Dr. Drew on 'Octomom': Going beyond the caricature
*Note – The "Octomom" primetime special airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HLN.
Nadya Suleman – we gawked, we gasped, we rolled our eyes. Ultimately, we turned her into a cartoon character, giving her the moniker "Octomom" – not altogether unreasonable, considering her bizarre behavior:
To us, it looked like the reckless decision of a madwoman – giving birth to eight children on top of the six she already had. Raising just one child is a world of responsibility – raising multiples, even more so (I know from experience – I have triplets), but 14?
We asked, how could she dive headlong into such a huge commitment, alone.
Did she think it was a game?
Is she crazy?
Is she “addicted” to kids?
For years, we’ve seen speculation, headlines, and hype. The end result is that most people know Suleman from magazine stories, TV shows, and of course, that infamous photo of a very pregnant Nadya.
Everybody thinks they know her. Even I thought I knew her...until I stepped into her world and spent some time there.
I walked into that world, put my thoughts down on paper and the scenes down on camera, all for one purpose: to show the human behind the headlines...and the enormousness of the challenge she now faces in life, for better or worse.
Most of all, I want to get this point across: Nadya Suleman – a.k.a. the "Octomom" – is a complex person, not the caricature we've made her into.
We have to take a closer look – not just at her – but at everyone we try to put into a box, including ourselves. It’s hard to look at each person as an individual, unique and precious.
We don’t usually don’t find time in our hectic lives to take this perspective, but we should, because it’s worth it. It enriches our experiences, strengthens our relationships and makes us more whole as human beings.