Does the name Nadya Suleman ring any bells? If it doesn’t you’re not alone. There’s a far more popular moniker that she’s known by – Octomom.
For a good chunk of 2009, Nadya Suleman was cashing in on being famous for giving birth to octuplets.
The controversial mother’s story gained popularity when it was revealed that she was already mom to six other children, all the while being unemployed.
Suleman’s first six children were born following five rounds of IVF, while her next eight were a set of octuplets.
She took advantage of the media attention to gain fame. She made appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, and was the subject of a Fox documentary called Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage.
Once the public became aware of her hunger for fame, she slowly stepped out of the spotlight to focus on raising her 14 children. However, that did not last long.
Suleman made headlines again when she starred in unsavory films in order to make ends meet. That career ended after she realized that she was not setting a good example for her children.
“There was definitely a catalyst — my girls, particularly my oldest daughter Amerah. She was about 10, and she started integrating my traits and behaviors,” she says.
“After I had observed my daughter beginning to emulate me, I saw her going down that same potentially destructive path, and I realized at that moment I’d rather be homeless in my van with all 14 kids than continuing down this path. It was not what I wanted for my children.”
While Suleman says the fame and attention “nearly destroyed my family,” it also kept her children fed and clothed.
“I was forced into doing things I didn’t want to do because I was so terrified I couldn’t support them and give them the life I deserved.”
But over time, she transitioned to a career as a rehabilitation counselor, devoting all her spare time to her children.
She says the life change gave her “a sense of peace” and “eternal joy.”
Nadya along with her brood moved to her hometown of Laguna, California for a new start about three years ago.
One of the biggest changes is that Sulemon now goes by Natalie, as a way to distance herself from her past as “Octomom.”
She says that she sees her old self as “immature,” and “selfish,” but feels more confident after moving her family to California.
“I was alive again,” she says. “As ‘Octomom,’ I was the walking dead. When I woke up and I went back to my roots, my helping profession, and my kids, we were struggling financially but it didn’t matter. I never felt so free and so happy in my life.”
In fact while Suleman is thriving, raising 14 children is still full of challenges.
Shortly after her move to California, Suleman was found guilty of welfare fraud and ordered to perform community service.
Suleman, who admits she feeds her children using food stamps, blames her old managers for the charges.
“I gave them my cards and checkbook and that is what happened,” she told The Daily Mail.
“I was trying to manage my children instead of my money.”
With the embarrassing case behind her, Suleman is focusing on spending time with her children. She says her family of 15 is like any other, and that her children are mainly quiet and thoughtful, like her.
Her oldest children are now teenagers, and one of them, her son Aiden, has an autism spectrum disorder.
But Suleman says her children are happy, “and that’s all that matters.”
While she’s obviously very busy, Suleman has written a book about one of her children that she plans to publish.
No matter what you thought of her, it’s obvious that Suleman is trying to make a change for the better and be a good mom.
If you were surprised to see the Suleman kids all grown up, wait until you see Jon and Kate’s family today!
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