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Media feasts on octuplets’ mom’s multiple woes

Nadya Suleman, the California mother who gave birth to eight babies on January 26, now has a total of fourteen children under the age of 8, and she is only 33 years old. Since the birth of her octupulets made headlines across the globe, Suleman’s life has come under the public microscope.

An ethical debate swirls around Suleman’s decision to have eight more children. Suleman, almost universally referred to now as "Octo-Mom" is single and unemployed. Her mother, Angela, said her daughter’s obsession with children "can’t go on any longer."  She told the New York Daily News: "Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having them, but not the normal way."

Suleman, who calls her childhood "dysfunctional," revealed in an interview with NBC’s Ann Curry that she tried to get pregnant for seven years through artificial insemination and fertility drugs before she turned to in vitro fertilization. The octuplets, six boys and two girls born nine weeks premature, will remain in the hospital four weeks longer, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In defense of Suleman, Renee Martin of writes: "Much criticism has been leveled at Ms. Suleman. She has been referred to as a b***, compared to a dog, had her sanity questioned, and even called selfish. Yet if we claim to love children and support motherhood, why is one woman’s fertility such an issue?"

As the media keeps her story out front, some argue that Suleman has become a lightning rod for criticism for the nation’s healthcare woes, the economic crisis, and the medical ethics of in vitro fertilization.  For instance, Martin goes on to say, "In truth, motherhood is not supported and neither are the children that we claim to love so much. One of the most hated groups in society is the single mother, otherwise known as the welfare queen, as labeled by Reagan."

Another viewpoint posted on insists, "What is done is done. Let’s take what we can learn from this whole ordeal and be a helpful neighbor and help these poor kids."

What is behind the media hype around Suleman’s extraordinary birth? Why do you think there is such strong opposition to Suleman’s decision? Should the proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child" apply in this situation? Does Suleman’s choice bother you? Do you think the "Octo-Mom" deserves the attention she has gotten? What does this obsession with "Octo-Mom" say about our society, our values, and the media? 

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