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February 6th, 2009
07:36 PM ET

Octuplet Mom Reinforced Single Mother Stigma

Earl Ofari Hutchinson
The Hutchinson Political Report

In her NBC interview Octuplet mom Nadya Suleman was irked at getting pounded for being a single mother with fourteen kids. Or in her words, "it's not as controversial because they're couples so its more acceptable." She had good reason to be irked, but she should be irked at herself too for doing much to reinforce that stigma. For the past half century single mothers have been ritually dumped on by everyone from liberal sociologists to Christian fundamentalists and even self-promoting gabber Ann Coulter. They are the fall women for every real and perceived malady in society; poverty, crime, drug use, personal profligacy, welfare dependency, bad acting, and even worse performing students, and of course, family breakdown.

As for Coulter, she got hammered for beating up on single mothers in her new book while letting the guys who shove the women into single motherhood skip away scot free. This was more a hit against Coulter than a real defense of single mothers. The perception is just too deeply ingrained that single mothers create babies and problems for a momentary attack on Coulter to change that perception.

Suleman is naive, in denial, or blind to the power of the negative single mom image to think that her pleading for the bashers to knock it off will fall on anything but the tinnest of tin ears. If anything, having eight babies, on top of six, and then hinting that her over....

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soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Michael Hall

    Anderson.. I would like to use the words corporate sponsorship. There is no reason to have 14 kids in today's economic times. Sure, the mom is educated. Smart woman. She held out as long as possible knowing there would be a "Buzz" all around her and the media hungry giants would flock around her. There are numbers out there talking about how much it will cost to raise these kids until they are 18. 1.6 million. She is living at home with her parents who are bankrupt. Now, I consider myself educated BS in Aerospace, I chose to have one child and I will love that child along with my lovely wife. Sure I could have more, maybe one more but never 14. There are so many things wrong here then right.
    1. No dad
    2. No money to support these kids
    3. Not a large enough house to keep them all there
    4. Humans don't give birth to litters. Dogs do and that was a health litter of 8.
    5. Little or no support.
    6. Lack of judgement on the doctors that did this.
    7.. Did I mention NO DAD!

    February 9, 2009 at 12:48 am |
  2. lillian

    Who paid for the invetro? Who is the sperm doner? The interview I saw made me very nervous for her children. She did not appear to be be brainwashed..........her voice trailed off, and it was as if she was reciting lines from a play, and not listening to herself. There is a deep dark secret at the bottom of this story. It may take a while but I am sure it will see the light of day. God bless the children, and I hope Social Services gets involved. Where will they sleep? How will she afford to feed and clothe them? And what kind of Love and attention can she give to 14 children if she stays home, or if she goes back to school.

    Lillian in Asheville

    February 9, 2009 at 12:33 am |
  3. Vvi

    Being a single mom is totally fine. She's getting disability/worker's comp in CA. How could a parent being so irresponsible, asking government aka tax payers' money for raising 14 babies to fulfill her own, selfish dream?!

    February 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  4. crystal pettus

    You are very stupid to sit and have all these children, and now hard working tax paying citizens such as myself has to support because you are just going to in up in the system on welfare. You are a disgrace. Marriage isn't the issue what is, you can't afford to take care of the ones you had, so why would you go and get more. That was selfish and stupid. You are a fool. But I am glad you are not black.

    February 8, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  5. SDL

    Being a single parent isn't the issue because I myself is a single parent of two. Here is my problem with this women. Is the fact that she has defrauded the system , she has been on Disability for seven or so years claiming to have sever back problem of spinal injuries. Per her disability Doctor said she can't work, do any heavy lifting, walking for long period of time due to this medical DX. So wouldn't you think that carrying a baby year after year would fall under that category? But then to add insult to injury she carries eight more babies...Their's something wrong with this pictures

    February 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  6. sfb

    Wonder how she could afford for the IVF. And how did she pay for the rhinoplasty and lip injections, which is at least $6,000 (you have seen her in the Today interview, haven't you). Oh right, she has collected more than $160,000 for medical disability. Sounds like money well spent.

    February 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  7. Yvonne

    You wonder why people do this sort of thing, implanting too many eggs? It's all about the money. This unstable woman has done this to 14 beautiful children because she knew the media hype would be there and shortly thereafter the money. If we fail to promote this sort of activity, people like this lady would cease to exist. Isn't it awful that she hired PR persons, looking for book deal and trying to get paid for interviews. Child Protective Services should give this situation serious review. Otherwise, who will protect these innocent children?

    February 8, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  8. janette in texas

    How do you feed and house 14 kids and give each individual
    attention? What if these kids were born sick?That is one selfish
    woman.I don't buy her story .I can see not wanting your child
    to grow up alone but come on she gave birth to a whole damn
    nursery.People don't be taken in ,hold on to your money-thats
    what she's out for ,for some millionaire to give her a big house
    and some company to supply food and clothing.She is full
    of diaper poop!!!!

