don't think there are very many people who do that.

I feel bad for this woman and her children in that she doesn't have a supportive family. The children need that. Is this woman an idiot? Probably. But if she can financially and emotionally support her children, more power to her. I have no problem with anyone having lots of children if they can financially and emotionally support them. It's their choice. I may think they are crazy, but it is their choice. I know many large families and I know that there is lots of love. There is a woman in my ward who has over 20 great-grandchildren. I don't know how many children she has, but how awesome is it to have that kind of posterity and to live long enough to see it? I know that her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren call her blessed. I certainly hope this is what happens with this woman in California.

Sonia said...

I'm just with you on the whole "I don't know it all" idea. I don't know the particulars of her life. Certainly there are good and bad things about this woman, just as with all people. As for me, I'm butting OUT.