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Octomum Natalie Suleman on the difficulties of raising her son Aidan, who has severe autism.

In 2009, Nadya Suleman was the most famous mum in the world.

After having six children via in vitro fertilisation (IVF), Suleman visited her doctor in the hopes of having just one more baby.

But Suleman’s doctor had other ideas.

Claiming that most of her embryos would fail to survive, Suleman’s doctor encouraged her to implant her 12 remaining embryos.

In the end, she went through with the procedure and unbelievably, eight embryos survived.

As her pregnancy successfully progressed, Suleman soon became famously known as ‘Octomum’ and in January 2009, she gave birth to eight children including six boys and two girls.

At the time of the octuplets birth, there was outrage worldwide.

Octomum was single, jobless and she was living with her mother rent free. At one point, the backlash became so bad that there were calls for the octuplets to be placed into care.

But four years later in 2012, the backlash intensified even more.

Struggling to make ends meet with 14 children to support, Suleman turned to jobs including porn, stripping and nude photo shoots.

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Where is Octomum now?

Now, 10 years on from the birth of the octuplets, Suleman, who now goes by the name Natalie, acknowledges the mistakes she made along the way.

“I think I was young, dumb, irresponsible, reckless,” Suleman told Sunday Night reporter Angela Cox.

In recent years, Suleman hasn’t been afraid to open up about her tumultuous years in the spotlight.

“Some of the things that I have done – of course that I’m ashamed of in the past – was just to put food on the table and just to take care of my family,” Suleman admitted in a previous interview.

“My kids get embarrassed because their friends sometimes will say ‘My mum said your mum’s a stripper,'” she added.

 

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Not quite used to these selfies yet…#FunInTheSun #FunInTheShade #SelfieInTheShade ☀️????

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Suleman admitted that she decided to turn her life around when a stranger approached her at a strip club she was working at.

“I was in a strip club in Florida in February 2013, and this very tall man, this stranger came in,” she told New Idea.

“He walked straight to me and looked straight into my eyes. He took my hand and grabbed my arm and said in a very gentle, but firm way: ‘You don’t have to do this.’ He repeated it five times,” she added.

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“I knew I had to be my healthy self again. I didn’t want my kids not to have a mum.”

Today, Suleman is back in the workforce and working as a counsellor.

“I went back to my life as a counsellor. I went back and my kids had a healthy, happy life,” she explained on The Doctors in 2016.

Although the years have passed since the birth of the octuplets, the physical and mental effects of their birth and the resulting backlash is still prominent.

“I have PTSD from all the reporters coming in over the years,” she told The New York Times.

“My back is broken because of the last pregnancy,” she added.

“Four out of the five discs in my lumbar spine are ruptured, herniated fully.And I have irreparable sacral damage. And I have peripheral neuropathy. I haven’t felt my toes on my foot on the right side for many years, and my fingers are numb all the time every day. The pregnancy caused it all.”

Where are Octomum’s children now?

Ranging in age from nine to 17 years old, Suleman’s children – Ameerah, Calyssa, Elijah, Jonah, Joshua, Aidan, Isaiah, Noah, Josiah, Makai, Jeremiah, Maliah, Nariah, and Caleb  – have certainly grown up since the controversial birth of ‘the eight’.

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These days, all 14 children are in school with Suleman using a mini bus to drop the children off at six different schools each morning.

In the afternoons, Suleman makes the same trip to pick up the children before they all pitch in to prepare a vegan dinner for the family.

 

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Turkey Trot 5k Tradition…#FamilyRun #HappyThanksgiving #VeganThanksgiving

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There are so many children, they eat their dinner in shifts.

The family currently live in a quaint three bedroom townhouse in Orange County, with some of the children forced to share beds or sleep on the couches.

With such a large family, Suleman has admitted that she very rarely takes all 14 children out of the house at once.

“She’ll get anxiety, everyone staring, so she’ll take whoever’s behaving the best. There’s ups and downs,” Suleman’s 16-year-old daughter Amerah told The New York Times.

This week, Suleman opened up about the difficulties of raising her 14-year-old son Aidan, who has autism and needs care and assistance at all times.

 

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This is my adolescent infant Aidan. He is 14 years old, going on 1 in his head. Aidan is severely autistic and total care. He requires complete assistance in meeting all needs in activities of daily living. Aidan is non-verbal, requires feeding, changing (he is not potty trained), bathing, and one to one supervision, as he has no safety awareness and would walk aimlessly into traffic. I, his mother, am, and always have been, his ONLY care provider. This “job” is my life (other than caring for 13 other children singlehandedly). My children are my LIFE. In addition, I’ve struggled with permanent disabilities for over ten years (all discs in my lumbar spine are ruptured, which press on nerve roots causing bilateral sciatica, irreparable sacral damage, and peripheral neuropathy). Despite my broken back, and relentless pain, I continue to physically care for my son, and will never give up on him. Aidan has been off two months for summer and attends a special needs school during the year. I love him with all my heart, and will care for him until I die. This morning after dropping off 11 of my other children for their first day of school, I took Aidan to the park, feeding and following him until he grew tired. He engaged in a meltdown (dropped to ground, threw water bottles, took off shoes and propelled those at my head). As soon as we arrived home I bathed, changed and fed exhausted Aidan and held him until he fell asleep. Aidan’s circadian rhythm is discombobulated as he tends to wake from 2am staying up till after 5am, singing and jumping in his homemade crib, next to my bed. Why did I choose to share this aspect of my life on the same day as my other kids’ first day of school, as opposed to posting an adorable picture? For a couple reasons. First, to describe the details of my REAL life, not a “perfect” depiction of what I want people to perceive my life to be. Second, to provide a contextualization for both my supportive followers, and the condemnatory critics, as to what truly matters in my life: my family. Forgive me kind, supportive followers for failing to post frequently. I am a bit busy. #AutismMom #ILoveMyFamily ❤️

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“This is my adolescent infant Aidan. He is 14 years old, going on 1 in his head. Aidan is severely autistic and [needs] total care. He requires complete assistance in meeting all needs in activities of daily living,” she wrote on her Instagram on Wednesday, alongside a video of Aidan playing in the park.

“Aidan is non-verbal, requires feeding, changing (he is not potty trained), bathing, and one to one supervision, as he has no safety awareness and would walk aimlessly into traffic. I, his mother, am, and always have been, his ONLY care provider. This ‘job’ is my life (other than caring for 13 other children singlehandedly). My children are my LIFE.”

Suleman went on to share that after dropping 11 of her children off for their first day of school, she took Aidan to the park where he had a meltdown.

“He dropped to ground, threw water bottles, took off shoes and propelled those at my head,” she said. “As soon as we arrived home I bathed, changed and fed exhausted Aidan and held him until he fell asleep.”

Despite suffering relentless pain from a broken back caused by her octuplet pregnancy, Suleman said she continues to “physically care for her son, and will never give up on him”.

“I love him with all my heart, and will care for him until I die,” she wrote.

She concluded her post with the hashtags “AutismMom” and “ILoveMyFamily”.

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