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NBC meets the octuplet mom

This morning on NBC's "Today"  show in what was essentially a commercial for Monday's "Today" show and Tuesday's "Dateline," America saw its first interview with Nadya Suleman, Whittier single mother of 14, described by host Matt Lauer as "the woman everyone wants to hear from."   

Unusually large multiple births were once a thing of (apparently) happy celebrity. But those were accidents of nature or, if you like, acts of God, in a time when the womb did not divulge its secrets until labor day. Reproductive science has added all sorts of twists to the tale, and Suleman's fame rests not only on the octuplets, conceived through in vitro fertilization, but also on the six children she had by the same method before them. The reason that a lot of people want to hear from her is that they think she's crazy.

Granted, all procreation is in biological terms a kind of narcissism -- it's your DNA wanting to live another generation -- and Suleman, who has said that motherhood cured her depression, is not the first person to use childbearing as a form of self-medication. Still, Ann Curry began her interview, excerpted from the longer coming "Dateline" appearance, wondering what Suleman had to say about those who find it "completely irresponsible and selfish to bring these children into the world without a clear sense of income and enough help to raise them."

Suleman is not a "Jerry Springer" figure -- she's well-spoken and attractive. But she clearly understands that at the moment she is not being celebrated for being fruitful and multiplying so much as she is being examined for signs of pathology. There was something aggressively, if quietly, defensive in her posture. But there was also something odd in the way that she painted herself as a victim of prejudice ("I feel that I've been under the microscope because I've chosen this unconventional kind of life") and, in refusing to "selectively reduce" the number of embryos she was carrying for safety's sake, as a person who dared to dream big: "Sometimes we have that dream and that passion and we take risks."

She found occasion as well to contrast herself positively with other, less encumbered parents: "I'm providing myself to my children," she said. "I'll stop my life for them, and be present with them and hold them and be with them. And how many parents do that? I'm sure there are many that do, but many don't." This was not strictly untrue, but it was also strangely expressed.

As the momentary possessor of a television news exclusive -- on Monday, they'll broadcast the first pictures of the octuplets -- the "Today" team hovered necessarily between celebration, which was also self-celebration, and what looked to be sincere skepticism.

"Ann, once again, congratulations," said Lauer to Curry. "It's fascinating. We can't wait to hear more."

--Robert Lloyd

 
Comments () | Archives (20)

NBC, I have no desire to hear anything that this selfish woman has to say. Nothing that I have heard or read makes me believe she is fit to have even one child.
Stop giving her publicity!!!

This woman is a freakshow. Yea have kids as a single mother. The doctor is even worst.

I sincerely hope that neither NBC or any other media outlet pays for interviews with this woman. As we all know, she has collected over 168,000 in state disability (meaning unable to work) all the while giving birth to 6 children. Now, she has given birth to 8 more, and wants to milk her story for 2 million dollars so that other people will pay for her personal choices.

She is a profesional student, with 14 children from a friendly sperm donor. Why shouldn't he be the to one pay her medical bills, not the other Kaiser HMO members? Is that where my $500 a month Kaiser premiums go to? She has perfected the art of mooching off the system, disability, student loans, her parents, now wants to turn her children into a sideshow so she can make more money off of them. The right to happiness is not a right to take advantage of the generosity of others. It's a right to be responsible for your own choices. She chose to have 14 children, who's to say she won't have more if she can continue to get by and have other people take care of her?

She should be prosecuted for criminal negligence. So should the doctor who performed the fertility treatments. She does not seem mentally, physically, or financially able to care for these children.

pitty those children, what kind of quality of life are they going to have! 14 sweet and pure beings, who is this really about and why has'nt anyone questioned the doctor who allowed this. O, nice face job, money well spent on kid's.

She can't be "present" with her children; when asked about how she will support 14 kids, her flack says she's smart and can get a job. If she has a job, she won't be there. Even if she were there full-time, though, no child is going to get any quality time. Just changing diapers would take all of one person's time. She is clearly delusional and needs a psych eval, not an interview with NBC.

