Friday, January 30, 2009
OCTUPLETS: A MIRACLE OR A MESS?
Even after having six children, a California woman decided to undergo fertility treatments to have even more children. She knew early on that at least seven babies were in the making, but even doctors at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center were shocked to learn that she was about to give birth to octuplets. Miraculously, all eight were born healthy, yet tiny. It's only the second live birth involving octuplets anywhere in the world.
Doctors are smiling. The family is smiling, but how long can that joy possibly last? The unnamed family now has an astounding 16 children. Mom doesn't work, but dad is a contractor, currently working in Iraq. I'm not sure what kind of contracting he does, but I can't imagine anyone being able to afford the cost of raising 14 children. The birth by cesarean section alone involved over 40 doctors and nurses. Imagine that bill!
My sister and brother-in-law have four children and they've raised them well. While it was no simple task, they make raising children look easy, because they're so good at it. I can't fathom my sister raising TEN more children.
Raising 14 children raises all sorts of questions. Will mom breast feed all eight newborns? If you're going to grandmas house, do you plop some of the kids in the trunk, get three mini-vans, buy a small bus? Will they ever get to go on a family vacation. If they're at a highway rest stop, how many kids will they accidentally leave behind? How many times? Do they fly? How big is there dinner table? What happens when the rest of the family comes over for a Christmas Dinner? As they grow older, how many bedrooms will they need? When they become teenagers, how will you afford to feed them? Christmas presents? Will they ALL go to college? Eight of them will be entering college the same year, costing the family $364,000 on average to enroll them all in a public school for four years. The cost skyrockets to $800,000 on average for a private university. But, don't forget the first six kids. When all is said and done, it will cost the family 1.4 million dollars to send ALL of the kids to private colleges, not including room, board and books.
The cost of raising 14 children is staggering and this is why I ask, "Is it worth it?" I mean, if you can't put food on the table, dress them and send them to college, how can you in good conscience raise 14 children? This may sound mean, but isn't this like your pet dog giving birth to puppies? Most families don't keep them all. They give a few away. Would they miss babies 12, 13 and 14. Will they even be able to remember all of their names. Maybe they do what my sister and brother-in-law did, give them all "J" biblical names. Maybe you name them each with the first 14 letters of the alphabet ranging from A-to-N. They had six boys and two girls. Andrew, Bobby, Carl, Dennis.....you get the idea.
I'm not sure how big of a house they have or how rich a couple they are, but don't you think these sort of things need to be considered in family planning? Maybe, before they get too attached to the kids, they should have a clearance sale. Unload a few of them. Start with the ugly ones first. Or perhaps another miracle will occur: Ty Pennington from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will pull up in that big bus and announce, they're all going to Disney World, getting a new 14-bedroom home and five nannies to take care of the kids. Now, that would be a real miracle.