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Nadya Suleman's Excuses in Her NBC News Interview - Blame It on a 'Dysfunctional' Childhood

By February 7, 2009

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In an NBC News exclusive interview, octuplet mom Nadya Suleman sits down with Ann Curry to talk about her controversial pregnancy and birth. The interview will be aired in several segments; viewers saw a clip on Friday's TODAY show and more will be revealed on TODAY on Monday, February 9, and on Dateline on Tuesday, February 10 at 10 pm.

Excerpts from the transcript released by NBC News are disturbing to read:

How did an only child end up with 14 children?

That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family, and-- I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I-- I really lacked, I believe, growing up.


Describe what you felt you lacked within.


Feeling of self and identity. I didn't feel as though, when I was a child, I had much control of my environment. I felt powerless. And that gave me a sense of predictability. I-- reflecting back on my childhood, I know it wasn't functional. It was pretty-- pretty dysfunctional, and whose isn't?

Two statements that Suleman made are red flags indicating how troubled this woman is.

The first one, "I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that...I really lacked...growing up," is essentially what most teen girls give as the reason for becoming pregnant; they just want to love someone and receive unconditional love in return.

The second one, which revolves around the desire for a large family and the belief that having children "gave me a sense of predictability," is her way of deflecting criticism; she's using the 'I had a hard life' excuse to explain her missteps. That doesn't forgive her her poor choices or her instability. It's just another attempt to sidestep accountability and shrug off blame.

I may sound harsh, but I understand her all too well. I too was an only child who often felt lonely, isolated, and powerless. My parents moved constantly - five times in my first six years of school. Their marriage was rocky and my father's infidelity extended over decades. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The rest is too personal for public consumption.

Yet like many of us who have lived through difficult times, I don't dwell on it; I've never trotted out the dog and pony show of my dysfunctional childhood as a way to dodge the personal responsibility and accountability that a stable and productive adulthood requires. I grew up, built my own life independent of my family, began working, got married and have two almost-adult children now and a good solid career. In other words, I did what I needed to do to heal myself, get over it, and move on.

What I want to say to Nadya Suleman is this: Don't look to your children to compensate for an unhappy childhood - that's not what parenting is about. You can still change your life around. But you have to put an end to this 'my childhood made me do it' excuse. Otherwise, you're going to pass it down to your own children and perpetuate your family's intergenerational cycle of dysfunction.

Unfortunately, Suleman's paid PR consultant has apparently decided that the highly effective get-out-of-jail-free 'dysfunctional childhood' story is the best angle to take as she begins her media tour.

Eliciting sympathy for a woman with 14 children under age 8 is one thing. But using a carefully-contrived 'angle' and waving 'dysfunction' in our face to tug at our heartstrings so that we'll pity 'this poor woman' is manipulative. It's a slap in the face for every person who's privately endured personal trauma and quietly turned her/his life around through hard work and effort, without ever once invoking the 'I deserve a break, I had a hard childhood' excuse.

Nadya Suleman is a poor role model for her own irresponsibly-conceived family, and she needs to step up, be accountable, and stop making excuses. It's time for her to grow up.

Related article:
Mother of Octuplets Nadya Suleman - Ongoing Developments in the Octo-Mom Story

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February 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm
(1) lucca says:

Nadya Suleman went on workers compensation disability back in 1999 (at age 23) due to a work-related back injury (in which she filed 2 different workers comp. claims, one of which netted her $168,000). For the past 10 years though she’s been unable to work, she’s been able to endure several IVF treatments and have 14 children.
Since disability payments generally aren’t counted as income (or taxed), she’s also likely been able to receive welfare for each of her 6 children.

This woman has been living off the system for most of her adult life and will continue to do so at taxpayer’s expense.

February 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm
(2) roxieuke says:

According to various news sources, this woman told the Workman’s Comp board back in 2001 that pregnancy exacerbated her back injury. They should have shut off the WC teat, based on WILLFUL exacerbation of a work related injury, the SECOND time she went through IVF. She knew pregnancy exacerbated her injury, even said so during a WC hearing, yet she kept on having more IVF.

She doesn’t need babies; she needs therapy.

I wonder what she’s going to do a decade from now when she doesn’t have ANY darling little kids, and is instead confronted by 14 teens/tweens full of angst and raging hormones (?)

I read an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that said “In the state documents, however, doctors quoted her as indicating she had a happy childhood. She told them she was an above-average student at Nogales High School in La Puente, where she enjoyed being a cheerleader, had many friends and stayed out of trouble. She said both her parents were loving and supportive.”

Her 60-something dad is willing to go back to Iraq — AN ACTIVE THEATER OF WAR — to work as a translator to help pay bills. That doesn’t sound like she ever lacked any love or care.

I totally agree: the dysfunctional childhood story sounds like a ploy that she and her publicist cooked up to tug on everyone’s heartstrings.

