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Author Topic: You, and me, and baby makes . . . 14!
The Rabbit
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quote:
I wonder if any of the people calling her crazy would think she was if she had just had twins (with the six others at home already and all other details as they are now) instead of octuplets? Remember: that was not her intent or expectation
I don't know about others, but I would be concerned about the mental health of any single woman who sought IVF to have another baby (even singleton) when she had 6 children under 8 years of age, including twins under two years old. The fact that she had at best barely adequate financial resources for her existing children, yet chose to undergo an expensive medical procedure to have yet another child raises serious concerns about this woman's mental health.

I come from a large family and am not among those who consider wanting lots of children alone a sign of mental problems. But deliberately choosing to have 7 children in 8 years when you don't have a partner raises red flags for me.

Of course, I'm not exactly calling her crazy. I think the circumstances raise a legitimate question and that the evidence suggests a thorough professional evaluation would be in her best interest as well as that of her children.

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Samprimary
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If she had just had twins, she would have at least avoided the flurry of coverage and interviews.

I wouldn't have known that she was crazy because I would have never heard about her, but she still would have been crazy. She really ain't in her right mind, and she's also lying to everyone. She lied to the public about plastic surgery that is obvious in before and after photos. She lied to the public about the donor of her children. She lied to her own mother about her pregnancy, claiming that she had a tumor. She lied about not getting welfare. She lied about her church helping her into a new home. She's accomplished this much in the short span of time she had as the Octomom, prior to this new phase of her being put into hiding due to the death threats and public backlash.

Her present kids are raised in squalor. Her own family outright exclaims that she's mentally unsound. The excuses and explanations she gives about her situation show that she has no real bearing on the situation. She honestly claimed that she wanted to fund herself to help raise the kids by writing a book. in the "middle of the night," what with 14 kids being such a timewaster and all.

There's more but I ain't got time to go into it.

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BannaOj
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so has the rest of the Dr. Phil interview aired yet? I'm guessing was being shown sometime this afternoon...
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Christine
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I watched most of it last night at the 10:00 re-airing but got tired and didn't see the end. There really didn't seem to be any new information there.
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
I wonder if any of the people calling her crazy would think she was if she had just had twins (with the six others at home already and all other details as they are now) instead of octuplets? Remember: that was not her intent or expectation
I don't know about others, but I would be concerned about the mental health of any single woman who sought IVF to have another baby (even singleton) when she had 6 children under 8 years of age, including twins under two years old. The fact that she had at best barely adequate financial resources for her existing children, yet chose to undergo an expensive medical procedure to have yet another child raises serious concerns about this woman's mental health.

Yep. And also the doctor who helped her do this, knowing her history. Oh, and at least one child has special medical and emotional needs already.

Something is not right with her and it wouldn't be right even if she hadn't chanced to have 8 at once. Octuplets is just what happened as an outgrowth of her making choices that would have been questionable even if they resulted in only one more baby.

I'm ALL for big families-- as long as those big families get what they need physically and emotionally from their parents. Doesn't seem like that is what is going to happen here.

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Belle
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quote:
I'm ALL for big families-- as long as those big families get what they need physically and emotionally from their parents. Doesn't seem like that is what is going to happen here.
This is my issue with large families. I don't ever want to say that people cannot have big families - I have no quarrel with anyone who does so providing they can support their children. But when I say support I mean all kinds of support - not just financial.

I feel pulled in many pieces with just four children. Some days I am overwhelmed with guilt and grief because I cannot be with one who needs me because I have obligations to another one. I have a gymnastics meet for one and a color guard tryout for another on the same day next week. The gymnast wants me with her, and I missed her last meet because of yet more obligations so I have already promised I would go. Unknown to me when I made the promise, the oldest is trying out for color guard captain and needs me there to agonize with her as she waits for results. My husband can help, yes, but it's not the same. I am the one who drives them to gymnastics practice and who talks with them endlessly over issues with color guard. I am the one who is most involved in their school and sport commitments so I am the one they both want with them.

I would not have it any other way - I WANT to be involved with them and I WANT them to know I care and want to support them through the highs and lows. But even with four it is impossible for me to be the type of mother I want to be to all of them. I cannot imagine if it were 6, or 9, or 14, or 17.

Before anyone asks, I don't know the magic number. I don't know how many is too many. It's different for everyone. For some families, two is plenty and three would be too many. For some one is the perfect number - I know families with only children that are perfectly happy with their choice not to have more. For others it might be three or four...I love having four kids and I don't regret it at all but I feel stretched and pulled very thin...five would be way too many for me. The only way things work with four is that my mother lives with us and is another adult who loves and cherishes my children and invests time into them as my husband and I do.

I just don't see how fourteen or seventeen can get the type of emotional commitment from parents as I believe children need. I may be wrong...I don't know these people...the Duggars at least have a better support system and the advantage of having a father at home. Even with two people, though it doesn't seem humanly possible.

