My e-mail provider pops up news headlines whenever I sign in to check my mail, and since I check my mail … oh, let’s just say, several times a day, I see the headlines equally as often. I remember the first news flash announcing that Nadya Suleman had given birth to eight babies, and they had all survived. Everyone was in agreement—this was a complete miracle. Doctors were quoted, the media was in seventh heaven … or maybe I should say, eighth heaven, with this fabulous fodder for stories. Truly, we live in an age of astonishing medical advances.
It wasn’t too long, however, before investigations began into Ms. Suleman’s life and medical history. Her former (creative) occupations were dragged into the fray, as well as the fact that she already has a whole lot of other children. Tonight as I ran my errands, I heard an interview on the radio with a woman representing the volunteer nanny service who has stepped in to help out this new mom, and apparently the nannies aren’t too impressed with Ms. Suleman’s lack of attention to her eight little bundles.
It took even less time for the media to drop the word “miracle” from their reports.
Okay, so. Ms. Suleman is a single mom who has held dubious jobs in her life. Her doctor has been criticized for implanting her with eight embryos and now she’s apparently out shopping instead of taking care of the babies. Why does this make the occurrence any less miraculous? Hello, folks – how many people do you know who have had eight babies, at once, with such an incredible survival rate? If the children had been born to a suburban soccer mom in Vermont who wears cardigans and pearls, drives a minivan and buys a case of Girl Scout cookies every year, then would it still be considered a miracle?
I’m not saying I think Ms. Suleman’s behavior is correct, and I’m certainly not advocating her choices. I’m just wondering, who gets to decide when something is or is not a miracle? And I’m wondering what the parameters are for miracles. Is there like a statute of limitations, or some kind of code of conduct that once breeched, takes an occurrence out of miracle running and places it into the humdrum everyday?
The fact is, regardless of how those babies came to be, they are a miracle and there’s no paparazzi picture or media circus that can change that fact. Eight children, brought into the world from the same pregnancy, is a miracle. For that matter, every life that is created, be it a single birth or a multiple, is a miracle. Human life is incredible. You can’t slap a scandal on a child’s birth and make it less miraculous. Jamie Lynn Spears certainly raised some eyebrows with her pregnancy, but that brouhaha didn’t keep her child from being a miracle.
Motherhood is a challenge, and I am certainly among the first to say, there are days when the fact that we all survived another twenty-four hours is miracle enough for me. But let us never forget that even in the midst of the tantrums and the trials and the demands and the hair pulling (either Billy yanking on Jenny’s, or us, pulling out our own) we are witnesses to, and participants in, an honest-to-goodness true miracle. And no amount of hair-pulling or media hounding can or ever will change that.
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