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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No more than 17

Last night I saw an interview with the mom of the octuplets. I haven't heard much about the story, so I had no idea the controversy that was swirling around this lady. People are upset that 1) She would even consider having more children since she already had six; 2) That she didn't abort some of the babies to give the others a better chance; and 3) That she is single and unemployed and probably living off the government.

I will say here that I strongly disagree with anyone's decision to have children out of wedlock. That being said, though, I'm surprised about the controversy surrounding her. They asked on the interview why she would consider having more children. She asked why married couples decide to have more children -- because they want more. She believes strongly in life and therefore didn't want to abort any of the babies -- I agree with her on that. (I didn't realize she had only been implanted with six embryos, or that they didn't even realize there were eight until the first seven had been delivered.) She does receive food stamps from the government, but other than that is getting help from family and taking out loans to help pay for things. Why is she any different than most other people living off of the government?

I was appalled on my mission to go into the projects and see the repetitive cycle happening there all too often: A child is raised by her grandma. Then when she gets to be a teen and gets pregnant (because there seems to be nothing else to do), she hands off her child (and subsequent babies) to her mother to raise. Her mother is more than willing to do it, because she's ready to settle down and raise children (since she didn't raise her own.) Then when this girl grows up and is ready to settle down she starts raising her children's babies since they're into the wild teen life she is ready to give up. It's a very sad cycle I saw repeatedly on my mission -- and yet somehow that's more acceptable than this lady? I don't get why people are so focused on her. She is trying to resist any government help and is using loans so she can pay them back one day. I don't know how she expects to finish school and work with 14 kids (can you imagine the daycare bill?), but that's not mine to judge.

What I was impressed with is how much she wants these kids and how she seemed to love them all so much. She pointed out that even married couples don't always sit down and give their kids the attention they deserve, but that she does. This mom didn't ask for this fame (or infamy as you may see it), so it's sad that so many fingers are being pointed at her. I've got to think she has a lot more energy than I do, because she just had 8 babies less than a month ago and already let Dateline do two interviews with her. I'd be telling them to get lost ...

I don't understand why people get so upset when others want large families. I said something this past year about "when we have our next ..." and a relative said, "You're having more?!?!" Yes, why not? One of my friend's sisters couldn't believe she was considering having another one since she already had four. I said to her sister, "Well, she's an AWESOME mom, so why shouldn't she have more?"

Whenever people ask me or Paul how many children we plan to have, we say, "No more than 17." Yes, 17 is our limit. :) I actually started thinking this back when I was a missionary. (I know, strange thought for a missionary!) Anyway, I saw a tabloid about Madonna having a baby. I was shocked! I didn't ever know that she was pregnant, but I felt so bad for that baby! That made me determine right then and there that I'd have as many as the Lord wanted to send me, but that I definitely couldn't handle more than 17. (Of course, four = no more than 17 ... but most people don't realize that when we say it.)

We truly never really set a number of how many kids we would have. That has ALWAYS been the answer -- no more than 17. How many couples do you know who really stuck to the number they pre-determined before having children? And if they did so, do they ever wonder if they were supposed to have more? Wouldn't that be the worst feeling?!?

Anyway, I wish the octopulet mom well. In fact, I wish all of us moms well, whether or not we decide to have 17 kids, 6 kids, 2 kids, or an only child. As long as the kids get the love they need, it's nobody else's business how many there are or how they're provided for.

With the ridiculous bailout spending back in Washington (trillions of dollars), I'm surprised people are so upset about a few hundred dollars a month going to a mom who appears to deserve some help!


Stacey said...

Totally agree with you. At first I was shocked with the story but, I'm really glad I got to see her point of view. I just thought it was horrible that people are judging her. People seem to be concerened about the kids but, how is putting down the Mother helping the kids? What happened happened and the fact is she is going to need help. If she were married and living off student loans and food stamps no one would have a problem with it. For some reason Heavenly Father sent these spirits into this world...it doesn't matter how they got here all that matters is that they get the needed help to take care of them. She is no different than I trying to be a Mom. It is also a medical miracle to have babies and I wish the negaivity would get off these babies...they are something to celebrate! Would I have done what she did...No way but, that doesn't give me a right to judge her decisions to want children.

Lizzylou said...

I agree. I was impressed with how much she wanted to devote her life to raising her children. Props to her! I don't know how I'd do it on my own. Hopefully she has a strong support system. That is what's great about the church. I remember when Sister Meeks had her babies, there were volunteers from the ward going in on shifts to help her through the first year of their lives.