"Octomom" On Oprah: Nadya Suleman Concedes Eight Mistakes


Today, the inevitable happened. Although Oprah had, she explains, long resisted the pull of “Octomom,” a hand-written sheet of blue notepaper changed her mind, and Nadya Suleman was allowed to Tell Her Story.

The story, actually, is kind of like the story we’ve heard before when Suleman has gone before the cameras, be it for the New York Times Magazine or the ladies of The View. As is the footage. We see much chaos, many children, a lot of nannies, some paparazzi, and Suleman running around like a dervish. And as we’ve seen before, she’s obviously a devoted mom — albeit one who tells her 8-year-old son that he needs to go to school because otherwise “social services” and “the police” will take him away (a great argument for education).

And, later, Suleman tells Oprah about her regrets. Despite the fact that she would never give any of her children away (“even Aidan,” who is autistic) she repeats, with dogged wearniness, that hers was a selfish decision and that she’s owned her mistakes. She is, she says passionately, no publicity-hound but a victim of media and circumstances who, Jean Valjean-like, will do what she must to keep her children from going hungry.

“Are we defined by our choices, our behavior, our actions?” she asks passionately. And while some of us might be tempted to respond “yes, by definition,” there is no fuel for schadenfreude in watching this many young lives hang in a balance. Suleman says she’s grown up. Certainly, she seems far more sober here than in her recent View appearance – the maniacal laugh is completely MIA. Watching this, you know she means what she says. Also, that her life – and those of her kids – isn’t going to get any easier. And that as many times as we hear it and see it her decision will never make sense to us, and that there’s no happy ending. Even from Oprah.

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