February 25, 2009

Dr. Phil talks to Octomom; Says she needs help, not scorn

Posted: 11:35 AM ET

 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.

McGraw says 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?


Filed under: Dr. Phil McGraw • Octuplets

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Michael C. McHugh   February 25th, 2009 11:46 am ET

I think she'll do all right out of this. She'll get her book deal, a cable TV movie, maybe even a short-lived series on some obscure channel. Personally, I can't imagine why anyone would want so many children, unless of course they were living back in the past and when children were still an asset and considered part of the labor supply after a relatively brief childhood. There are many poor countries today where child labor is common, especially when you expect half of them to die before adulthood. My grandparents still thought of children in this rather utilitarian way, and also as an economic support system in their old age. In her own way, Octomom way also view these children as an economic asset. I have no way of knowing.

Of course, this flies in the face of our more modern notions of what family, children and married life should really be about. In modern, Western middle class society, of course, we have very different ideas about family, childhood, romantic love, emotional ties and so forth–all of which were very different in pre-modern times. Today, children are mostly expenses, economic liabilities, which is one reason why people have far fewer of them, but are also expected to lavish a lot more love, care and emotional attention on them–unless you're like me and just don't much like children and young people at all!

sean brizendine   February 25th, 2009 11:53 am ET

larry why would dr. phil want to help octomom? maybe because medical does not cover psychologists.
"sean in santa rosa"

debbie   February 25th, 2009 12:47 pm ET

In our grandparents day it was commom to see that many children born but there was no means of stopping pregnancy , however it is a woman's choice and it is her body. Maybe we should give her the benefit of the doubt she had no idea this could happen since she said before she was implanted before with the 6 eggs and only one child with the exception of the twins produced. The Doctor certainly should of been aware but it was her decision. Now the babies are here that is what she needs to focus on. I know the frustration on her mom's part, the good LORD gives children to the young because our nerves get weaker as we grow older. It becomes harder and takes alot out of you to chase 6 kids and under the age of 7. I think her mom is right to confront her but Nayda needs help physically and financially. What is done is done I hope she does get help because I trully believe she loves her babies but in all fairness you cannot give 14 kids alot of attention , there is not enough time in one day to show each of them sufficient attention. Nayda is only human and as much as she believes she can care for all those babies it is not possible. We have not had a problem with the woman with 18 kids. I know her situation is different but is that an issue or should it be.

Nancy   February 25th, 2009 1:19 pm ET

Is the Lou Dobb's story on U-Tube true I've just seen in regard to President Obama's Amnesty bill for illegals that includes amnesty for abscounders, tuition for all illegals, etc.??? What in the world is going on? Come to think about it, ILLEGALS haven't been mentioned in his stimulus agenda. They have been a major cause of our faultering economy???

Steven   February 25th, 2009 1:20 pm ET

This is a case where the doctor should be the one to blame. Additionally, he should fund these children until they are of legal age, rather than the taxpayers.

Kuy   February 25th, 2009 2:03 pm ET

The dr who implanted all those embryos is irresponsible. The mother who insisted the embryos be implanted is irresponsible. Before those babies even leave the hospital the medical bills will be in the millions of dollars. How will mom pay the bill? She won't. I and my neighbors in California will.

It's important that we live responsible lives. It's not ok to go ahead and do whatever strikes the fancy just because it feels good at the time. Sadly the children will pay the consequences as well as the people of California, possibly other women who are unable to concieve naturaly.

Joe G. (From Illinois)   February 25th, 2009 4:03 pm ET

In life there is Right; there is Wrong, but it all doesn’t stop there..! There is also the Unpredictable, The Unexpected, The solvable, The unsolvable, including the “I tried but failed” ; the “I tried but didn’t manage to get it all right”; “I tried but I still have no real clue on where to start or what to look for.” And on and on.. But whichever way you put it… Life is a training ground, a tuition free school and a testing ground all in once sponsored by God himself.. So about them octuplets..? And I’m no doctor.. And I don’t seek to slander anyone.. But how big of an outcry would it have to be necessary to show signs of family (Father, Mother) mental abuse and or mental torture? I mean, had this woman been just another alcoholic, or another drug addict, porn star, street prostitute or convict instead of someone seeking unconditional love from her kids… Would she have then be worthy of more understanding and compassion? Fact is that in America Drug Addicts who silence their conscience (Including those with legal prescriptions) and those who sell their bodies and souls to the devil get more inclusion. Yet this woman is all alone. I’ll say “Fear God”

Louie Frias   February 25th, 2009 4:54 pm ET

Below is what I sent to our brand new President.