Thank heavens so many people who REALLY DID have dysfunctional childhoods believe therapy is a better option than becoming a baby machine!

I hope the WC board investigates her…

February 7, 2009 at 11:33 pm
(3) AWC says:

Miss Sulemon concocts only an implausible sob story. She desperately requires psychiatric and/or psychological assessment and treatment. When I started reading her lame excuse of wanting many children because she “was lonely”, I had two primary reactions. One is that she is incalculably immature to believe that the society of infants equates to the society of adults. The other reaction was of, call it, perhaps, outraged sorrow over the six children who already were technoconceived completely outside of any love-filled relationship. Miss Suleman delivered a cruel, vicious slap of rejection to each one of those six innocents by publicly proclaiming their “insufficiency” to fill her heart with love. It would not surprise me one speck if any, or all, of these fourteen children were to reach adulthood and sever all connection with such a “mother”.

February 8, 2009 at 6:10 am
(4) Boris says:

This is great. I had no idea that boldface could transmit the white man’s burden so effectively.

February 8, 2009 at 10:25 am
(5) dmac6419 says:

She can have many baby as she wants,didnt she work to pay for workers comp,so thats her right,oh maybe if she had a differant hair color it would be all right.A**holes steal billions ,and you people worrying about if she getting paid,did a**hole who sold the phelp picture get paid

February 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm
(6) nile says:

I’m upset that this single and unemployed woman intentionally brought so many children into this overcrowded world. What makes me even angrier though is that for the past 10 years Nadya Suleman has been receiving disability payments (for a work related back injury in 1999) and though she’s been deemed “completely unable to work”, she’s felt well enough to undergo IVF treatments and have 14 children during this time. Her doctors even advised her earlier not to get pregnant since this could worsen her back condition. She told a workers’ compensation judge in 2001 that her condition was so disabling that she spent most of the day in bed and had been unable to care for her first child.

This woman Nadya Suleman possibly lied to the Disability Judge and physicians about her condition and then used her disability payments for IVF treatments. This makes me really angry.

February 9, 2009 at 9:49 am
(7) CindyK says:

I think this woman is so selfish and irresponsible. The father of these children wanted to marry her and she said no. She wanted to raise these children by herself. Yet her poor old mother and father are in debt because of having to raise her first 6 kids. How dare she! Nadya even said that she’ll be looking for help from friends and family to take care of these kids. How will they be fiancially taken care of? Even if she is able to go back to work, who in their right mind will be able to care for all 14 kids? She wanted these kids because she was an only child and was lonely?? BOO HOO! Cry me a river. I hope her mother and father put their foot down and make Nadya raise these kids all by herself, just like she wants.

February 9, 2009 at 11:48 am
(8) AngryInSTL says:

Her mother has given an interview on Radaronline dot com. Her mother is angry as well as the rest of us. She has stated that her daughter hasn’t paid for anything for the 6 children she had to begin with. And that house is filthy. I wonder why the state hasn’t come in and investigated her for child abuse/nelgect! She doesn’t need ANY children IMO…

February 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm
(9) Mary-Ann says:

I was shocked to see some of the comments of Ms Suleman. One stated: ‘I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person.’ Don’t we all? But how much connection and attachment will she be able to maintain with 14 children all needing love, attention,a safe environment, comfort, food, clean clothes, cuts to be kissed better, homework help and all the other things that are involved with raising children? (Not to mention the money needed – And, who is going to provide that?)
Another statement was: ‘I didn’t feel as though, when I was a child, I had much control of my environment.’ And her children? How much control do you think they will have?
She has not given any thought to any of these children and what their needs are/are going to be – only to her own desires.
I only hope that in 15-20 years I’ll read stories about the successes these children have made of their lives but I admit that I am not optimistic.

February 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm
(10) venicementor says:

“Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic “stimulus” package, claiming “contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

To bad know one will ever get the message before or after this! And Ms. Sulleman tells us it is not going to cost the state anything because she will take care of is? What, nickel, dime herself to death on street corner here in LA. Give me a break, to have these kids was an attempt to extort money out of the taxpayers/state. Selfish, selfish, selfish, self centered, but most of all, MENTALLY ILL! Watch for the “blame game” to start. She will next sue the doctor(s), or anyone she get her hands on, because now her back is really screwed up and the doctor never told her that she could be in this deep shit for HER CHOOSING to do what she did!

February 11, 2009 at 8:47 am
(11) str84wird says:

My heart is breaking for those poor children.

I was the middle of 3 children and felt lonely, disconnected…blahblahblah. That didn’t make me want to breed like a rabbit!
I raised an only child as a single (divorce was not part of the original plan, but happened) mom who HAD to work and it was hard without a shadow of a father present and my son felt lonely…blahblahblah.

