Egan 7:14

Damn, I can’t figure out a clever way to start this post. So here it goes, 14. Fourteen kids. What the hell is going on? I’m one of seven kids so I can’t imagine what it would be like to be one of 14. Every time I hear about this woman and her octuplets, I want to cry for the kids.

I’m sure most of you are very tired of the story and want it to go away. I thought I’d give my impressions though. Let’s have a candid chat about this woman’s psyche. I’ve maintained for a long time when someone wants a large family, something is missing in someone’s life. As much as I love my mom, I realize my mom finds comfort in the “stuff” which surrounds her. Whether it be children, noise, or dusty boxes of yarn… that’s what makes my mom comfortable.

My mom was one of two kids, the youngest, with an older sister of seven years. My mom got married young and actually birthed ten kids. Three of them didn’t make it past infancy and the remaining seven of us made it to adulthood. Along the way my mom and dad struggled to keep their relationship intact due to financial difficulties. My father did alright, but it’s no easy feat to feed nine mouths. Eventually my parents divorced and we had to live on my mom’s meager yarn store profits.

Things really do get lost in the shuffle. For the most part I was raised by my siblings and had to fight hard for attention. I learned at an early age making animal noises could gain a laugh and perhaps an extra smile in my direction. I had to compete with six others for a hug, extra food, or even a spot on the couch.

Being from a big family is a unique treat, but one I would never pass along. It’s draining to be a parent of one child. To nurture your child and give them the attention they deserve requires much effort. I hardly recall being read to as a child because parental time we scarce. We took showers at the swimming pool because two showers in a house of nine doesn’t cut it. I hid in my bedroom, once I finally got one at the age of 14, because I needed a place to absorb. Now, I’ve got this virtual place…

The infamous California woman with 14 kids is sad. According to her own accounts, she was a lonely child, who her parents freely admit was rather spoiled. She already had six kids before the recent pregnancy. Six mouths to feed depending on a single mom and boom, eight more siblings on the scene.

My final concern is this, the role of the media. I know I’m blogging about this topic and potentially drawing more attention. Yeah right, who reads blogs? Anyways, I’m sure TV networks such as TLC or Discovery are already battling it out for a reality TV show featuring Mom of 14. This is where I have strong objections. Should we reward such poor decisions with TV shows? I’ve seen Jon & Kate Plus Eight and can’t deal with it. Then there’s the enormous Duggar family in Arkansas with 18 kids has their own TV show. If I continually make bad decisions, am I rewarded? Nope. If so, we need a reality show documenting my work history between say 17-23 years old. Amen.


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Curmudgeonly, Opinionated, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Egan 7:14

  1. Amanda says:

    You have interesting take on why people want large families. I always thought it would be a lot of fun and actually wished I had more than the one brother. Sometimes, I think that I would like 4 kids but other times, I look at Aaron and think I can’t even spend enough time with this single one.

  2. Great point about the reality shows. The concept of those shows get more ridiculous everytime. Both my parents came from big families (my mom is the eldest of 10 and my dad is a middle child of 7). I thought a family with four kids (raises hands) was big and hectic so I couldn’t even imagine more than that.

  3. kirk says:

    I is stunning that people are probably planning a “reality” show around this woman and her recent litter of children she had. What should happen in the fertility clinic that got her knocked up should lose its license.
    Three of her first kids are disabled. Mom doesn’t work. There is no dad. So the taxpayers are paying to raise these kids. If you have six kids and are receiving welfare (although according to her publicist –yes the octomom has a publicist! — she doesn’t see the food stamps and SSI as welfare and then goes on to explain these programs are there to help people in need. Which IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF WELFARE!)
    Octomom is mentally ill and it may actually be better for these kids to live away from her. When these new infants grow into children, will she want new infants to replace them? These aren’t kittens lady, they are people! It is painfully selfish of her to bring these kids into the world.

