Nadya Needs Help or Reality TV to the Rescue!


Perhaps it’s not that surprising that Nadya Suleman’s life as a mother to fourteen children, including her now famous octuplets, will soon become fodder for American television viewers in the form of a reality television program. In a strange way, it may be the most supportive opportunity available to her at the moment. 

While others are crying fowl at her "hypocrisy" (she told Dr. Phil that she would never exploit her children on television) I would say that the media meta-principals at work here are even more hypocritical. Is the fact that the media is constantly examing Suleman and her life – no matter whether through a reality television show or an online magazine – any less invasive? What about a television show hosted by a pseudo-psychologist doling out advice in front of millions as he exploits his "guests"’ lives and challenges for good television and advertising revenue – is this less "exploitative" than Suleman deciding to have her own reality television show, possibly in order to deal with her current situation? 

At least now Nadya Suleman and her children will likely receive the financial support they need to take care of their basic needs, and if she is a relatively sane and responsible mother, she’ll have the chance to "set the story straight" of her own accord. She’s been used by the media that has thrived on sensationalizing her story (though, admittedly, this story doesn’t need much padding for it to be sensational), only too thrilled to seize an opportunity for juicy television; and she’s been gossiped about, criticized, poked and prodded by the public freely sharing our judgments and opinions on what we think she should or shouldn’t have done. 

But where is the real support for Nadya Suleman and her family? Did our medical, social services and health systems betray her from the beginning? And what does she and her children need now in order to live optimally? It may be that a reality television show – as exploitative, superficial and exposing as it is – is the easiest road to a better life available to the family at this point. And that says more about the values and priorities of our society than anything. 

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with Amie Newman please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • equalist

    My question in this article is nowhere do I see any requirement of responsibility from Suleman for the children she’s produced. It is one thing for a mother with no means of supporting the children she has to have a failure of birth control, or other circumstances beyond her control and decide that her conscience will allow her no other recourse than to keep the child. It also cannot be held against the mother who makes the conscious decision to have a large family, but who ensures that she can provide for her family, perhaps not the best in life, or extravagances, but the necessities at the very least. It is quite another for a mother of several children with no means to support them to make the conscious decision to bring not one, but multiple more children into such an environment when resources are already stretched beyond their limits. I have heard the comment before “All a child needs in this world is love” but this is a statement of ignorance, or at the very least, blindness to reality. Try filling a hungry belly with love and see how far that gets you. Or stretching your love between fourteen children and see how difficult it is to give each one the individual care and attention they need in order to feel whole and to grow into well adjusted and emotionally healthy individuals. These are things that cannot be done, or at the very least, cannot be done by a single person. These are the reasons that childcare facilities have a maximum number of infants and children that can be left in the care of a single adult legally. These rules are in place for the safety and well being of the children, yet apparently this mother did not take these factors in consideration when she chose to single handedly raise fourteen children by herself all under the age of seven. In the case of Suleman, what I see here is a glorification of a woman’s selfishness and poor decisions. When you make a conscious decision to bring children into the world, it is absolutely the parent’s responsibility to ensure that she, he, or they can provide for those children. It is not society’s responsibility, it is not the media’s responsibility, and it is not the responsibility of the extended family to do so, which is what seems to be expected in the case of Suleman. My view here is that Suleman is no better than the fourteen or fifteen year old girl who decides that she wants a baby, and will do anything to have one, confident that society, the government, and her family will provide for that child, so much so that she does not put forth any effort into ensuring that she can provide for her child herself. In the case of the teenage girl, it is an act of young ignorance, and rebelliousness, but what is Suleman’s excuse for her actions?

    Equal rights, equal responsibilities.

  • invalid-0

    “My question in this article is nowhere do I see any requirement of responsibility from Suleman for the children she’s produced.”

    Equalist, how is she not taking responsibility for her children? Do you feel the same way about the Duggars or the Goesslins, both of which have had their lives and child-rearing televised, who rely on handouts, donations, and network TV money? Those didn’t come along until well after they’d had their children? Funny, I don’t see people criticizing them for their “not taking responsibility.”

  • invalid-0

    With a woman or man or whatever that would have six kids and then another eight with no way possible to take proper care of all 14 children by herself! She was not thinking! She is not an octopus with eight arms to pick every baby up and care for it if it is crying or needs a diaper change.

    John and kate and the Duggars two totally different circumstances. The Duggars are religious Quiverful followers. Kate used to be a nurse and she has a caring husband ro help her. They both were married and already responsible people. They at least had a better chance in caring for all those kids.

    I agree it is not the responsibility of the world to raise someones kids in such a thoughtless,mindless case as Suleman.

  • invalid-0

    I think if she get a show I would watch it . I do think she was not thinking when she wanted another child. but they are here. I don’t feel we should have to fit the bill for them. but this looks like the answer. I do watch John and Kate plus 8 i love the show. so it would be nice to watch these babies grow up. Best of luck with all your children God Bless Jo Ann

  • equalist

    The Duggars are a completely different situation.  When they chose to have a large number of children, they ensured that they could provide for their children.  The most impressive thing about the Duggars is that they are not on any government assistance at all.  I am not familiar with the Goesslins, but I have seen things on the Duggars and I have no issue with the way they grow their family.  The children are cared for, and provided for without the parents just sitting back and having as many children as they possibly can and just assuming that someone else will provide for them.  It’s a different situation than the Suleman case because of this fact.

     

    Equal rights, equal responsibilities.