Mr. President,

Bla, Bla, Bla. Housing stimulation is fine, BUT, you've not really given any REAL incentive to the average John Q. Public to attempt to remain in their homes.

IF a loan mortgage modification CAN BE achieved, and there is a cost through the private sector to accomplish this for the homeowner, then THAT COST should be tax deduxtible in THE YEAR it is paid. TREAT it like a full blown nearly is as the borrower still needs to qualify.

I dare you to do it.


Stephanie   February 25th, 2009 5:52 pm ET

It really doesn't make sense that she had 8 babies when she already had 6 young children at home, she really screwed up her financial situation by doing so, she didn't even need 1 more child wild. She does need help, more financial and mental help [non sarcasticly].

joanne osinkowski ontario canada   February 25th, 2009 5:56 pm ET

There are so many childless couples, why doesn't the mother consider putting these innocent children up for adoption.

James in Kamiah Idaho   February 25th, 2009 6:18 pm ET

More than anything else, what most reasonable people have a problem with, is her obliviousness. Feigned I'm sure.

We get the impression she feels she is entitled, as a woman, to do whatever she wants with her body, up to and beyond, having as many children as her body can produce. Her actions are inconsiderate of others, and I feel most for her poor parents.

I can't blame her entirely though, because our society is currently involved, directly, in enabling it. We currently have a system that gives incredible amounts of aid to women, especially single women, who have multiple children, and the vast majority of soft hearted people want to help, but there comes a point when that turns into exploitation of her children and the masses, and that needs to be capped. just like a cap and trade.

I agree with those who say she needs mental help, and that should go without saying, but she also needs to have her children taken from her, even if temorary, so that she can have a real chance of getting back on her own two feet, and getting into the overdrive she needs to be in to take care of so many children.Another option might be for her children to be spread out among willing family members who aren't all in such dire straights.

I wish those children all the best of luck, and I wish her a speedy recovery from her own foolishness, and hopefully and evolution to maturity at some point very, very soon.

James in Kamiah Idaho   February 25th, 2009 6:23 pm ET

@Louie Frias...

Reset the Subprime mortgage interest rates on delinquent and or at risk homes to the "introductory rate" the lenders coaxed unwitting buyers with, and fix them there. The homes that have gone into forclosure should also be renegotiated at that rate, and the lender can eat the difference.
Why wouldn't this work?

hugh ~ california   February 25th, 2009 6:27 pm ET

I'm sorry, but Dr. Phil isn't really a real doctor! So I do not care what this imposter thinks. He is so overrated, give us a real MD!

JIM CARROLL INTERNET FREE PRESS   February 25th, 2009 7:07 pm ET


Give each state one billion dollars for each member of Congress– which would distribute the money equally among the states. States could keep all of their employees, and they could add a few more. They could create millions of new jobs by getting a lot of needed projects going. The Federal Government has the Constitutional authority to create new money. It doesn’t need to borrow it from China or anyone else. Giving 535 billion dollars to the states makes more sense than giving two or three trillion dollars to the banks.
TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AND FLOAT DRIED UP MONEY SUPPLY When the rich get tax cuts, they don’t put it under their mattress; but what they do with it has the same effect. They store it as bytes on computer chips. They don’t spend the money that’s needed to moves goods and services.

The efficiency of the clearing houses for financial institutions has dried up trillions of dollars in float. You can’t beat a check to the bank any more. Debit cards, paying bills on line, buying on the internet with Pay Pal and the many other ways that money can instantly be taken out of bank accounts has dried up the money supply. When you could beat a local check to the bank and when it took an out of town check ten days to clear the bank, there were billions of dollars that could be spent by the depositors and billions that could be loaned out by the banks. WHERE ARE THE ECONOMISTS?

