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Nadya Suleman - The "Octo Mom"

Updated on December 31, 2010

In Vitro Fertilization, Public Assistance and Irresponsibility all in one package.

Nadya Suleman was an unemployed mother of 14 children. All of her pregnancies were the result of in-vitro fertilization. Her income includes disability payments for herself and several of her 6 children born previous to her octuplet pregnancy. That income is now augmented with talk show appearances and public donations made via her website. This woman's excesses, particularly as they are funded by the public at large, bring up many issues. Nadya Suleman has realized that she has to make public appearances in order to get money to support her family: It will be interesting to see if she can redeem herself. Personally, I liked her appearance on silent library and laughed out loud.

The Octomom Nadya Suleman has made me really angry at times and she's also made me feel sorry for, not only her mother and her children, but also her herself. Both In Vitro Fertilization and public assistance are contentious topics. At the heart of the matter is a family though. Have your say here.

Apparently Nadya Suleman enjoys and is proud of her tabloid-given moniker. Website The Smoking Gun has posted a scan of Ms. Suleman's application, dated April 9, 2009, to trademark the name "Octomom". Apparently she wants to use this in the marketing of clothing and diapers. I can say one thing, the quickest way to take the sting out of criticism is to flaunt the same "flaw".

Nadya Suleman - as interviewed by Ann Curry

In this initial interview with Ann Curry, Suleman defends her choice. She reassures Curry that she'll be able to afford her brood after she finishes school. She also prides herself on being an extraordinary mother.

The blog Patrishka's Open Mouth dug up online and published a photo of Nadya Suleman during her years as a high school student at Nogales High. This was done out of curiosity as to whether or not Suleman had plastic surgery. Nadya graduated from the high school in 1993. Two years after graduation, Suleman made 3 failed attempts to start a family: all resulted in ectopic pregnancies.

But doesn't Suleman look much better as herself? People command much more respect when they don't pretend to be someone they're not. I hope for her sake she tries to be herself a little more.

Did Nadya Suleman have plastic surgery?

The proof is in the picture

The blogspot Pop on the Pop has posted before and after pictures of Nadya Suleman. Suleman fully denies any plastic surgery. She certainly looks more 'glamorous' in the after shot - plastic surgery or not. Mothering 14 children does not invoke images of glamour though. I personally think this look would be an odd choice for a super-mom to try to cultivate in order to gain public favor.

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Nadya Suleman and her mother

Nadya Suleman's father, Ed Doud, purchased this half-million dollar La Habra, CA (Orange County) home for himself, Suleman's mother, Nadya Suleman and her brood of 14 children. Although the home looks large, there will be 3 adults and 14 children residing there. Seventeen people in 4 bedrooms works out to 3 bedrooms for 4 people each and 1 bedroom to house 5 people.

A half-million dollar home for an unemployed, single mother (by choice) may seem like an outrage. The home was paid for though, and the tabloid coverage of this story is what funded it. Considering the number of people to be living there, it will not be luxurious. Rather, you could imagine it to be cramped and noisy.

AND - the Suleman's did pay for it. Funding is apparently coming in from donations and tabloid / television coverage of this story.

This discussion is regarding Miss Suleman's rejection of an offer from the non-profit group "Angels In Waiting" for free 24-hour care for her children. Most people believe she turned down the offer after "Angels In Waiting" stipulated that she could not have a reality TV show and receive their care. Another foolish faux-pas.. Angels In Waiting filed a complaint with child welfare officials in February of 2009, questioning her ability to care for 14 children.

Following her initial refusal of Angels In Waiting's help, Nadya Suleman accepted their assistance. At this point the offer had been reduced from its original pledge of 24-hour care to an offer to train nannies in Suleman's home. However, soon after accepting the help, Suleman "fired" Angels In Waiting, believing that the founder of the organization was "in the process of filing a report against her with child welfare officials"

Visit the Angels In Waiting homepage for more information on this charity organization.

Reality TV Show

Its official. Nadya Suleman will be starring in an Eyeworks reality TV show about the life of her and her 14 children.

I know it seems unusual to hear from someone who has put together a page documenting Nadya Suleman's quick rise to tabloid fame, but I WILL NOT watch the show. Suleman is not functioning at the level most of us are (for whatever reason) and our purchase of tabloids or watching the Dr. Phil Shows, etc.. is what is fanning the flame of this circus. If we turn a blind eye to it, the media offers will dry up and Ms. Suleman will have to find another, more respectable, way to provide for her children.

Will you watch Nadya Suleman's Reality TV Show?

See results
Octomom's Bikini Body
Octomom's Bikini Body

The Octomom's Weight Loss Plan

From 270 to 120

On January 20, 2010, Star Magazine reported on the Octomom's New Bikini Body & How She Got It. Nadya denies the use of plastic surgery and again brings up how her "friends call her 'rubberband'" because she 'always snapped back so quickly' after her other children. She attributes a healthy diet and exercise to her new figure. The magazine features both the article and a bikini photo shoot.

(Looking at her left thigh, I think I notice some faulty photoshopping to make her legs appear thinner. Do you?)

