Kate Gosselin on octuplets' birth: People will judge you
Kate Gosselin has a piece of advice for the Whittier mom who gave birth to octuplets: People will judge you, people will gawk at you, but "keep your head up, and do your absolute best for your children."
Kate is the star of TLC's hit TV show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which follows the never-boring life with her husband, Jon, and their eight children -- a set of twins and a set of sextuplets.
"I felt like I had octuplets ... I had eight in three years," Kate said. "[The news of the octuplets' birth] caused me to review the feelings and emotions I had when my six were born! So overwhelming!"
The birth of the octuplets to Nadya Suleman, a Whittier woman "who loves children," has raised concerns about the number of embryos implanted and whether the procedure was within medical guidelines.
We asked Kate to reflect on the day-to-day realities that lie ahead for the new mom, the octuplets and their six siblings. (Truth be told, we originally tried to interview the Duggars, who have 18 kids and their own TV show on Discovery, but they declined because, believe it or not, they said they couldn't relate to having eight infants all at the same time.)
Kate answered questions via e-mail from Chicago, where she is doing a book signing for Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets.
Q.: What is the new mom experiencing physically? Emotionally?
A.: Right now, the mother is likely exhausted yet grateful that her babies are here and doing well so far! She is probably inundated with offers from people, companies and the media. Her main focus now though is her babies and their health.... Nothing else matters right now. She is feeling overwhelmed and as though she is in a fog. Feelings of helplessness and fear threaten to overtake! We relied on prayer and lots of it!!! We were blessed with all healthy babies and still don't forget that miracle!
Q.: She’s feeling exhaustion, no doubt, but does she even have time to be exhausted with eight new mouths to feed?
A.: She will ignore her exhaustion and will have to for the rest of her life! The babies' health matters most now. But it will be important for her to take care of herself too or she will not be of any use to her children!
Q.: She is said to be planning on breastfeeding. What do you think about that? Is that even possible?
A.: I think by 'breastfeeding' she plans on offering the option to each baby ... but will pump and supplement for all of them. I pumped/breastfed for six months for my six.... Quite a feat! It was the least I could do for my babies! There is literally not enough time to exclusively breastfeed six let alone eight babies.
Q.: What is she likely to be worried about as she contemplates a future with 14 children? (Other than those college payments.)
A.: Right now, the issue is getting through each day, each hour, each minute. Every day will have issues of its own.... She can and will survive!
Q.: What can she do to help her other six children adjust to their new life?
A.: She can get them involved in the care of the babies.... Point out their unique qualities.... And, no joke, help the other kids learn which baby is which. Quite a job! I remember Cara and Mady being frustrated with themselves when they got babies confused at first! It didn't take long!:) Taking time with each child will definitely be a challenge!
Q.: Will she have to be willing to ask for help when she needs it?
A.: There is absolutely no way she will survive without tons of help!!! Period.
Q.: What’s the one piece of advice that you didn't get, that you’d like to pass along to this new mother?
A.: There are no words to describe the overwhelming emotions that will flow from you -- ones you will have to suppress till way later, ones that you think will overtake you. People will want to help, people will want to simply gawk, others will judge you. Through all of this, keep your head up, and do your absolute best for your children.... You'll never regret it.
Q.: What would you do if you had 14 children? Can you imagine it?
A.: I cannot imagine having any more than eight. It would be almost double my workload and even though I am very organized, I could not do it well!
-- Rene Lynch