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Mommy Musings Distractions
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With 'Mommy Musings' heading up my column space, how could I not weigh in on the 'octo mom' AKA Nadya Suleman. For those unfamiliar with her story, here's a brief summary. She's an unemployed, single, thirty-something mom, residing in Southern California with her mother and six children in a three-bedroom house which is currently under foreclosure. Oh, and recently she gave birth to eight babies, which are now trying to hit the preemie benchmarks in a NICU at a Southern California Hospital, so they can go home.

There are many levels of this story, which create a media circus. The sensationalism of it seems to continue daily. And while many think her 15 minutes of fame is all but over it appears as if she is being granted 15 minutes for each of her 14 children, not to mention her parents each seem to be getting their own 15 minutes - by default.

This is a story, which, just when you think you've heard it all ... there's another disturbing fact. The media now has something to report on other than politics and a failed economy and the public reaction to this woman could best be described as outrage.

For me personally, there are many levels to this story that I find disturbing. As a mommy who faced fertility issues of my own, it is the topic of improper use of in vitro that weighs the heaviest on my mind.

"It just takes one person to take the cloud of doom and throw it over something good and positive," I proclaimed in the office, as many of us learned that not just the eight, but all 14 of these children were conceived through in vitro.

Honestly, until this moment I always believed there were medical guidelines when addressing infertility treatments, not to mention in vitro fertilization. I've now learned that while there are guidelines, there are no rules and restrictions and as we all know (especially as parents) rules and restrictions are necessary.

My journey through infertility and finding the perfect fit to bringing us not one but two babies, was long and hard - but in the end we got our bundles. Not everyone is so lucky and as we traveled through our journey we met many couples who just wanted what so many have (often without thought) - a family.

Recently during a conversation with another mom who faced struggles conceiving, I recalled the misery of the process, trying to figure it all out.

"I longed for the day that I could wake up and let my feet hit the floor, without first taking my temperature," I shared.

Tracking ovulation through charting my temperature was part of our journey. Regardless of what city we resided in, we were always met by responsible doctors and this was part of the process, to see which direction to take next.

In vitro did not even roll off the tongues of any of our doctors until six months before conceiving my daughter and that was only because I was getting older and time was not on our side. Fortunately we conceived, before taking that turn in the road.

What is most frustrating about this case is that this is an effective treatment, which has helped so many and it is now under the microscope more than ever before. Of course there has always been the argument of medicine playing God. But I've always felt that knowledge is given with a purpose and when used responsibly all can benefit. There is nothing responsible about placing eight embryos into a single, unemployed mother of six - this is just greed. Greed on the part of the doctor receiving payment and greed on the part of the mother, not considering how this irresponsible, selfish choice will ultimately affect the other children she cannot afford to care for.

Many in my circle of moms who underwent treatment journeyed through a crucial process, just to get the green light to have the in vitro. Mentally examined and prepared for the probability of not only success, but also failure. Savings accounts drained, as they responsibly tried to add one to their family, some ultimately turning to adoption, when the stress and disappointment became too much. Now, happy to have their family complete - regardless of the journey and grateful to the mother who made the choice to give her baby the opportunity for a better life.

Then there's Nadya.

Honestly, I have spent the better part of a week trying to find the deeper meaning in why so many are so outraged by this one person's selfish act.

Yes, I get that we the taxpayers will now be paying for these children. The same taxpayers who perhaps are now unemployed and unable to receive money from the state, which they overpaid on their prior year of taxable earnings. Personally, I think the irresponsible doctor should be responsible for picking up the tab on this one. After all, we all learn differently and perhaps the best way to teach him the lesson on medical morality is through his increasingly growing wallet.

Anger and frustration aside, maybe, just maybe this crazy, selfish woman from So Cal is a welcome distraction for all of us. Before Nadya, all we heard and talked about was our failing economy. Friends and family members taking pay cuts or losing jobs. Businesses closing and unemployment rising. And while the acts of she and her doctor may not have helped improve this budgetary crisis, they did offer up a new villain for everyone to discuss around the water cooler.

Not Saddam Hussein, the executives of Ford, GM or Chrysler, but 'Octomom' - the single mom who took the world by storm as she gathered every egg she could possibly find and, well, hatched it.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.