Nadya Suleman on The View - February 23, 2010

It really is uncomfortable watching Nadya Suleman on The View.

The Fallout from Suleman's appearance on The View - Whoopie casts her judgement

Watch the discussion on the show following Suleman's appearance on The View. You could tell Whoppi Goldberg didn't approve of Nadya during her appearance. Watch her tell it like it is the next day.

Jimmy Kimmel on Suleman's Laugh.. - February 12, 2010

He says she's "laughin' all the way to the sperm bank". Even Jimmy Kimmel has to have some fun with octomom Nadya Suleman's maniacal laugh

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

Octuplets Mom Nadya Suleman Settles Her Workers Comp Case

Los Angeles Times, June 7, 2010

The Los Angeles Times reported on June 7, 2010, that Octuplets Mom Nadya Suleman Settles Her Workers Comp Case. The California Department of Industrial Relations provided this information to the Times through a copy of the settlement. Suleman will receive $40,000 from the Metropolitan State Hospital In Norwalk. She was working as a psychiatric technician at the hospital in 1999 and sustained back injuries during a disturbance at the property. Between the years 2000 and 2008, Suleman has collected $170,000 in disability payments.

From her $40,000 settlement, Suleman will only receive $23,120. This figure accounts for deductions of $6,000 in attorney's fees and $10,880 in permanent disability payments already received.

- this story was reported by Patrick J. McDonnell

Nadya Suleman poses with PETA sign
Nadya Suleman poses with PETA sign

"Octomom" Nadya Suleman Unveils PETA sign in her yard - May 19, 2010

"Don't Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom. Always Spay or Neuter."

KTLA reported on how the "Octomom" Nadya Suleman Unveiled a PETA sign in her yard reading "Don't Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom. Always Spay or Neuter." Suleman was pad $5,000 and a month's supply of vegan hot dogs and veggie burgers to display the sign in her yard. Apparently Suleman accepted the offer to save her La Habra, CA home, which the noteholder Amer Haddadin says she is behind in payments on.

The Octomom on Silent Library - Pitching Babies at the Contestants

You've gotta give it to Nadya. She realizes she's got to support those babies, its going to take a lot of money and the only way she can come up with it is to make a total fool of herself. Would you do this on national television? I wouldn't. She's earning this money! The less she acts like a primadonna expecting handouts and the more she becomes a comedienne, the more I like her. If she keeps this up (and takes care of her kids) she just might gain back some credibility and popularity.

Do you think the fertility doctor should be responsible? - He is ultimately the one who enabled Nadya to do this.

None of this would've happened if Nadya Suleman's fertility doctor had not implanted her with the embryos. Do you think this Doctor had a moral obligation to assess a patient's mental state of health and other factors before performing this procedure?

I would like to see the Doctor made personally responsible for the welfare of these kids should Ms. Suleman not be able to provide adequately for them. We hold natural fathers responsible for their reproductive actions. Why not hold all people who (albeit medically but nonetheless do in reality) impregnate women responsible for their actions?

Human lives are not something to be trifled with: either in the giving or the taking.

What is your view

Should Nadya Suleman's fertility doctor be held accountable?

See results

Update on Octomom's fertility doc

Dr. Michael Kamrava was expelled from The American Society For Reproductive Medicine in October, 2009.

Closing down the baby factory - How can we make sure this doesn't happen again?

Should limits be placed on in vitro fertilization?

Why Is The Nadya Suleman story so popular? - What do people find so fascinating?

There are plenty of facets to this complicated story. In Vitro Fertilization has always been a controversial subject. The subject of public assistance definitely gets people fired up - either for or against. Questions of parental responsibility are highly subjective and are often debated. Finally, there are the questions of Suleman's obsession with Angelina Jolie as well as her manicured nails and trips to Nordstrom's MAC counter for luxury cosmetics. Maybe its just the over-the-top combination of factors that pull this story to the top of the news for February 2009..

What is the most compelling aspect of the Nadya Suleman story?

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Discussion on whether or not we should be judging Nadya Suleman

Some insight from Momversation

I came across this discussion about the octomom online with mothers who have received IVF treatments and transferred multiple embryos. They bring up some excellent points as to whether or not we should be passing judgement on this woman and her reproductive choices. Certainly her extreme situation has brought up many issues that people feel strongly about. Be sure to read this conversation and maybe get some new angles on this situation.

85-year-old Kitty Schindler lets us know her thoughts on big families. She should know: she was one of 10 children in a Pennsylvania coal miner's brood during the Great Depression. In a nutshell, she says "the right number of children to have is the number that you're sure you have the resources to house, feed, clothe and love - all the way until they're adults" and (as the mother of 4 children myself) I agree with her. What does Kitty think about Nadya Suleman? Read her discussion.

