Just a few weeks ago, the world marveled at the live birth (via Cesarean section) of eight babies to a woman in California. Matt Lauer and gang trotted out sets of sextuplets and septuplets previously featured on the show to postulate about the health of the babies and mother, the possible names and just what diapers might cost such a family.
Then it came to light this week that the mother, Nadya Soleman, is a single 33-year-old with six other children, all under the age of seven. When interviewed by Ann Curry about why she would want to raise 14 children on her own, Soleman answered “All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life. I love my children.” And how does she plan to support these children? Well she's finishing up her master's degree in counseling and her disability checks (from when she was injured in a riot at the state mental hospital where she worked) provide a little cash. By the way, counselors in Southern California can expect to make about $45,000.
So forget for a minute about the incredible selfishness of this woman hording children, forget about the idiot doctors who have continually impregnated her with some guy's sperm (the children all have the same father), forget about the fact that Ms. Suleman has a publicist, forget the ethical implications, forget about the health risks and even forget about the stretch marks. Let's talk about how these babies affect us.
With multiple birth babies facing high potential for jaundice, seizures, heart problems, blindness and various developmental delays, the taxpayer burden for the Suleman brood could quickly soar into the millions of dollars; all at a time when most people don't have the spare funds for others' delusions of maternity. Early estimates of the hospital bills range from $1.5 to 3 million, and that doesn't even begin to cover the costs of special education, continued asthma treatments, scholarships to summer programs and college and food.
As I mentioned before, Ms. Suleman has had sufficient funds to retain the services of a public relations firm, who are surely hard at work coming up with ways for the family to make some money. In the spirit of helpfulness and volunteering our President has recently advocated, I'd like to offer the Killeen Furtney Group of Los Angeles a few suggestions.
#1 Pimp My Baby
No, not a makeover for the sure to be destitute Suleman children, this would instead be an opportunity for childless couples to rent the children for a weekly fee while the whole world watches. Lifetime or TLC should have no problem getting sponsors... though with 8 kids born at once, it's tempting to suggest Animal Planet.
#2 Cautionary Tale/aka Book Deal
Let's just assume this family will be massively dysfunctional. Ambitious publishers may be smart to secure rights to the kids' stories now so that we can read the tell-all books that much sooner. Bonus - this supports literacy among the children.
#3 Cottage Industry
Why don't more people buy American goods? They're often more expensive than similar items from China or Vietnam. Why? Because those guys use child labor! Now we all can support local industries AND get cheap shit, thanks to the Suleman family. From t-shirts to household goods and sneakers, this could be the perfect marriage of domestic labor and affordability, just what we need in these cost-conscious but idealistic times. Watch out Dov Charney and American Apparel, Suleman Industries is coming to your home turf in LA!