Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Nadya Suleman
Aired July 28, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Now, I myself, as a father of triplets, know what it is like to raise and care for multiples. Believe me, it is not easy.
Tonight, the full hour with none other than "Octomom," mother of 14, unemployed, broke, single, the target of hundreds of death threats. How does she do it? Can she do it?
Tonight I dig deep into the mind of "Octomom," a journey that you will not soon forget. Let`s go do this.
Tonight, a special DR. DREW where we peer into the mind of one of the world`s most famous mothers, Nadya Suleman. Nadya Suleman came into international attention when she gave birth to octuplets in January of 2009, making her the world`s most famous mother, forever then known as "Octomom." Public reaction, however, turned negative --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re all paying for this as taxpayers. And she`s nuts. She shouldn`t have these kids in her house. She`s a freeloader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: -- when it was discovered that this single young mother already had six other young children and was unemployed. What was this 34- year-old mom of 14 thinking?
PINSKY: Joining me is America`s most misunderstood mom, Nadya Suleman.
NADYA SULEMAN, "OCTOMOM": Thank you.
PINSKY: I really appreciate you being here.
SULEMAN: I really am grateful for this opportunity. Thank you.
PINSKY: And I`ve got a couple of things off the top I want to address. One is, I have triplets. And so when I see you running around with your kids, I deeply empathize with what you`re dealing with. For instance, I just saw you on "The Today Show."
SULEMAN: I didn`t see it.
PINSKY: Well, you know what happened. I mean, your kids were scattered around. I thought, that`s how eight toddlers behave. That`s nothing to do with mom. You were counting heads and stuff, trying to keep them in control.
PINSKY: But people somehow became very judgmental of you in that situation.
SULEMAN: That`s a given. On average, I`ve learned that people adopt a false sense of entitlement judging other people`s lives as if its their own --
SULEMAN: -- feeling entitled to do so. And so, for me, in that situation, I caught myself being very defensive.
I don`t know if -- I didn`t watch it, but living it I was like, no, I have no help. Zero help. Well, I don`t have paid help, but what I do have is a very select small circle of friends that do help that I trust, that have been there for years prior to the fact that my life has manifested into the carnival attraction you now see in the media. So I trust that as a parent of my kids` friends at the Christian private school they go to, and they`ve been going for years.
PINSKY: OK, because that`s the one thing as a triplet parent we always said we like. When other parents who have multiples come to us, we go, get help. Whatever you do, get help, because you just can`t survive it otherwise.
SULEMAN: Right. Here`s the thing, is since I was little, I`ve always just loved being alone and just relying on myself.
I always joked growing up, saying I`m dysfunctionally independent. But I`m an only child. That`s not an excuse. It`s just I`ve always been very, very introverted, highly anxious -- I don`t know if you`ve noticed -- and just very, very shy.
So when people gave me attention, I would just look down. I would look away. You know, thank you.
I didn`t want to be seen. I wanted to be heard. And so then when I tried to express myself using vocabulary that people can`t understand, it`s because I want to sound smart. It doesn`t mean I necessarily am.
PINSKY: Well, you seem fine. I mean, you don`t have to defend yourself.
SULEMAN: That`s the thing. I do catch myself in defense, particularly for the last two-and-a-half years.
PINSKY: Because people are attacking you so often.
SULEMAN: From the beginning, of course. Of course.
I like to not be bothered with other people`s business. I personally, if I were an outsider looking in, I would want to -- I would refrain from prematurely judging.
PINSKY: You don`t watch TV or go online?
SULEMAN: I haven`t watched TV. I`ve never had Internet, never. And I don`t want to. I`m fighting with my manager. He wants me to get it and I`m like, "No, I don`t want it." It`s a choice, obviously, to remain kind of detached from the human race.
PINSKY: And no TV?
SULEMAN: Haven`t watched anything -- nothing I`ve done. Not one thing.
PINSKY: So it`s you and 14 kids in that little world together.
SULEMAN: Tiny little world. I`ve created my own safe, predictable society.
Maybe as a psychiatrist maybe you want to --
PINSKY: I`m actually an internist addictionologist.
SULEMAN: Amazing. Yes, that`s right. Well, you`re aware. You`re an expert at human behavior. And perhaps that`s my way to overcompensate for certain things that were missing, or dynamics that were missing in my childhood.
PINSKY: Well, let`s talk about that, because you actually worked in a psychiatric hospital. Did I read that?
