I know I usually like to blog about sex, but just to spice things up a bit I will delve into the squirming, giggling, pooping product of sex; babies. These days, it seems that everybody has a bit of baby-fever, and it shows more than ever in the media. Think about the popular movies Knocked Up and Baby Mama. Celebrities seem to be having babies at older ages, the Jolie-Pitts have conceived and adopted a small international soccer team, and then we have the verifiable freak show of Nadya Suleman, aka “the Octomom.”
Of course, some might argue that the adoptions Brangelina are making are noble, for Angelina is an international ambassador and her and Brad have more than enough love (and money) to go around, so why not adopt a couple of kids while also popping out some disgustingly good-looking ones of their own? At least they will be more than capable of providing for them, financially if not emotionally (flash forward fifteen years to see little Shiloh and Viv Jolie-Pitt as the new Lindsay Lohan or Miley Cyrus).
Of course, Octomom Nadya Suleman can’t be placed on the same level as a pair of international celebrities taking in some needy kids. Through in vitro fertilization she had eight kids at once, as if the six kids she already had at home weren’t enough. And by at home, I mean at home with her parents, where she was still living, sans baby daddy, supported by the government. I cannot even begin to wonder what is wrong with this woman and can only believe that this was all some sort of stunt for attention, fame and money, because there is no way she can possibly care for her family of 15. And I would also like to ask what was wrong with her doctor, who agreed to put eight eggs in her at one time despite the fact that she was obviously more fertile than a stray cat in heat. On that note, Suleman, who claims a deep love for animals, has made a deal with Peta to have this sign posted on her front lawn in exchange for 5,000 dollars and a month’s supply of vegan hot dogs and hamburgers for her entire family.
Of course, there is gossip of a Octomom reality show joining the ranks all the other embarrassingly entertaining reality TV shows (hello, Jersey Shore ). But when it comes to reality shows about babies, she will have a long line of competition. The once wholesome Jon & Kate Plus 8, a show featuring Jon and Kate Gosselin and their cornucopia of sextuplets and twins, has certainly fallen from grace. As Jon pulled a wannabe Tiger Woods stunt (and bought every single Ed Hardy shirt he could get his hands on) Kate finally fixed her hair (often referred to as a backwards mullet) and joined Dancing with the Stars. I’m sorry, when did having eight children and getting an awful reality TV show suddenly make you a star? Since you live in America, I suppose.
Also joining the line of baby themed reality shows is MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant, a pretty big (although depressing) hit about high school girls who have gotten themselves knocked up (or simply never heard of birth control).
Another show lacking any form of contraception, and perhaps the most interesting in my opinion, is the one focusing on the enormous Duggar family, 19 Kids and Counting (which at one point was 17 Kids and Counting, then 18…). This conservative Christian family does not believe in birth control of any form, resulting in ten boys and nine girls, ranging from ages 1 to 22, and all with names beginning in j, like Jessa, Jinger, Jedidiah and Joy. What I find most interesting about the Duggars is that they seem to represent the Quiverfull movement, something I had never heard about until one of my professors mentioned it to me in class (thanks Professor Savage!) .
The Quiverfull movement supports the idea that every child god gives you should be seen as a blessing, and therefore husband and wife should never use any form of contraception, and should continue having children as long as they are being ‘given’ them. The name comes from the Old Testament, Psalm 127:3-5 :
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
While I suppose that is a nice idea and all, it was written at a time when people didn’t live as long as they do now, and the infant mortality rate was sky-high. You had to have as many kids as you could because you didn’t know how many would actually make it. This is no longer the case, as you can see with the Duggars, the Octomom, and many other large, well-known families. As you can imagine, having so many children can have its drawbacks, and one major one is health. Michelle Duggar’s youngest child, Josie, was born three months early via emergency c-section at a scant 1 pound, 6 oz (less than the weight of the average size guinea pig). But the Duggar’s do seem to be loving, affectionate parents, and the large age gap between their oldest and youngest makes it possible for the elder children to help take care of their siblings.
I want to know what is at the root of all this baby madness. Religious reasons or media-whoring aside, why are these individuals choosing to have so many children? And why do we as a society want to watch them on television? It is not as if we all want to have hordes of children ourselves, because the average American family has only one or two children. Do we like watching because it makes us feel blessed not to have so many mouths to feed? Do we like watching because the kids are cute and we can simply shut the TV off if they start to cry? I mean, why have your own children if you can just watch someone else’s on TV. Whatever the reason, I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Keep your eyes peeled for Nadya Suleman’s show, in which she will wear her bikini in every episode to show off her ‘post baby body.’