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First, congratulations on the recent birth of your children.
I get that you love children. I can’t think of many people who don’t love children. I get that you wanted to be a mother. That is the dream of most girls. Didn’t you achieve that dream after the first two or three children?
I don’t know what mental force drove you towards having fourteen children, that too, all by in-vitro fertilization. Each treatment involves a whole series of hormones that can cause dramatic mood swings, weight gain, and the very real risk of future infertility. There is certainly nothing wrong with in-vitro fertilization as an option for having children. However, as a patient who has suffered from depression, how could you subject yourself to that after already giving birth to the first few children?
Did you even consider what a house of fourteen children–ranging from the days-old octuplets to a seven-year old–would actually be like? Babies are a handful as it is, requiring round-the-clock care. Multiply that by eight, then add a few toddlers and young children who will all be vying for your attention. There will be screaming, there will be crying, there will be tantrums, messes, homework, trips to and from school, the doctor, and then just the day-to-day chores and errands.
You are a single mother, collecting disability payments as your only source of income. You were on the way to getting your masters, but dropped that part of the way to have more children. Your parents have taken care of your children thus far, but they can’t handle eight more. Even with a nanny, it is still a formidable task. There is nothing wrong with being a single mother–something that our society definitely understands, though you claim otherwise–but a single mother with fourteen children is a cause for concern. Even a mother with a strong support system with that many children raises a few red flags.
Have you considered how much it will cost to raise all of them to adulthood? It has been calculated to be around $200,000 per child. Multiply that by 14. Have you considered that they may go to college? The cost of tuition is only going up. Throw in at least another $10,000 per year, per child. You get the idea.
What were you thinking?
You may want to be a mother, but I think you are more in love with the idea of being a mother than the actual task of motherhood, with all its bells and whistles. You are probably in love with the idea of having children, which is in some ways, you may view as a validation of your femininity, especially after suffering previous miscarriages. Yes, you claim you will be at the disposal of all of your children, that you will give them your attention, and your love. Yet I’m not totally convinced that you know that motherhood involves a lot more than just unconditional love. Motherhood is not easy. It is something to love, but it is certainly not easy even with one child, let alone fourteen.
Please consider the gargantuan task ahead of you, and do what you need to do to ensure the best future for your children. We’re all rooting for you.
Tara Parker Pope always has great articles in her Health blog on the New York Times website. One of her more recent ones pertains to the fate of embryos created to help infertile couples who end up not using all of them.
Here is my problem with the naysayers who cry foul because embryos are being used for embryonic stem cell research. While they are embryos, by definition, they are not remotely multi-systemic entities. The embryos in question are, in fact, cell masses of mostly totipotent stem cells (this is also a correction to the comment I made on TPP’s blog where I said they are not embryos when in fact, they are still classified as such). I feel like it is made out by some camps like babies are being slaughtered to save lives. Maybe that’s a little extreme, but you get the picture. Perhaps more realistically, it is not as if 3-4 week old embryos are being killed to harvest stem cells. They look a bit more like this. In fact, at that stage, they would have few stem cells if any at all. Whatever they would have would have limited differentiating potential.
Why should hundreds, if not thousands to tens of thousands, of these cell masses go to waste. Understandably, some should be saved, if a couple wishes to have another child, but it is not as if each couple will need or be able to use all the embryos that are created. Meanwhile, there are several neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, neurological trauma) and cancers, among other disorders, that could benefit directly from stem cell research and certain stem cell therapies. Those victims are being neglected. I hope this next Presidential administration brings a repeal of the legislation that has been preventing new stem cell lines from being used for research, and allows stem cell research to march forward instead of stagnating.
What’s your take?