SULEMAN: I did. Can I brag for a little bit?
SULEMAN: I was valedictorian at my psychiatric technician program. It was 18 months. I also got an award for perfect attendance. I never was, like, one minute like. I like to joke and say OCD, but take the "D" away, because if it`s hindering your ability to function, it`s a disorder.
For me, I thrive off of my self-discipline and self-control. So I felt like, oh, I need to do my best.
I was one of those nerds with the five-inch stack of flash cards with rubber bands wrapped around them and I memorized everything. I had to be raising my hand all the time in the front row.
PINSKY: Now, I`ve got a million questions for you. Because when you were studying and being that nerd, did you also -- would you socialize? Did you have relationships?
SULEMAN: I had a very close -- that`s the funny thing. One of my closest friends, I`ve known her for 20 years. She moved, but we talk almost every other day, we`re still friends.
And her daughter -- she had her at 17 -- her daughter was 2 when I met her. And I was the one more raising her daughter than she was. And so her daughter is a little over 20, and she`s pre-med. I like to take a little bit of credit for that.
PINSKY: So you started the care-taking early.
SULEMAN: I started early. And here`s the thing. She was my life.
She was my first daughter, my first child, Selena (ph). I love her.
PINSKY: Did you have boyfriends?
SULEMAN: I had one boyfriend my entire life for about five years. And one donor. He was originally -- you know, two people, two men my whole life.
PINSKY: Did that seem normal?
SULEMAN: Well, for me, personally, it was. Just for me. Certainly, it`s not maybe typical for most people, but I feel since I was young I`ve been avoiding. I`m the queen of avoiding behavior.
SULEMAN: Avoidant, yes.
PINSKY: OK. That makes sense. You`re avoiding relationships. Your relationship with your dad must have been difficult.
SULEMAN: Well, the relationship with my dad -- actually, this is the irony in it, although he had his own unresolved demons, I was very, very close with my father. He was my best friend. And he`d come home from work.
Before he could even put his briefcase down, I`m like, "Horsey. Please play horsey with me now, Eddie (ph)." He`s not dad.
See, I was raised seeing things how they really are, being honest, very brutally honest. Eddie (ph), that`s his name. Why would I call him "dad"? So he was my playmate. He was my best friend. And he was the one who I felt unconditionally accepted and loved by. My mom never --
PINSKY: Do you think that`s -- but he sounded like he needed some care. Do you think that`s where all that care-taking started? You were busy taking care of him and his unresolved --
SULEMAN: In my head. In my head.
PINSKY: Well, if he had demons, you had to control those demons. Right?
SULEMAN: Right. I felt responsible for the demons. I blamed myself growing up for many things. And my mom, a post-war Holocaust survivor, she never --
PINSKY: I didn`t know that.
SULEMAN: Yes. She never said, "I love you" once in my whole life.
PINSKY: Does that prevent you from doing that to your kids, do you think?
SULEMAN: My dad, I say, saved me. And I am extremely affectionate and loving with my kids. And not a day goes by that I don`t tell them, "I love you forever," (INAUDIBLE). I don`t know if you know it, "I Love You Forever," the book?
PINSKY: Oh, yes. Yes.
SULEMAN: Every day, and love them, hug them. My dad taught me that.
PINSKY: Now, one thing I know is that trauma gets transmitted intergenerationally.
SULEMAN: I believe that. And that post-traumatic stress perhaps from being a survivor of my mom maybe inadvertently projected that post- traumatic stress.
PINSKY: So what do you think poured down on you from your mom? What do you think you got?
SULEMAN: I believe what did was the control of her emotion, being guarded and being maybe a little emotionally detached. I may be perceived by others to be -- my affect to be blunted, but it`s not. I feel everything, but I`m an expert as swallowing emotions.
Where do they go though? They just boil for me, and boil and bubble up. And they recently bubbled up into rage and panic attacks.
PINSKY: When was this?
SULEMAN: Over a year ago I started having panic attacks.
PINSKY: And was that in competition for the rage?
SULEMAN: Well, just feeling it all. Feeling it all.
PINSKY: Did you express the rage?
SULEMAN: I express it at the gym, my 11-mile masochistic climb on the StairMaster for over 99 minutes. It could be a form of punishment. But it`s -- for me, I feel it`s sublimation of the anger, resentment, rage, anxiety. You name it, I have it.
PINSKY: How`s it different than cutting?
SULEMAN: I would never, ever do that. I believe that`s physically deleterious, because I listen to my body.
