Nadya Suleman has been coined as, “Octomom.” I’ve heard about this woman. I’ve seen her on the cover of magazines while checking out at the grocery store. I knew she raised controversy when she gave birth to octuplets, especially when tabloids were implying that she had a shady relationship with her fertility specialist. Yet, despite of all of this media attention, I never bothered reading about her until I saw television clips for an upcoming Oprah show. Apparently, Nayda wrote in and wanted to appear on her show to clear her bad reputation. Since I felt Oprah would cut to the chase and weed out media drama, I made an appointment with my TV to find out more about the big fuss surrounding this mother.
To tell you a little bit about her, Nadya Suleman became coined as “Octomom” when she gave birth to eight children on January 2009. Apparently, there is a very low success rate with these types of multiple births and despite the doctors wanting to eliminate the risks through selective reduction, Nayda carried on with her pregnancy and defeated the odds. Due to this medical miracle, the media quickly got a hold of this story and with further investigation, found out her life was full of drama and mystery, two things that reporters love to get their hands on.
It doesn’t help that there appears to be many missing links and loopholes in Nayda’s life, holes that reporters love to fill. To begin, she was once married and although they tried to conceive naturally, they were unable to have any children. At some point, she went to a fertility specialist and had several embryos frozen. She eventually divorced her husband but some time after-wards, she was able to conceive six children. The father of all of her children are unknown. When the media got a hold of the “Octomom” phenomena, it was discovered that she was a single, unemployed mother who lived on public assistance programs prior to giving birth to her eight babies. There are also reports from tabloids that three out of her fourteen children receive SSI benefits. However, on Oprah, she only noted that one of her older kids was diagnosed with Autism. It is difficult to fathom why a women who already had a family of six and was unable to provide for them, decided to implant six more embryos (two of which split making eight children).
On the show, Nayda reached out to Oprah. She wanted to let the media know the truth and clear her name. For the first time, she allowed a camera crew in her house and clips were discussed as Oprah interviewed her via video conference. During the show, cameras watched her in action. It was apparent that she had a difficult time keeping track of her children, several children seemed neglected, and one of her children were seen stomping on another in a play crib. Even with three nannies, children went unattended, ignored, and Nayda had sleepless nights.
As a viewer, Nayda seemed to be full of contradictions which made her points insincere. She stated that her focus and everything she did was for her children yet, her children went unattended and emotionally neglected. In addition, she took pride in feeding them healthy foods however, the camera crew filmed her dishing out unidentifiable slop from a can to feed her kids. She also reported that she only uses the media to help pay for her expenses such as nannies and her mortgage (which is close to foreclosure) however, she openly admits that she hates the media attention and so does her kids. If this is the case, then why does she reach out to Oprah, the daytime queen of America, and continues to solicit herself to magazines, radio shows, and interviews? It appears she enjoys feeding the hungry paparazzi at her convenience, so why is she annoyed when they take pictures of her family at the park? She welcomed the invasion of privacy.
Nayda also told Oprah that she felt like a “carnival attraction.” Rightfully so. The name seems to fit the bill. It was hard to view Nayda as sincere. Her laugh was obnoxious and her face looked plastic. Yet, she reports she never had any surgery. You don’t have to be a plastic surgeon to notice that her upper lip looked like it was injected with collagen as her lips do not have a natural shape in their appearance. After viewing the interview, it was easy to see why the paparazzi were drawn to her. She is an easy target especially when she keeps the father of her children a secret and despite unsuccessful relationships, she had successful conceptions throughout her broken love affairs. It is also no wonder why her fertility doctor became a huge target of debate. Ethically, one has to ask why a doctor would implant several embryos in Suleman’s womb, especially since her age was a factor in delivering healthy babies and she already was a single mother of six children. The oldest one is only eight years old. If she was already living on assistance, how was she able to afford all of these expensive procedures but then apply for assistance? Tax payers have the right to be upset with her, she is relying on her children in order to put food on the table and to put money in her pockets.
Although I watch the show with an open mind, for me, I felt Octomom deserves a negative title. Even though she turned down porn offers and reality television shows, she still continues to exploit her family in order to gain media attention. Perhaps she felt being interviewed by Oprah would rectify her reputation. However, what she failed to realize, watching her admit that she isn’t able to take care of all her children and “she feels a tremendous amount of guilt when she holds one or two of her children and can’t be there for the others,” is her own fault. Instead of playing “victim” for media’s sympathy, she could take some responsibility and realize how her actions have greatly affected her innocent children who seemed to be born as pawns in their mother’s media game. In addition, she should remove her website that asks for donations to support her family, before approaching the media and pretending to be sincere.