Octomom Nadya Suleman’s story begins as an only child growing up very lonely in southern California. As an adult she confesses the desire to have a large family to fill a void, which was too little affection as a child. So Nadya gets married at the age of 21, only to meet the obstacle of fertility problems that prevents her and her husband from having children together. After Nadya and her husband disagree on her solution of in vitro fertilization, they soon divorce. To finance the costly in vitro fertilization, Nadya works double shifts at a mental health center where she is later injured at a riot there and must then receive disability compensation. Beginning at the age of 25 and thereafter, Nadya successfully has six children including one set of twins in the midst of having several unsuccessful pregnancy attempts. Later at the age of 33, Nadya’s fertility specialist warns her that she has only a few years left to bear children due to the premature aging of her reproductive system. For that reason, she decides to undergo in vitro fertilization again with the hope of having one more child. Her fertility specialist implants six embryos within her womb because of her prior medical complications, expecting for some of the embryos to fail to grow. Astonishingly however, Nadya gives birth to octuplets, shocking doctors along with the rest of the country who now know her as Octomom. Also significant, Octomom takes to another level the quote “Be Careful What You Wish For” by illustrating that a fulfilled wish can come with much responsibility.
To say that Octomom has her hands full is an understatement. She now faces the dilemma of how she will care for and support all of her 14 children as a single, unemployed mother currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Psychology. She admits that she must have a support network to raise her children. One of her concerns is bringing her octuplets home to a safe environment with enough space for them to live alongside her other six children. Recently, the media has publically released multiple 911 calls frantically made by Octomom, one of which concerned her five-year-old son who was missing in October of last year. While it turned out to be a false alarm as he was only taking a walk with his grandmother, this incident depicts the stressful side of raising many kids. In addition, Octomom will have to protect her family from public threats as her decision to have so many children has been met with hostility due to ethical issues. Recently, a neighbor threatened her by lurking outside her home with a gun to protest the media coming into the neighborhood. This has caused Octomom to wish to move. Moverover, Octomom will be confronted with meeting the health demands of her children. In a Dateline interview with Anne Curry, Octomom mentioned that three of her first six children are disabled – diagnosed with Autism and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). To add to this, several of Octomom’s octuplets are expected to have disabilities such as cerebral palsy which is common in babies that weigh less than three pounds as reported by Entertainment Tonight (ET). ET also announced that to raise 14 children, it will cost a total of $1.5 million a year including the cost of food, diapers, and clothing. Octomom’s only present income is temporary food stamps and student loans.
Above all, Octomom’s story reinforces the morale “Be Careful What You Wish For.” Young people hear the lyrics of “Be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it” in the dance-pop song “When I Grow Up” performed by the Pussy Cat Dolls. Yet, these lyrics are sung in a carefree and enticing manner with the purpose of giving young people confidence that they can accomplish their dreams. While the fulfillment of wishes lies on one end of the spectrum, the responsibility involved lies on the other end. Many people can relate to wishful thinking, which in Octomom’s case was to have many children. Octomom’s story teaches people to be realistic by planning carefully. In particular, Octomom’s situation communicates to young women that caring for children is not as easy as it looks especially as a single parent who has yet to finish her education and pursue a career. Her story also applies to other areas where people desire something to the point of obsession without knowing fully what is involved. By learning from Octomom’s experiences, young people can realize the importance of considering all sides of the picture that includes responsibilities.
“Octuplet Mother.” Entertainment Tonight. NBC. 10 Feb. 2009.
Suleman, Nadya. Interview with Ann Curry. “The Octuplet’s Mother: Her Story.” Dateline. NBC. 10 Feb. 2009.