I can’t even stand to watch the interviews!
This woman is the ultimate in selfishness and irresponsibility… and there is no way she’ll ever be able to feed the emotional needs of her children.
From what I’ve heard, it seems that she should expect at least a couple to have serious mental or medical issues. Children with special needs require more care and the other children are going to pay for it.

It just makes me feel sick that she did this when there are already so many children awaiting adoption.

If she needed companionship or a human connection and the 6 kids she already had couldn’t fill the void, then she should have got a dog! This woman’s needs will never be met and her life will never be fulfilled until she realizes that SHE has to fill the void in her life and she won’t find what she’s looking for…even if she has 100 children… as long as she looks to others to fix her life.

In the interview I saw, she got all holier-than-thou and said people are being ctitical of her because she’s a single mother and would be much more accepting if she was married. That’s baloney! I don’t think a couple can spread themselves so thin as to care PROPERLY for 14 kids either.
The kids will be dysfunctional just like she is. It’s so sad.

I can’t even imagine what kind of man the father is!!! He really should have just tied it in a knot and not let this dysfunctional woman feed her neuroses at his fountain!
It’s going to break his heart to see his children grow up in her care…if he has a heart.

February 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm
(12) Lizette says:

Her kids go to PRIVATE SCHOOL!! I live in Whittier, and I know for a fact her kids don’t go to the public school down the street. It was confirmed when I saw her kids on TV wear the private school emblem on their shirts of a Christian School here in Whittier!!!!!

February 13, 2009 at 10:22 am
(13) KAYLA says:

This woman should not receive one cent in any kind of aid to help support her children. She’s obviously already a pro at working the system and, in my estimation, has consciously decided to worsen her situation to receive even more help at the expense of everyone else. She obviously has mental issues and should not be supported in her stupidity.

February 17, 2009 at 1:33 am
(14) Tricia says:

This woman disgusts me beyond belief.
1. First off, you cheat the Worker’s Comp. by claiming to have this back injury that is so severe you are unable to be employed but yet you are able to handle 6 pregnancies, once of which was twins?! WC should have been cut off immediately when she decided to go and have her children! If it was able to make your back worse, why should she have received payments still?
2. She keeps saying s*** like “I will give myself to my children”, “love them unconditionally” and on and on. First of all, with 14 kids under the age of 8 years old, and 3 with disabilities, that’s impossible! I have only 3 kids under 5 and I have a hard enough time making sure everyone has the same amount of attention! These poor children will be left feeling the exact way this B**** claims her childhood left her feeling. Now, on another note: If her childhood left her feeling so low, unloved, uncared for, alone, etc. Why is she LIVING WITH HER PARENTS, IN THEIR HOUSE, MAKING THEM TAKE CARE OF HER AND HER CHILDREN? If your childhood was that severe and awful, would you not avoid your parents?

February 17, 2009 at 1:38 am
(15) Tricia says:

Also, your bloody ‘unconditional love’ and ‘yourself’ won’t put food on the table, clothes on their backs, or a roof over their head you moron! Yes, children obviously need love, but sorry, hun, money is not “just paper”. Money buys the BASIC NECESSITIES of life for children!
It just saddens me that the taxpayers and the State will be paying for these 14 children.

How selfish this woman must be as well, for having 6 children, all under the age of 8, and have three with disabilities, and yet you still somehow felt you needed and deserved more? How ****ing dare you. You’re a nasty, disgusting little b****! I know so many women who are paying THOUSANDS and yet still unable to have a child, yet here’s this douchebag who will ****ing make her children go without so she can pump her lips and do IVF? What a disgusting cold-hearted wench. I loathe this b**** so much, and although I will not give her a single cent, I feel awful for the poor children. I am sick to my stomach,,,

February 26, 2009 at 4:20 am
(16) Acumenata says:

Suleman has said repeatedly that she grew up as an only child in a “dysfunctional” home.

What boggles the mind is why she would choose to bring fourteen more children into a that same home environment and attempt to raise them in conjunction with the parents she claims had raised her so inadequately.

February 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm
(17) Erma says:

She wants to give them unconventional love….and time….and go back to school….
qualifying probably for FREE grant money????
and hope the daycare at school will help???I had to WORK..(she probably doesn’t know the word) to take care of my kids….what bothers me is that the MEDIA is PAYING her for the rights for an interview..pictures.. Why doesn’t she just come out and say I am an opportunist and I want (not need) all of you to give me money! NADYA….. Get off your behind, forget manicures, pedicures that cost about $20.00 and take care of your tribe! Why don’t you treat some unfortunate lady to a well deserved manicure

March 3, 2009 at 9:23 am
(18) Grace says:

You all miss the point. All it takes is one, maybe two, benefactors and this woman gets what I feel she has truly always longed for…a free ride and money to spare. Unfortunately, all her children will have to tag along and personally, I think they will eventually get in her way. God bless the children because their mother will always find a way to take care of herself.

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