Blunt Talk To Octuplets' Mom From Dr. Phil

Early Show - Octuplets Update - Jan. 29, 2009 CBS

Dr. Phil McGraw didn't hold back in a recent interview of octuplets mom Nadya Suleman and her mother, Angela Suleman.

The talk show host had straight talk for Nadya about her having octuplets when she already had six young kids, and about the challenges ahead of her.

He told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen he feels the impact of what's happened is only now beginning to hit Nadya.

But Suleman insisted to McGraw that she only wanted one more baby, not eight, and said part of the heavy criticism she's been getting is because she's a single mom.

"I wanted one. One," she told McGraw.

"You wanted one," he repeated. "You did not anticipate..."

"Never," she interrupted.

McGraw told Chen he thinks Suleman is "a very confused young woman. I think, clearly, she is a loving mother. I think she has good intentions, but I think her ability and willingness to grasp the gravity of what's happened here is just really limited.

"My problem with her, which I made very clear to her, is not that she went and had eight babies, but that she went and even tried to have one more child. When you have six that you can't provide for, when have you six that you can't pay for and you go down intentionally to have a seventh baby, let alone ... up through 14, then that just doesn't make sense, and that's what I told her. And I think she eventually began to get that, but now she's in this situation, and what does she do about it?

"I asked her straight up if she felt like she was addicted to pregnancy and all the feelings and the attention and that sort of thing, and she swears she hates being pregnant, but what she really wants is to just have a big family, because she says she grew up in a very dysfunctional childhood, as an only child, and she really missed siblings. When we talked to her mother, there doesn't seem to be any dysfunction anybody can point to. It appears the relationship was pretty loving and she was pretty connected with her parents, but she says she missed these siblings.

"My point to her is, look, children shouldn't be born with a job. You don't bring a child into the world with a job of filling a void in you, a job of making you feel loved and connected. Children shouldn't be born with a job."

But Suleman asked McGraw to "take a couple into consideration, couples that have 12 or more children. What about them? What is their motive for wanting more and more and more and more? Why are they exempt from being labeled and being called all kinds of negative terms, just because they're married? I do feel part of any anger that people are experiencing is because I'm single and I chose to have so many."

Still, McGraw told Chen, "At this point, she says she's not overwhelmed. And I'm saying, 'You're not overwhelmed because you don't get it yet. You don't get it at this point.' Can she handle 14 children? Absolutely, unequivocally not. I do not believe she has the money, the housing, the transportation, the energy, the support team, manpower. I don't think she has the first thing she needs to handle these 14 children.

"I think she's in for a roller coaster ride emotionally, physiologically and every other sort of way, if she had all the help and support, which she does not at this point."

One thing, though: "She assures me she is 1,000 percent through having children. I asked her if six was a big family. She said, 'Yes.' I said then why have more? She said, 'Well, certainly, 14 is more and I have no plans whatsoever to have any more children at this point." '

McGraw observed to Chen that Nadya needs help now, not scorn. "I've always said, you don't reward bad behavior, and people consider what she's done and the reasoning she's followed to be bad behavior," he noted. "So I think the best option is to try and work out a solution in place. And that means that we can't turn our back on these 14 innocent children. I think she needs money, I think she needs volunteer manpower, I think she needs some of the corporate folks that often step up, whether it's diaper companies, baby food companies, those sorts of things, to say, 'I'm not going to turn my back on the 14 children.' They don't want to reward her, but yet, you've got have to understand the children have needs."
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