  4. tori says:

    I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. Number one being that I had twins while I also had a 2 year old and it was hard. My husband traveled a lot for work, but was home a lot too. I could not imagine having any more on my plate at that time than I did. I used to feel sad when I fed my babies that I usually held one while the other was in a bouncy seat. I couldn’t physically hold two babies at once, so I switched off which one I held each time. But I felt like one was always missing out. I can’t imagine how she will hold her babies even close to enough. I get that you don’t have to hold a baby 24 hours a day, but you do need to touch them and be alert enough to show them affection. There is no way she can possibly do that alone. No way. I had a hard enough time with 2 babies and a 2 year old and plenty of money to go around.
    I do think there is some credibility to your theory about why people have big families. In my family that I was born into, it was just my brother and myself. My parents worked long hours so I was home alone all the time while my brother was in daycare sine he was so much younger than me. I was sort of lonely and wanted siblings really badly. I made my own siblings by hanging out at friends houses and playing with their siblings but I always wanted more people around me. I have 4 kids now. I love the noise around me (most of the time) love that we are always doing something, love that I am never completely alone. I do give my kids enough attention, we do have enough money to support their needs and most of their wants, so it is fine. I can’t imagine having more kids than you could afford to take care of both physically and emotionally.
    It makes me sad that this woman sees nothing wrong with any of this. I just can’t understand it. I can’t undestand how she can think that it isn’t a problem that she can’t pay for food for them all. I wonder how she paid the fertility clinic though, and I also wonder how it is ethical for them to have given her so many babies when the risks are so great to both mother and children. And I agree with you that it pisses me off when people who make bad decisions are rewarded. It goes against everything I am trying to teach my kids. And I believe it is part of the problem with people feeling entitled and being kind of bratty/spoiled lately. Bt most of all, I feel bad for the kids. What a sad life they have been born into. Even if the mom does love all of her kids, how can she possibly give each of them individual attention? I have 4 kids and have a hard time doing that. I have no job other than my kids. There isn’t any more time I COULD spend with my kids so how will she squeeze it in with 14 when I can not with 4? It will be interesting to see what happens. But it still makes it very sad.

  5. tori says:

    Now I see that my last comment was as long as your post…sorry about that!

  6. Kailyn says:

    My first thought when reading this was about what motivates people to have more than one child. I am an only child. I have a few friends who are also only children. In conversations with them over the years I found that we all would have more than one child if we chose to have children. Most of us thought that three was an ideal maximum. Why? Because only children tend to spend a great deal of time in adult company — much more than children with siblings. (Oh, and if there is at least a seven year gap between you and your closest sibling, you are a technical only child.) My friends and I missed being able to spend as much time as our other friends did with people around our own age.
    Now onto the mother of 14. My dad and I have been discussing her. (My dad is one of ten.) We have agreed that the woman definitely has some mental health issues. And Kirk is absolutely right. What kind of fertility clinic would perform the procedure on a woman who needs other help? It’s disgraceful.

  7. Michelle says:

    I think the comments to this post are as interesting as the post itself. I thought for awhile that I wanted a really large family to make up for the childhood that I had and than realised that that isn’t what’s best for me or my children. I find it awful the amount of media attention this woman is recieving and I’d like the fertility clinic to be punished in some way. I feel so sorry for those children.

  8. SM says:

    Awesome post and some great commentary following. I read a lot of infertility blogs (not sure why, but I find their stories interesting) and they are outraged by this mother and whatever doctor allowed this to happen. Fertility treatments already receive a lot of criticism and a lot of people really don’t understand the process as it is and now this psycho comes along and muddies it up even more. And I agree with Kirk (as does most of the infertile community) her doctor should lose their license.
    As for the thought behind wanting a large family, I find your thoughts very interesting. Both my husband and I are from medium-sized families. His mom had 5 kids and my mom had 4. I was lucky enough to not feel like I was missing out on any attention or anything – the age range of us kids was large enough to allow for all of us to be raised individually. My husband, the youngest of the 5, had situations similar to yours – always fighting for attention, being raised by his older sisters, etc.
    Neither of us want a huge family (like, more than 3). Like you said, it’s hard enough ensuring you’re attentive enough with one child. But at the same time, we both agree that the benefits of having siblings outweigh the negatives. At least our experiences have allowed us to have that thought.

