Serial Bus

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Octuplets: Intelligent Creation?

with 2 comments

Last week, everyone was agog about the amazing birth of octuplets in a suburb of California. This is the second known case in human history when so many babies were born alive. Apparently, the 46-strong team of medics that delivered them weren’t even expecting the eighth baby. When I heard about it Monday morning, I found it fascinating. Presuming this was natural, my wishes were with the parents. Then, news broke that the mother had 6 other babies earlier, taking the total to 14 now. These were all conceived artificially, through implanted embryos. Today, I learn that the woman in question was ‘obsessed’ with babies. Although I defend her right to conceive and deliver as many babies as she wishes, I am beginning to question the intelligence in all this creation.

On all the occasions, the pregnancies were induced in vitro. The second time, she just wanted one more kid. When she approached the hospital one trimester into the pregnancy, she was told that all the 8 implants had been successful and was given the option to abort some fetuses. She refused to do so and if this were properly publicized, she could have become the darling of conservative America at that moment itself. Check out the opinions of some hard-core pro-lifers in this brilliant post by Daniel Florien (a born-again atheist) and you can divine how much they would have rejoiced at this demonstration of heavenly providence.

Now, let’s consider some earthly predicaments that the mother would face going forward. Bringing up 14 kids (8 of which are indiscriminate infants) is a logistical nightmare. The orchestra that the doctors’ team had to perform during the delivery is a curtain-raiser on what the family will have to go through every day. Since there is no father around, the mother will depend upon her own parents for a hand. They family declared bankruptcy some years back so clearly, they aren’t rolling in cash. Hired help is therefore out of question. Plus, the mom has insists that she will breast-feed every baby. My mind aches when I calculate the number of times the babies will need to be fed every day and the pile of nappies that will accumulate on a daily basis. In contrast, it is very easy to estimate the number of hours anyone will get to sleep.

I am also curious as to what form of insurance the mom had that allowed her to get the services of the hospital. Who is footing the bill? This is of course, the beginning of a long series of financial challenges that have to be faced. Imagine 6 kids ready to hit college and then, 8 more. To provide for such a big family, even a jackpot may be insufficient. I believe the family has also shown great contempt for media so far, thus thinning their chances of allowing a reality show like ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8‘ to be created around their household. Isn’t survival more important than privacy?

I am sure there are a good number of incautiously optimistic people out there who see this as an expression of the mother’s unwavering love for her offspring. After all, in choosing to bring them into the world, the mom has demonstrated nothing but an abundant dedication towards her babies. For a moment, can we not shed our cynicism and celebrate her affection?

This is a subtle point and I question how much of her dedication can realistically translate into affection. For starters, consider the risk that all the fetuses as well the bearer were put through when the mother chose to keep all of them. By choosing to abort some of them, she could have afforded healthier prospects for the ones that remained. Fortuitously, they have survived but not-so-fortuitously, all were born premature, one of them just 1.5 pounds. This can be termed anything but caring.

Next, where is the time to dote on any baby? The mom will be forever running from pillar to post just to keep pace with basic functions like feeding, cleaning and resting. When you love someone, the proof of the pudding is in spending time for that person – it’s not enough to just have the milk of human kindness overflowing in your heart. Aside from time, the other necessary ingredient of pragmatic love is the ability to make available amenities that the kids need for happy and successful lives of their own. Only millionaires can’t be accused of being negligent of this responsibility.

So, in a nutshell, my bewilderment is why she did not abort 7 of them, when she really wanted just one more kid? Abortion is certainly not illegal and she was actually offered the opportunity. By taking it, the only thing she would have missed is a place in the Guinness book. But, she let it pass – in all likelihood, she feared a place in Hell (after a life of eternal damnation), had she wavered. Felicitations are due to American Life League and other related organizations, as this is a triumph of decades of their hard work. Directly or indirectly, their canvassing has allowed a belief in the glory of God to take root in the minds of young mothers and lo and behold, the efforts are bearing fruit.

That said, one sincerely hopes that the blameless babies, who had no say in what happened, receive all the necessary care and despite the circumstances of their birth, still grow up to be precocious. I am sure it warms the cockles of the hearts of thousands of pro-life campaigners as they witness this ‘miracle’ – it’s time they organized an army of volunteers to help change the nappies and while they are at it, they should begin to send a check to the family every month.


Written by serialbus

February 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm

2 Responses

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  1. “Better that they should die and decrease the surplus population.” – Ebenezer Scrooge, “A Christmas Carol”, Dickens.

    Scrooge’s statement seems an accurate representation of your opinion.

    Scary to me that we can make such sweeping judgments of a person’s worth simply because the person’s mother made a bad decision or the person was one of eight siblings.

    Jason – Let’s not drag babies into this. Hopefully, they will grow up to be successful. My criticism is limited to the judgment of their mother; they need to be spared. As we know, many famous people of previous centuries were part of big families – it was a norm to have multiple children back then. – Serial Bus


    February 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm

  2. The thing is that this whole thing could have been prevented by the mother and the unethical doctor who placed 8 embryos in. Having had in-vitro myself my doctor used strict guidelines for how many embryos could be transferred. He implanted 3 and I ended up with twins. So sad for all 14 of the kids who had no say in what kind of family they were brought into.

    I agree totally. The kids had no say in what happened. I am glad it worked out for you. – SerialBus


    February 1, 2009 at 6:04 pm

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