PINSKY: The same thing though, right?
SULEMAN: I listen to my body and I know if I`m exhausted.
PINSKY: But the same deal. You punish yourself with exercise, as opposed to --
SULEMAN: Some people could look at me and say --
PINSKY: You said it.
SULEMAN: I say it because I think that`s one component of it.
SULEMAN: I think primarily what it is, survival. And I`m on it, and I feel all the rage. I feel all the anger while I`m doing it. And it`s getting out. And I program my brain like a robot.
And I`m doing it punching with weights. And I feel so much anger. And I`m done after an hour and a half.
PINSKY: So it`s effective?
SULEMAN: And all of it is gone.
PINSKY: "I`m a walking ball of sang anxiety." No, not me. That`s what Octomom says as she confronts and reveals her countless phobias and fears. More incredible revelations up next.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OPERATOR: 911 Emergency.
SULEMAN: Help me!
OPERATOR: What`s going on?
SULEMAN: My son is missing. I`m going crazy. I`m going crazy.
OPERATOR: OK. What address are you at? OK. You`re going to have to calm down. What address are you at?
SULEMAN: Where`s my son? Where`s my son? Where`s my son? Where`s my son?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PINSKY: We continue with our revealing look into the mind of Nadya Suleman, the "Octomom" -- anxious, hyperactive, maybe a little paranoid. This is a woman who believes she`s in control -- in fact, needs control -- but her life is out of control and perhaps a train wreck waiting to happen.
PINSKY: Talking about the childhood is of course one way to understand you.
PINSKY: Let`s take a look at you and your mom. This is now apparently courtesy of Radar Online. Watch this tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden her stomach is growing bigger and bigger. And I say, "What`s going on?" And she says, "Oh, I have a tumor." Yes, right.
SULEMAN: I don`t apologize for having all my children and I never would. And I love them more than I`ve ever known love in my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you going to provide for them? What are you thinking?
SULEMAN: Well, I have another year and a half for my degree. With a little master`s degree, with a counseling degree --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You won`t have enough.
As long as she`s not going to continue this. I mean, it seems as if she`s obsessive-compulsive and she needs to keep doing this, and I hope she`s not. I mean, is 14 enough?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SULEMAN: I definitely want to respond.
PINSKY: Go ahead.
SULEMAN: In regard to just that particular interview.
PINSKY: You`re actually having a reaction.
SULEMAN: Oh, yes, because I want to tell you something. In regard to that, I know when they told me and they told my mom prior to that, Radar had been paying me extra to say certain things. Paid her a lot of money extra money to ignite and provoke.
SULEMAN: And they told her to do that. And so my mom and I, that`s not normally how we interacted.
PINSKY: How do you normally?
SULEMAN: Normally it is mixed. It is tumultuous. Sometimes it`s good, sometimes bad.
For years and years I had these very open, intellectually stimulating conversations with her where she learned a lot of what I learned in school. So then I loved to talk to her and teach her. And she loved to be receptive to that.
But in regard to this, there was a lot of resentment. You know, my mom, I hadn`t lived with her in that time for over six years. But I would rent from her in her house. She owned two homes.
So she would visit, and primarily to feed her cats. And then she would play with the kids a little and leave.
My dad, I hadn`t lived with him at that point in about 15 years. So there were so many misconceptions. I did choose -- I had my poor choices to have children. I mean, two was enough, seriously, in retrospect.
PINSKY: Two would have been plenty?
SULEMAN: Sure. Two would have been plenty. But what was in my immature, juvenile mind at that time, I wanted to -- maybe that was a huge form of escapism, being a professional student. I know that. That`s a form of escapism.
I`m rationalizing. Of course I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I was pre-med. I wanted to do residency in psych and simultaneous get my psych tech (ph) degree.
And so at school -- and I worked 80 hours a week, and then I would take 18 units in school. That is extraordinarily high standards for myself, maybe unrealistic standards for myself. But if I didn`t meet them and get a 4.0, and be the best of the best of the best intrinsically and in my environment, I`d feel like a failure.
Why? What am I running away from?
PINSKY: Well, you wanted to be perfect.
PINSKY: And perfectionism is a compensation for not feeling great on the inside.
SULEMAN: Of course you`re right.
PINSKY: Because, probably, you didn`t -- I`m having a reaction. I want to hold your hand.
SULEMAN: No. See, that`s another thing. I shy away.
PINSKY: I want to calm you down.