I've heard the same trite sayings as most of us "Love isn't divided when you have more children, it multiplies." Looks good embroidered on a potholder but maybe isn't as practically true as we might like. The real world, harsh truth is that children take huge commitments of time, energy, emotions, and finances. Each new child that comes into the family takes more of those things. At some point even two people cannot divide their energy, emotions, finances and time into enough increments that every child gets what he or she needs.

*shrug* Just my opinion of course, and probably an unpopular one among some circles. Still, I cannot help but think there IS a point where families can become too large.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I've heard the same trite sayings as most of us "Love isn't divided when you have more children, it multiplies." Looks good embroidered on a potholder but maybe isn't as practically true as we might like. The real world, harsh truth is that children take huge commitments of time, energy, emotions, and finances. Each new child that comes into the family takes more of those things. At some point even two people cannot divide their energy, emotions, finances and time into enough increments that every child gets what he or she needs.
Yeah, you know, I really would wanna call it quits on the kiddos after 2 or 3. I cannot imagine that short of acquiring superhuman neversleep timetraveling powers I would run the risk of having too little to give between the kids I have, and even worse still that it would cause me to have to sacrifice attachment to the kids just to salvage an angstrom of my own sanity, because they would be consuming all of my time.

I do not want to become 'tired' of 'dealing' with children, so it is incumbent upon myself to realistically assess what limits are best for hypothetical future children.

quote:
*shrug* Just my opinion of course, and probably an unpopular one among some circles.
Circles which try to inspire people to pump out as many kids as they can, regardless of the reasons, are stupid to me >_<
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andi330
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
I feel pulled in many pieces with just four children. Some days I am overwhelmed with guilt and grief because I cannot be with one who needs me because I have obligations to another one. I have a gymnastics meet for one and a color guard tryout for another on the same day next week. The gymnast wants me with her, and I missed her last meet because of yet more obligations so I have already promised I would go. Unknown to me when I made the promise, the oldest is trying out for color guard captain and needs me there to agonize with her as she waits for results. My husband can help, yes, but it's not the same. I am the one who drives them to gymnastics practice and who talks with them endlessly over issues with color guard. I am the one who is most involved in their school and sport commitments so I am the one they both want with them.

My mom sometimes had the same problem with only 2 children. My dad was in the airforce band and sometimes had to go out of town on a 3 week tour. This happed 2-3 times a year. My brother and I both played baseball, but because of our different age and genders we were on two different teams. When she had to go out of town one weekend, and leave my dad home with us he asked how to deal with us both having games, at different fields and at slightly different times. She laid out a plan for him that went something like this:

"Well, first you drop Andrea off at her game. Then you take Lewis to his game and you watch the first three innings. Then you go back to Andrea's game and you watch the rest of the game. Once the game is over you go back and see if Lewis is still there. If not, you go home and start calling around the neighborhood to find out which of our friends has Lewis and let him know that you're home and he can come home when he's ready."

It was done in that order because the majority of Lewis' team lived in our neighborhood and the team members were all Lewis' friends, so if my game ran over, someone on his team would make sure he got home and was somewhere safe, until he got home with me. But the members of my team did not live in my neighborhood, and I knew only one of them outside of the team, so there was no one to take me home if the game ended before Lewis'. It worked, and it wasn't often necessary, but it stunk when it did.

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kmbboots
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I grew up in a family of six. We were often a bit tight on money for extras but well fed and clothed and so forth. We got plenty of parental attention. We were also somewhat more independent. Back in the 70s in a small town, we didn't have the kind of constant adult supervision that kids have now. We would just "go out side and play". If we wanted to go somewhere, we rode our bikes. Mom didn't even have a driver's license till I was in high school.

I don't have a problem with big families. I do have a problem with having more kids when you aren't supporting and caring for the ones you already have.

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Christine
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Belle -- I know what you mean. When I had my first child I thought, "This isn't as bad as I thought, maybe I could do 3 or 4." When I had my second I knew I was done. It's just me personally, but 2 children is all I can handle. I love spending personal time with each one. In the evenings, my husband and I will sometimes play trade the kids. He gets one on one time with one and I get the other, then we switch. Even one more would make that dynamic impossible. Granted, I'm sure there are women out there who could EASILY handle 3 children and would want that kind of bustle but for me my family feels complete and manageable.

When I think about 14 kids, I just think that if you spent a dedicated 30 minutes a day with each one of them, that's 7 hours of the day. And I do feel that children, especially very young children and babies, need that kind of direct attention. I think 3 or 4 or 6 would be much more manageable spaced out so that the kind of attention each needs is different and can be balanced a bit better. Even so, as Belle pointed out, sometimes there are gymnastics and color guard at the exact same time.

Of course, people come out all right in all kinds of families. Kids are adaptable. But even adaptable babies will suffer if they can't properly bond with a parent because they are competing against 7 other tiny, needy babies at the exact same time (not to mention 6 older siblings). When I think of the amount of one on one bonding time I got with each of my children as newborns....it's just so important to them to have that.

