Eight years ago, a single mother of 14 children became known as "Octomom." And now she wants nothing to do with the label. In an interview on The Doctors, Natalie (formerly Nadya) Suleman explains her growing resentment at the nickname given to her by the media, confessing that she didn't set out to have as large a brood as she has. “I never set out to become an 'Octomom,'” Suleman tells host Dr. Travis Stork in a new clip on People. “I’ve always wanted a big family — not this big!”
“There’s nobody, possibly, who could have hated ‘Octomom’ more than I,” she continues. “My history was haunting us,” she says. “I left ‘Octomom.’ I went back to my life as a counselor. I went back and my kids had a healthy, happy life. The problem is it’s followed us, because people never knew what I did. They never knew the true story.” In 2009, Suleman became the second woman in the history of the United States to successfully deliver a set of octuplets, a feat that led her to be branded as "Octomom." Other than garnering international attention because of her bourgeoning family, which reached 14 kids (she already had six young children at the time), she was scrutinized for the methods she used to become pregnant. Suleman had conceived all of her children via in vitro fertilization, sparking a nationwide conversation about the assisted reproductive technology and whether there should be limits to government assistance in her unique circumstance, as a single mother with more than a dozen children. In 2014, a Los Angeles court charged her with multiple counts of welfare fraud after she failed to report earnings for personal appearances. Suleman pleaded no contest and was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, in addition to two years probation and a small fine. Suleman has earned money to support her family by doing interviews, appearances, and starring in pornographic films. She admits she has tried to stay out of the limelight in recent years, but is returning in an effort to correct her image as "Octomom."
In the recent interview, Suleman goes on to explain that even though her personal image has been degraded through the years, she's happy with how she was able to raise her kids. “I own and take responsibility for my poor choices, but [it] certainly doesn’t take away from how extraordinary these kids ended up turning out to be.”