SINGULAR SUBJECTS - Multiple births

Published: Monday | March 9, 2009

The Soloist, Contributor

This image, provided by NBC, shows Nadya Suleman (left) speaking with Ann Curry in New York on Thursday, February 5.

No job is harder, and more deserving of honour, than being a mother. But before contemplating this life-long occupation, women should be prepared socially, financially, mentally and otherwise. From the information gleaned about Nadya Suleman, the American mother who gave birth to eight babies late January, she has no clear plan to care for this set of eight plus the six she already has.

The more appearances she makes on television, the more convinced I am that Suleman only wants to satisfy a need deep inside of her for the family she lacked as a child. And even talk-show host Dr Phill (last Wednesday) was unsuccessful in getting her to admit the truth. Happily, she has said she does not plan to have any more, but will keep her remaining eggs in storage.

Remaining eggs

But even that act, in my mind, is irresponsible. Why not donate the remaining eggs to science or give them to a woman who really needs and can afford them? I am sure the annual storage fee to keep them indefinitely could be better used to care for her 14 children.

I can understand a single woman of independent means making a decision to be a mother. But why on earth would any sensible woman make the choice to go it alone in 2009? It is bad enough that many men falter as fathers, but why help them along by being irresponsible ourselves? The more we learn about this case, the more we see that Suleman is uncertain about a home, food, medical care and all that goes into taking care of children's needs.

Rely on the state

Perhaps she plans to rely on the state and the kindness of strangers to help take care of her problems. But enough about Suleman. Right here in Jamaica we have scores of women who have children without a future maintenance plan, including caregivers when they need to take a break, or the more challenging lunch money and school fee. These include the women who lock infants in houses at nights, go to a dance and return in time to bawl like banshees on the television news after the poor, helpless children play with fire, burn the houses down and, unfortunately, die in the process.

Somehow, someone forgot to tell these women that children are not toys to be enjoyed when they want to, then discarded when they don't. Children are luxuries many of us cannot afford.

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