Monday, February 09, 2009

Embarrassing Baby Boom

If Preston Sturges were making movies today, he could help us figure out how to react to Nadya Suleman and her octuplets, who made their public debut on the Today Show this morning.

In 1944, Sturges' classic comedy "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" ended with a young woman giving birth to sextuplets in a satire of American hypocrisy about marriage, morals and motherhood.

At the very least, he might lighten up all the harrumphing that has followed the unmarried Ms. Suleman's in vitro delivery of eight babies to go with her previous six.

Unlike Sturges' clueless heroine Trudy Kockenlocker, today's multiple mother sought the pregnancies. As an only child, she tells Today's Ann Curry, “All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life."

Now medical ethicists are criticizing her fertility doctors, and free-lance moralists are condemning her decision to have 14 children while jobless and living with her parents.

As odd and irresponsible as it may be, Ms. Suleman's act is a personal choice that doesn't require social approval until or unless the children have to be supported by taxpayers, something she vows not to seek and that private promoters will undoubtedly make it unnecessary to pursue.

Meanwhile, it's hard to resist thinking about what Sturges would make of the young man who was the sperm donor in both pregnancies. In today's interview, Ms. Suleman said that the father is "a bit overwhelmed right now," but she is hoping that he will want to get to know his children when he is ready.

Now that may be her most unrealistic expectation of all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Child support for 6 children for 18 years equals taking care of one child for 108 years.

I hope pops is up to the task.