Nadya — now Natalie — Suleman made headlines when she gave birth to eight babies in 2009.
Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jeremiah, Josiah, Jonah, and Makai, you taught me more about gratitude, forgiveness, patience, and unconditional love than I could have hoped to learn in a lifetime. You are all the strongest, most loving, compassionate, and selfless human beings I have ever known. God blessed me plentifully by placing you all in my life, my loves, my angels. I love you so so so much. ❤️????❤️??…#happyseventhbirthday #angelsfromheaven #mylife #mybabies
In an interview with People magazine in 2016, Suleman, who has 14 children in total, said that she abandoned her “Octomom” personality in 2013 for a more grounded existence with her family and career as a counselor.
Suleman explained that many of her choices as “Octomom,” such as a nude photo shoot and sex tape, were made to earn money for her family, but ultimately the experiences left her feeling empty:
“I was violating my boundaries and my value system and my own self. I didn’t think of it at the time because I was in survival mode, and I was doing whatever I possibly could to provide for my kids.”
Faced with the possibility of ending up completely destitute, Suleman made her decision and walked away from the spotlight. And she never looked back.
Now, Suleman can be found on Instagram, sharing life as a vegan mother with a house full of children who are no longer the newborn octuplets the world remembers seeing.
Suleman’s eight children — Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jeremiah, Josiah, Jonah, and Makai — are growing up fast. They just started the third grade:
And as Suleman’s children grow, one thing made clear through her social media is the amazing nature of genetics:
According to Time, Suleman, who was impregnated via in vitro fertilization, was implanted with six embryos, with two of the embryos resulting in twins. Suleman, who had already delivered six children through IVF, reportedly decided to carry more children so that the embryos from her previous IVF treatments wouldn’t be destroyed.
As Kim Vande Wydeven of Stanford University explains for the Tech Museum of Innovation, children “are who they are” based on the set of 25,000 genes passed down from their parents at random:
But you also each inherited a completely different set of genes from each parent. This means you are a completely new, never before seen genetic combination.
The next question is how can you each get a completely different set of genes from the same set of parents? The answer has to do with the fact that each parent actually has two different sets of genes. And that each parent passes only half of their genes to their child. And that the half that gets passed down is random.
All of this together ensures that each child ends up with a different, unique set of genes. […]
While the father of Suleman’s children remains unknown, Suleman has shared her Middle Eastern roots on social media, and attributed her children’s lighter hair and eyes to her grandmother’s side of the family.
A picture of her mother’s fairer complexion also lends diversity to her children’s looks:
Suleman’s children are not identical, but it’s fascinating to distinguish the differences — and similarities — between babies who were carried together at the same time in the womb.
As Suleman continues to partake in the simple life, it will be interesting to watch her children grow.
Wonderful reunion with my moms sister aunt Christine. We haven’t seen her since my moms passing two years ago and missed her dearly. Had an awesome discussion about veganism (she’s been a raw vegan for over 30 years and is 75!). We agreed it is possible her lifestyle saved her life as all the women in her family died from cancer! #Healthy #FamilyFirst #LoveMyFamily #IncludingPenelopeTheCat ❤️
To this day, they are the only known set of octuplets to survive past the first week of birth.