Do you guys remember the name, Nadya Suleman? How about “Octomom”? Nearly ten years ago, in January 2009), she rose to fame when she delivered eight children at once. And this was after already having six kids! Nadya’s babies were actually the first set of octuplets to be born alive and survive a week after birth, which is extraordinary.
Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
Her pregnancy caused a lot of controversies. There were mixed feelings and questions were being asked. Some criticized her for the methods she used to get pregnant, and others simply loved and worshipped her. Nevertheless, she quickly became a public personality.
This is a story of a dedicated and strong woman, involving heartache as well as happiness. Through all her ups and down, her journey is amazing and worth a read.
1. She Always Wanted A Big Family
Nadya Suleman was always intrigued by the thought of having a big family. Growing up, she as an only child, she longed to connect with others. She knew that eventually she would have a big family of her own and be able to create magical moments and deep connections.
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However, in her quest for a big and happy family, Nadya did something she never imagined she would ever do. The event completely changed her life in many ways. It was a hard lesson as well as a blessing to her.
2. Her Road To Becoming A Mother
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Nadya looked forward to becoming a mother. She had just graduated from a high school in southern California High School and immediately wanted to start a family, even though she was single. Like others her age, she also wanted to go to college, but she felt her purpose in life to be a mother superseded that.
Her actions down the road show just how much she wants that big family.
3. Her First Romantic Relationship
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Nadya was in her early twenties when she encountered her first love. He was a produce manager named Marcos Gutierrez. He was a sweet, gentle, charming and funny person. She was swept off her feet by his charisma, and they fell deeply in love. Even though she had an instant connection with Gutierrez, she made it clear from the start of their relationship that she was interested in having plenty of children. Initially, Gutierrez had no issue with that because he also wanted to be a father. Little did Nadya know that she and Marcos Gutierrez would not be able to have children together.
4. The Job That Changed Her Life
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Later that year, Nadya and Marco got married. She also got a job at the Metropolitan State Hospital in California after she earned a license as a psychiatric technician at Mt. San Antonio College. As much as she loved working with her patients, it was also tiring.
Nadya wanted a meaningful career just as much as she wanted a large family. During her course at the hospital, something happened that she never would have expected. And it shaped the rest of her life until today.
Next, what happened on that fateful day.
5. Misadventure at Work
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Tragedy struck on September 18, 1999, at the psychiatric facility where Nadya worked. She was going about her business until 20 of her patients started a riot. While she was trying to stop the fight, one of the female patients threw a wooden desk, and it hit Nadya on her back. As a result, she suffered a back injury and went on to collect about $170,000 in disability payments and workers compensation benefits. The injury was just the beginning of a domino effect of life events.
6. The Challenges of Nadia Suleman
Source: Daily Mail
Nadiya’s injury caused her a lot of pain. It also negatively affected her productivity at her workplace. She was able to hold her own due to the compensation she had received but little did she know that she would face a much bigger problem.
She and her husband have been trying to have children. They did all they could to start a family but to no avail. Her legacy was at stake, and something needed to be done. To get to the root of their problems, they finally decided to see a doctor.
Little did they know that the doctor they saw would end up creating a huge legal ordeal down the road.
7. Bad News From the Doctor
Source: Radar Online
When Nadya and Marcos visited the doctor, they told him about their worries. They were determined to follow every step and advice he had to give. But they still weren’t getting pregnant. Frustration began to set in, and Nadia became depressed. She couldn’t believe that all she had hoped for was becoming to look like a far fantasy. Finally, they discovered the truth….Gutierrez was sterile. On hearing the news, Nadia felt like she had been hit by a big blow. They needed to figure something out. So what did they do?
8. The Last Resort
After a lot of brainstorming together, Nadya Suleiman decided that she would go for an alternative method instead of the traditional way of having kids. Her husband wasn’t in support of this, and it caused them to drift apart. Nadya suggested that they adopt the technique of in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a process of fertilization whereby an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, usually in a test tube. Marcos threatened to leave her if she proceeded with it. So did he end up leaving?
