As we are nearing the end of Holy Week, I would like to spark mercy in you. Today is Holy Thursday, the beginning of the Triduum leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus. But we take these next few days to reflect on the brutality that was bestowed on Him as He fulfilled His destiny. He maintained his humility and even continued to be kind and merciful to those who loved him and those who abused him. But he was not shown any mercy.
I would like to turn your attention now to a bit of old news that continues to re-surface. While the person I will speak of may not be Jesus Himself, she is God’s child. I was at the grocery store recently and spied a picture on the cover of one of the tabloid magazines. It was a picture of a topless Nadya Suleman. In case you are not clear on who this is, I will clarify, using the vile nickname that has been bestowed on her — Octomom. Since the time I became of aware of her publicly infamous journey and delivery of 8 babies, I have been filled with nothing but compassion for her and her family — an unpopular perspective, I know.
Nadya captures my heart and reverence because her acts were kind and loving – albeit naive and unrealistic. How many of you are kind, loving and merciful enough to consider that she may have acted from a place of love which guided, or mis-guided (however you choose to see it) her to give birth to 8 babies in addition to the houseful of children she already had at home. I ask that you consider in this moment that her life was used as a vehicle for our advancement as humans. But we all have reaped the benefit of her suffering, yet we continue to kick her while she is down. She sacrificed her life so that we would learn that no woman should have that many embryos implanted in their womb. She spared other women from having to suffer along with their families, the same hardships that she lives.
It started even before John & Kate Gosselin, but we didn’t listen. Then came Nadya. She was a single mother, which left her completely vulnerable. We heralded and supported the Gosselins while they were together, but as soon as Kate joined Nadya in single motherhood, we reared our ugly head on her too. We didn’t shame or revile John, no, we piled our abuse on the women… Think about it. What sort of society doesn’t protect their women and children, but jumps at the opportunity to berate and disparage them? What kinds of people take pleasure in this pain?
Why can’t the Pro-Life movement come to her aid, or even her defense? If they have, they haven’t helped enough, and they haven’t defended her loud enough. She recognized her frozen embryos as life and chose to honor that rather than destroy them. When faced with having to make a choice, she chose Life. She had her final six embryos implanted. Based on her and her doctor’s past experiences, she would have had no way of knowing that not only would the original six embryos survive, but that she would have two bonus babies to boot. No one would have predicted that as a likely outcome. Then even when her doctor recommended selective termination, she refused — again she chose Life. She was driven to do the right thing for ALL OF HER CHILDREN, not just the ones already running around her house, but the ones waiting to come home. Having had the embryos implanted and growing them in her body, she successfully birthed all eight (a miracle to be sure) and still she did not turn away from her responsibilities. She has kept all her children close to her, mothering them and loving them even with all the hate that she has to endure. She chose life and love yet again. Has the cock crowed yet? She made the choices that were in her heart to make, and when love is in our heart, it is put there by God — she obeyed. If this were a story in the Bible, how do you think she would be perceived? Do you think Jesus would have shown her mercy? What would your role be? Would you be Pilate, someone in the crowd screaming “Crucify…” or would you be Veronica?
She did not commit a crime. Yet we force her to confess to sins she didn’t commit. She did not do this out of greed for money or fame, or from a sick and distorted mind. She was driven to do what she believed was the right thing to do, the best she knew how to at the time when caught between a rock and a hard place — too many healthy embryos and not enough money. We have beaten her down until she saw no way out but to say she wished she hadn’t made the choices she made to have her babies. That is a painful thing for any good mother to say and she held out and allowed herself to be vilified further because she stood by her love of her children and would not denounce them and their right to be alive. Even that we could not allow her to have, that small saving grace that she does not regret any of her children. In the hopes that the world would forgive her if she confessed to them that she made the wrong choice by having her children, she put her values aside for the hope of mercy… Maybe if I tell them what they want to hear, they will open their eyes and see that I am human… my children are in need, I can not keep them hungry to spare a word… And still today, she sacrifices herself to feed her children and keep them close as she has been charged to do. Now she has been pushed to debase herself with these photos, lowering herself further than she ever thought she would allow. She has lived her life on faith. Why do we continue to punish her? Why do we turn our backs on her and allow her and her children to continue to suffer. She has certainly done her part for our benefit. Where is the mercy? Where is the compassion? She didn’t kill anyone, she saved them and lifted a veil from the fertility industry and uncovered the lack of regulation and guidelines so we could all do better. Where is the mercy? Where is the justice?
It is time. We have watched this horror show long enough. We have entertained ourselves at her expense long enough. We have to help her. We have to show her mercy. We have to give her love. She has earned it – faithfully. And even if you can’t see that – no decent human being would stand by and allow this to continue with a hard heart. It doesn’t take much if the WORLD VILLAGE comes together to raise these children and raise this woman up from her depths of despair. We have broken her, we have broken her spirit and she is all that these children have left. We have a responsibility to fix this. What can you do? Can you put her in your prayers? If you don’t pray, do you love? Can you send kind, gentle, loving thoughts and energy her way, instead of mockingly hateful and spiteful sentiments? Can you put together a food drive for her family?… include some grocery store gift cards… Put together an Easter basket for each child with age appropriate toys inside and their individual names on them so they know you see them as human?
If you are part of an organization or Foundation can you provide her with housing? Help her pay for help to cook and clean for her family? Put together a college fund for each child? Pay for her utilities? If you own a clothing store or shoe store, could you clothe her children throughout the year?
This is too much for one person to be expected to endure. Her children are our children and they will grow up one day knowing either that we all did the best we could to help them or we contributed to their suffering and the suffering of their mother. What would you like to see them offer the world? Pain or love? Give them what you would have them give back to you.
I am just one person with my own perspective. But I am begging on her behalf for mercy. If there is anyone reading this with a heart, please do your part. If there is an organization or individual out there with the resources to put an end to this, please contact me – no one wants to see this continue – I will pledge myself to help coordinate your efforts AND I will pledge a year of my life to mentor young girls from your organization who find themselves pregnant and want to use their right to choose to give life to their babies. Let’s take the heat off of Nadya Suleman and use that energy to move forward and help other young women bravely face similar decisions in their lives.