As far as celebrity mothers go, there’s no one who deserves a round of applause more than "Octomom" Nadya Suleman. Remember her? Well, you should. The single mother from California gave birth to eight tiny humans back in 2009, and as you can imagine, she was as busy as can be.
As if she didn't have enough on her plate, Nadya decided to put her 14 kids in the spotlight and turn her life into a carnival show. Yup! Nadya had six other kids before getting pregnant with a set of octuplets. How she managed to juggle all the pros and cons of motherhood with so many kids is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately, that spotlight isn’t quite as bright as it used to be, but for anyone still wondering how her kids are doing, here’s an update.
She is a Mother of 14
Nadya Suleman became a household name after she gave birth to octuplets in 2009. While having 8 babies is no easy task, Nadya was pretty familiar with the process of getting pregnant and giving birth. The single mom had conceived six other kids through IVF before the other eight came along.
So this meant that she was a mother of 14. That's pretty incredible on its own given that most of us have a hard time handling just one baby alone. But at the time, Nadya and her husband wanted a big family. Unfortunately, they hit a few snags at first.
She Wanted a Big Family
Suleman and her husband, Marcos Gutierrez, had talked about starting a family someday. Eventually, they felt they were ready to become parents and started trying. Given how strong of an effort they had been making, they were surprised that Nadya wasn’t getting pregnant. So, they decided to get a physical check-up to see what was keeping them from conceiving.
She Went to a Fertility Specialist
Suleman and Gutierrez went to see several fertility specialists to figure out why she wasn’t getting pregnant. The couple had made the assumption that the issue was with her. But after they both underwent a series of tests, doctors discovered that it was Gutierrez who couldn't conceive. Analysis showed that he was sterile. The heartbroken couple wasn’t sure what to do at first and then inspiration struck Suleman.
She Suggested IVF
Suleman wanted to become a mom at all costs and she assumed that Gutierrez did too. So, when she suggested that they try in vitro fertilization (IVF), she assumed that he would jump at the idea, but he didn’t. He was actually pretty much against IVF because he didn’t want his wife to conceive a child with another man’s DNA. At that point, Suleman was faced with an even tougher decision.
She Made a Difficult Choice
Suleman loved her husband, but she loved the thought of being a mom even more and she wasn’t about to let anything (or anyone) get in the way of that dream. So, after struggling with the decision, she told her husband that she wanted a divorce. It was a devastating move for both of them, but she knew in her heart it was the right thing to do. He was free to go and find his destiny while she was free to pursue the IVF treatments she needed to become a mom.
She Needed Multiple Eggs
IVF treatments don’t guarantee that the success rate will be at 100%, so to increase the odds of success, doctors told Suleman to have several fertilized eggs implanted at once to see if at least one would stick. This was a risky move because there was a strong possibility that she would wind up with multiple embryos in her womb. Then again, this wasn’t much of an issue as Suleman wanted to have a big family.
She Started Having Kids in 2001
In 2001, Suleman gave birth to her first child, a son. Then in 2002, she gave birth to another child, a daughter this time. But Suleman wasn’t done just yet. She continued to undergo IVF treatments which led to three other pregnancies that included a set of fraternal twins. In the end, she had a total of six children. And this was only the beginning for this amazing woman.
Multiple Pregnancies Are Risky
In a lot of cases, the more babies a mother carries, the higher the risks of experiencing complications, like a miscarriage or one of the fetuses absorbing a sibling. But luckily, Suleman was able to give birth to multiple children without suffering any permanent damage to herself or her kids. Most women in her position would want to quit while they were ahead. But Nadya still wanted to have more kids.
She Tried Getting Pregnant Again
Eventually, Suleman decided to give IVF another try and like before, she was implanted with several fertilized eggs. And after a couple of weeks, she learned that she was pregnant once again. But this time, she wasn’t carrying two embryos in her womb. She was carrying eight! While this made her face flush with joy, her doctors didn’t seem too pleased with the news. In fact, they were downright concerned and had every reason to be.
