Nadya Suleman, better known as “Octomom,” recently celebrated her octuplets’ twelfth birthday on Instagram. The 45-year-old mother of 14 wished a happy birthday to her eight children who made headlines in 2009 when they were born via in vitro fertilization. In her post, Suleman shared an adorable photo of the siblings wearing animal onesies and cradling cats in their arms.
But it hasn’t always been an easy road for Octomom. Suleman was 21 years old and divorced when she began using money from a $165,000 settlement she received from an injury at work to undergo in vitro fertilization in 1997. She became pregnant five times, once with fraternal twins, before Beverly Hills fertility specialist Dr. Michael Kamrava transferred 12 embryos into her uterus in one go. Suleman gave birth to the octuplets at 31 weeks in 2009, with 46 doctors and nurses on hand to perform the C-section. Six boys and two girls weighing between 1 lb. 8 oz. and 3 lbs. 4 oz were delivered. The siblings became the longest-surviving set of octuplets to be born in the US.
Despite being heavily criticized in the past for having too many children that she couldn’t afford to care for, Suleman explained that she sometimes had to “not push” in order to pay her bills. Now, she and her younger children are featured predominantly in her social media photos, but she occasionally posts pictures of the older ones with their permission. Earlier this year, Suleman opened up about her family’s healthy lifestyle, sharing that 13 out of her 14 kids are vegan. Suleman said she did not push her kids into following the ethical code, but their diets now consist of “whole, plant-based foods with nearly no added ingredients,” aside from spices. She claims that this healthy and environmentally friendly diet helps to prevent her and her kids from getting sick.