Mari   February 25th, 2009 7:41 pm ET

The article is about DR. PHIL...... why are you commenting on the economy??


jw   February 25th, 2009 7:48 pm ET

i say its a miracle.there are millions of people who desire to have children and cannot.why are people so negative? is it a reflection of who one really is?let change from the old cloud to a new day.lets send these babiies good wishes.twenty years from now they could make headlines again with a break trough that was given to them to bring forth as the result of their unseemly birth.

Judith   February 25th, 2009 8:26 pm ET

While Dr Phil is so willing to help Nadya Suleman he might be willing to help Rush Limbaugh who acts like he's back on drugs again.

Barbara   February 25th, 2009 9:26 pm ET

Dr Phil I admire greatly. I really feel sorry for a woman who feels her only worth is in having children. Women can do more these days than have children. Many do both and are successful at both. I believe that the real problem is the doctor that provided the invitro procedure. He must have done it for the money. Speaking of money where did this woman get the money to do the procedure in the first place?

Stephanie   February 25th, 2009 11:18 pm ET

I heard him tell her that these babies aren't dolls to collect and put on a shelf and saw that he was trying to get her to understand it. She really did put herself in a hole, how on earth will she pay for the medical bills for each of them? What if 5 of them are sick with the flu or chicken pox at once or all of them at once? Did she even think of that possibilty?

Marilyn   February 26th, 2009 12:01 am ET


ed,vancouver canada   February 26th, 2009 12:58 am ET

Doctor phil gave her advice on what not to do,but what about the future?Where is the resolve?Everyone knows Suleman can not provide for them.
What is the solution though?

janette tx   February 26th, 2009 1:18 am ET

Phil is all about Phil his ego has been inflated
by the goofy folks that hang onto his every word
he is no guru.In fact he may have issues him
self.Wake up folks he is show biz

Ed - Sidney, OH   February 26th, 2009 12:52 pm ET

I don't know who's HOTTER about this subject? Me or the tea kettle in the kitchen "Whistleing!"
The mother and the doctor knew what they were doing, and are BOTH to blame! She should have one child......since she said TRUELY she only wanted one more, and the other seven should be put up for adoption. In the future FREQUENT home visits by "Children Service's" and if not enough to cover this, we'll hire some. I'm sure there are some out there that can use the work!

1.) Was she collecting "Food Stamps" when she collect over $100,000.00 if so was it reported? If not isn't that WELFARE FRAUD? and subject ti fine and or jail time?

2.) Student loan.........She stated she used this to pay for this and that. for the kids and herself. Is that allowed? Did that need to be reported to someone?

3.) If someone is going to have this many children on purpose, too bad we can't have them sign something stating they WILL NOT seek public assistance.

Give her a life time supply of diapers, lotion, powder, etc. and a bus with baby seat's of course, and CALL IT A DAY!

Ed - Sidney, OH   February 26th, 2009 1:11 pm ET

I like when she told her mother or what she ment to say........"you can't go back and "unring" the bell" If I was her mother I would of said....."Just because it's there dosn't mean you have to ring it!" or " You didn't have to ring it SO LOUD!"
Let's take that bell down, hide it, bury it. So it will never be heard from again!

Rabbi Samuel Hurt   February 26th, 2009 1:17 pm ET

Dr. Phil who gives you the right to exploit this mother on TV. Now that you're in the spot light and looking for subjects for your show, it would have been better if you offered assistance, not ridicule! Leave the judging to G_D!

Ed - Sidney, OH   February 26th, 2009 1:33 pm ET

fourteen children? That's nothing! I know a woman that couldn't have children either and ended up with over 900 (Some devil's some angel"s) I must admit she did have access to state money to help raise these kid's each year, but she also put in about a fourth of her own money from (HER) paycheck. Which not many do! and the only name she has given herself that has fullfilled her life is......"RETIRED TEACHER!"

Kelli from Tampa   February 26th, 2009 7:19 pm ET

Dr. Phil is exploiting this woman...if he knows so much he should know a personality disorder can not be helped.
Help the kids, the doctor who did this should pay to raise them and she should be sterilized.

Flo Caplan   February 26th, 2009 8:35 pm ET

On the Larry King Live about Nadia Suleiman, the psychologist spoke about borderline personality disorder. I PRAY THAT THIS MENTAL CONDITION IS CHECKED IN EVERY HIGH SCHOOL. I understand this disorder is more prevalent in teenage girls. The site TARA is a good resource and should be supported and funded. The help for depressed/personality disorder should be nipped in the bud in schools.

