I was reading an interesting article today about the Octo-Mom, Nadya Suleman. This article was marvelling over the fall from miracle to punchline in such a short time.
It seems like ages ago when it was announced that *someone* had given birth to octuplets, and all looked to survive. Remember the initial coverage? The doctors talking about the "surprise" eighth baby, because they were sure there were only seven? It was quite a heart-warming story.
Of course we all assumed that fertility treatments were involved. But as the story unfolded, a sense of unease about the whole situation seemed to pervade, quickly turning to hostility.
I remember first finding out that she had six children already. Then I heard that she was single and lived with her parents. Then I heard that the doctor had implanted way more embryos than he was supposed to have. Then I heard that the first six children were also through IVF. All of this made me uneasy.
Then I heard that all of her fertility treatments, medical care, and personal expenses were being paid for with public money. (For the record, I have no idea if this is true or not, since I live in a different state, but this is the commonly-held perception.) This is when my perception of her turned hostile; my health insurance doesn't cover fertility treatments, so the thought of someone being allowed to use public funds for this purpose really, really irritated me.
I'm obviously not the only one. However, how many of our reactions are fueled not by what she has done, necessarily, but by all of the other things that are going on?
The economy has everyone scared. People are losing their jobs; people who are keeping their jobs are facing some pay cuts or decrease in benefits. When we hear about a single mother with fourteen children being supported by taxpayer money, it allows everything else we're scared about to come to a head, and we express all of our anger and fear at that one, final stimulus.
This happens to me all the time. For me, one of my very silly stimuli is the internet. I'll read a blog post, or a discussion forum post, and it will make me so angry that I literally shake. Am I really angry that a college student hates Twilight that much? No, of course not. I'm scared that my son is always sick, I'm scared that we don't have enough money, I'm frustrated about not losing weight, I'm scared about growing older, but I'm angry at Twilight-hating-girl because that's not about me at all. I can be angry at her without hurting myself, examining my life, or facing my fears.
For me, my new goal with my Octo-Mom obsession is to try and focus on something else, something that I feel I can really help with and relate to.
Zac, Justin, Rob: I can help you. Call me.