I have a few things in common with the Octo-mom - I see where she's coming from on some points

No one is 100% wrong. At points I feel sorry for the "octo-mom" when I put myself in her shoes. This is an important thing to do when being critical of people. Some things I've found that I share with Nadya Suleman

  • We have large families - Both I and the octomom have more than 2 children.
  • I'm not a perfect mom - Who is? The panicked 911 call of hers isn't that damning for another mother to hear (although the suicidal comments were a bit much). I even phoned the police once thinking my daughter had wandered off: She was just on the floor between my bed and the wall, I hadn't looked there yet. Taking care of kids is tough work.
  • Both I and the octomom would be unable to terminate a pregnancy - I would not be able to either discard frozen embryos or donate them to another couple. If presented with 6 frozen embryos of my own I would be placed in a horrible predicament. I've gained this outlook since having my children (yet I still believe this should be a personal decision for others, within reason).
  • I and the octomom both had children that were unexpected and that we were unprepared for - I truly believe that if everyone waited until they could "afford" children, no one would have them. Becoming a parent causes us to be more responsible and resourceful. Also, possessions and wealth make no difference at all to a happy parent / child relationship or a happy childhood.
  • We both love babies - I absolutely adore babies, enjoy being pregnant and would have more babies if I could. I think its the best thing I've ever done.

The Octo-Mom Lost Me Here.. - This is where the empathy ends.

Having similar core beliefs to Nadya Suleman, my life is VERY different in practice to hers. This is why.

  1. I have 4 children, the octomom has 14. - I LOVE children, but even 4 is a handful to look after. I don't know if I could handle even a few more!
  2. I'm not raising my large family alone. - I'm married. I believe that everyone should be able to experience parenting if they'd like, no matter what their social situation. If you choose to raise a small army though, it makes sense that you have WILLING assistance. Whether this be a husband, a friend, a lover or a boyfriend. Forcing your parents to look after a houseful of kids is not cool.
  3. I will NEVER encounter the predicament of dealing with frozen embryos. - Although I concur that I would probably want to give all frozen embryos a chance if they were mine, that will never happen. This is because I will not pay large amounts of money to have IVF treatments, having embryos created and consequently frozen. Frozen embryos are not happy accidents. They are purposefully created, and they're kind of expensive too..
  4. I take responsibility for my own actions. - I couldn't make a decision knowing that I would be unable to carry it through on my own, or it at least give it a good shot! To do something and assume that the generosity of others will take care of it is kind of selfish.
  5. I have way less free time and money than the octomom - I'm too busy being a mom! For the first 3 months or so after giving birth, shopping trips and salon visits are out of the question (unless we're talking groceries or trips to Walgreens for diapers, etc..) If I was able to have lots of "me" time as a new mother, I probably wouldn't want it anyway. I'd want to be with my babies.

What about the babies?

Lets not forget the most important factor in this story.

Something overlooked in the media circus that is the Nadya Suleman story is the actual heart of the matter - the babies themselves. At first, I never saw Suleman with any of her children, not even the 6 that she had prior to the octuplets. Rather than speaking about developmental issues for these children and how she will physically raise them, Suleman seemed to be focused on the financial and logistic ("I need a new house") aspects.

No matter how you feel about Nadya Suleman, the octuplets are beautiful little babies. What I find so infuriating is that this circus sideshow is all these children have. The IVF was bought and paid for. The pregnancy resulted in 8 lovely children who deserve to have their mother, no matter disliked she is.

The real issues to focus on are: how can we prevent a situation like this developing in the future and how can these babies be best taken care of (and whose responsibility that is). It brings up some very difficult questions and should surely not happen again but the fact of the matter remains: this did happen and these babies are people.

A couple in Houston, Texas had the world's first surviving set of octuplets in 1998. Unfortunately, one of the children only survived one week after birth. The seven remaining octuplets are doing well according to a report on the family of Nkem Chukwu and Ikye Louis Udobi. The media would have no doubt been just as harsh on this family, with their minority and immigrant status. There is a big difference though. This family did not court the media. And - they work. The father is a medical technician with 2 jobs. The mother is a computer programmer. They also heavily rely on the help of "grandma" and are very publicly thankful to her. See how a little respect goes a long way?

Ten years later, the seven surviving octuplets celebrated their 10th birthday. The story is covered in a congratulatory fashion, and much ado is made about the children's development as human beings and their accomplishments. Public opinion is positive for this family that admits it has challenges, but yet thrives.

The Chukwu family has gone public with its view of Nadya Suleman's family. They have very magnanamously and graciously included Nadya and her children in her prayers. In an opinion I have held from the start, they point out that these children are here and they need help. The Chukwus also recalled how they relied on an 'army of volunteers' to help them with their large brood.

Squidoo Affiliations - I'm a member!

In my opinion, this woman should have had a fleeting '15 minutes' after giving birth to eight living children. A monster was created when she was granted any more publicity after that. I am reluctant to give this woman any more "celebrity" for unresponsible and selfish behavior. I do think though that we SHOULD encourage her to earn her money. She did something insane and now she has to maintain herself. If she can earn money by playing up the comedy factor and having a good-spirited laugh at herself, she should do it. Isn't that better than begging for handouts? She can really be funny when she's not spending money on cosmetics or ignoring her children. Since we can't do anything about the pop culture 'celebrity' status she is currently enjoying, people should realize what sort of precedents are being created by this woman, as well as what the REAL issues are (the children!). They should also allow her to earn a living however she can (as long as its not degrading to the kids). What do you think?

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