Almost 10 years after she made headlines for giving birth to octuplets, Nadya Suleman is speaking out about her life today and the mistakes she made in her past.
The woman known as Octomom, 43, spoke to The New York Times on Saturday, December 15, a few weeks before the six boys and two girls, conceived via in vitro fertilization, turn 10 in January. “They’re the only surviving eight octuplets in the history of mankind,” she said proudly.
Suleman, who has six other children, also through IVF, told the newspaper that she is writing a book that she has been working on for 13 years. “That’s why I want to do this interview,” she explained. “I’ve been writing this manuscript since graduate school.”
Read on for five revelations from her interview.
She and her 14 kids live in a three-bedroom townhouse in California.
The Times reports that the octuplets, who are small for their age, are polite, and like their mom are vegan. Like their siblings, they help out with the cooking and because there are so many in the household, they eat in shifts, while some sleep on the couch.
She has been left with painful injuries from the pregnancy.
“I was misled by my doctor,” she told the paper of being implanted with so many embryos by Dr. Kamrava, who has since lost his medical license in the U.S. and left the country. Suleman, who stated that she turned to IVF because she couldn’t conceive naturally, said she didn’t know she was carrying so many babies and had only wanted twins. The pregnancy took a heavy toll on her body, stretching her belly out so much that it broke her ribs. “My back is broken because of the last pregnancy,” she said, admitting that the injury was made worse by years of running half-marathons. “I have irreparable sacral damage. And I have peripheral neuropathy. I haven’t felt my toes on my foot on the right side for many years, and my fingers are numb all the time every day. The pregnancy caused it.”
She is honest with her kids about her past, which includes drug abuse and a sex tape.
Suleman, who battled an addiction to alcohol and Xanax for two years, spent time in rehab in 2012. “When you’re pretending to be something you’re not, at least for me, you end up falling on your face,” she said of her sudden fame, which saw her appear in a 2012 sex tape, Octomom Home Alone. She claimed to The Times that her manager forced her to do the video by threatening to report her to welfare for fraud. “We talk about everything,” she said of discussing her past with her brood. “They know, they went through it with me. It’s a huge weight lifted off of all of them when I went back to who I was. We were struggling financially, but it was such a blessing to be able to be free from that. Those were chains.”
She doesn’t date.
The full-time counselor, who told the newspaper that she relies on government assistance and “international photo shoots,” insisted that she “never wanted the attention” that came with her record-breaking pregnancy. She revealed that she isn’t seeing anyone and doesn’t have contact with the men who fathered her children. One man was the sperm donor for the octuplets and she said that “maybe the kids will meet him at 18.”
She doesn’t often go out with all 14 kids.
The family’s day begins at 6:20 a.m. with her driving the kids to school in a Ford E-350 Super Duty van. After school there’s cleaning and chores, with the kids helping out with cooking, and then the clan is in bed by 8:30 p.m. On Saturdays they have family fun nights with vegan junk food in front of the TV. Her eldest daughter, Amerah, 16, told The Times that the 15 of them seldom step out together. “She’ll get anxiety, everyone staring, so she’ll take whoever’s behaving the best. There’s ups and downs.”
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