Flo Caplan   February 26th, 2009 8:40 pm ET

Homeowners (and there were many of them) who withdrew money from their homes year after year after year, were well aware that they were doing the wrong thing and could not afford the new payments and would have to give up their homes. Now for the government of Obama to bail them out is a CRIME.

MJ   February 27th, 2009 10:32 am ET

Dr. Phil: I understand this is ratings but come on lets get past this. The media is causing this woman so much grief and stress beyond what she will and is experiencing. They are exploiting this poor woman for ratings. OK this is wrong "I GET IT" but lets try and help these 14 children. You have power and so does Larry with connections to do so, so lets do it NOW!!!!

B Valenti   March 2nd, 2009 1:26 pm ET

I would like to talk about state spending,Governor of Pa bash at the Waldorf Astoria along with 3000 reps and family and friends just before the Holidays at a cost of about 15 millon dollars.As stated in the New York Post – Page Six column. for resteraunts and shopping then comes budget time at the first of the year . please don't hammer WallStreet , it's happening right in everyones backyard.

sam greenwood   September 13th, 2010 9:15 pm ET

Dr Phill there bwoman that make false reports of abuse to gain advanage in a devors, There are the tragacy of keeping the kids away from the father

Mike   September 13th, 2010 9:16 pm ET

I have trust issues and i'm concerned i'm going to ruin my current relationship. How can I work past this??

Jay   September 13th, 2010 9:17 pm ET

My question for Dr. Phil.
Will Dr Phil sponsor or promote talents in music from USA, who needs help?
If yes then how and what should one do?

Kenneth   September 13th, 2010 9:19 pm ET

Can Dr. Phil please acknowledge that ABUSE is not just generated from the male gender.
Females often are abusive too & yet goes unreported, and I mean not necessarily physical, but primarily verbally, manipulatively & controlling.
I was married to such a woman & stayed with her for years because of the children. I finally got the courage when I realized that she was NOT going to get help and seeing my dad dying in the hospital of truly how short life is. Now she has done everything to alienate our two kids from me, even attempting to tell negative lies to our child with Downs Syndrome. The abuse does not stop even after divorce.
ABUSE is NOT gender specific.

kevin   September 13th, 2010 9:21 pm ET

Although domestic violence may well be a growing epidemic among men, numerous sources suggest it is a bit bias and one-sided. men are physically stronger than women genetically, when a woman hits a man or use foul language against him its not deemed as severe as when men do the same. What do you say to the women who commit such acts and promote the like? Do you believe that a male is likely call the police if he is assaulted or attacked emotionally or mentally?

Oswald Brown   September 13th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

Dr. Phil – It appears to me that some of the typical traits of addiction are the victim 's pouring all his time and resources into his/her addiction, and the suffering of those who depend on such a person. Alcohol and drugs have been studied and studied. Why is so litrtle attention given to sexual addiction?

John   September 13th, 2010 9:54 pm ET

Have you seen a red bird mate with a blue bird?

steve   September 13th, 2010 10:19 pm ET

help i lost my older brother than i lost mother as if this was not
a enuf my come to and say she never been happy and wants
out of our life 25yrs we have4 kids !please understand i just lost two
importaint ,words my wifeleft us ,
I cant see asgood you i only one eye and its about60% i need hiep!

foxy   September 14th, 2010 12:14 am ET

Please speak on alienation of children from the father by the mother after a divorce. My son in law has had this happen to him and none of the "professionals" will believe him, or will not admit they do. He is being most unfairly treated by the whole system. He has paid about $80K trying to keep a relationship with his children but ends up with nothing to show for it; he has not even seen them, except in a therapist's office, for months. All of the "professionals" have either shown extreme bias, taking the ex-wife's side, or are cowardly going along with the other "professionals.". This is one cause of "deadbeat dads": some men are so badly abused by the system and they say, enough is enough. The ex-wife only wants to get her mitts on his money, and the "professionals" are aiding and abetting her. He has been bled dry of money by the system. There has to be a remedy for this.

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