Her Doctors Were Concerned
Giving birth to six healthy babies was a miracle on its own, but carrying eight embryos to term at once was risky both to the babies and to Suleman. Despite this, she had managed to avoid any major health complications and delivered all eight babies. They even survived the week of doom, which is the term used to refer to the first week of life when octuplets have a high risk of death. Once they were all healthy enough to go home, Suleman realized that life would never be the same again.
She Became a Celebrity
Suleman had shocked doctors with her octuplets and when the media caught wind of her accomplishment, they started bombarding her with requests for interviews. So, once she was discharged from the hospital, she hired a PR team to share her story of how her surprisingly massive family came to be. Unfortunately, when taxpayers heard of Suleman and her 14 kids, they weren’t very pleased.
She Got Some Hate
Suleman’s PR representative, Joan Killen received e-mails claiming that the Octomom should have her uterus ripped from her body along with other hateful threats. At first, neither Killen nor her team had any idea where the hate was coming from. Then, it became clear that taxpayers weren’t happy that the mom of 14 was receiving state disability benefits, too. They felt that they were ultimately paying for her expanded family.
She Set the Record Straight
Eventually, Suleman decided that enough was enough. She was sick and tired of everyone disrespecting her for wanting to be a mom. So, she decided to make a few TV and magazine interviews to explain that she wasn’t milking anyone’s money and that she wasn’t looking to become famous for having 14 kids all by herself. But the public’s fears seemed practically justified when she found herself struggling financially and had to go on welfare.
She Was Drowning in Over $1 Million of Debt
Suleman had over $1 million in debt as a result of medical bills and the cost of taking care of 14 kids. So, she was left with no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. To make matters worse, rumors began to circulate that she was hurting her kids. Eventually, Child Protective Services got called in to inspect her home and her family, but they found nothing negative to report. Unfortunately, Suleman’s landlord didn’t think she was a good person and had her evicted.
She Ran Into Legal Problems
As if being evicted wasn’t bad enough, Suleman’s questionable financial activities landed her in court where she was fined and sentenced to 2 years probation, plus 200 hours of community service. Despite this, all the media attention had earned her the nickname "Octomom," which she used to self-promote and earn some extra money to provide for her kids while doing interviews. But she had other things in mind for her personal life.
She Took a Break From the Spotlight
By stepping away from the spotlight, Suleman was able to juggle her time between being a full-time mom and a college student. It wasn’t easy to work on her degree with 14 kids but she did it and graduated. This allowed her to earn a part-time job working as a family therapist and helping others in need. But she’s certainly not ashamed of anything she has done and is totally okay talking about it with her children.
She’s an Open and Honest Person
Given how much publicity her story attracted over the years, Suleman is well aware that her kids are going to learn about some of the things she’s had to do to make ends meet. But she’s not afraid to clear any doubts they might have about her struggles. In fact, she’s completely candid with her kids about her past, no matter how good or how scandalous it might be.
She’s Not a Bad Mom
Suleman gave it her all and tried her best to raise her 14 kids. So, it’s not surprising that she doesn’t like anyone talking about her or calling her a bad mother. But she immediately reminds anyone that does throw shade at her that she has been caring for her kids without the help of any nannies or other type of babysitting services. That’s not to say that she probably couldn’t have used some help, but she handled the situation the best that she could.
Love is Not in the Cards
Despite her failed marriage to Gutierrez, Suleman tried finding love again with a man named Frankie G in 2012, but that relationship ended that same year. Since then, the Octomom has concluded that being a mom of 14 kids requires way more attention than she could've ever imagined. So, romance just isn’t in the cards for her... at least for now.
Suleman says that if she were to meet a worthy person, she wouldn't close the door on him. But after years of struggling with negative media attention, Suleman realized that she needed a break from everything and everyone. Ever since then, she has managed to keep a low profile.
