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Dr. Drew on 'Octomom':  Going beyond the caricature
July 28th, 2011
05:39 PM ET

Dr. Drew on 'Octomom': Going beyond the caricature

Editor's note: Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified internist, regularly interviews people in the spotlight to learn more about their emotional lives. Nadya Suleman will be Dr. Drew’s guest on a special edition of "Dr. Drew" on HLN Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

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.

Follow @DrDrewHLN and @CNNHealth on Twitter.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.