Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quality over Quantity?

The recent story of Nadya Suleman, the single unemployed woman from California has gone from a noticeable oddity to outrage. Ms. Suleman is unique not so much because she recently gave birth to premie Octoplets for which she had been artificially inseminated, but because of her 'preexisting' family situation. You see Suleman already has six children under the age of eight at home. Three of those children have developmental disorders. She is a single mom, in debt, unemployed, receiving food stamps and still wanted to have eight more children (through fertilization) to bring the family total to fourteen. Yes, fourteen children under the age of eight. Eight of which will require special attention and care once they are released from the hospital.

Having two children at home under the age of three, I found this unfathomable. As a parent, I view children as a true blessing. One that helps you grow as a person and challenges you daily. I can't start to remember the days of being childless as the happy moments of parenthood have added an even deeper meaning to my life.

When I saw the interview with NBC's Ann Curry my jaw dropped. You see it's timely because my wife and I have been discussing possible timing around a third child. (Not seriously, as we can't seem to find the time to manage the two that we have.) In that same thought, I catch myself saying "I have two, she has fourteen kids!" I can't start to imagine the chaos that will be. How will she care for them by herself? How will she feed them with no job? What will the quality of her interactions be with the children? What possible overall quality of life can those children possibly get?

Giving birth to children is the easy part (relatively speaking). Raising them and educating them in today's society is the real challenge. One that has Sonia and I really thinking if we can handle a third.

For us, the financial consideration is part of the decision process, but quality of care and education is higher in priority. It is estimated that you will spend greater than $15,000.00 in the first year alone for a child. The costs are staggering. So for eight that would be $120,000! Current medical bills are estimated at $500,000 and the babies are no where near ready to be released. It is estimated that the total hospital bill will be well over $1M. Factor in neonatal care due to their premie status, incidentals and you are looking at well over $1.2M dollars! Given Ms. Suleman's unemployed status, it means that the State of California will bear the costs through medi-Cal.

Suleman's situation furthers the sense of irresponsibility in our country. The mindset of "I'll do what I want and worry about the consequences later". A mindset furthered by liberal administrations that foster welfare programs with no accountability. While I don't condone the threats and hateful mail that she has received from individuals unsympathetic to her plight, you have to wonder 'what in the heck was she thinking?' It furthers the divide that exists in our country where civil libertarians would argue in favor of Women's rights. But here is where my radical thinking comes in, If she is on welfare, is unemployed and has no financial means of supporting the children- what business does she have giving birth to eight more? To fulfill her own personal selfish needs? What about the children's needs?

Prayers are with her in the daunting task that lies ahead of her. Society will either be the better or the worst because of her decision.


Octuplet's Mom- 'Everything I do revolves around my Children'- Mike Celizic-NBC

Baby Center- Child Cost Calculator. www.babycenter.com

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