Sunday, February 8, 2009

6+8=14 Too Many


So, the woman who brought eight more babies into the world after already giving birth to six other ones has, natch, gone to the magazines and networks to tell her story. And what is the story?

She was lonely as a child, and now, in her 30s, she's compensating.

Single and jobless but living with her parents on a couple hundred grand she received in worker's comp, the proud mother of fourteen has a "preoccupation" with childbirth, according to her own mother. WB recognizes this syndrome: it's called I Don't Really See Babies As Human Beings But As Realistic Animated Dolls Or Cool Fashion Accessories That Make People Notice Me disorder.

And it's rampant.

It's also heartbreaking, because way too many of the babies who get made to make their mothers feel like they finally have something of their own, and to make their mothers feel fulfilled as women, and to help their mothers get more attention from other people — reasons that are psychologically complex but morally hollow — are also the babies that get propped in front of TV sets at home, in front of DVD screens in the minivan, in front of Ritalin bottles at the doctor's office, in front of frustrated teachers at school, in front of Happy Meals at dinner time, and in front of therapists when their own lonely childhoods start to fester.

Babies aren't dolls or bracelets, and a woman's choice to let her womb play host to a personal population explosion to cure her past hurt feelings isn't ethical behavior. The overall tone of this People profile is harsh and disapproving, as it should be. And this MSNBC article notes that "instead of the usual donations and support high profile multiples often get, [this mother] has drawn fire." Again, exactly as it should be.

Even better, the California Medical Board now wants information from the fertility doctor who decided to play along with the insane "turn me into the mother of the world" goal this desperate and disturbed woman set for herself. "The physician has the responsibility to provide a standard of care - which for someone her age is no more than two embryos at a time," says a Vanderbilt professor of ethics.

To which we add, the mother has an even bigger responsibility to provide a standard of care - which for someone in her mental condition means having no children at all until she gets her head on straight. History has already shown what can happen to the children of parents who obsess over having "as many children as possible" without any rational thought or intelligent motivation. The story ends very, very badly.

We hope that won't be the case for these fourteen unfortunate results of an experiment matching abnormal psychology with irresponsible biology. And we also hope that nothing like it will ever be allowed to happen again.

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