She Left the Spotlight for Her Kids
Did the spotlight allow her to rake in some extra cash? Absolutely! But in 2013, Suleman left the spotlight for good and she had a good reason for it. She told People in 2016 that she felt that her eldest daughter, Amerah had started to emulate some of her less desirable attributes. So, she figured that she would rather risk being out on the streets if necessary than allow her daughter or any of her kids to become as destructive as she was in the past.
School Drop Offs Are the Worst
Suleman has her own Instagram account where she posts regularly about her life and her 14 children. She’s even accrued 197,000 followers so far and loves to share what her family is up to. On one of her many posts, Suleman shared one of her many struggles: dropping her kids off at school and picking them up! The single mom had to do six drop-offs and six pick-ups for all 14 kids who don’t all go to the same school. Fortunately, they have a nice house to come home to.
The Kids Live in a Nice Home
Despite her money troubles, Suleman managed to afford a three-bedroom townhouse in California. Three bedrooms might seem like a lot, but with 14 kids, things can get a bit overcrowded. And yet, they’ve managed to get by with a lot of patience, love and support.
There’s no room for slackers in their home, so everyone has to pitch in whether it means taking turns taking out the trash or washing the dishes or doing the laundry. Suleman believes that instilling good values and discipline is the key to keeping her kids on the straight and narrow.
Her Pregnancy Had Unforeseen Consequences
Although she considers her children to be a blessing, the multiple pregnancies left her body wrecked, except she didn’t realize it until later in life. It turns out that she has four herniated discs in her lumbar spine, which has resulted in bilateral sciatica. Another unexpected side effect of her pregnancies was her peripheral neuropathy which prevents her from feeling areas of her right foot, including her toes. This causes her to spend a lot of time in bed.
She Spends Her Downtime Wisely
Whenever she experiences pain from her condition, she decides to take it easy and uses her time to write in bed. For over a decade, Suleman has been working on a book that details the horrors of raising kids in the spotlight. In one of the chapters, she recalls the pain of "waking up to hundreds of reporters and news helicopters swirling above the hospital after the birth of my octuplets".
And even though she values her privacy, she also likes to share her favorite workouts and raw vegan recipes on social media with her fans. But on June 15, 2020, she decided to update her followers on what her kids look like to put those pesky rumors to rest that she's an absent mother who couldn't handle her kids.
Maliyah Angel Suleman
Maliyah Angel Suleman is one of the octuplets. She's currently 12 years old as of 2021. This photo was posted in 2020 by Suleman, and in the caption, she wrote: “My little baby is growing up too fast.” Clearly, Maliyah is a beautiful and healthy kid! Even though she doesn't have an Instagram account of her own, the little girl won the hearts of thousands of followers.
12-year-old Jonah Suleman also shared a womb with his sister Maliyah, and as you can see in this photo, he’s all about healthy food just like his mom. Not only is he surrounded by fruits and vegetables on the kitchen counter, but he’s holding a huge chard leaf that’s about the size of his torso. In the caption, Suleman wrote: “Jonah sharing the soon to be devoured forest before dinner. #HealthyFamily #GreenChard #HalfTheSizeOfJonah.”
Nariyah Angel Suleman
Like her sister Maliyah, Nariyah Suleman shares the same middle name—Angel. Their mom most likely gave them that middle name because her children were nothing short of a blessing. In this photo posted on February 21, 2021, Suleman described Nariyah as “the main chef” in the family. She even shared videos and photos of her little girl making healthy delicious meals like this “delicious homemade vegan fettuccini.” Looks like someone may have a future as a cook.
Noah Angel Suleman
Although 12-year-old Noah Suleman and his siblings came out of their mother at roughly the same time, they all have their own unique identity and skills. Noah’s gift is music. In this photo, Suleman's followers got to see him posing with his violin in his beginning strings performance.
In this festive holiday photo, Eli Suleman had one arm wrapped around his sister Amerah’s shoulder while they allowed their dear old mother to snap this precious moment. He’s wearing a "naughty" beanie hat while his sister is wearing a a hat that reads "nice". Can they get any cuter?