  9. meno says:

    I have to agree with the people who think she has a mental illness. And then i turn my steely disapproving gaze upon the medical proffesion whom implanted 8 embryos in an unwed, unemployed, mentally ill mother of six.
    Anything for glory i guess, even sacrificing the kids.

  10. G says:

    Well, she clearly has a mental illness. Her mother, poor, retired thing, and father (has to work in Iraq to support unemployed daughter and current 6 kids in 3 br apt) have stated that. They begged the clinic not to implant. Apparently the clinic agreed and there is as yet no info on who did the implantation. I come from a small (3) family, with extended family that have 8-13 (so far the max) kids. Their families are very functional, but not a family that I want. I think the children should be removed and placed in more stable homes for their welfare. If they were cats, they would be because this type of pet hoarding behavior almost always leads to physical mistreatment of the animals through neglect and it is a recognized clinical condtion.
    What bothers me the most is when a feminist (and I am one) website says only that it is misogynistic to criticize what a woman does with her body, or to use the phrase litter. Well, the reason that word has only been used to refer to animals is because it is impossible for a human to naturally give birth to 8.And when one defends this woman’s right to abuse and threaten the lives of these children (all 14, not just 8), then one has misunderstood both what feminism and what personal freedom is. In other countries, children have legal right. THis makes it clear that in the US the welfare of the children comes after publicity seeking.

  11. Felisa says:

    Even though I’m perfectly happy with one older sister and one younger brother, I’ve always secretly wished there were more of us. Both my parents came from families of 7 and I’ve always loved how loud and fun it is when all 7 of them get together (which, I must admit, hasn’t happened in about 17 years for my Dad and didn’t happen again until 25 years of being in different parts of the globe for my mom). However, I do realize that that’s unrealistic and I will probably have 3 kids max.
    This woman is just too much. I hate judging people and deciding what others are to do with their bodies but with this one? I can’t help myself. It takes a woman 2-3 years after giving birth to regain her strength and to ensure that the next child will be in an ideal environment during the pregnancy. She has put every single child at risk and I can’t believe a clinic helped her with it. Then, there’s the issue of how she’s going to take care of them. The government will help of course and because the situation is already the way it is, I have nothing against that. Still, they will be living on meager means. In addition to that, they will receive very limited attention and time with their mother. Although I’ve definitely outgrown wanting to be the only child my parents are to pay attention to, it wasn’t easy as a child… And that’s in a family of 3. I can’t even imagine what it would be like in a family of 14.

  12. churlita says:

    I am a single parent and I have two children. I feel like I can be a good parent to two children, but I’m not sure if I could handle even one more, financially, or time wise. I can’t imagine how anyone could be a good parent to 14 children. Especially since several of them are bound to end up with special needs.
    They have identified the Dr. now. I think, if he was irresponsible enough to perform that procedure, he should now be responsible for paying for their care.
    I had heard that she was asking for at least 2 mil from people to help her…I’m assuming she thought she would get that from her new TV show. Ugh.

  13. I’ve read about that on Perez Hilton but I would say that is nothing compared to what I saw here in the tropics. Some even go almost 20 and the worst of all is that these people are very poor. I usually say blame it on their government and church due to lack of enlightenment regarding family planning. Especially the church in that country who is against with the artificial birth control and instead keep on spouting about abstinence.
    I am an only child (though I have siblings from the side of my biological father coming from different women)but I never got any attention from my biological parents until my adopted father from Norway came to my rescue. I would say he is the best father one can have and of course my only family now aside from my fiancé.

  14. justrun says:

    I have far too many thoughts about this topic, and no way to articulate them in a comment. And, yet, I leave a comment anyway.

