ey all you under-appreciated middle children, “you think you had it bad?” said Jessica Leeder in Canada’s The Globe and Mail. Imagine being “Baby H,” the eighth of a set of octuplets born to an unidentified California woman. Baby H made history, anchoring only the second set of live octuplets on record, but he was a surprise, “literally overshadowed by his seven siblings” until birth.
Being overshadowed would be better than living through “a prolonged news media circus,” said Ellie Tesher in The New York Times online, like the one that scarred the five identical Dionne girls, the first quintuplets to survive to adulthood. The octuplets’ parents can help by choosing to treat their eight kids—“and yes, even dress them”—like individuals.
Despite the “celebratory headlines,” said William Woodwell Jr. in the Los Angeles Times, we should think twice before we “celebrate a situation in which eight lives—nine counting the mother—have been placed at enormous risk.” Triplet-and-higher births are almost always premature, and that means higher rates of mortality, cerebral palsy, and other health problems, not to mention enormous postnatal costs.
Sure, doctors look at “high-number multiple births as a medical failure rather than as cause for celebration,” said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial, but then again, people always “cluck at the parenting decisions of others.” And while this California couple faces greater-than-normal parenting challenges, with eight live infants on hand, “this is one of the many days when they won’t” second-guess their choice.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza's dad: 'I wish he'd never been born'
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2014
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
Subscribe to the Week