SULEMAN: I don`t want other people to feel empathy.
PINSKY: I can see that. I see that.
SULEMAN: And I don`t want --
PINSKY: I see it.
SULEMAN: I feel guilty when people say they feel pity.
PINSKY: I don`t feel pity.
SULEMAN: I don`t want that.
PINSKY: I just want you to calm down. I feel like I need to --
SULEMAN: I`m a walking ball of anxiety, I know. My mom was.
PINSKY: Well, I would be too with two kids or three or four kids.
PINSKY: With 14 kids, I`d want to jump out the window.
SULEMAN: So what`s the paradox in that I feel the safest at home with my kids? And I want to only be there. That`s my favorite time at night, in their pajamas, playing Twister with my kids --
PINSKY: Deep breath. Deep cleansing breath.
SULEMAN: OK. Being calm, it gives me more anxiety.
PINSKY: Probably. Probably it`s uncomfortable for you. But you`re moving all the time.
SULEMAN: My brain and body --
PINSKY: If you were -- you`re being a psych tech right now. Let`s be colleagues.
PINSKY: We`re working at the same hospital, and Nadya Suleman comes into the hospital.
PINSKY: And you`ve got to do the paperwork and put on her axis diagnoses. What`s Axis I?
SULEMAN: Axis I, maybe obsessive-compulsive.
PINSKY: OCD. And maybe some generalized anxiety.
SULEMAN: Anxiety --
PINSKY: With panic.
SULEMAN: With definitely panic. There you go.
PINSKY: Is there a mood disturbance, too? Did you have any mood problems?
SULEMAN: The one thing is, I keep myself up. I keep my mood pretty stable.
PINSKY: Is there cyclothymia or bipolar?
PINSKY: You seem a little manicky, and I`d be manicky, too, just --
SULEMAN: That`s the anxiety.
PINSKY: Yes, that`s the anxiety.
PINSKY: Just dealing with all those kids.
SULEMAN: I`m pretty stable. I`m usually always up. And I have adopted by dad`s dry, sardonic sense of humor to cope.
PINSKY: I get it. Well, actually, I see it right now, because that`s actually -- in fact, I`m going to show some footage a little bit later of something that -- your cred went up 1,000 percent for me when you did "Silent Library." That was very funny.
SULEMAN: I didn`t see it.
PINSKY: It`s very, very funny. You did a great job.
SULEMAN: I didn`t see it. Thank you.
PINSKY: Now let`s go to Axis II, which is the personality function. Is there anything going on there?
SULEMAN: I think the more aware we are --
PINSKY: No, no. we`re psych techs. We`re doing the evaluation. Nadya Suleman just walked in.
SULEMAN: Do you want me to tell you about my parents?
PINSKY: No, no. Just give her a diagnosis. Are there traits? Are there --
SULEMAN: I think that all human beings have traits.
PINSKY: OK. So what`s Nadya`s?
SULEMAN: I don`t think I would diagnose myself.
PINSKY: Are there narcissistic traits?
SULEMAN: I think all humans have it. And I think the more aware we are, the better able --
PINSKY: And you were saying that when you were young and --
SULEMAN: I tried to avoid it. I was raised by a narcissist (INAUDIBLE).
PINSKY: Oh, OK. So let`s talk about that.
SULEMAN: Hang on.
PINSKY: So that leaves some residual on you, having people with -- let me explain to my listeners what we`re talking about, my viewers, which is what we just talked about.
Nadya`s worked in psychiatric hospitals and she is well trained.
SULEMAN: And treatment centers and crisis centers.
And so she understands that when people come in, a mental health professional has a way of looking at their symptoms. And in her case she was saying the top line, the Axis I, things like mood disturbances, anxiety disorders, that mostly she`s obsessive-compulsive and has a lot of anxiety.
And then Axis II, what she`s saying is that her parents had some issues from being -- well, no, it`s reasonable. I`m not going to say it would hurt anybody.
Is that dad had some unresolved stuff that you ended up being caretaker of, and it worked for you. And mom, God knows, was in a horrible situation having been in concentration camps, effectively, and have her family ripped apart and dead. And that left some functioning on her personality that then rained down on you.
PINSKY: And your solution, humor and anxiety, obsessive- compulsiveness, exercise, and lots of kids.
Let me ask a question. I want to ask a tough question. Is it fair to have a bunch of kids solve your emotional issues?
SULEMAN: Of course not. Of course not. I`m being honest.