9. A Journey of No Return
Nadya Suleman attends Celebrity Roast at XL Nightclub. Photo by Charles Norfleet/Getty Images
Nadia was at a crossroads. She had to choose between the love she had for her husband and her mission to have a big family. It was undoubtedly a difficult decision. She wondered how her life would be without having the kind of family she dreamt of. It was at this point that Nadya made the most significant decision in her life. She decided to risk it all and follow her life-long goal. Nadia ended her relationship with her husband in 2000 in a bid to give birth to kids through IVF. After her divorce, Nadya was ready to go all the way. Her path becomes a long and dramatic one.
10. Nadia Was Ready To Risk It All
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There were a few reasons why Nadia’s ex-husband didn’t want her to go through IVF. Over the years, it has become trendy even though it doesn’t have a 100% success rate. The public does not generally accept it, and it is a costly medical operation. None of these conditions were able to deter Nadia Suleman, however. She was determined.
Usually, medical experts include more than one egg during IVF to rule out any case of some of the eggs not being fertilized. This procedure was a risk on its own, and it turned out to be the major talking point in Nadya Suleman’s case.
Would she accept to go through the risk?
11. Worth The Risk?
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Nadya had to consider it again before finally agreeing to go with IVF. She thought about it as it was possible for her to give birth to more than one child. It was this decision that changed her life. In the IVF process, there is a possibility that more than one egg would end up being fertilized which means that she could give birth to more than a child.
She wanted to have a large number of children and this was her opportunity. Many had thought the possibility of having multiple children would stop her, but she was more than eager.
12. Her First Baby Elijah is Welcomed
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The result of her IVF procedures was terrific. Her operation was successful, and in 2001, Nadya gave birth to a lovely baby boy with a name she got from the Bible, Elijah. At last, being a mother was becoming a reality for Nadya! But that wasn’t the end; it was the beginning of her adventures as a single mother.
13. Babies, Babies, and More Babies!
Source: Evening Standard
The following year, Nadya gave birth to another child through IVF. She named her Amerah. IVF was proving to be compatible with Nadya’s body, and she decided to make use of it to the fullest. She was thirsty for more babies, and she chose to continue with the treatments. This time around, she gave birth to twins and two other children making a total of six.
In the US, the average number of kids per family is three. Despite that, Nadia was still interested in giving birth to more children.
Her next step was a shocking and unexpected one.
14. A Life-Changing Decision
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Seven years had passed since Nadia had her first child. She loved babies but wanted more. She went back to the doctor who helped her in all her previous IVF procedures, Dr. Micheal Kamrava.
After her last treatment, Nadya still had six eggs that were frozen and unused. Because she did not want the eggs to go to waste, she decided to use them. She was able to convince Dr. Kamrava to implant all of them into her at the same time. But that wasn’t the end of Nadya’s plans.
15. She Wanted More Babies
At first, Dr. Micheal Kamrava was reluctant. But she was persistent and so he ended up implanting all the remaining eggs at her request. The crazy part of this story is that Dr. Kamrava went on to inject a total of 12 eggs which is ten eggs more than the recommended maximum of 2 eggs. Nadya knew the possible consequences for her actions, but she was ready to face them. And she had no idea that it was against industry standards, which will later be found out.
16. Pregnant With 8 Children
When Dr. Micheal Kamprava implanted more than the maximum number of eggs, he knew he had strayed away from the standard medical practice. Amidst all these theories, she wasn’t scared but actually pleased. She was excited that she would be living her dream. It later turned out that 8 out of the 12 embryos were successful, which meant that Nadya became pregnant with eight children at once. There was, however, an issue. They needed to find out whether Nadya Suleman was physically able to give birth to eight babies all at once. They would find out soon enough.
17. The Rise of the name “Octomom.”
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Nadya Suleman’s pregnancy ended up having a negative effect on her body. It was more than what her body could handle. Just like wildfire, the news of her pregnancy spread all over America. Everyone wanted to see her. And that’s how the name “Octomom” was formed.
