Single mother of octuplets obsessed with having children, her mother says
— The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her
children through in vitro fertilization, is not married and has been
obsessed with having children since she was a teenager, her mother said.
Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when her
daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year.
“It can't go on any longer,” she said in a phone interview Friday. “She's
got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I
firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to get married.”
Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth Monday in nearby Bellflower. She was
expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days, and her
newborns for at least a month.
A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said the babies
were progressing daily, with all eight breathing unassisted and being tube-fed.
While her daughter recovers, Angela Suleman is taking care of the other six
children, ages 2 through 7, at the family home in Whittier, about 20 kilometres
east of downtown Los Angeles.
She said she warned her daughter that when she gets home from the hospital,
“I'm going to be gone.”
Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and underwent
in vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes are “plugged up.”
There were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies and her
daughter didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have more children.
Her mother and doctors have said the woman was told she had the option to
abort some of the embryos and, later, the fetuses. She refused.
Her mother said she does not believe her daughter will have any more
“She doesn't have any more [frozen embryos], so it's over now,” she said. “It
has to be.”
Nadya Suleman wanted to have children since she was a teenager, “but luckily
she couldn't,” her mother said.
“Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having
them, but not the normal way,” her mother said.
Her daughter's obsession with children caused Angela Suleman considerable
stress, so she sought help from a psychologist, who told her to order her
daughter out of the house.
“Maybe she wouldn't have had so many kids then, but she is a grown woman,”
Angela Suleman said. “I feel responsible and I didn't want to throw her out.”
Little psychological research has been conducted on the reasons some mothers
seem hooked on repeated pregnancies. David Diamond, a co-director for the Center
for Reproductive Psychology in San Diego, said mothers can be drawn to repeat
pregnancies for a number of reasons, with some finding the experience so
satisfying they choose to become surrogates.
Diane G. Sanford, a psychologist and author specializing in women's
reproductive mental health, said while she doesn't know much about Nadya
Suleman's background, women that have obsessive-compulsive disorder can become
fixated on different obsessions.
“Her obsession centres around children, having children and being a mother,”
she said. “To what degree are her esteem and identity based on being a mom and
why has this from a young age been such a preoccupation of hers?”
Yolanda Garcia, 49, of Whittier, said she helped care for Nadya Suleman's
autistic son three years ago.
“From what I could tell back then, she was pretty happy with herself, saying
she liked having kids and she wanted 12 kids in all,” Ms. Garcia told the Long
“She told me that all of her kids were through in vitro, and I said ‘Gosh,
how can you afford that and go to school at the same time?'” she added. “And she
said it's because she got paid for it.”
Ms. Garcia said she did not ask for details.
Nadya Suleman holds a 2006 degree in child and adolescent development from
California State University, Fullerton, and as late as last spring she was
studying for a master's degree in counselling, college spokeswoman Paula Selleck
told the Press-Telegram.
Her fertility doctor has not been identified. Her mother told the Los Angeles
Times all the children came from the same sperm donor but she declined to
Birth certificates reviewed by The Associated Press identify a David Solomon
as the father for the four oldest children. Certificates for the other children
were not immediately available.
Angela Suleman told reporters Friday that doctors implanted far fewer than
eight embryos but they multiplied. Experts said this could be possible since
Nadya Suleman's system has likely been hyperstimulated for years with
fertilization treatments and drugs.
The news that the octuplets' mother already had six children sparked an
ethical debate. Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that she was offered
fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that she was implanted with
so many embryos.
“You should always shoot for one,” said Dr. Marcelle Cedars, a professor and
director of reproductive health at the University of California, San Francisco,
Medical Center, who worried about the increased risk of potential health
complications for the babies.
Others worried that she would be overwhelmed trying to raise so many children
and would end up relying on public support.
“This woman could not comprehend the ramifications of having eight children
of the same age at the same time,” said Judith Horowitz, a Parkland, Fla.-based
psychologist and author who works with couples on fertility issues. “After
Pampers stops delivering the free diapers, then what?”
The eight babies – six boys and two girls – were delivered by cesarean
section weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Forty-six
physicians and staff assisted in the deliveries.
The world is a troubling place, this woman may have a degree in "child and
adolescent development" and may appear intelligent, articulate, well spoken and
present very well. So do many who are seriously mentally ill and or who have a
severe personality disorder. They seek to become pregnant for all the wrong
This Nadya Suleman is a classic example of a troubled woman can successfully
convince medical professionals into helping her conceive 14, thats right,
Fourteen children in equally troubling methods.