And of course, in retrospect, would I have made different choices in the past knowing then what I know now? I think most people would in any situation -- I don`t regret them, because that`s not advantageous to my kids` needs.
PINSKY: Well, I know that moms never want their kids to be seen as a problem. Ever.
PINSKY: But can you understand how people then would react?
SULEMAN: Oh, of course. I actually -- see, there is a tremendous disassociation I have in my head from that character they created in the media, a certifiably insane character called "Octomom."
Now, from the beginning, I never took it seriously -- my kids were joking about it, made fun of it -- because I knew, and I stand strong and tall in the truth of who I am, and I know who I am -- that that`s a completely separate character. They created it because the media are obsessed with sensationalism and dabrication (ph), and that`s what sells. Right?
So I`m in rationalizing myself into sanity, really, oh, you know what? That`s not me. They`re not talking about me.
Oh boy. And then rolled in all the death threats, the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of death threats.
PINSKY: How did you deal with that?
SULEMAN: Again by swallowing my emotions and rationalizing, that`s not me they`re talking about. That`s not me. But they`re not directed just to me. They`re directed towards my kids.
They`re going to do this. They`re going to do that to them. And that`s when I started develop more anxiety.
PINSKY: Of course.
SULEMAN: So, a few years ago, I wasn`t this highly anxious. I wasn`t. And I always like to be busy. You know, that`s who I am.
I`m hyperactive. I add a little ADHD there.
PINSKY: An Axis I. We`ll put that in there.
SULEMAN: Yes. But for the death threats and coping with that, I would just -- I chose to remain in denial.
PINSKY: Can "Octomom" hold it together? Is she aware of how close to the edge she is? How will she pay her bills of $18,000 a month? That`s what it costs to have 14 kids. "Octomom" opens up and reveals her inner demons next.
PINSKY (voice-over): Nadya Suleman, "Octomom," mother of 14. She is broke, unemployed, and sometimes gets a little paranoid. Constantly running around, rarely getting more than -- listen to this -- two hours of sleep.
Here is more of my talk with "Octomom."
PINSKY: How can one woman meet the needs of eight kids?
SULEMAN: You can`t.
PINSKY: You can`t. I could barely do it with three. I couldn`t do it with three. You just sort of do one at a time.
PINSKY: And it is never ending.
SULEMAN: Never ending. It`s nonstop.
PINSKY: It`s never ending. But what people don`t appreciate, it`s your soul is trying to feed these --
SULEMAN: They suck you alive like a leech, absolutely.
PINSKY: And eight of them doing that, it`s not possible to --
SULEMAN: I am very, very fortunate that --
PINSKY: Are you worried that you`re not going to meet the needs of each kid?
SULEMAN: I don`t allow my brain --
PINSKY: Answer that question. Don`t deny it. Are you worried you`re not going to be able to meet the needs of each child? Because I think that`s what people are reacting to.
SULEMAN: I don`t. You know why? And I`ll tell you why. Because I don`t want to allow my energy to be drained even more by worrying and regretting everything.
I utilize every bit of my energy and my emotion in care-taking in being there for my kids. I would hate myself more if I would be selfish enough to want to social life.
PINSKY: Is that why you don`t have relationships?
SULEMAN: I have chosen for 12 years a life of celibacy.
PINSKY: No sex in 12 years? No relation in 12 years?
SULEMAN: Nothing. Nothing.
PINSKY: Is that because you can`t trust anybody?
SULEMAN: It`s an amalgamation of reasons.
PINSKY: Well, you let something slip a second ago. You said, "I would hate myself more."
SULEMAN: If I chose --
OBAMA: Do you hate yourself?
SULEMAN: I think that`s an extremely strong word.
PINSKY: I`m just -- you said, "I would hate myself more." Those were your words.
SULEMAN: Would. "Would" kind of is that wedge there. I think I would.
PINSKY: But you said, "I would hate myself more."
SULEMAN: I think a part of me lives in -- again, I don`t want to feel regret.
PINSKY: So what do you hate about yourself?
SULEMAN: I think the poor choices I have made in my past.
PINSKY: Like what?
SULEMAN: How they have affected my (AUDIO GAP) choices to have more. Lady, when is it enough? Wasn`t two enough? Three enough?
PINSKY: It sounds like your mom?
SULEMAN: It does. So I`ve maybe interjected some of her beliefs, values.
PINSKY: And then you beat yourself up for that.
SULEMAN: I do.
PINSKY: But you did it anyway.