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ketchupqueen
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Well, some families with high-order multiples do pretty well at giving them what they need emotionally, or seem to at least. (I'm thinking of the Gosselins, specifically.) It definitely wears on the parents, but they do it. I think the difference is that they have a HUGE amount of family/friend/community support, especially for the first year or so. Who is going to help this woman? I don't see people coming in in shifts to help with the other kids, where are they going to come from when (if) the babies come home? She's doing a great job alienating the public so far. I would still go help her if I was her neighbor, for the sake of her kids, not because I like her. But I don't see her neighbors volunteering.
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Annie
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I just wanted to add a few thoughts to this discussion - I came in too late to reply to every interesting bit that I saw here. There have been some good, thoughtful contributions, though.

I hear a lot of criticism being hurled around in this situation that seems a little too broad. Granted, Nadya Suleman is her own particular case of shady, but it saddens me that this is being generalized to large families.

I'm not sure what I think about the ethics behind implanting 6 embryos - I don't know enough about fertility treatments to reconcile this situation with my pretty firm pro-life stances. What I do say, though, is this: a single woman shouldn't have been given fertility treatments in the first place. To some, I suppose, this makes me my own kind of heretical.

I don't worry much about financial qualifications for having children. While I disagree with families relying on welfare assistance when they could conceivably be working to support themselves, I do balk at the idea of trying to set a minimum income on the right to reproduce. I don't buy the accusations that large families of low SES live in "squalor." This is the United States of America and by and large we don't understand the meaning of squalor.

I do, worry though about a child's right to have a mom and a dad. Private piano lessons and iPods and skiing trips are not a vital part of a child's upbringing; a loving parent of each gender is. When mothers and children are abandoned or widows and widowers are left to be a parent alone, things are hard enough (as countless psychological studies show). Why on earth would we voluntarily wish this on a child.

My attitude toward abortion is similar to my attitude toward what should have been done in Suleman's case: why did this even become an option? Why do people who could have used other forms of birth control turn to abortion to get rid of an unwanted baby? And why are eight children allowed to be born to a woman who (is poor but that's not the issue; has a big family but that's not the issue) thinks she can raise them to be healthy, well-balanced people without a father in their life?

There is nothing inherently wrong or unnatural about large families. Do we forget the way that human beings have lived for thousands of years? Even a hundred years ago in our own country (twenty years ago in my part of the country) it was entirely normal to have 8, 10, or 12 children, and families functioned. Parents could handle it. A good family friend of ours, who is the mother of 12, used to explain to people "I didn't have a family of 12, I had 3 families of 4." Her older children played a very important role in the social health and upbringing of the younger children. Contrary to some of the other anecdotal experiences that have been shared here, the 4 very large (over 10 children) families that I know personally are all typically very happy and functional people. Human beings can do it, and do it successfully.

Some may say it's unfair to expect older siblings to help raise the younger ones. As the oldest of six, I would disagree. My 3 youngest siblings were born while I was in high school, and I treasure the relationship I have with them - I was more like an aunt than a sister, I get to take them on special trips and let them stay overnight at my apartment and I've learned so many valuable lessons on child rearing that make me more confident to become a parent of my own.

Sorry about the soapbox. I just have too much personal experience with a family system that works very well for many that I know to let a vocal majority of Americans who speak from very little personal experience paint the whole situation with a broad brush.

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ketchupqueen
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There is a big difference between family dynamics in large families that are composed of children who were single and/or twin births and large families that contain higher-order (over 3, but especially super-high-order multiple) births, to my mind and from what I've been able to observe (granted that both are rather rare phenomena at this point and the latter is especially rare.)
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Orincoro
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Annie, attempting to create a false equivalence between a time in which half or more of the children born were expected to die before having children themselves, and a time in which one woman is having 8 children at once through artificial means is... well you know what it is don't you?
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rivka
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Good thing that's not what she's doing.
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Orincoro
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quote:
There is nothing inherently wrong or unnatural about large families. Do we forget the way that human beings have lived for thousands of years? Even a hundred years ago in our own country (twenty years ago in my part of the country) it was entirely normal to have 8, 10, or 12 children, and families functioned. Parents could handle it. A good family friend of ours, who is the mother of 12, used to explain to people "I didn't have a family of 12, I had 3 families of 4." Her older children played a very important role in the social health and upbringing of the younger children. Contrary to some of the other anecdotal experiences that have been shared here, the 4 very large (over 10 children) families that I know personally are all typically very happy and functional people. Human beings can do it, and do it successfully.
This is portion of the post I am referring to. And yes, I do think it attempts to establish a false equivalence.
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rivka
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Because you have a (previously acknowledged) prejudice against large families.
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kmbboots
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I don't have that prejudice and I think that is what Annie is doing in that paragraph. Life now is very different from when more people lived on farms and large families meant more help with the farming. Or child labour in factories. Or were quite poor and did not expect all their children to survive.
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Christine
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Annie -- you seem to be just as judgmental of non-traditional families as you accuse others of being of large families. I would not want to put reproductive restrictions on women because they do not have a husband. There are all different kinds of families out there and they are each tempered by the personalities involved. I know that many people from large families turn out fine, including my husband. The dynamic from a large family is very different from the smaller family I prefer, though, especially when you talk about extremely large families like 8, 10, 12, 14...