It’s clear from his gaze that he might indeed be the naughtiest Suleman in the family. But his loving mom doesn't care whether he's naughty or nice. He will always be her perfect little boy. She captioned this photo: “We all value privacy, so this is serious progress in the social media world.”
Born in 2002, 19-year-old Amerah Suleman can be seen posing in a black dress and a blue graduation gown. This photo was taken in December 2020 after she graduated from high school. Suleman's daughter wants to pursue a medical career, which makes her mother extremely proud. “Words cannot express how proud I am of you!” Amerah’s mom wrote.
“Your strength and relentless perseverance are admirable and I have faith you will accomplish your goal of one day becoming a doctor! This is just the beginning of the beautiful life you choose to attain. Thank you God for protecting my heart from day one.”
Aidan and Makai Suleman
Aidan and Makai Suleman are their mother’s pride and joy. Then again, all of her children are her pride and joy! But she can’t help but marvel at the brotherly bond that these two have and she wanted to share that with her followers. So, she posted this photo that shows Aidan on the left sitting with his legs crossed on the ground, while his brother Makai sits next to him with a big smile on his face. “Everywhere Aidan goes Makai follows,” Suleman shared. It’s obvious that these two are inseparable.
Josiah and Jeremiah Suleman
It’s hard to tell who’s who in this squad of six, but Josiah is the one in the red flannel shirt in the middle while Jeremiah is the one in the black shirt on the far right. Suleman snapped this photo during a choir event at Christmas time. Suleman captioned the photo: “Makai, Nariyah, Maliyah, Josiah, Jonah, and Jeremiah you were so fun to watch in choir.” And Suleman was undoubtedly beaming with pride and joy as her little ones smiled back at her.
Isaiah Suleman is the one on the far left on the photo and was clearly shocked to have been named the winner of the 5k in his age group. Unfortunately, he learned once again that he had to share the glory with his siblings. The other two handsome fellows next to him are his brothers Josiah and Noah. And the girl on the far right is Maliyah. But they should all be happy as they were each able to bring home an entire pumpkin pie.
Once again, Suleman couldn’t help but post another photo of Amerah, but this time with a cute doggy filter. It’s amazing to see how much these two look alike. If it weren’t for their obvious age difference, these two could be sisters! While Amerah might be in her teen years, she didn’t mind posting a picture with her mom because she knows that her mom’s posts come from the heart.
Suleman knew that she would be in trouble as soon as some of her kids became teenagers. In this photo, something hilarious happened when Suleman asked one of her kids to take a photo while she sat next to Calyssa in the middle and Caleb on the far right. “So THIS is what happens when I ask my teenage son to take a picture of my twins for their 13th birthday dinner.” The kid holding the camera was obviously poking fun at his siblings.
The Suleman kids know their way around the kitchen. So, for Suleman’s birthday, Calyssa decided to make something special for her mom. Calyssa is the one in the middle wearing the red apron that says "Taste of Spain." She's standing next to her little helpers, a.k.a. her sisters. “My kids left me speechless after spontaneously surprising me with homemade vegan fruit pancakes for breakfast,” Suleman captioned the post.
Family Soccer Match
With all the craziness in the world lately, Suleman wanted to assure her followers that she and the kids still had plenty of fun outdoors. To that end, she posted a video on April 11, 2021, that showed her and her kids out in an open field playing soccer under the sun. As a mom, she knows how important it is to keep kids active and entertained!
Girls’ Night Out
The Suleman household is super hectic, but mom knows how important it is to have a girl's night out and to take a break from the boys. So, in this photo, she was seen taking her daughters out for some quality time. This isn’t something that was easy to do with so many kids. But Suleman believes it's important to cherish these moments and make the time for them, even if everyone's really busy.
Girl’s Night In
Even after having some fun outside with the girls, mom wasn’t too tired to sit on the couch with her daughters, put on some face masks, and watch some television. In the photos, she wrote: "Girls night out... then girls night in.” She followed it with the hashtags “#StayingInIsSoMuchMoreFun #EspeciallyWithCats.” A solid bond between a mother and a child or any parent and child is vital for a healthy relationship with them as they become teenagers.