    February 8, 2009 at 3:02 am |
  9. Jane

    The doctor who did this should be charged with medical malpractice and required to financially help support this tribe of pathetic children whose futures will surely be about as bleak as can be imagined.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  10. Alexis

    I hope & pray that the media doesn't perpetrate this circus by giving it too much attention. We don't need to see or hear interviews – who really wants to listen to this unbalanced woman attempting to justify her very bad decision? Please, don't do anything to encourage support for her. It's just an enticement for others to attempt the same thing in hopes a getting a free ride from the public.

    February 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  11. Dawn

    The few things that stick out in my mind about this woman is
    #1 she has been on disability for years and by her own admission, depression, it ruined her marriage. Now how many of these depressed mothers have we seen kill all their kids. Should not a mental evaluation be done on someone who already has a gob of kids, dependent on her parents in their tiny house to help raise and I am sure our tax dollars,

    The number 2 thing that bothers me is she said "All I wanted to be was a mom." Wake up and smell the dirty diapers, YOU ARE A MOM!!!! ALREADY TO 6 CHILDREN!!!!!

    The 3rd thing that troubles me is she wants to make up for her lonly life as an only child, This seems like a psyo issue to me. How many kids is it going to take for her to make up for this, Apparrently 6 didn't do it,.

    I have 2 boys and was pround to have them, Yes I would have loved to have had more but I am a responsible citizen and do not like living off the govenment . Two is what I thought I could raise and send to school. If she has no JOB – NO HOUSE – NO HUSBAND. THIS DOES NOT SEEM RESPONSIBLE TO ME AND WHY SHOULD OUR TAX DOLLARS PAY FOR THIS!!!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  12. Margaret

    The thing is, for those who are concerned about the financial cost to society, if the octuplet lady and her publicist actually market these children, the taxpayers will probably save money and she might become a taxpayer.

    Of course, it was an irresponsible stunt, and surely children's services will make every effort to ensure that the children are in a good environment. I'm sure there is an "ism" or a "phile" term for the desire to have as many children as possible, so maybe they can check into that.

    But God bless the little people.

    February 7, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  13. Julie San Diego, CA

    Earl, you write:

    "Suleman was right that single mother’s do unfairly get beat up on for creating societal’s ills."

    Earl, I challenge you to go over the statistics on kids who end up on drugs, who go on to have "careers" in prison, who drop out of high school, who don't live up to the potential that they could have if they came from an intact, two-parent family.

    Single mother should accept the blame for their choices.

    When are we going to get it? A kid needs a father. Wanting a baby and even finding a way to support it isn't enough.

    Repeat. A kid needs a father.

    God created Adam and Eve, not Eve plus sperm donor.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  14. Joe

    I am appalled, first of all by the doctors who assisted this woman in her selfish quest to have a HUGE family when she is not only single, but also unemployed. There should be some accountability in the medical field to use common sense when dishing out additional children on top of the six this woman already has.
    Secondly, I am equally appalled by this woman's delusion that she will be able to care for them "on her own when she finishes her schooling". Schooling no doubt paid for by the American Taxpayer. By the way....what do you have to study to qualify for a job which nets you enough to pay for daycare expenses for 14 children? (Not to mention housing, clothing, etc.) I wish the taxpayer would pay MY tuition to attend a school like this.
    Lunacy!!!

    February 7, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  15. Freddie

    All I know is that if this were a single black or hispanic women with 14 kids and no job, she would be classified as an lazy welfare *itch. I see this lady on track to get a book or movie deal for the same thing minority women have be criticized for years for.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  16. c,ca

    Oh, please........she gets herself into this situation and now she wants to play the victim? The babies are the victims you selfish, wench!

    Pre-term, low-birthweight infants are at a much higher risk for medical problems. The infants are the ones that are going to have to suffer with illness, possible cerebral palsy, and who knows what else, for the rest of their lives. But all Octo-Mom is worried about is herself ?

    Most single mothers are working their butts off trying to hold down a job, running the kids to daycare, getting in trouble at work because they have to take time off when the kids are sick, and are doing their best to get by. All while trying to provide love and guidance for their kids. She's sitting around doing NOTHING and has the nerve to say this.

    I've seen and heard enough of Nadya. I never thought I'd say this but, can we see more of Sarah Palin instead.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  17. Larry

    What's with the President continuing to smoke? He sets a terrible example for the children of America.

    Celine Dion was the youngest of 14 children.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  18. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    @mike in NYC,

    i forgot to respond to your post. the gender of a parent or child is irrelevant to how good of a parent they are. the way you made your statement seems as though you think boys should only be raised by men and girls by women. there is no validation to your statements.

    yes, i agree that it is best for children to be raised by more than one parent in a family setting, however, i have seen many instances where that is not the best setting for a child.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  19. Jim

    All the posters who think it is a God given right to drop kids all over the place can fork over the money to pay for them. If we survive another 200 years on this planet, more than 3 kids will be against the law like in China. If not, we will have world wars over food and most will die that way.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  20. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    I was a single mother. I had one son and i don't believe any mother could adequately provide the love and care for 14 children on her own. It's hard enough when you only have one child.

