Sunday, February 8, 2009

A New Standard of Excess

I note there are many comments lately about the woman who had octuplets. I have to say, though I had a sense of awe and wonder over past years with the news of quints, sex- and even sep- tuplets, my immediate thought this time was a kind of disgust. Yes, mom is ecstatic (even though she already has 6 children) and her doctors are quite proud of themselves, but hey! We don't need to explore new territory on human proliferation. We have proven quite adept and successful at it and are in no danger of extinction (at least by procreation).

When I think about the struggle in "third world countries" to control population and thereby improve quality of life, I have to wonder about sloppy or at least careless human husbandry in "first world countries" where families apparently have no limits whatsoever (regardless of means to take care of kids). Ms Suleman, if you really wanted more kids, did you consider adoption? Doctors, if you gave her fertility treatments, can you really say you have no way of controlling or limiting the number of eggs fertilized, or were you literally going for a record? Despicable either way.

As population grows, we face food and water shortages, not to mention the carbon impact on global warming from the rampant growth of energy and resource consumers. More people, more pollution, and in case no one recently mentioned it, we tend to populate arable land, thus removing it from crop productivity. I just can't see any up-side to endless growth, unless it betters our chances of another Einstein--but would that really be worth it?

I'm happy the lady and her children are all well, please believe me. She hasn't broken any laws, legal, moral or ethical, at least as we westerners currently hold. But maybe we'd all do well to stop referring to this as the "Miracle" of childbirth and start calling it the "Inevitability" of childbirth. Maybe then we could look at this reasonably and avoid the population equivalent of global warming.


belleshpgrl said...

I agree with you! I think it's a tremendous burden on our precious resources to have his kind of positive population growth. I would go so far to say we need to impose a zero or negative growth standard. That family with 18 children is responsible for disposed disposable diapers numbering in the six digit realm. That is one family filling an entire garbage dump!

I really believe in today's society having more than two or even three children is irresponsible and selfish.

mvorpal said...

I just read an article about this and it gets even worse! One of her children is autistic, and the woman's mother, who is watching the other 6 children, says she is bailing out and won't be there to help when her daughter comes home--she is upset at her daughter's apparent child-possession OCD. The woman is divorced and hence a single mother, but get this--her ex is not the father of ANY of the children--rather an anonymous sperm donor, so she is solely responsible for them all financially. Her only hope of affording to raise these children is sponsorship, books, appearances, etc; which only serves to highlight her profligacy and, I think, just sends the wrong message to a lot of young people. A sad footnote, I recall a couple who had 7 children and was inundated with sponsorship offers, that is, until several of the children died, and then the offers dried up, leaving them with outrageous bills. It's just a sad commentary all around.