Octomum Nadya Suleman would have to be one of the world's most famous parents and this month she's back in the spotlight because her octuplets have turned 11.
The California-based mum of 14, (Suleman already had six children by IVF before she became pregnant with octuplets), took to Instagram to post an image of her octuplets on their birthday.
They look happy and healthy in party hats as they each hold their two index fingers up to represent the number 11. Suleman (who was born Natalie Denise Suleman) captioned the image with a birthday message: "Happy birthday to my beautiful angels.
"You are some of the kindest, most compassionate, caring human beings I've ever known."
She said that words could not express how grateful she was to be their mother.
"You all have blessed my life immensely and I thank God daily for trusting me to care for, shape the lives of, and influence all of you...
"You are my miracles, my angels, and I will love you with all my heart, forever. Happy 11th birthday Noah, Maliyah, Nariyah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Josiah, and Makai."
In the children's early years Suleman featured regularly in tabloid newspapers for all the wrong reasons.
First, there was controversy around how she came to be pregnant with so many embryos at one time, after being implanted with 12 embryos by Dr Michael Kamrava, a Beverly Hills fertility specialist.
Dr Kamrava had also implanted her for all six of her previous in vitro pregnancies.
According to the New York Times Suleman said she had only wanted twins, and Dr Kamrava had pushed her to consent to implanting additional embryos while she was strapped to a gurney and under the influence of heavy narcotics. However, Dr Kamrava disputed her claims, saying Suleman had pressured him into implanting so many.
Medical guidelines suggest a woman in her 30s should be transferred no more than two embryos at once, but it's not law.
Then stories swirled about Suleman spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery.
Headlines accused her of living off food stamps, doing "anything" to build a family and turning to the pornography industry, stripping and boxing to make ends meet.
There were accusations of child endangerment and exploitation and then a period followed where Suleman turned to alcohol and Xanax. She checked into rehab and friends and family helped take care of the children.
Suleman's account is scattered with posts like the one above, showing images of happy broods of smiling kids.
In the post below Suleman shared a picture of her sons when she'd taken them hiking.
She captioned it, "One of the secrets to raising such a big bunch as a single mom, is to go on outings in shifts! All the boys (some not pictured) on a nature hike, with me (also not pictured in my hiding hat 😂). The girls were at home getting ready for their turn to explore and make memories in nature next 😁.
"The truth is, we moms CAN do it all! But NOT at the same time!" she concluded.
The post below shows the family on a 'Turkey Trot'.
Suleman, who used to regularly run half marathons, shared that the 5km run is a family tradition and that despite the cold, wet weather she and the kids pressed on.
"As a mom I try to instill the value of relentless drive, determination, and perseverance, despite the obstacles we face in life," she wrote.
"Completing a 5k may appear like a small achievement, though to a small child it shapes their perspective, influencing how they will cope with challenges as they grow. Today's weather certainly posed a challenge; however the positive attitude we chose to adopt superseded the struggle."
When the New York Times visited the family two years ago to find out how they were getting along, writer Adam Popescu reported that while the octuplets were "small for their age" they were polite, they helped out in the kitchen, they read two books a month and did their homework without being prompted.
"In spite of all of the horror stories in the tabloids since birth, they're model fourth graders," he wrote.
The family followed a vegan diet and because there were so many of them they ate in shifts and some had to sleep on the couch.
Suleman's oldest daughter Amerah, who is now 17, was a huge help to her mother with the children, he said.
Suleman doesn't date and told Popescu that she worked full-time as a counselor, "but then added that she is focusing on family and relies on government assistance and 'international photo shoots'.
"As with other statements she made, it was hard at times to get an entirely clear picture," he reported.
"Ms. Suleman does have clear social phobias, but she isn't the monster the public may expect," he concluded.
"There's a fragility to her that makes one want to root for her, and then there are her children, who appear to be thriving."
Suleman told Popescu with pride, "They're the only surviving eight octuplets in the history of mankind. I've raised them to be wide-awake."
In an Instagram post put up on Mother's Day 2019 Suleman wrote, "Been recently reflecting on how blessed I truly am. Mother's Day can be an emotionally painful day for many. I feel your sadness. Throughout the six years of infertility (including miscarriages) I struggled with nearly 25 years ago, I believed God would never bless me with children.
"Unbeknownst to me back then, He had a plan greater than I could fathom.
"I learned to be patient, trusting, and accepting of the process throughout my obstacle laden journey. I am grateful for the battles I've fought, and the challenges I continue to face, as they have forged, shaped and strengthened me into the mom I am today.
"For those of you who have lost your mom (as I had over four years ago) or perhaps experienced the most devastating of all loses, a child...I can only hope and pray God bestows upon you some semblance of peace.
"Thank you to all my wonderfully loving children... for creating beautiful art, writing heartwarming notes, and showering me with love. You are my life. My heart. I love you."
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