"Octuplets Mom Got $168G In Disability"-CBS News

The mother of newborn octuplets and six other children collected almost $168,000 in state disability payments for an on-the-job back injury that she and a doctor said was worsened by pregnancy, according to state documents released Thursday.

Nadya Suleman, 33, became pregnant with all 14 of her children after a 1999 injury during a riot at a state mental hospital where she worked, state Division of Workers' Compensation documents show.

She stopped working, but had the six older children during that time, notes Early Show correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

"There has to be some question," says CBS News Legal Analyst Trent Copeland, "about whether or not a woman who's disabled and collecting over $150,000 worth of disability payments is really authorized to receive those payments if she's too disabled to work, but not too disabled to have at least a half-dozen children."

I’m upset that this single and unemployed woman intentionally brought so many children into this overcrowded world. What makes me even angrier though is that for the past 10 years Nadya Suleman has been receiving disability payments (for a work related back injury in 1999) and though she’s been deemed “completely unable to work”, she’s felt well enough to undergo IVF treatments and have 14 children during this time. Her doctors even advised her earlier not to get pregnant since this could worsen her back condition. She told a workers’ compensation judge in 2001 that her condition was so disabling that she spent most of the day in bed and had been unable to care for her first child.

This woman Nadya Suleman possibly lied to the Disability Judge and physicians about her condition and then used her disability payments for IVF treatments. This makes me really angry.

NBC I will never watch any show with this stupid woman on!
She is a disgrace to have so many children simply to make $$$$.

Disgusting.

I think that people should not be so judgmental about this mother and her situation. I don't understand why people, who don't even know them, are so opinionated… its scary. And it seems very cheap of NBC not to pay the woman for an interview; it probably inproved their ratings. Its her privilege to have children and as long as they are properly cared for, what business is it of anyone else? Even if she has to go on welfare, so what? Its not illegal. People act like they are paying her rent or something. How much money is really coming out of their pockets? I doubt if most mothers on welfare wouldn't choose to have a decent job if they could. Anyway, how could this woman work outside the home with so many children? It wouldn't be very practical unless she largely gave up raising them, since with so many, each one needs her attention. Critics seem to be very self righteous about this matter. Lets see what happens and if she manages to take care of them. By the way, I am a single mother with an 18 year old son, who is a freshman in college on a scholarship. He also receives money from the government for his tuition. Too bad if you resent that...he may be representing you one day in court, lol. I think its worse that so many people are crying about their big fancy houses (that they couldn't really afford in the first place) being foreclosed on. Boo hoo. People fortunate enough to have a good job should learn to live within their means and not use so much credit

Child services need to take a closer look at this before the children go home to this irresponsible "mother". I heard that there is a donation site for these children. The children are the ones who need it. That "mother" should NOT be able to even come close to that money.

I was upset with the interview of the octuplets mother and her children. I feel that the interviewer was unfair and extremely critical of this mother. No matter what, she is the mother of 8 new babies and that is a miracle. Why did the interviewer have to interview her other children and make spectacles of her family? Why did NBC not pay her to do the interview. Yes, she needs the money. How much does a minute commercial cost, yet this woman was on for 20 minutes and you paid her nothing. Proud? We certainly are a critical, judgemental world and the interviewer was awful to the mother. I am ashamed of her. Has she no feelings or is her job more valuable than her morals?

In this world there are alot of things happaning I belive that this family is a miracle. So many people only see the bad in this world or are to busy with there own problems that people forget to see the good in a difficult situation. This family ( mother ) belives and trusts her faith and seems to trully love her children. familys that have tv shows with 17 kids and more on the way, no one calls them irresponsible. what is wrong with everyone.

Here are a couple of predictions about the future for this Octuplet Mom: First, there will turn out to be some 'funny business' about the method of payment for all of her in vitro procedures, and secondly, at some point she will 'remember' that the doctor really didn't fully disclose all the risks to her and she'll sue him.

For what it's worth: I think IVF should be used only to give families a chance to have one, maybe two kids. Define families any way you like. In cases where there isn't a partner, like single women, legal guardianship should be established up front. If you already have a pack of kids then you can't have it. There are links between the use of fertility meds and uterine cancer and perhaps breast cancer (but not ovarian cancer). The risks to multiples, even a modest two, is also higher. Doctors first do no harm.