But I think the specific thing I was trying to get across about this family (and not large families in general) is that it is an impossible and UNHEARD of dynamic! Normally, if a mother is to have 14 children, by the time she has the last the first will be grown up. There is a bit of natural spacing that takes place, more or less, for each mom. I have never heard of another family where 14 children meant the oldest was 7 and the youngest 8 were all micro-premie newborns. This is not a normal dynamic because none of the older children can really pitch in and help with the younger ones. It is only this particular dynamic that I find to be so problematic. There is no equal.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Life now is very different from when more people lived on farms and large families meant more help with the farming. Or child labour in factories. Or were quite poor and did not expect all their children to survive.

Which is why such large families are no longer the average. Doesn't mean there is something inherently wrong with them, as many in this thread have implied (or stated outright). Nor that they are as unusual as all that.

And yes, some people have only been talking about the specific family and its very skewed situation. But not everyone has -- Belle certainly wasn't. And I believe it's primarily the ones who were speaking more generally that Annie was reacting to.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
What I do say, though, is this: a single woman shouldn't have been given fertility treatments in the first place.

Why on earth would you want single women to not be allowed to receive this treatment if they wanted it?

quote:
I don't buy the accusations that large families of low SES live in "squalor." This is the United States of America and by and large we don't understand the meaning of squalor.
Visit Appalachia someday.

quote:
Private piano lessons and iPods and skiing trips are not a vital part of a child's upbringing; a loving parent of each gender is.
I'm sorry. I know plenty of wonderful people arguably a good number who are fairly more competent and successful in their lives than I am who were raised by a single mother or father. To proclaim that a male/female pairing was necessary for them (vital, as your words would put it) is at best factually negligent and at worst insulting to plenty of single parents and even same-sex couples.

quote:
There is nothing inherently wrong or unnatural about large families. Do we forget the way that human beings have lived for thousands of years? Even a hundred years ago in our own country (twenty years ago in my part of the country) it was entirely normal to have 8, 10, or 12 children, and families functioned.
We must also remember that plenty of children growing up in the good old days were also raised outside of the traditional family structure, and many more children suffered in the strife of loveless 'obligated' marriages whose fate would have been better served by divorce. Go back even further and those Hundred Years Ago times were fundamentally different from our own, and that the production of enough children to maximize survival of some beyond childhood was the situational norm.

We do not live in that world anymore. Missus Primary doesn't have to pump out ten kids because sam jr's 1 through 6 died of diphtheria and 7 died in a horse accident. Nor do I have to worry about the farm going under and us starving in a particularly bad winter due to a lack of available hands.

You're saying that there's nothing inherently wrong or unnatural about large families. I wouldn't say that at all, but what you do seem to be saying is that while big families are Right and Good, a single mother can be slapped with your brush of 'wrong or unnatural.' You even go so far as to suggest that to preserve a fictional right to a nuclear family, single women should be barred from receiving fertility treatments? ...

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Orincoro
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I'm opting out of this high quality thread.

[ March 01, 2009, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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ketchupqueen
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Orincoro, I do not think she was trying to "grief you into shutting up." I think she was trying to point out that this situation is not the typical large family and that the dynamics are different, and was defending a response to some comments that were made that seemed to be moving away from the specific situation at hand.

I do not think she was saying that you do not have a right to your opinion or a right to discuss it, and frankly I think your anger in the last post (or what I percieve as your anger) seems to be out of proportion in response to the post she made. I'm just saying this to provide you an opportunity to try to re-read and see if what I say has any validity, perhaps from a calmer perspective. I do not think you personally were being attacked and I have noticed you have been a little hair-trigger in your emotional responses lately, for which I am sure you have good reason, but I am not sure whether you knew that, and as a friend (I hope) or at least a person who cares about your well-being, I don't know what's going on in your life but your emotional response seems to be coming more quickly in discussions where I think a year ago it wouldn't have. I hope that you are okay emotionally and if not I hope you have someone to talk to, either us or someone IRL, who can help you deal with it.

Really, this post is not to dismiss or make fun of you or your response, just something I've noticed and have been concerned about, as someone who values your participation in the community and hopes the best for you.

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Orincoro
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If you'd like to send an email I'll take my time and respond- but it's not for this thread.
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ketchupqueen
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I really don't think your personal issues need discussion, I was just addressing that specific post, and others with the same level of anger I've seen recently, in the hopes that you will do an emotional check and take appropriate action if necessary. Because really, I don't think she was saying what you think she was saying.
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Orincoro
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I was remembering this little comment.

quote:

One of the many things you think you're an expert on with no actual experience. *shrug*

Which was accompanied by no other response.

That pissed me off.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Life now is very different from when more people lived on farms and large families meant more help with the farming. Or child labour in factories. Or were quite poor and did not expect all their children to survive.