18. The Delivery was a Success
As it drew closer to Nadya’s due date, she was talked about everywhere. The world was watching. When the time finally came, Octomom’s pregnancy turned out to be a success. She delivered eight babies safely and in good health. Seeing her babies, Nadya felt like the happiest woman in the world. She was eager to take them home and introduce them to their siblings.
The world was astonished. Nadya’s babies were the first set of octuplets to be born alive and survive a week after birth. Despite the success of her delivery, the world had many questions.
19. Her Babies Brought Her Fame
The story of Octomom was all over the media, particularly in the medical world. Nadya was fast becoming a celebrity. After the birth of her beautiful babies, all doctors around the world wanted to interview her. At that period, it wasn’t yet known that she got pregnant through IVF.
Naturally, people were eager to find out why and how a woman’s body was physically able to handle such a pregnancy. They asked questions like “How was she able to give birth to 8 kids at once?” How she was able to defy the human body and do the impossible kept the doctors researching. They decided to go back to the beginning of her case which led the question of how she became pregnant in the first place.
20. Octomom – A Media Power House Name
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Nadya was talked about by many newspapers, blogs and TV stations. She became a hot topic and was recognized by the entire nation. Her nickname “Octomom” was all over the place without even knowing her real name.
Nadya had her plans to take control of the story. She wanted to be seen positively in the media. She ended up hiring a public relations team that could help her spread her story positively, but it was quite harder than she expected it to be.
21. Nadya and Managing Fame
It started to look like she was interested in the spotlight in the first place. People started saying that it’s the reason why she had her children. In the middle of this, Nadya had to balance her media popularity with taking care of her 14 children. As time went on, her media persona began to take more of her time than her children. There were different controversies about her pregnancy, and some Californians challenged her, saying she was irresponsible. Some people also threatened her while others loved her and her children.
22. Being Octomom Is Hard
Source: Washington Examiner
Handling the media was different from what she had planned. It was hard controlling the media coverage, and Nadya failed to get ahead of the story. She had no choice but to tell the public about her struggles. During an interview with the People’s Magazine, Nadya talked about her not getting much sleep. In her own words, “I don’t get much sleep, about 2 or 3 hours a night”. She continued saying, “But I’m continuing to move forward with my life and trying to be the best mother I can be.” Despite her struggles, she continued entertaining media attention which led to continual skepticism of Octomom.
23. Nadya Suleman reached a Low Point
Years after she gave birth, people were still interested in the story of Nadya Suleiman. Even though some people disliked her, she was still loved in America. The only problem was that she couldn’t handle the celebrity status. The fame was beginning to affect her to the extent that she couldn’t raise her kids well.
There were several reports in the news saying that Octomom was in her worst moment ever. It began to dawn on her that she was alone, even with 14 kids.
24. Trouble Brewing Up At Home
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As a result of the interest and persistent media coverage on Octomom, rumors began to circulate that Nadya Suleman was maltreating her children. Some people started questioning how a single mother could take care of 14 kids by herself. This prompted Child Protective Services to schedule a visit to her home. They decided to find out whether Octomom was taking proper care of her children. They investigated Nadya’s property and interviewed the children to check for any signs of neglectful behavior. Ultimately, CPS found no basis for the rumors and considered her home fit for children to live in. However, Octomom had something else coming her way.
25. Eviction Notice Was Served
Even though Child Protective Services deemed Nadya Suleman’s home fit, someone else who had the power to disrupt her life didn’t entirely agree with that claim. That someone was her landlord. Although Nadya’s big-sized family was living comfortably, they had some living arrangement problems like poor plumbing. Nadya’s landlord accused her of violating the terms and conditions of her lease. He also told several media outlets that her home and surroundings were utterly filthy. The landlord wanted Octomom and her children to vacate the building.