SULEMAN: I`m trying to beat myself up in a constructive, productive matter. OK? You know, working at it. And if I can -- again, (INAUDIBLE) 14 kids in the middle of the night -- .
PINSKY: Let`s get at this a little bit. I hate myself because?
SULEMAN: I hate myself because -- well, because I do want people to - - I hate myself because all of this that has been created out of my choices, all of this mess has deleteriously affected by kids.
PINSKY: And you hate that?
SULEMAN: And I hate that, how it`s affected them. You know, if it has affected them in a negative way. You know, they have also adopted my humor.
PINSKY: And that makes you sad?
SULEMAN: It does. It does. It`s always resolved around my children.
PINSKY: Tell me about that. So, I hate myself because I`ve made some choices --
SULEMAN: That have negatively affected my family.
PINSKY: Give me a specific example.
SULEMAN: The panic. OK, my kids are -- I was listening to my 10- year-old, my Elijah (ph), who has just turned 9. We live in a vault, a self-imposed prison, because I`m terrified of people.
I`m scared to go in front -- it just takes just one person or their schizophrenic brother to come up the street with a gun. One person could ruin your lives for the rest of your life.
PINSKY: So you live in this closed --
SULEMAN: I live in an overprotective paranoia -- paranoid world of terrified people. And see, before I had kids, in my mind -- well, working with sexual offenders for many years, I did have empathy for the adolescents because I knew they were victims of the perpetrators that were hurting them. So before I had kids I had empathy. Now I just have fear.
PINSKY: When we come back, I ask "Octomom" point blank, "Do you hate men?" Find out what she says, next.
PINSKY (voice-over): Nope. There are no men in Octomom`s life. She had a fairly disturbed relationship with her dad and what is up with Octomom and men? Take a look.
(on-camera): Do you hate men?
NADYA SULEMAN, OCTOMOM: I do not hate men.
PINSKY: OK. So, you live in this world of fear and inclusiveness and obsessiveness.
SULEMAN: They can`t do their skate board thing in front of the house. I will allow them, but --
PINSKY: Do kids get angry with you for being that one?
SULEMAN: Of course. Only rarely Elijah will scream at me if (INAUDIBLE) that I won`t take him to a skate park. You know, of course, I need to be there for all the kids.
PINSKY: When they hit teens, that`s going to be tough.
SULEMAN: I`m praying that I can go on the business side of things and generate enough revenue so that I can hire them a security guard to follow and go everywhere. You want to go to party, sure, you`re going to be followed.
PINSKY: Aren`t you afraid your kids are going to get paranoid?
SULEMAN: I don`t allow myself that time to worry about that. I know projection. I know projection. I know that. And then, some of them are already.
PINSKY: They`re getting little paranoid?
SULEMAN: Not as much I, but they are a little bit.
PINSKY: Can you appreciate that some of that paranoid may be coming from your mom, and what she went through?
SULEMAN: I know that.
PINSKY: That`s great. Make sense.
PINSKY: And yet, here you are in the situation where the world is coming in. It`s the exact opposition -- it`s the trauma you didn`t want is pouring in.
SULEMAN: That`s the paradoxism of my life. You know, first, I`m a person turned into a parody without permission. And then, all I want to do in my life being a student avoiding reality, by being a professional student, and then, maybe part of it having the kids, create my own world, right, away from the human race. What`s the parody in this? And also, my whole plans were just completely ruptured because of the media. The choices I made --
PINSKY: And choosing to have eight kids, I think, that`s where it was.
SULEMAN: I didn`t choose to have eight. I didn`t know if I wanted one more after the six. That is another entire story. I didn`t want eight. What happened was -- I can tell you that there are so darn layers to this. It`s never ending. There`s a situation of the retrieval and the transfer and all that. That`s another story in and of itself. I wrote everything. I wrote everything. I`ve written on my own since the kids were six months old. I`ve been writing a book. It`s on hiatus, I think, last summer.
PINSKY: Yes. I don`t know how you do anything. With triplets speak up today (ph), we got to write a book. We don`t have time. (INAUDIBLE)
SULEMAN: I did. In the beginning, when I had nannies, because they`re newborns, you can`t feed them all by yourself.
SULEMAN: I was staying up all night. No, I was writing.
SULEMAN: But then, even that time is disturbed because of my fear. I`m up going downstairs. I`m downstairs putting blankets on the kids, making sure the doors are locked. The windows are locked. Looking in the front of the house. Is there any car that I don`t recognize. And I know the neighbors` cars. Who`s that in front of our house? And then -- and locking again the windows.