Which is why such large families are no longer the average. Doesn't mean there is something inherently wrong with them, as many in this thread have implied (or stated outright). Nor that they are as unusual as all that.

And yes, some people have only been talking about the specific family and its very skewed situation. But not everyone has -- Belle certainly wasn't. And I believe it's primarily the ones who were speaking more generally that Annie was reacting to.

"Not inherently wrong" is still not equivalent to "we did it 100 years ago, so it is okay." I clearly don't think that large families are necessarily wrong, but I also don't think that one can ignore that the wisdom and practicality of having very large families is very different for most people now than it would have been 100 years ago. It isn't a case of "forgetting" that people used to have large families; it is a recognition that things have changed since then.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
"Not inherently wrong" is still not equivalent to "we did it 100 years ago, so it is okay."

Which I still don't think is what she was saying.

But it does not surprise me that the ways and degree to which you think things have changed from 100 years ago and that I do differ. [Wink]

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Teshi
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I am the second child of four children, but we are spread out over sixteen years. (I am thirteen years older than my youngest sibling). Four children was hard work for my parents but they had two teenage children to help. I cannot imagine having fourteen under eight.

As for the past, aside from the obvious point of there being no choice, it was not idyllic.

When things did go well, it was often because families were extended: there were grandparents, aunts and uncles, much older siblings etc. Not to mention that people back then were much more familiar with looking after children (as there were just so darned many of them) and so there was more acceptance to bring your children to work with you or to let them run around wild in the fields if they had the choice.

The world is not set up in this way any more.

As part of a reasonably large family I think it's nice to have mixed sizes of family and I think it's important that children be present in the lives of all potential parents. However, that does not mean that large families are better or somehow idyllic-- especially that they were in the past.

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Annie
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I don't have the time lately to keep up with Hatrack discussions or even check them daily, so I apologize if my comments and then lack of response made it seem like I was ignoring the reactions.

Nor was I targeting anyone specifically; I'm sorry if my comments were construed that way. I haven't been on Hatrack for so long, that I don't even know most of the posters in this thread and I was responding to some general comments and attitudes and not attacking anyone.

Just a couple clarifications:
quote:
Annie, attempting to create a false equivalence between a time in which half or more of the children born were expected to die before having children themselves, and a time in which one woman is having 8 children at once through artificial means is... well you know what it is don't you?
I don't think this is what my comments did. I didn't say that we should live now like we lived 100 years ago. I wasn't justifying Suleman's situation at all. I was reacting to the comments that parents are just not capable of giving appropriate care and attention to more than two or three kids. I was using the example of the bulk of human history to show that parents are, indeed, physically and mentally capable of caring for large families. (I know there are individual exceptions. I'm not talking about exceptions.) The fact that there were high mortality rates (not really anywhere near "more than half" in Western societies, but I'll grant you your hyperbole) and that parents survived is, I think, even more a testament to the human spirit. That must have been awful - I wouldn't wish 3 children dying in a smallpox epidemic on anyone. But parents survived it, and went on and lived their lives. It's surprising how resilient a human being can be.

quote:
Why on earth would you want single women to not be allowed to receive this treatment if they wanted it?
Because it's not about what they want. It's about what is good for children. I know there's plenty of anecdotal evidence of people who turned out just fine from single-parent families. I'm one of them. But I don't think a single one of them would not have done better with a stable family and two parents. It's not just what I think - psychological and sociological research shows that children do better in many, many variables, when they have a stable, loving, two-parent (one of each gender) home.

quote:
Visit Appalachia someday.
I've been, thanks. I've also been to the rural South and the rural West and worked extensively on Indian reservations. I'll counter your travel offer with one of my own: visit Mexico someday.

quote:
To proclaim that a male/female pairing was necessary for them (vital, as your words would put it) is at best factually negligent and at worst insulting to plenty of single parents and even same-sex couples.
It's only insulting when someone deliberately takes offense. I was not impugning anyone's parenting skills. I was stating the fact established by psychological and sociological research that children do better with two parents.

quote:
As for the past, aside from the obvious point of there being no choice, it was not idyllic.
I totally agree. I'm glad we have the modern conveniences and advancements in medicine that we do. But I hesitate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Each age has its strengths and weaknesses. I think we can learn from the examples of the past without having to re-live the past. There is certainly much that is sick and dying in our society today, and much of it has a sociological basis. The problems we face now are often a direct result of the lack of family support that you highlight in your description of the world of the past. I hope to be able to find the right balance in my own life, and while I would never mandate that someone else should live as I have chosen to, I retain the right to state my reasons for doing so and to speak out about the principles that I have learned help families and societies thrive.