26. Desperate Times Came Knocking
Nadya Suleman couldn’t convince her landlord to retract his eviction notice. So she and her children had to find somewhere else to live. She may have been a caricature to the media, but the real Nadya was a loving mother. She didn’t have enough money to care for her kids though. She tried out a few business ventures, including a brief music career and appeared in the music video of another artist. Nadya also had a short-lived job working at a men’s nightclub. But did all this help?
27. A New Beginning for Nadya
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After Nadya’s legal troubles and the ordeal of a public trial, the pressures of being in the spotlight got to her. Nadya was reported to have said that she felt like the walking dead at the peak of her fame. She decided to make some changes to her lifestyle so she could live a happier life and be a better mom to her children.
Journalists from Inside Edition covered her octuplets birthday party, where she announced that she was changing her first name to Natalie, as a symbolic move. She also proceeded to finish her college degree. After that, she started to work part-time as a family therapist. But, what about the kids?
28. The Kids Today
Now known as Natalie Suleman, Octomom’s octuplets are nearly ten years old and doing very well. All of them are committed to living a strictly vegan lifestyle, and they seem to love it. Natalie has said that she doesn’t live in fear of her kids finding out about her past. She engages them in open and honest communication about her journey through it all. She believes it’s healthy to be a straightforward parent, and this lifestyle is ultimately ideal for running a healthy household.
29. Her Guardian Angel Sparked the Change
Source: Daily Mail
Natalie Suleman is now in her early 40s, she has changed her ways and no longer doing any questionable jobs. Natalie told various media outlets that a “guardian angel” gave her the courage she needed to leave her cheap ways and move ahead.
In February 2013, she met a man at a club in Florida. “As he walked into the bar, he came straight to me and looked me in the eyes. He took my hand and grabbed my arm and said in a very gentle, but firm way: ‘You don’t have to do this.’ He repeated it five times.” She couldn’t fight back the tears that were streaming down her face. This was the turning point for Natalie Suleman.
30. Looking Back
Source: Daily Mail
After Natalie’s major life overhaul in 2013, she admitted that she was very “foolish, immature and selfish” to have brought 14 children into the world, and she wasn’t thinking through her actions carefully. She also admitted that she wanted a large family, but she didn’t reflect on the possible consequences at the time. However, she says she couldn’t imagine her life as it is now without her children. Natalie places so much focus on raising her kids that she doesn’t have interest in relationships at the moment. She engages her fans and shows what she and her kids are up to through her social media.
31. A Modest Life
Raising 14 kids alone is no easy task, but Natalie seems to be handling it very well. The family lives in a two bedroom apartment in Laguna Niguel, California, and lives from paycheck to paycheck and food stamps. She moved back to Laguna, the place where she grew up so that she can provide a more stable upbringing for her kids.
She also converted the office in her apartment to a 3rd bedroom so all her kids can have beds to sleep in. In an interview with Daily Mail, Natalie said that she now feels “at peace” after all she went through to raise her kids as a single mom. She shares her contentious story with other women with the hope that they would be inspired to make the right decisions for themselves and their children.
32. Natalie Despises Her Moniker “Octomom”
Source: US Magazine
Natalie Suleman is mostly known by the nickname the media gave her – Octomom. However, she says she despises the nickname, and she would prefer not to be called “Octomom” anymore. Although she has used the moniker in the past for self-promotion, she feels this persona almost destroyed her and her family. She says, “I didn’t want to live. I felt less than human as that character I was pretending to be, to survive and provide for my family.”
33. The Paying Sacrifice of a Loving Mother
After rising above several problems as a single mother of 14 trying to pay her bills, Natalie Suleman is now in a much better place. She enjoys quality time with her children; her nine-year-old vegan octuplets Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah, and Noah, as well as her six older kids from her first 5 rounds of IVF Elijah (17), Amerah (16), Joshua (14), Aiden (12), and 11-year old twins Calyssa and Caleb — who she dubs “omnivores”. Natalie hopes that her kids are proud of the mother and woman she has become.
