When single parenthood becomes irresponsible

Published 8:49 pm Friday, February 6, 2009

Recently, when I heard about the birth of octuplets in southern California, I, like the rest of the people in the world, was interested in hearing the details.

It’s an oddity everyone takes interest in; the idea of having “multiples” highlights both curiosity as well as the sheer terror at the thought of raising so many children at one time.

“How do they handle all those kids?” are the first thoughts to run through people’s minds.

Reality shows like “Jon & Kate Plus Eight” have shed a little light on the lives of parents raising multiples as the show follows a Pennsylvania couple raising a set of twins along with sextuplets.

The show has become popular, simply because of its strong sense of family dynamic, the responsibility shown on the parents’ part and the eight kids are as adorable as can be.

Yet, on the other hand, as the story about the California octuplets unfolds, it’s understandable why people are questioning and criticizing the conception as well as the mother of this particular set of multiples.

Nadya Suleman is unwed, unemployed and has six children already.

I’m not one to condemn single moms, after all my mom is one, but I’ll happily testify to the repercussions of single mothers.

Single motherhood is not an easy task. For 18 years I saw my own mom struggle to make ends meet, working a manufacturing job and without public assistance or relying on anyone. She still struggles to this day, trying to help me out financially as she believes it’s still her duty.

I’m the first to admit, I got the luck of the draw. I got a parent who realized the huge responsibilities that come with being a single mom and was able to give me, as child, what I needed a stable and loving home.

But my mom also had just one child to raise.

While I can’t help but admire the great single mothers out there (whether they be single by divorce or happenstance), I can only come to the conclusion that what Suleman has done is completely irresponsible.

Her duty as a single mother with six children was already a role stretched thin. Now with her new eight additions, I don’t see her being able to give 14 children a financially and emotionally stable home, especially while being unwed and unemployed.

Whether or not her financial responsibilities to the children will fall back onto the taxpayers of California remains to be seen. Medical bills for the octuplets, if they experience the long term health effects multiples often do, could run into the millions.

The financial effects of this issue can be debated to no end, but it seems the health of her children was also left from her thought process.

These eight children could struggle with eating, breathing, blindness and a whole other host of medical problems multiples can have.

No matter how you look at this, Suleman will not be able to do this alone.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.