[ March 03, 2009, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: Annie ]

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Samprimary
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quote:
Because it's not about what they want. It's about what is good for children. I know there's plenty of anecdotal evidence of people who turned out just fine from single-parent families. I'm one of them. But I don't think a single one of them would not have done better with a stable family and two parents. It's not just what I think - psychological and sociological research shows that children do better in many, many variables, when they have a stable, loving, two-parent (one of each gender) home.
If "It's not about what they want. It's about what's good for children." then you would also have to refuse fertility treatments for couples who were not financially well off, because the financial affluence of a child's family is arguably more associated with bad things than simply having the 'vital' mother/father pairing.

If you would disallow single mothers from getting fertility treatment because of the negative associations of one thing (not married) but ignore an even stronger negative-results correlation (being poor) in determining what you would allow to be an acceptable condition for prohibiting fertility treatment, we're now firmly in the realm of double standard.

quote:
It's only insulting when someone deliberately takes offense. I was not impugning anyone's parenting skills. I was stating the fact established by psychological and sociological research that children do better with two parents.
You are necessarily impugning many people's parenting skills, especially those outside of traditional marriage structures. Would you say that a family with two gay mothers or two gay fathers is incapable of 'correctly' raising a child?
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:

quote:
Why on earth would you want single women to not be allowed to receive this treatment if they wanted it?
Because it's not about what they want. It's about what is good for children. I know there's plenty of anecdotal evidence of people who turned out just fine from single-parent families. I'm one of them. But I don't think a single one of them would not have done better with a stable family and two parents. It's not just what I think - psychological and sociological research shows that children do better in many, many variables, when they have a stable, loving, two-parent (one of each gender) home.

What is considered a favorable outcome for a child?

I will grant you that there are strong correlations between loving, dual-parent households and a wide variety of favorable outcomes for children, but I still think that it is not up to us to decide who gets to be a parent and who doesn't. Among other things, it is impossible to test how loving a couple will be, and plenty people have been royally screwed up by picture perfect families that weren't so great on the inside. Statistics can't look into people's hearts.

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Annie
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quote:
the financial affluence of a child's family is arguably more associated with bad things than simply having the 'vital' mother/father pairing.
What "bad things" are you talking about here? Do you know of studies that back this up? I was talking about psychological well-being.
quote:
If you would disallow single mothers from getting fertility treatment because of the negative associations of one thing (not married) but ignore an even stronger negative-results correlation (being poor) in determining what you would allow to be an acceptable condition for prohibiting fertility treatment, we're now firmly in the realm of double standard.
Poverty is already its own filter for fertility treatments. Medicaid doesn't pay for IVF. The only reason Suleman could afford it was because she had won a large legal settlement some years earlier.
quote:
Would you say that a family with two gay mothers or two gay fathers is incapable of 'correctly' raising a child?
Yes, actually. Coincidentally, the government of France agrees with me on this one. So maybe this is a discussion that wouldn't be very useful for us to continue.

[ March 03, 2009, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: Annie ]

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Annie
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Here's a little more detail on the French perspective (from that Wikipedia link):

quote:
A parliamentary "Report on the Family and the Rights of Children" was released on January 25, 2006. Although the committee recommended increasing some rights given in PACS (civil unions), it recommended maintaining prohibitions against marriage, adoption, and access to medically assisted reproduction for same-sex couples, arguing that these three issues were inseparable and that allowing them would contravene a number of articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which France is a signatory (although many UN nations do grant some or all of these rights to same-sex couples). Referring to the rights of children as a human rights issue, the report argued that children "now have rights and to systematically give preference to adult aspirations over respect for these rights is not possible any more."
They cite the International Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and psychological research on the ideal environment for child development as their reasons for not permitting gay couples to marry, adopt or receive fertility treatments. I know it's an unpopular stance according to some, but it's a very well-supported perspective.
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Jhai
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(although many UN nations do grant some or all of these rights to same-sex couples)

...

So one country's committee - a country that has a pretty shady reputation with regards to discrimination, at least on the basis of race, I might add - comes down on one side of this issue while many countries come down on the other side, and we should conclude that "it's a well-supported perspective"?

Wow. I'd be embarrassed to admit to being your teacher in any sort of science field.

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scholarette
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I thought that studies showed best parenting grouping was a lesbian couple, followed by straight, followed by male homosexual. So, if further studies back that up and lesbians are indeed the best coupling to raise children, should we allow only lesbians to breed?
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Annie
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quote:
Wow. I'd be embarrassed to admit to being your teacher in any sort of science field.
That was uncalled for. We are allowed to have differing opinions here and defend them vehemently.

I am a graduate student in the social sciences and I understand academic writing, thank you very much. There is nothing in the scientific method about countries voting on the validity of an argument.

I promise to stay away from personal attacks if you will, OK?

quote:
I thought that studies showed best parenting grouping was a lesbian couple, followed by straight, followed by male homosexual. So, if further studies back that up and lesbians are indeed the best coupling to raise children, should we allow only lesbians to breed?
Maybe some studies say that. There are many other studies (which form the basis of the French parliamentary committee's decision) that point to children being raised without a parent of each gender lacking some serious psychological stability.
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Jhai
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Annie, by picking and choosing your data to fit your favored hypothesis, you're being a bit of a disgrace to your academic discipline. Edit: Academics don't cite wikipedia as an authoritative source of "studies" - they cite journal articles. Academics don't just point out one study that works for their point - they survey the entire literature, and come to a reasoned conclusion. Academics don't point to political committees as good sources of well-balanced reasoning on politically-charged issues. The good ones, anyways.

