You may remember Nadya Suleman, a.k.a. “Octomom.” Eight years ago, Suleman became the second woman in the United States to give birth to octuplets. Suleman already had six children prior to becoming pregnant with the octuplets. But, her pregnancy and life post-octuplets has been drenched in controversy. Now, Suleman says she's on a better path. Before we get into what she's up to now, let's revisit the pregnancy that made headlines around the world.
Suleman began her IVF treatments in 1997, under the administration of Dr. Michael Kamrava. After years of trying with her husband, Marcos Gutierrez, the couple was unable to conceive. Nadya suggested IVF, but Marcos didn’t like the idea of having “test tube” babies. The couple separated in 2000, and officially divorced in 2006.
Suleman started having kids in 2001, and had a total of six children by 2008. Then Suleman decided she wanted more children. In 2008, Dr. Kamrava implanted a dozen embryos in Suleman. This went against standard IVF practices.
Because of his actions, Dr. Suleman lost his medical license in 2011. Kamrava explained that Suleman demanded that all 12 embryos be implanted in her uterus. He was also found guilty of gross negligence in two other cases.
Suleman was personally criticized for her choice to get pregnant. Suleman was torn apart in the media because when she became pregnant, she and her children were receiving government assistance. People became outraged because they thought Suleman was relying on taxpayer money to take care of her massive brood.
To make matters worse, Suleman was charged with welfare fraud, to which she pleaded no contest. She failed to disclose nearly $30,000 in earnings in 2013. She was sentenced to two years’ probation and 200 hours of community service.
As a single-mother of 14 children, Suleman did some questionable things to make ends meet. The $30,000 she failed to report was from a pornographic “self-pleasure” film she received. She continued to work in the porn industry for a while. She even won four AVN (Adult Video Network) awards for her work.
For some time, Suleman also worked as a stripper. In a recent interview, Suleman expressed regret over the choices she made. She called her time as a sex-worker as “dehumanizing and exploitative.” She said she did it to support her 14 children. “Everything I ever did was for money to put food on the table,” she said.
She explained that she did not want to put her kids in the spotlight, so she decided to exploit herself instead. “I fully exploited and dehumanized myself with the porn and the stripping,” she said. “I was so desperate we were on the verge of homelessness, so rather than put my kids in front of the camera I decided to put myself out there.”
She explained that she hated what she was doing so much, that she developed an addiction to Xanax to “numb” herself. She admitted that she would have died of an overdose if she didn’t leave the porn industry in 2013. So, she told her manager she was quitting.
She no longer wanted to be Octomom. Suleman said, “No one hates Octomom as much as me.” She said that she embraced the character created by the media out of desperation to support her family. But, now at 41-years-old, and now going by Natalie, Suleman is back at her original profession.
Suleman worked as a psychiatric nurse for a decade before she became pregnant with the octuplets. Now Suleman has gone back to her original profession and has been working in counseling for over three years, she still gets a little welfare support, but hopes to be completely self-reliant soon.
Now, Suleman tries to focus all her energy on work and her family, and isn’t interested in a relationship. “I’m married to my family and kids, I don’t have time to take that away from my kids and give it to some stranger,” she said.
She said that she also tries to live a healthy lifestyle and that she and her children participate in 5k races. She also tries to raise awareness for autism. Two of Suleman’s children suffer from the disorder.
More than anything, Suleman wants to put the persona of Octomom behind her. “I want that horrible, despicable character Octomom to be an example of what not to be,” she said. Suleman admits that she made lots of mistakes in her life and that she isn’t perfect. Everyone makes mistakes in their lives, and people should cut Suleman a break. She’s turned her life around.