If someone said Natalie Denise Doud-Suleman, you would probably have no clue as to who they were referring to. If instead, they used the moniker Octomom, you might have a much better idea.
The 41-year-old became famous in January 2009, when she became only the second American to give birth to live octuplets. She gained further popularity when it was revealed that she was already mom to six other children, all the while being unemployed.
Initially making the most out of being in the spotlight, she made appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil and was the subject of a Fox documentary called Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage, before slowly drifting out of the public eye.
She made headlines again after she appeared in a pornographic film in the summer of 2012. Although she said she done it in order to make ends meet, the Octomom decided not to pursue a career in adult movies after realizing 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 said. “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.”
After moving to Orange County, California to begin a new life about three years ago, Natalie found work as a family therapy counselor, a job that she feels very passionate about.
“I was alive again,” she says of the lifestyle change. “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 February, Natalie’s octuplets – Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah – turned eight. Despite all the difficulties along the way, their mom then told People “I have embraced every day with gratitude.”
She also spoke about the Octomom moniker which has followed her and has a certain negative connotation attached to it, especially after the California-born decided to strip and film an adult video as a means of earning money.
“I never coined the term Octomom. Octomom was created by the media. They made it up without my permission, but I took accountability out of desperation to provide for my family. Shamefully … I abandoned my own identity,” she admits.
Now, it seems she is finally finding her own way. Way to go, Natalie!