My initial plan in conducting all this “research” was to write about the various cultural influences that might have encouraged this display of extreme, willful and not miraculous fecundity. I was going to talk about the glorification of high-order multiples by television shows like “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” which depict the wacky yet supposedly manageable lives of a couple with twins and sextuplets. I was going to cite other cases, such as the Masche sextuplets, born in Phoenix in 2007, and the octuplets (though one died a week after delivery) born to a Houston woman last year. I was going to mention the big-ticket donations these families received, including nanny services, vans, college scholarships, even houses. I was going to lament the combination of naivete and voyeurism that fuels public interest in their lives and wonder aloud why words like “blessing” and “miracle,” especially when applied to babies, so often distract from the realities of parenting them.
Octuplet derangement syndrome?