  15. egan says:

    Amanda – it’s a lot of work I tell you. I get the sibling thing because it’s fun to have a full house, but not a crowded house. There’s a very big difference in those two.
    Essentially Me – I know, you’ve got a good perspective on family sizes. I think 2-3 kids max would be doable, but I’m not saying anything else. Maybe I’ve fathered some I don’t know about, like 13 others.
    Kirk – I love your nickname for her, Octomom. She sounds like a superhero. Maybe she could be a wimpy superhero or her power is to unleash her 14 kids to get things done. Anyways, you’re right about all of this. The fact she needs a publicist is beyond scary.
    Tori – the fact she sees nothing wrong with this underscores the depth of her issues. Any sane person would do some simple math and know how tough raising six kids on your own is. Why would anyone ever willingly add 8 more into the mix? Does she not value their education, their quality of life, etc.?
    Tori – don’t apologize. This topic will generate much discussion because it’s a sizzler.
    Kailyn – there are all sorts of issues with this situation. The least of which is the fertility clinic. She needs help. Being an only child would be such a different experience for me. So much of my life is shaped by the constant hum of voices during my day.
    Michelle – I’m sorry for them as well. Most of the kids didn’t even weigh over 2 pounds. That’s not a good thing for their brain and lung development. We can only hope they grow to be healthy, sadly they don’t have a good track record ahead of them.
    SM – agreed, I think siblings are important. I would like Baby Singe to have at least one so she has someone to grow up with and she could gang up on mom and dad. I really regret how little attention I got as a child. It slowed my growth because the younger siblings often got overlooked. I caught up, but it took some time.
    Meno – I have trouble celebrating this news story. I see the doctors chatting about her condition and they’re very happy. The whole situation is rather disheartening to me.
    G – thanks for your insight on the topic. Generally I try to see issues through different eyes. This one is tough. I have no way to rationalize how the mom thought this was an okay thing to do. Did she think the world would embrace her and buy her expanding family a new home and such? I can’t get behind this. Litter or not, it’s a ridiculous thing to do.
    Felisa – the family dynamic only gets more complicated as the size of the family increases. The noise and activity in a busy house is comforting. However, divisions do happen and you may not know your siblings as well as you’d like. Those are the realities. And when it comes to money, that’s a topic to tackle another day.
    Churlita – my guess is she’s banking on a generous outpouring from the public. Whether or not it happens is another story. I wouldn’t donate any money to her unless I knew it would go to the kids and a college fund. Even that might be pushing it.

  16. egan says:

    Charles – are you saying families the size of 20 aren’t uncommon in the Philippines? Yikes, that’s so damn big. I’m sick and tired of hearing about abstinence. People are going to have sex at some piont in time. Let’s just make sure they’re prepared to not have kids when that time comes. You know. I wondered how you ended up in Norway, now it all makes sense.
    Justrun – it’s great when you say stuff like this. It does show me you care and that’s what’s truly important.

  17. big bro says:

    I’m lucky my folks kept pumping out the pups or I wouldn’t have this lil’ blogging bro.
    That woman is a classic example of why just b/c people can have kids doesn’t mean they should- she is already living with her mom with 6…I’m sure we are all going to pay for their upbringing through gov’t/welfare programs…

  18. Kailyn says:

    Prepare yourself for a long one…
    You are quite correct. There are endless issues in this situation. I called out the fertility clinic because I question their ethics in accepting payment for services that they probably shouldn’t have performed. I’ve also had time to think about the handouts that the family will receive. Yes, in some ways it is rewarding the mother for her bad behavior. At the same time, these children did not ask to be here so should they be punished for their mother’s behavior? Of course, there are a lot of children out there with parents who are lacking. It’s just that we don’t necessarily hear about them on an individual basis through the media.
    I think that part of the reason why I am such a TV addict now is a result of my childhood. To have the hum of voices, I turned on the TV or stereo. By middle school, I was a latchkey kid so I really wanted those noises in those three hours before my mom got home from work. It’s also probably why I spend so much time on the phone.
    In college, when I was asking a professor to write a letter of recommendation for grad school, we got into a conversation about his family. He and his wife had one daughter. They were debating about whether they should stop at one. After asking about how many siblings each of them had — multiple — I then said, “Funny. I’ve never met an only child who has started off with the idea that it’s OK to stop at one child.” I then told him about the numerous board games that my parents gave me as a child. Thing is that if the adults don’t have time, who are you going to play with? Especially if it’s a rainy day and none of the other kids on the block can come out to play. So let me leave you with this picture. I’d line up my stuff animals around the board and I’d roll the dice for them. I suppose in the end it taught me to be creative and not to be dependent upon others for sources of entertainment.