    Day care centers have an established adult to child ratio and this woman is way past any of the ratios that I have heard of. If daycare workers cannot provide adequate supervision over half the number of children this woman has, then obviously this is a serious safety and well-being issue for her children.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  21. LuannD

    Just a small footnote: When the octuplet mom story broke, the news was reporting the mother (Nadya Suleman) as a professional in the health care field. Suddenly, she has become an unemployed, single mother of six, who chose IVF as a method of having more children. As I try to understand this ever increasing bizzare and changing story, what physician, who values his reputation and medical license, would even give Ms. Suleman anything but a phone number of a good psychatrist, and an escort out of his office. This physican has been strangely left out of the picture. I have not seen or heard him come forward to defend his actions, and to explain Ms. Suleman's obviously obessive desire to be surrounded by infants and/or the state of being pregnant, and his reasoning to aid her with her request. DId he not know there were six other children at home, all in various stages of infancy? DId he not know of her financial situation? And, the most obvious questions – who in the hell paid for the procedure? And, where is this physician practicing?
    In reply to Max, there were NO surrogate mothers – these were viable embryos implanted in Nadya Suleman.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  22. Mike in NYC

    Having children when the costs are all but certain to be borne by society is just flat out wrong.

    In general, it's much better for children to be raised by two parents. It's disturbing that this basic truth seems to be questioned by so many. A woman cannot be a father to a boy, as she does not know what it is like to be a man, or to become one. Same with a man trying to be a mother. Something fundamental is missing.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  23. Elaine Williamson

    I think that the Fertility Clinic doctors should be investigated-some Dr.s will do ANYHTING for money. This woman is either very selfish and mercenary to have 14 kids-to make money and become famous off of selling her story to the media and book deals, etc. It is dispicable to make $ off the backs of your kids-or else she is INSANE to think it is easy to raise 14 kids without a father, a job, insurance, etc. She was also selfish because she risked not only, the lives of the octuplets when they were being born, but also their health-because they were more likely to have medical problems-they still are. If she is INSANE then she should be committed to a mental institution and reated for hallucinating-she's not living in the same world that the rest of us are!!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  24. colin g. morris

    Hi AC

    Please do not keep harping about the President's smoking. It is not the end of the world. He is a trasforming fingure in modern politics

    February 6, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  25. Cindy

    There is nothing wrong with being a single mother. That is not why Nadya is being jumped on, as she calls it. She is being jumped on because she had six children and continued to have more while the whole time living on disability and living off of her parents. If you want to be single and have children that is your right but to continue having more and more to the point that you can't afford them monetarily or give them the emotional support that they need is wrong. It's fine to want a big family but you do have to live in reality and realize when to stop having them because you can't afford them or deal with them.

    Cindy...Ga.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  26. GF, Los Angeles

    You're neglecting an important point – she is an UNEMPLOYED single mother of not one or two kids but six – and now 14 kids since 1999. You bet she has reinforced the stereotype of an unwed mother dependent on us the taxpayers to take care of those kids. These women who choose to have children without thought is all their undoing. Yes the man has a hand in it however there are women who lie that they're on the pill and are incapable of getting pregnant all in the hopes of getting pregnant. With that said those women deserve to raise those children on their own. We the public should not have to pay for their decisions.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  27. Deborah Linnell

    Everyone I've ever known who had IVF report it as a very expensive process. How does someone with no visible means of support or health insurance afford to have this procedure repeatedly? Maybe the sperm donor and/or the doctor will be making money from the reality series this mother plans to get?

    February 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  28. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Love and courage: is it enough to raise a child?

    Courage and love of mother are two elements that are worth everything. Or what else can move an increasing number of women alone, commands against the tide, a boat of children struggling against the waves of loneliness, the emotional traumas and insecurities?
    But the secret of that ship of single mothers, which thrive with braveza seas, sometimes cloudy, is the fuel that nobody there knows for sure how, but know very well its strength: heart of a mother.

    Another common thread is about the effects that the absence of a father can cause the formation of the child.

    Being single mother, or by the paths of life, or free will is one thing.
    Being single mother of 14 children is inconsistent, unusual, frightening, unmoral and immoral.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  29. Max

    Surrogate mother who has done WELL financially.

    February 6, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  30. Annie Kate

    Its not just single mothers that have to grapple with all the societal ills you list. Mothers with husbands/fathers in the house do too depending on the "quality" of their mate – some men are perfectly content to lay around all day and not lift a finger to help with the children or the house or get a job and let the woman try to do it all. If that is the case then I think the woman is probably better off being single – its one less mouth to feed.

    February 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm |