When the McCaughey septuplets were born in 1997, the president called to congratulate the parents, who scored a free car, a free house, and free Pampers for life. When Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets, she scored national revulsion, ridicule, and death threats. Nancy Gibbs tries to understand why in Time. Suleman’s case reveals how “personally judgmental we are about decisions that are, under any normal circumstances, none of our business,” she writes.
Suleman says she was looking to make up for something she lacked growing up. “I felt powerless,” she said. And that makes her story sad, Gibbs notes, because having children “may be the most humbling thing we ever do.” Maybe she’s been irresponsible, but we should “call a truce here, and let this woman work out her very challenging circumstances without our vitriol making it any harder.”