  19. egan says:

    Big Bro – good thing your folks creating a blogging bro so you can speak in vague terms about your actual brother while leaving some readers of his blog completely confused.
    Kailyn – hmm, I see where you’re going with this. I’m sure there are disadvantages to being an only child. Just like most things have pros and cons. All I’m saying is being part of a big family is nice, but some romanticize it. I wouldn’t change my upbringing for the world. I loved it, but in hindsight, my parents were overwhelmed. Sure rainy days suck, but I played board games alone too. The age differences didn’t mean we always had much in common. If you grow up in Seattle, rain doesn’t stop one from playing in it.

  20. logo™ says:

    I’m the middle of three children and my husband and I decided to have two if we were going to have any. I married an only child and there was no way in HELL I was going to pass that favor on :p
    I have friends with large families and some seem to do it well, and others, not so much.
    I find this lady, and this situation incredibly sad. Primarily I am sad for her kids. I cannot conceive of a way this goes well for them.

  21. Kailyn says:

    Oh I don’t romanticize the whole thing. My mother made it clear many years ago that if she had had more than just me around, she would have never divorced my dad. I used to joke that two out of three of us were happy with the divorce. My mom and I struggled but it was doable because it was only the two of us. I am frightened by my thoughts of whom I would be today if my parents had actually stayed together. When I dreamed of having three kids, it was in a two-parent home. One child is more than enough in a single parent home. And I feel for you. Because I got lost at times in a single parent home without even having to compete with other kids.
    My best friend lived two houses down the street. She is the youngest of five and I am the unofficial sixth sibling — still to this day. Growing up we would discuss the various pros and cons of our situations. While I marveled over having instant playmates, she pondered what it would be like to not have to share with others. (Oh, and we have been best friends for about 35 years.)

  22. Not really and mostly come from a poor family. Since some use their children as sort of investment in the future, manual labour or sell them. I worked volunteer as an EMT there for a year and most of our patients are the poor people and that made me see the whole situation. It is really sad but the government is too corrupt and the church has their own agenda.

  23. My former GYN is the idiot who implanted all the emryos…freak!

  24. I would go insane with more than two kids. Insane. She’s basically running a preschool.

  25. lora says:

    i would have been a great reality show a decade ago.
    or maybe an after school special…..

  26. cynthia says:

    Haha, I think they have a show like that already … True Life on MTV.
    Anyways, the media attention on these huge families are driving me nuts. Quit glorifying these huge families — there’s no need, since most of us don’t need extra labor. :/
    Having one DOG is enough of a job, trying to raise it from puppy to adult. I couldn’t imagine one, eight, fourteen kids.

  27. Matt says:

    Did you see that interview with her last night?
    3 of her first six kids are disabled. Shes raising these new babies off of student loans and she spent $100,000 on IVF.
    It should be illegal to be her.

  28. SM says:

    Ha. Told you.

  29. Kerry says:

    When I was growing up, there was just me and my sister and I was perfectly happy with that. At the time, we each thought we had one sibling too many! Now, I’m glad I have my sister who is able to share in the care of my parents and my kids have a great Aunt to hang with.
    When I had my first son, I knew I would have another child because I didn’t want an only child. I thought “how lonely”. Never in a kabillion years did I ever think that I wanted 14 or anywhere close! That is insanely crazy and after watching her interviews, I doubt that she really plays with a full deck. I think she needs to be mentally evaluated. Those children will miss out on so much because two parents would have a hard time raising them, but a single parent!? It’s not going to happen. I feel guilty (ok every day) often because I don’t feel like there is enough of me to go around for my 3 kids.
    Maybe there are families that would adopt her kids in pairs. Keep two of them together and get them nice loving decent homes.