And I've taught graduate students in the social science (economics, too, which is about as statistically sound a social science as you can get), if you want to just randomly assert authority in a field.

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andi330
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
quote:
I thought that studies showed best parenting grouping was a lesbian couple, followed by straight, followed by male homosexual. So, if further studies back that up and lesbians are indeed the best coupling to raise children, should we allow only lesbians to breed?
Maybe some studies say that. There are many other studies (which form the basis of the French parliamentary committee's decision) that point to children being raised without a parent of each gender lacking some serious psychological stability.
Which studies. You have yet to actually cite any psychological or sociological studies which support your opinion, making your statements currently nothing but opinion. That's fine, you are entitled to your opinion. However, as an academic, you should know that you cannot put forth your opinion as scientific fact just because you feel like it. The French Parliament is not a psychological or sociological scientific organization, they are a body of the government, which does not have to take any scientific studies into account when making law, and they can pick and choose studies that support only their decision, ignoring other studies which contradict them.

I find your current "scientific" argument unpersuasive. Where is your source data? Your posts don't even cite where you got the information on the French Parliament (not that the French Parliament is a scientific source). How can you expect us to take your scientific opinion seriously if you do not provide source data to back up your opinion.

Give us your opinion. You are entitled to it, even if I happen to disagree with it. But don't try to claim that your opinion is scientific, when you have provided nothing to back up that claim.

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Orincoro
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quote:
quote:Would you say that a family with two gay mothers or two gay fathers is incapable of 'correctly' raising a child?

Yes, actually. Coincidentally, the government of France agrees with me on this one. So maybe this is a discussion that wouldn't be very useful for us to continue.

:SNORT: I've never seen the government of France used as a trump card to end a discussion. Do you think you've "won," or something? Or is the mere mention of France, along with your homophobia, enough to stop any argument in its tracks?

quote:
I am a graduate student in the social sciences and I understand academic writing, thank you very much. There is nothing in the scientific method about countries voting on the validity of an argument.

Which is why what you said made people embarrassed for you.


Edit: And before you go off on me calling you homophobic, that is not directly evidenced by your claims that there is some scientific support for your conclusion. I draw that opinion of you from your offhanded willingness to make the claim with no actual support. I also just get the sense that you are homophobic, whether for personal or religious reasons- can't prove it, but would be surprised if it wasn't true.

It's quite funny how the modern arguments (and the strategies of argument) against gay marriage and parenting today are so fittingly parallel to the arguments against interracial marriage and child-rearing of the past. There were studies, and governments made laws, and the whole thing is now an embarrassment, and a continually present scar on our history.

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Samprimary
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quote:
What "bad things" are you talking about here? Do you know of studies that back this up? I was talking about psychological well-being.
Bad kids, of course. Unsuccessfully parented kids. Poor folk tend to create a lot of them. And I'll start posting my studies when you post yours.

quote:
Poverty is already its own filter for fertility treatments. Medicaid doesn't pay for IVF. The only reason Suleman could afford it was because she had won a large legal settlement some years earlier.
You're trying to duck the issue. Suleman was poor and managed somehow. Others can manage. So, should poor married couples be prohibited from taking fertility treatments? Remember, your own rationale is that it's not about what the parents want, it's about what the children need.


quote:
Yes, actually. Coincidentally, the government of France agrees with me on this one. So maybe this is a discussion that wouldn't be very useful for us to continue.
Yes, it would. It would be useful because I don't care about what the government of France thinks, as I live in America.

You want to make the case that same sex parents are too harmful to be allowed to adopt children for whatever reason, you have to start presenting facts.

We'll start with these 'psychological/sociological' studies you keep hinting at.

[ March 04, 2009, 09:53 AM: Message edited by: Samprimary ]

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Christine
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It occurs to me, on the subject of studies of gays vs heterosexual couples, that I would be dubious of any study suggesting that one is better than the other in this current climate of anti-gay sentiment. There are too many confounding variables. Trying to compare the outcomes for children of a stable, legally recognized, socially acceptable, and societally supported union vs the outcomes for children of a couple who may or may not be able stay committed because of all the social pressure working against them....anyway, it certainly isn't anywhere near the level of proof you would need to deny parental rights to someone.
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Jhai
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I think it's possible to have a well-created study, but I personally wouldn't trust one until I read the actual article myself, and saw that the statistical analysis took care of confounding variables, that the instruments used were appropriate, that the data that was analyzed was gathered appropriately, etc, etc.
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Mucus
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This article has been bouncing around the Chinese-oriented news sites
quote:
With her bouquet of roses and fluffy white dress, Han Xincheng looked the epitome of the glamorous modern Chinese bride. But, although her parents had been pressing her to marry, the photographs were not what they might have expected: she is gazing adoringly at another woman, surrounded by onlookers.