PINSKY: So we have to put sleep disturbance in there with our axis one.
SULEMAN: Everything. Everything`s in there.
PINSKY: So, there`s another think that I think I said there were two things that people react to. The other thing I react to a little bit is I`m seeing the older kids get a little bit parentalized here, because they have to do some parenting, because it`s a survival thing for everybody.
SULEMAN: If you were in my house, you`d be shocked.
PINSKY: No, I saw your oldest daughter doing taking over and doing stuff on the today show. That`s parentalization.
SULEMAN: She does that when there were cameras (ph).
PINSKY: All right. OK.
SULEMAN: Come over with no cameras --
PINSKY: All right. That`s fine. That`s good. But the other thing is you know well with your own mom, that as a kid, you ended up taking on mom stuff.
PINSKY: So, they`re going to take on all your anxiety and all your paranoia.
SULEMAN: I don`t want that to happen, which is -- sure therapy would be great. Time, money, that`s is a problem.
PINSKY: I get you. Be careful. OK. You caused a stir recently when you denied reports in an interview with "In-Touch" magazine that babies disgust you.
SULEMAN: I never --
PINSKY: Here`s what you said. Let`s look at this. Here`s what you said a few days ago. Let`s listen to the audio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you had the money and the ability to have more children would you?
SULEMAN: God help me, no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never again?
SULEMAN: Yes. No I cringe and I`m not kidding. When I hear a baby cry, and I`m outside, I cringe. I`m being honest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it make you hate -- not hate your own, but --
SULEMAN: I do not like babies. I do not like babies. And it`s also hard for me to bond. I bond with my six, the first six that I had, because I`m starting to have my own hypothesis. I think something happens in the brain which prevents them from being able to bond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SULEMAN: First and foremost, I love children, love babies. I love them. She asked me --
SULEMAN: They`re innocent.
PINSKY: Going through all this, I would have a little disdain --
PINSKY: You know what I mean?
SULEMAN: Let me respond. There`s several things before I forget. OK. Because my brain is -- I digress very easily. When she asked me the question, she did not say do you hate children, do you hate babies? She said would you have another?
SULEMAN: That ignited this visceral reaction in me, and I like to say it how I feel and how I feel it. God help me no, I said no. And again, I`m adamant in that. I vehemently would never ever choose -- I wanted to kill the rumor that I would want another child. So, then, maybe I overreacted. I overreacted in saying I do not like babies, because what it is for me, personally, in my head, I feel like God implemented this psychological intervention flooding. You know, like, where someone wants to stop smoking, you inundate. You`re inundated with a lot --
PINSKY: I`d be aversive to babies, too, if I had eight of those.
SULEMAN: The innocent child --
PINSKY: Aren`t you aversive? You should be.
SULEMAN: I was not laughing, but I was not serious in that I hate -- I love, love kids, animals. Of course. I love children. I adore mine. I would die for my kids. I love them. They are my life. They are my world. And the thing is is I wanted just to -- just to really kill it that rumor that I`d want any children.
PINSKY: I will rephrase it. I will hate to have another baby.
SULEMAN: I would not -- how was that? I would not have ever, ever another child ever again.
PINSKY: If you had to do it over again, what would you do?
SULEMAN: I hate that question.
PINSKY: Do people ask you this?
SULEMAN: All the time.
PINSKY: Well, because here`s what unfair. You wouldn`t give back (ph) one of your kids who love each and everyone with us, but again, look at what you --
SULEMAN: Today, who would I have gotten rid of? I will say that, of course not. I love every single one of my children.
PINSKY: I know.
SULEMAN: Back then, you know, if I were a little more mature and I was --
PINSKY: How old were you then?
SULEMAN: When I chose to have not eight, but I chose to do another in vitro?
SULEMAN: I don`t know, was I 33? I`m like 33.
SULEMAN: Right. You know, in my head, here we go living with -- I don`t know I have -- there is some regression there with me.
PINSKY: You regressed?
SULEMAN: I`m sure. I`ve always been, I think. I think it feel safer. I think it`s also related to wanting to be a professional student and stay in the university world. That I don`t have to face the harshness of reality. You know, it`s a scary world out there. And then, in regard to having children, I just feel so safe in my world, my predictable, safe world that I created that here I am with my family, my kids. They will never leave me. They won`t abandon me. Kids love you, unconditionally.
