Faith

Killing Octomom

Natalie Suleman poses with some of her children at their home in Palmdale, Calif. (AP Photo/Antelope Valley Press, Ron Siddle, File)
Natalie Suleman poses with some of her children at their home in Palmdale, Calif. (AP Photo/Antelope Valley Press, Ron Siddle, File)

Natalie Suleman poses with some of her children at their home in Palmdale, Calif. (AP Photo/Antelope Valley Press, Ron Siddle, File)

If you had forgotten about Octomom, the California single mom of six who underwent in vitro fertilization in 2008 only to become pregnant with octuplets, Natalie Suleman is okay with it. Suleman, whose octuplets are now seven years old and thriving, recently came clean about her efforts to shed the Octomom persona.

Suleman, who at the time went by Nadia but has since transitioned back to her birth name of Natalie, underwent the fertility procedure with the intent of only having one child. Her doctor tried to convince her to abort the others, but because Suleman does not believe in abortion, she carried all eight babies to term.

Suleman became a media sensation when all eight babies survived, and the media circus that created the Octomom persona led her down a path that included pornography, exotic dancing, and drug abuse, along with a relationship with a manager who took advantage of her financially and even got her in hot water with the IRS. From the UK Daily Mail:

She explained: ‘The media created the character and I shamefully embraced it in 2009 out of scarcity and desperation to survive.

‘This is not something I ever wanted but I think every single mother can understand the challenges we face.’

By 2013, Suleman had had enough, and her breakthrough came when she saw one of her daughters emulating her mother.

Suleman told her manager she wanted to quit – but her manager told her she would be sued for $30,000 if she did not turn up for a scheduled bikini shoot.

‘I didn’t even have $30 in my pocket, never mind $30,000, so I had to do it,’ she said.

However when Suleman returned home from the shoot she found her then 10-year-old daughter Amerah playing dress-up and parading round the house in a pair of spike heels.

‘Later on I was cleaning up in the middle of the night and I saw that heel on the stair and the kids were all sleeping.

‘All my emotions I’d supressed started to bubble out into rage and I took the heel and threw it across the house and it stuck in the wall.

‘It was like I’d escaped prison. That character of Octomom was dead.

‘We packed up all our things and I quit my manager.

‘I’d rather be homeless with 14 kids living in my van than allow any of my girls, my daughters to go down the path I had gone down.

‘If I had stayed in that life I might be dead right now.’

Next page: Find out what Natalie Suleman is up to these days.

These days, Suleman works as a counselor and family therapist and has sworn off all government assistance — with the exception of food stamps — to raise her family. She says:

I’ve been helping drug addicts and alcoholics, so I’m doing the hard work not the easy exploitative work. I’m back to who I am.

Fit and healthy, Suleman and her kids stick to an organic, vegetarian diet, and they run 5K races in order to help raise awareness for the treatment of autism. Two of her older children have autism, including one whose condition is so severe that he cannot speak. Still, Suleman does not receive any help with childcare or household chores other than what the children pitch in to provide.

Suleman credits her faith with helping her and the children survive and thrive.

‘They are so grateful we play the grateful game every day where everyone has to say 10 things they are grateful for,’ she says.

‘I raise them with God we try to go to church every week and we pray before every meal.’

Though she stays safely out of the spotlight these days, Suleman hopes that killing the Octomom persona will allow her to raise her kids in a way that makes both her — and them — proud. Here’s hoping she can do just that.