Let me get this straight. When the McCaughey septuplets were born in 1997, President Clinton called to congratulate the parents, who were given a free 12-passenger van, Pampers for life, furniture, food and a custom-built house. Last spring, when Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar got pregnant with their 18th child, they announced it on the Today show, and their reality-TV show launched that fall. When Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth to octuplets on Jan. 26, she got revulsion, ridicule and death threats. A talk-radio host who called her a freak said his listeners were prepared to boycott any company that helped out mother or babies. Jimmy Kimmel declared that “golden retrievers do not have that many kids.”
We now have a face and a voice to go with the object of our wrath: Suleman, who bears an ironic passing resemblance to celebrity multimom Angelina Jolie, sat down with NBC’s Ann Curry to start to tell her story; the full interviews will air today and Tuesday. Suleman said plenty that will make people squirm even more. But she also exposes how publicly divided and personally judgmental we are about decisions that are, under any normal circumstances, none of our business.