by | Mar 15, 2009 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

It’s not this Octomom that scares me.

It’s the next one.

And if you don’t think there’ll be a new lineup of women having ridiculous numbers of babies in hopes of snagging money, a house and – most of all – national attention, then you haven’t been watching.

Nadya Suleman, whom many liken to a hypnotized ditz, has nonetheless gotten exactly what she wanted out of America, and maybe more than she dreamed.

This California woman, who already had six children, no husband, no job, lived with her parents and took public assistance, then popped out eight in-vitro implanted babies – and has been milking the media machine ever since.

Using our fascination with watching human train wrecks, she has managed to parlay major TV talk show appearances into the kind of help the average harried mother could only fantasize about.

Her “Dr. Phil” appearances garnered her medical care for the octuplets and gifts that would dwarf any baby shower.

Her cozy financial relationship with a Web site (partly owned by the National Enquirer) has helped bring her more money in a month than many people see in a year.

And, oh – she now has a new house.

Which she says she “earned.” A house for her babies

It’s that last part that really scares me. Seen talking to radaronline.com as she gives a tour of her new four-bedroom digs in a suburban cul-de-sac – apparently listed for $564,900 – Suleman coos, “I earned it. … No, my father did not purchase this house for me. I did it on my own.”

Someone needs to tell this woman that bilking media bloodsuckers for money is not “earning.” It’s pimping your life. To use the word “earn” is an insult to every exhausted mother who actually struggles through a daily job to buy food for her kids.

And maybe someone should suggest that if Suleman could “earn” a $564,900 house, she should immediately sell it and pay to care for her children – instead of getting the state or private suckers to do so.

But while Suleman may be as deluded about the working world as she is about the reproductive one, the maddening part is how willing people are to jump in to help her.

Under the banner of “taking care of the children,” all kinds of people have thrown money and offers Suleman’s way. You wonder if the national spotlight wasn’t attached to her, would they do the same? Help for her babies

A charitable group known as Angels in Waiting has offered to be on-site for Suleman’s kids, round the clock, providing 14 nurses a day, four or five at a time. Do I need to tell you how many mothers would faint with gratitude for a single nurse for an hour?

By the way, these services cost around $50,000 a month, Angels in Waiting’s attorney, Gloria Allred, told me. And they are seeking to pay for that with – get this – public donations.

I would find a better cause for your money.

And here’s why: Sure, those children deserve compassion. They did nothing wrong. But their mother did. She acted totally irresponsibly, and if we teach other young mothers that the price for irresponsibility is repeated trips to “Dr. Phil,” a new home and round-the-clock care, what lesson are we spreading?

Only one that encourages copycat behavior. If teenagers around the world could idolize the Columbine killers – because of the attention they received – do you really doubt that certain lonely, depressed women could fantasize about Nadya Suleman’s instant celebrity – and maybe try her route for themselves?

After all, if the price of murder can’t break our intoxication to fame, why would the price of birth?

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com. Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).


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New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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