I think Nadya is an unbalanced idiot who took an enormous risk with the health of those 8 babies, with her own health and by default she gambled with the lives of the six she had and her parents who would be left to raise them if something had happened to her. I think the doctors should be stripped of their licences. If an unbalanced twit wants to have a tribe then let her do it the old fashioned way.

Unless this woman is putting her children in harms way (which she is not because she is getting help) than no one and I mean no one has the right to take her children away or to even suggest it. Granted that she shouldn't have had that many children if she couldn't afford them. We all need to keep in mind that people make mistakes and as long as no one gets hurt (physically...I'm not talking about your money getting hurt) they should not be persecuted for it. Only God can judge!

The bigest problem in the world is greed, I didn't hear everyone complaining this harshly when billions of our taxpayers money was given to the very corporations who have screwed our economy, yet so many people are passing unfair judgment to a mother of 14 children who only needs $2 million in comparison I think the American people have their priorities confused.
($2 million might seem like a lot for most individuals but America spends Trillions on supporting illegal immigrants annually, just check the national budget, Duh!)

Some advice to the mother... going back to school is the best thing you can do for your family however you should choose a profession that pays better and possibly something seasonal so that you can have more time being a mom and still provide for your family. Good luck, give it your all and ignore the harsh criticism.

Granted the mother may be doing the wrong thing. I'll give everyone in the world that...The astounding thing is there are many people doing the wrong thing in the world, but this woman is made a show of for profit. It's like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to poke fun of someone because everyone else did. I find everyone who is so judgemental to be the most selfish ones. No one personally knows this woman. I just hope that whatever happens when we die, if there is a creator that a person believes in...He will be just as grudging. Why can't everyone just hush and pay mind to their own lives. Maybe our world would be a better place if people tried to spend as much time improving their own lives instead of watching TV period, or at least as much time they spent typing a message to ridicule someone else. Think...Three minutes of typing, one of reading, and you have 4 minutes. Spend 4 more minutes a day studying, thinking, playing with a child, or preparing finances--then say that there was nothing you were doing wrong, or nothing that could be improved.

This woman is nuts! The doctor who implanted all these babies should have his license revoked and let him pay for them as well. I'm sick to death to have to pay for all the illegal mexicans in California and now this bitch, with her weird looking kids. Where did she get the money for all her plastic surgery and manacures?

Who was the BIG mouth who was shouting in an accent we don't need any tax payer dollars and I'm going back to Iraq (good) to work and we don't need your money. What a liar!

Michele

I think that this lady is wery selfish and careless. Ihonestly believe that she is using her childhood lonliness as an excuse. She just don't want to get over on the government or anyone that she can. Everyonecontinues to say well these babies are here now and we have to step up and think of the babies but what about the ones that were already here;they all are going to suffer.The grandparents should not have to raise those babies, now is the time that they should be enjoying their years. Other concerns of mine is how can she afford cosmetic surgery and invetro-fertilization? I don't think we should ignore all 14 of those babies and not support them but don't make it easy for mom.She so needs a reality check and a reminder that she will never be a Angelina Jolie,get real.l! :( There are so many babies in foster care babies that she could of adopted. I think that she is lonley, selfish and needs to journal (no counseling cause tax payers will have to pay for it) because she don't want to work -STAY IN SCHOOL AND COLLECT ASSISTANCE. Your right she planned this.Collect money how ever to keep from working.

Nadya is an amazing woman. She has obviously gotten in over her head with the octuplets, but any family that is surprised with a pregnancy that involves multiple births would be overwhelmed. Handling a large family is a lot of work but CAN be done in today's world. I have 4 of my own children but have taken an additional 10 children into my home for varying amounts of time without any financial assistance. It creates a busy home, but it is full of life, love and teamwork. I went through university and now work full time outside the home while raising a family. Big family's encourage tolerance and teach frugalness, negotiation and teamwork which are vital skills in adult life. For Nadya - let God and time be the judge; for every person is unique and God will not give us more than we can handle.


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