Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 5, 10:24 pm ET
WHITTIER, Calif. – The veil of secrecy octuplets' mother Nadya Suleman shrouded herself in for more than a week was lifted Thursday with the release of public documents showing that the 33-year-old struggled with depression for years until she finally began to realize her childhood dream of having a huge family.
Suleman, who now has 14 children, told doctors she battled with depression for years after she was injured in a riot in 1999 at thewhere she worked.
The doctors' reports were included in more than 300 pages of documents released to The Associated Press by the state Division of Workers' Compensation on the same day NBC released excerpts of Suleman's first interview since giving birth last month. Among other things, the documents reveal that Suleman collected more than $165,000 in disability payments between 2002 and 2008 for an injury she said left her in near-constant pain and helped end her marriage.
Meanwhile, Suleman told NBC what her mother and others have said since the octuplets were born: that she always wanted a huge family to make up for the isolation she felt as an only child.
"That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family," she said. "I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that ... I really lacked, I believe, growing up."
In the interview — scheduled to air on the "Today" show Monday and again Tuesday on "Dateline" — Suleman calls her childhood "pretty dysfunctional."
In the state report, however, doctors indicate she had a happy childhood. She told them she was an above-average high school student, enjoyed being a cheerleader, had many friends and stayed out of trouble. She said her parents were loving and supportive.
As an adult, however, she said she often battled depression as she struggled to get pregnant and particularly after her injury.
In the report, Suleman told a doctor she had three miscarriages. Another doctor disputed that number, saying she had two ectopic pregnancies, a dangerous condition in which a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than in the uterus. She told NBC she struggled for seven years before finally giving birth to her first child in 2001 through.
She told a doctor who conducted a psychological evaluation for a workers' compensation claim that the first birth was "the most wonderful, best thing that's ever happened in my life."
Suleman said all her children have been born through in vitro fertilization, with sperm donated from a friend. The first six range in age from 2 to 7. The octuplets are doing fine, said officials at Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower Medical Center, where they were born Jan. 26.
According to the state documents, which were released to the AP following a public records request, Suleman was injured Sept. 18, 1999, when a riot involving nearly two dozen patients broke out in the women's ward of thein Norwalk.
As she was helping other staffers restrain a patient, a desk thrown at her by another patient hit her in the back. It caused damage to her spine and left her complaining of headaches and intense pain throughout her lower body for years.
She attributed it in part to the breakup of her marriage to Marcos Gutierrez, whom she had wed in 1996. She told a psychiatrist the bouts of depression she was suffering as a result of her injury were unfair to her husband.
"I don't want to keep bringing him down. I want him to move on with his life," she told a psychiatrist.
The couple split in 2000 and divorced last year. Gutierrez has not returned calls to phone numbers listed for him, and his divorce lawyer, Roberto Gil, declined comment.
Suleman has come under criticism from TV and radio commentators, bloggers and others who accused her of irresponsibly having more children than she appears prepared to care for. Some say she had the octuplets to cash in with a TV or book deal.
Although the two publicists she hired last week acknowledge she is reviewing such offers, one of her friends said Suleman simply loves children and didn't get pregnant for profit.
"She's not even interested in that right now," said Jessica Zepeda, who lives down the street. "It's funny and sad in a way, there's a lot of people saying really negative things and they don't know her."
Suleman's mother said she expects people's opinions to change now that her daughter is going public.
"She's a very likable person," Angela Suleman said Wednesday. "She's basically normal except for this obsession she's always had with children."
She's also a good mother, Angela Suleman said.
Her daughter, who was born in Fullerton, studied to be a psychiatric technician after graduating from a high school in La Puente in 1993.
She received a bachelor's degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, in 2006 and was studying there for a master's degree in counseling when she became pregnant with the octuplets.
"She may not be able to finish her master's degree now and she was so close to wrapping it up," her mother said.
Publicist Mike Furtney said Nadya Suleman has told him it's her dream to eventually earn a Ph.D. in some field involving counseling.
Metropolitan State Hospital payroll from 1997 until last year, though it appears she did little work after September 1999 because of her injury.show Suleman was listed on the
Furtney said Thursday that Suleman was "feeling great" and looking forward to being reunited with her octuplets, who are expected to remain in the hospital for several more weeks.
"She's happy to be out of the hospital, although she misses her children," he said. "She can't wait until they join her."
The octuplets were born nine weeks prematurely and will be released from the hospital individually as they hit a near-normal newborn weight.
"At this point in their development, they are not mature enough to coordinate the suckling and swallowing at the same time to be bottle-fed," said Dr. Mandhir Gupta, the hospital's neonatologist.
Associated Press writers Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Raquel Maria Dillon andcontributed to this report.
June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021 December 2020 November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008