Too many babies?

I am absolutely fascinated by the reaction that Nadya Suleman is receiving.  According to Bill O'Reilly (yes, I am using him as a source for a reason):

Here are the facts: The mother, Nadya Suleman, is a 33-year-old single mom already raising six young children in the small home of her parents. Nadya is a health care worker who, according to her mother, became pregnant with all the children through in-vitro fertilization.

NotMy Gal states:

Nadya Suleman, or the notorious Octuplet Mom, was decidedly NOT our Gal this week. Suleman delivered eight babies after having multiple embryos implanted.  She also had six children before giving birth, which means she’s now the proud mother of fourteen children.  Kate Gosselin from the reality TV show  Jon & Kate Plus Eight says that people will judge you for using your body like a clown car the demands that such a large family might have on a person.  News of Suleman’s epic birth arrives at the same time that so-called political moderates on Capitol Hill are cutting programs that hurt women and children more than any other group.  Moreover, the job loss numbers are not looking good.

However, I have to take another look at this topic, because I'm not sure I agree.  First, I believe there are two issues at stake.  One is her status as a single woman.

Look at the argument that Nadya's own mother is making:

Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year.

"It can't go on any longer," she said in a phone interview Friday. "She's got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to get married."

Her problem is that Nadya isn't married. There is a certain status that single woman with child receives, and now, let us compound this status with her income.  Nayda isn't wealthy either:

I know I'll be able to afford them when I'm done with my schooling,” the 33-year-old single mom replied. Calm, poised and articulate in the glare of the media spotlight, Suleman added: “If I was just sitting down watching TV and not being as determined as I am to succeed and provide a better future for my children, I believe that would be considered, to a certain degree, selfish.”

Thanks to my office mate, I have a weird interest in the Duggars.  These people have 18 children.  There is a father, who works outside of the home, but also seems to work from home.  There is a stay at home mother, who home-schools her children.  They seem to have made a lot of money in real estate and from speaking tours, or something else, I don't know.  What I do know is that these people have a large income and are a white married couple raising a billion children. And while people find this unique, no one has told Ma Duggar to knock it off.

Nadya is a single woman who made a choice based on her love of children, and she does not have the same monetary access that the Duggars do.  Do we really want to make the argument now that a woman should only have the children that she can successfully afford?

The majority of women who divorce end up on the short end of the income stick, and also tend to end up with custody of their children.  Should these women have their children removed?  Should a newlywed who intends to have children have to take into consideration the very real possibility that her happily ever after might leave her with less income and a pile of kids to provide for? Should she be stopped from procreating then?  My own beloved grandfather has said that if people waited until they were ready to have children, then no one would have children.  I think putting income and married status restrictions on women is a very dangerous slope - one that we feminists have long fought against, and this should be remembered when speaking out against Nadya.

baby1My next concern is that people are questioning her doctor, as to why he did not stop her from doing this.  This is very tricky.  From a health standpoint, was the mother at risk?  were the babies?  Yeah, they were.  The human body isn't really supposed to give birth to litters, but it appears that it can.  Was it a decision for the doctor to make to tell her what she can, ethically, do to her body?  I don't think it is.  I don't believe that "do no harm" doesn't extend to these types of ethical decisions, and what is right for this woman's body might not be for mine.  This is the same reason I defend a pro-choice platform.  If I were to want any medical proceedure, I would want to know the risks and side affects, and any other information that would help me to make the best decision for myself - but I don't know that I would want the doctor to have the final say in this.  This too needs to be considered when we make pro-choice arguments.

Finally, that people are calling her crazy, and are attacking her because of her choices is not okay with me.  I don't approve of slut-shaming when a woman wants to have the sex life she desires, and I'm not okay with shaming a woman for making a choice about her reproductive choices as well.

So, after I review these issues, I have come to the conclusion that Nadya is a non-white, non-married, non-wealthy woman who made a  reproductive decision that works for her.  Sounds like its none of my business.