The series of "wedding pictures" staged by lesbians and gay men in the heart of Beijing might not raise eyebrows any longer in most western countries, but they are evidence that attitudes are finally changing in a country where gay sex was illegal until 1997 and homosexuality classified as a mental illness until four years later.

There is still no legal protection against discrimination in China and few role models: no mainstream figures are openly gay. Yet now parts of China's gay population are calling for the right to wed - and meeting with some sympathy.

"Many reactions were quite positive and some people even came up to give us their blessing," said Han, though she acknowledges that overall the public reaction was negative.
...

Li Yinghe, an academic at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has repeatedly proposed legalising gay marriage, but thinks the Chinese political system must develop first.

"When there are ways to deliver these demands, this issue can be put on the agenda. Maybe it will take 10 years - maybe it needs decades," she said.

Yet the underlying ground may be fertile. Gay men and lesbians say there is less overt hostility than in the west and certainly less physical harassment. Li's research in cities suggests about 91% of people are happy to work with gay colleagues - a higher rate than in US surveys - and that 30% back gay marriage.

She argues that Chinese culture has historically been more tolerant than others: "We don't have religions which are absolutely against homosexuality, for example. But the pressure to marry is huge - far greater than in the west."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/25/gay-rights-china-beijing

If you match along with US attitudes, you can see that that percentage of 30% is roughly ten years behind attitudes in the US
http://www.gallup.com/poll/107305/Ruling-SameSex-Marriage-Bucks-Majority-View.aspx
quote:
Public support for legalizing gay marriage is somewhat higher today than what Gallup found at the outset of polling on the subject 12 years ago. In 1996, about one in four Americans thought marriages between homosexuals should be recognized by the law as valid. That increased to 35% in 1999 and to 42% in 2004. However, for the past four years, public support has failed to grow in a linear fashion; rather, it has fluctuated between 37% and 46%.
or roughly 2/3rds of the way through the EU
http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=235

I found this fairly surprising, in my experience if this was say 8 years ago, I would have given 20:1 odds that the US would approve gay marriage before China. Alternatively, maybe just a couple years after Canada (it is now approaching four years).

I still give the US better odds, say, 5:1 (and maybe 10 years after Canada) but it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Resilience to the idea even in states as liberal as California has truly surprised me and the tenor (as well as the derivative) of the articles out of China has been surprisingly muted.

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Annie
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Wow, this just got really personal and nasty.

I do know how to cite sources. I read the entire 35-page report in French that the parliament issued. I have specific articles that have informed my opinion. I typically don't compose my Hatrack posts in APA format, however, and I'm noticing that none of you do either.

I used to enjoy having spirited discussions here with people who disagreed with me, but this is just nasty and intolerant and I'm done.

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Jhai
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Annie, you're the one who brought up studies first - the burden of proof is on you. You're also the one who first presented your opinion as informed by scientific studies, but didn't care to cite any of them. And you're also the one who, when I pointed this out, brought out the "I'm a graduate student in a social science field" argument as if appeals to authority were logically valid arguments.

You can't make claims like "I know it's an unpopular stance according to some, but it's a very well-supported perspective." without backing it up, and I think it's rather disingenuous to try to do so.

In the end, it's your choice to take your ball and go home, but many people - at least those who don't remember you from the "good ol' days of Hatrack" - aren't going to see this as reflecting well on your character.

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Annie
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Character has nothing to do with how you cite your writing. It has to do with how you treat people.
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Jhai
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The point about character was made with regards you dropping out of the conversation when people criticized you and your posts. Some people have been less than polite to you, or perhaps even downright hostile, but it's you choice to leave the conversation when others have not been.

(Note, I include myself in the first group, but not the second. I was not polite, but I was also not what I would call hostile. I do think that what you've written does not show a mind well-educated in the expectations of academic reasoning, and I would be embarrassed to admit to being your teacher and not beating such bad thinking out of you. And no, I'm not talking about your stance on homosexuality, but the willy-nilly way you cite sources (wikipedia?!?) and present the opinions of political committees as having some sort of scientific value. Frankly, I expect more out of the high school students I tutor.)

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Annie
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It's a time issue. I'm not citing journal articles here because 1) there are not handy internet links to them, you have to be subscribed to academic providers, 2) I do not have the time to go write a bibliography and make it available to you right now and 3) that is not the accepted format for casual internet forum discussions. I was highlighting and summarizing by referring you to the Wikipedia article. I promise you that I do not cite Wikipedia in my research work. I am not an idiot just because I happen to disagree with you. Here is the link to the report of the French parliament (it's a 453 page pdf document in French) that includes citations of the studies they cite, some of which I have read myself.

I'm dropping out of the conversation because of the personal attacks, not because I don't have the resources to back up my opinion.

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Annie
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If you have any more disparaging remarks about my academic qualifications, please keep them to yourself. You don't know me. I'm not writing a research paper for you.
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