Throwback to 2002
In this Instagram photo posted on July 2021, Suleman gushed about her kids Eli and Amerah and how little they were when this picture was taken in 2002. “Throwing it back to nearly 20 years ago,” she captioned. Back when she first became a mom, Suleman wanted to savor every moment of her kids' childhood. But this throwback photo proves that kids just grow up too fast.
Chilly California Sunset
Despite the negative criticism she has received by naysayers, Suleman considers herself a good mom who has always found the time to share quality time with her kids. In this photo, she’s enjoying a beautiful sunset at the beach while watching one of her children doing what he loves the most—surfing. “Chilly summer nights in Laguna beach watching Eli surf,” she wrote in the caption.
Cooling Off in the Pool
Spending time at the beach isn’t the only way that Suleman and her kids cool off during the warm spring and summer months. Swimming is one of the best ways to spend a chilly afternoon and Suleman knows it. In this photo she posted on her social media, she claimed that there are so “many unique and diverse personalities in the same family.”
Some Kids Prefer to Read
Although most of her kids rather enjoy taking a dip in the pool, Suleman has observed that some of them would rather be doing something else. “Some kids choose daytime or nighttime swimming fun; and others prefer studying anatomy and physiology,” she explained. So some of her kids like to bring their books for a quick studying session in the sun. Apparently, Isaiah wants to be a neurosurgeon which is undoubtedly going to require a heck of a lot of studying!
They Do Handstands in the Water
Doing handstands on dry land is already pretty difficult. It takes a great deal of practice to master, but doing it underwater is even worse. Being the proud mom that she is, Suleman posted a snap of her kids doing handstands in the pool at night.
Amerah the Fairy Princess
It goes without saying that Suleman loves all of her kids equally. But in this throwback photo she posted on August 6, 2021, she wanted to put the spotlight on her daughter Amerah. She captioned the adorable pic: "Beautiful princess Amerah, and me, literally a month after having JJ (not pictured)".
Her Girls Love Nature
Three of Suleman’s girls are pictured here standing in a pedestal surrounded by pillars at a botanical garden. They came here with their mom to embrace a little nature after being cooped up indoors. If there’s one thing this family knows how to do it's have fun and appreciate nature’s beauty. “Grateful for nature, and our simple, humble life,” Suleman captioned when she posted this photo on August 9, 2021.
Taking the Time to Smell the Roses
There’s an old adage that says people need to stop and smell the roses and appreciate all the things that life has to offer. But in this instance, the photo of Suleman’s girls holding bouquets of roses is an ode to the family’s deep admiration for Mother Nature.
Joshua Suleman Turned 18
On August 20, 2021, Suleman’s son Joshua turned 18, and to celebrate, the Octomom shared this throwback picture of him and his brother Aiden from way back in 2007. She captioned the picture: “Happy 18th birthday to my second oldest son Joshua. You have grown into a highly intelligent, self-motivated, hard working, responsible, and respectful young man.”
She added, “You are a rare and unique individual, with the most sardonic sense of humor of anyone I’ve ever known. I love you more than words can express. You are loved and appreciated by us all. I respect your choice to remain private, and always will.”
A Snap After Church
Suleman took this photo of three of her kids after attending church services. In the caption, she wrote: “It is always appropriate to love. It is never appropriate to judge.. Give the same amount of grace to others you would want given to you.” If there’s one thing Suleman is familiar with it’s people judging her harshly.
She’s Done It All
Suleman has managed to do the impossible. After spending so many sleepless nights struggling to raise 14 kids all by herself, she can finally enjoy a little bit of balance. Meal planning, bath time, story time, dishes, laundry, cooking, groceries, housework, and managing the finances... she has done it all. And although she has vowed to share more about her personal life with her followers, Suleman knows she needs to stay private so that her kids will continue to live far away from the press.