34. Live Life, Fight and Play
Source: NBC Los Angeles
As a mother of 14 children, she has absolutely no time for a social life. Natalie told Daily Mail that, “They fight, play, fight and play again like any normal family.” She went on to say that many of her children take after her shy and introverted nature, while others are more outgoing. Her son, 12-year-old Aiden, has autism. However, this challenge doesn’t deter his siblings from helping to look after him. Aiden and Makai have an incredibly strong bond. The children are aware that their home life is entirely different from most households. Natalie teaches them that there is nothing wrong with being different. But that’s not the only thing Natalie has taught her kids.
35. Holiday Season for the Big Family
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Despite all the hardships Natalie and her kids have to endure, they are a happy family. Natalie gets each of her children just one gift every Christmas and other festive seasons, in a bid to instill good values and virtues in them. “I’m focusing on raising the kids to focus on serving other people, to get out of their head,” she told US Weekly. She believes that getting her kids only one Christmas gift will teach them to value every little thing, as well as learn how to earn and not expect gifts. Besides, Natalie’s financial state is another reason she has to be prudent during festive periods.
36. School Days are Stressful
You can imagine how stressful it must be for Natalie Suleman to send all her kids off on the first day of school. The 43-year-old mom shared her anxiety on social media with a shot of her eight nine-year-olds, posing with their handbags and smiles on their faces. Natalie added a caption saying, “Any other parents exceptionally stressed and overwhelmed by the first week back to school?” She dubs herself as an “official bus driver” for her kids, as she has to drop off and pick them up from school, but she won’t have it any other way. She also joked that as much as she begged her six older kids, they refused to take a picture of their first day back at school. Luckily, they smile for the camera whenever the family is celebrating some other milestone or one of those random family moments.
37. Working Off Stress Build Up
It’s not easy to be a mother to 14 young kids, with the pressure and stress that comes with it, Natalie Suleman likes to share her coping mechanisms with other mothers. She steals some time off her busy schedule to do some exercise at the gym. Natalie shared with her followers on her Instagram page how she copes with inordinate stress after she was asked how she stays sane. She added that exercising helps her to channel stress. “The stress drips off of me, as I’m drenched in the end. Being physical has significantly helped me cope with so many challenges I’ve struggled with throughout my life” she added.
38. Spa Night and Loads of Fun
Natalie Suleman is a practical mother and can be extremely fun and strict. One of Natalie’s favorite hobbies is to enjoy a spa with her daughters. She loves to document all the fun they are having by trying out new face masks and skin products. Natalie tries her best to love and care for all her children equally. So if her boys are open to movie night or any other fun thing, she is down for it. Natalie’s kids are a top priority for her, and she likes to share with the world.
39. A Chat With Dr. Oz
In May 2018, Natalie was invited to the favorite daytime lifestyle show, the Dr. Oz Show, to share her story about why she decided to undergo another round of in-vitro fertilization treatment when she was unemployed and already a mother of 6 young children. Natalie also talked about her evolution from being simply Nadya and then known by the world as the caricature “Octomom,” and now to the happy and healthy dedicated mother that she is. She opened up about her journey and transformation. Natalie also took the opportunity to announce the launch of her YouTube channel she launched with her kids.
40. Luck Of The Draw
Ever wondered why some people look nothing like their siblings? Well, that’s because genetics is pretty exciting and tricky at the same time. Some will say it’s merely the luck of the draw. With 14 kids, the likelihood of all of your genes being expressed in your children is high. Natalie refers to this as her diverse family and dichotomous genes. She loves all her children and feels blessed that they all look unique and inherited the different genes. The best part is that Nariyah and Noah over here are from the same set of octuplets.
41. Active Kiddos Doing Great Things
Natalie Suleman and her octuplets have embraced a vegan lifestyle and participate in marathons. Pictured here is Natalie’s octuplets after completing the Russ Miller Memorial 5k Run in February 2018. Natalie and her kids love to take part in worthy causes to raise money for amazing initiatives. Natalie’s goal is to instill important values and virtues in her kids from a very young age, and she seems to be doing a good job. They are all in high spirits as they finish the race hand-in-hand. It turns out the eight nine-year-olds have a lot going for them other than just running races.
