A couple of days ago, I was passing by a television when I heard this question posed: How much will Octomom’s children cost taxpayers?

Fox News. How crass. How typical.

In case you’re lucky and have somehow missed the media blitz, Octomom is a woman in California who recently had a healthy set of octuplets. Where the story differs from the story of other celebrated parents of multiples like the McCaughey septuplets, though, is that Octomom (real name Nadya Sulman) was not the second half of a whole wedded bliss. In fact, she was unemployed, on government assistance, living with her parents and already had six children.

Her story is the same as the other parents of multiples, though, in that her multiples were conceived by IVF. (For my views about IVF, see what the Catholic Church has to say.) The father of Sulman’s multiples was a sperm donor, a friend who was in fact the father of all of her previous children through the dubious miracle(s) that can be performed in a petri dish. I cannot even begin to fathom the thought process that led to this situation.

But putting aside the immoral and incredibly stupid situation that led to the birth of the children, I want to address the original question by Fox News. Maybe I’m more sensitive to this right now because my second child is weeks or perhaps days away from being born, but I am convinced that we live in a child-hating society, or at least one with strangely screwed-up priorities when it comes to children. Like my friend Calley says: “The Bible tells us that children are a blessing and debt is a curse, but we try to avoid for the blessing and apply for the curse.”

The problem is that Fox News was lifting up these children and making a spectacle of them, saying, “These lives are a burden. Their existence harms you, the taxpayer.” They were asking, “What, per dollar, is the value of one of these lives?”

And that’s the crux, not only with how society views the octuplets, but children as a whole. They are seen as a burden and necessary debt at worst, or as something you should save for for 10 years before making an investment, like a house or a nice boat. (As if to confirm the children as a commodity theory, it’s becoming a trend among the wealthy to have trophy children.)

The New York Times recently ran a piece about people with five or more of children, and one of the mothers quoted in it said that when people would admonish her about having more than the average 2.5 children, she would respond that it is not children that are expensive, but lifestyles.

But having a biblical understanding of children helps us counterbalance the propaganda that raising more than two children is an an irresponsible act or ā€” God forbid ā€” accidental.

As for me, I never really considered a small family an option outside of providential hinderance. After all, I am the second of six.

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