Nadya Suleman, a single mom from California, catapulted from obscurity into the national spotlight when she gave birth to octuplets while on government assistance in 2009. Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah joined Suleman’s six other children — all of whom were conceived via in vitro fertilization.
Suleman quickly became known as Octomom and faced backlash not only for the eight babies, but also for a string of controversial choices. Desperate for money, Suleman began stripping in 2012. That same year, she released her own adult film and revealed that she began using Xanax to numb her emotional pain.
“I was more or less a carnival attraction. I was a freak show,” the 42-year-old told ABC News in 2016. “Some of the things I have done . . . of course I’m ashamed of in the past . . . was just to put food on the table and just take care of my family.”
But today, Suleman, who now goes by Natalie, works part time as a substance abuse counselor and says she’s in a better place. “I had to keep pressing forward despite all the pain and suffering,” she told Star magazine earlier this month. But I found a strength I didn’t even know I had.”
Click through the photos to see what Natalie and her nearly 9-year-old octuplets look like as they prepare for Christmas.