  30. kirk says:

    Octomom has a website for getting money to pay for her children.

  31. sari says:

    I had a tremendously hard time going from one child to two. How could I properly give them both the amount of love and attention they deserved? It was so hard for me.
    Now that we have three, actually, it’s easier. I know that there’s enough of everything they need. That being said, it also helps that my kids are 3-1/2 years and 7 years apart in age spread (10-7 and 1). I am lucky to be able to stay home with them and have a husband that comes home each night to be with us.
    I wouldn’t be able to be a good mom with that many children, raising them alone. I just wouldn’t, I know it. It’s too much stress just trying to survive, let alone properly raise them. Poor kids.
    That’s all I’m saying, for me.

  32. egan says:

    Logo™ – you really don’t like only children now do you? I would agree on the kids, I have no clue how this will work well for them. They have no choice in the matter.
    Kailyn – you mention a great point when it comes to sharing. I feel I’m pretty good at sharing things because I didn’t really have many options. I will also say it did create a little greed because when I finally had my own money to buy my own stuff, I wanted it for myself.
    Charles – I get having a large family to tend to the soil so to speak. However, that isn’t always a wise idea especially if the kids aren’t interested in that sort of work. I can’t fathom selling my child to anything for any price. EMT? That’s a very cool thing for you to have done.
    Princess Extraordinaire – for real? You know the woman’s doctor? That’s perhaps the most appallng aspect of this whole debacle.
    Movin’ down the Road – there are grade school classrooms with fewer students. Imagine moving the kids. Some of them will never travel until their teens unless Oprah or Dave Letterman puts them up.
    Lora – now I’m totally fascinated. Can you tip me off?
    Cynthia – I’m happy to say I’ve never seen an entire episode of True Life on MTV. I can’t tell you the last time I turned on MTV. I do know it’s channel 331 on my DirecTV system and that’s about it. I know, glorifying these super families is very wrong. I’d be willing to bet money that Octomom counted on an outpouring of financial support from strangers when deciding to have 8 more kids.
    Matt – I didn’t see entire interview yet, I will someday though. She’s all sorts of nutty.
    SM – you’re wicked smart.
    Kerry – it’s so true, how much time can she spend with the kids? I’m sure her sweet parents will help out, but they can’t be expected to do all the legwork also. You can kiss their retirement goodbye. Adopt them in pairs, that would be perfect.
    Kirk – wow, that site bugs. I hated to go there since I didn’t want to increase her traffic.
    Sari – I think it’s safe to say nobody would be good with that many children, nobody. You can’t possibly nurture the kids the way they should be. I’m hopeful something positive will come out of this event.

  33. The One and Only. says:

    I gotta wiegh in on this only child discussion. haha
    I think only children turn out spoiled and self-centered if you raise them to be that way. When I tell people i’m an “only” people are usually shocked. The one compliment that makes me giddy with joy is when i’m told that I don’t seem like an only child. I love it and I never tire of hearing it. My friends who are contemplating having an only child often ask me my opinions on being an only child. Most are flooded with negative opinions and questioned on how they could be so “cruel” to their child. Having an only child isn’t cruel. I think there are pros and cons to both, very valid pros and cons. I could right a novel about this, but I won’t. I will just say that if you want to raise a child, whether an only or not, you raise them to be kind to people, have good manners, teach them share, and not to think that they are the center of the universe. Now, with an only children you might have to work harder on this last one this since, well, they kind of are the center of the universe in their mind. haha

    Confession: The first couple of years of my marriage I heard more times then I would like to admit that “there is more then one right way to do things”. Really, more then one? Isn’t my way the right way? It’s worked so well for me. haha.

    One day i’ll tell you how many siblings my hubby has. It will make you tear up. Seriously.
    I’ll just say that he feels like he’s already raised 7 kids. (and no, he doesn’t come from a family of 8 kids). This is actually one of many reasons why we don’t have kids.

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