42. Modern Day Heroes Don’t Wear Capes
When Natalie’s octuplets aren’t busy participating in races to raise money and awareness for worthy causes, they are working diligently on some school projects. The kids were asked to create posters of their heroes, and they came up with creative projects. But perhaps the best part of the photograph is Caleb’s photo-bomb. Natalie Suleman sure has talented children, and her fans enjoy seeing what they are up to. Natalie shares these moments on her social media pages to encourage parents that they can raise adorable children if they can put in the effort. And without any doubt, her kids appreciate the work she puts in judging by what they prepared for her next.
43. Putting Pen to Paper
What makes motherhood worth it for Natalie is the love she receives from her kids daily and on special days like Mother’s Day. She snapped all the special cards and handmade gifts she received from her kids. Talking about putting pen to paper, Natalie’s son Aiden, inspired her to write a book about the challenges of raising an autistic child. Aiden has the mind of an 18-month child; he is non-verbal and still wears diapers. She is open with her kids and teaches them about autism. She hopes to get the book published, which she initially started writing to jot down the challenges she faced. “It’s a story that needs to be told, and I think it will encourage a lot of women to draw up strength that didn’t know they had,” she told Daily Mail.
44. Bonding with the Family
Out of Natalie’s 14 kids, four of them are girls. She enjoys bonding time with her girls. Despite their age differences, the girls also like to have girl time, and Natalie loves it. This picture was taken on one of Natalie’s daughter’s birthday, Amera. All the Solomon ladies share a keen resemblance, and this is picture perfect. Natalie tries to ensure they have boy time and girl time on a weekly basis, but she loves it best when they all hang out, which isn’t always possible.
45. Family Fun Night and Other Traditions
Family tradition is something very dear to Natalie’s heart, and her family takes them very seriously. Natalie and her kids created Saturday family night tradition, and they call it “Family Fun Night.” They dedicate every Saturday night to spending quality time together and doing fun things. Some of their favorite activities are watching The Shining and playing chess. Natalie’s four older kids “cringe” at the tradition now that they are teenagers and prefer to visit their friends. However, the ten youngest children still enjoy fun nights with the family.
46. The Raw Vegan Lifestyle
Natalie posted this on her Instagram page with the caption “Could we be anymore vegan?” Her older six kids are not vegans, while the octuplets have embraced the vegan lifestyle eating meals consisting of health shakes, organic kale, chard, collard greens, bell peppers, and red or golden beets. They also enjoy home cooked vegan meals like quinoa and sprouted lentils. To cap it all, dessert usually consists of green apple with raw almond butter. Natalie grew up as an ethical vegetarian, so it wasn’t so hard for her to convert to the vegan life. She says her change of diet has also helped her deal with the medical problems she endured during the conception of her octuplets. She believes the vegan lifestyle makes the family savor cheat/treat days.
47. The Whole Big Family
Here’s mama bear and her 14 kids in 1 beautiful family picture. Natalie says it usually isn’t an easy feat to get all of them in 1 picture and when it happens, it’s one for the books. Natalie captioned the Instagram post with, “So THIS is what happened when we attempted to take a fun family photo with as many family members as possible. Per usual, Elijah, Amerah, and JJ are absent from the picture.” Natalie shares many special family moments on her social media pages. She captures those moments that show what it’s like to be a single mother of 14 children, raising all of them as happy and healthy individuals. As a part-time counselor who helps people suffering from substance abuse, Natalie Suleman decided it would be a great idea to launch her own YouTube channel. Her first video was a 6-minute clip of her eldest daughter Amerah reading a letter she wrote to Natalie for Mother’s Day at a women’s event in Long Beach, California. After Amerah’s speech, all her children lined up, and each had a gift for their mother. Natalie created the channel to share her life testimony, but she said she plans to let her kids manage it with vlogs of fun activities, grocery shopping, vegan food challenges, and any other creative ideas they have under their sleeves.