PINSKY: Is it fair to make them responsible, though, for those feelings?
SULEMAN: None of this is fair. None of what most humanity, none of what most people engage is really fair to the people. Do I live in guilt? Yes. Do I choose to wallow in my pits? No.
PINSKY: Guilt of what?
SULEMAN: The guilt of my choices again -- the choices of choosing to even have one more after the six. Sure I should have not done that. But do I want to live in regret of that? Of course not. That is not advantageous to my children. I want to teach them to go forward. Learn and grow from your past choices. Own responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Own it and move forward, because if you don`t, you`re just going to stagnant and grow more (ph).
PINSKY (voice-over): Raising 14 kids is no joke, but don`t tell that to the late night comedians. Nadya reacts, and it`s not what you might expect, next.
PINSKY: After all she`s been through, Octomom can still laugh at herself and those who make jokes aimed directly at her. Watch.
PINSKY (on-camera): The other thing that`s happened to you is you`ve been the object of scrutiny in late night comedy and sort of --
SULEMAN: I heard about -- I didn`t watch. I`ve never watched Mr. Kimmel.
SULEMAN: But my friends were like taping some of his stuff.
PINSKY: We`ve got some tape. Should we watch? Let`s watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, HOST, JOY BEHAR SHOW: I`ll tell you what`s more annoying than her eight kids on the plane is her laugh. Could we just see that? Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, we have managed to line up an exclusive interview with Nadya via satellite. Hello, Nadya. Thank you for joining us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for having me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing I want to ask you is how are the babies doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are wonderful. They are doing great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: All right. Well, I`m glad you can laugh at it. I want to show another bit of footage here where you sort of laugh at yourself.
SULEMAN: I did from the beginning.
PINSKY: Well, if you, guys, could cut to this, there`s a clip we have for you from MTV "Silent Library" where I thought, oh my, this is awesome. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, I spewed out many, many, many babies. More than I actually gave birth to to a contestant whose mask completely was destroyed by one of the -- several of the babies. I thought that would be exciting. I love self-deprecating humor. You have to laugh at yourself. That`s the healthiest of all medication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Your reaction to that?
SULEMAN: That`s funny. That`s funny crap right there. I didn`t see that. I never saw that.
PINSKY: You see that good. How about the Jimmy Kimmel stuff? Did that hurt you?
SULEMAN: No. The thing is I`m able to -- since I was little, though, I`m prepared. My dad -- and my mom has a very mean sense of humor. And I don`t personalize it because that`s who she is. And my dad, dry sarcastic, sardonic. That`s what I was raised with. Self-deprecating humor. You have to.
PINSKY: You`ve never taken any kind of assistance?
SULEMAN: Never. Never.
PINSKY: Or public assistance?
SULEMAN: A wick. Wick. The only assistance was before the -- this is before -- I had six kids, and it took years. Again, friends and my family were like, it`s milk, it`s cheese, it`s formula. Get something. And I took a couple years and I was like, I`ll do it. I had the twins. And then, when they were little, I thought, OK, I`m going to get wick. I went in the wick office, and the lady, some of the counselor said, you know what, you can do some food stamps. I`m like no, no, I don`t want to do that, because, you know -- she says it`s not welfare. It`s not at all.
PINSKY: You would not accept welfare?
SULEMAN: No. No. I wouldn`t. I never would. At first, again, I`d feel like a failure as a human being and I feel like a failure as a mother. I chose to have my kids on my own volition. How dare I, you know, try -- I`m a taxpayer. Why would I want to be a burden on anyone else for me making the choice to have a family?
PINSKY: So, as a multiple parent, again, I know it`s tremendously expensive to have these kids.
SULEMAN: And I tell you, you see how I`m making money.
PINSKY: Which is?
SULEMAN: Other countries. Other countries. And again, I just mentioned on Joy that within ten minutes I made $3,000 on a, you know, radio interview. I feel very, very grateful for that opportunity.
PINSKY: So, the media is how you make money.
SULEMAN: The media. It`s a catch 22. I don`t want anything to do with them, but then, that`s how I`m putting, you know, food on the table.
PINSKY: You`re sort of stock.
SULEMAN: Yes. Exactly. Of course. What else am I going to do? Our expenses are like about $18,000 a month. And that`s just -- oh, by the way, I choose to have my kids in a private Christian school which is double the mortgage. I will not take my kids out of that school. It is the safest for them, because again, the death threats still haunt me. They will haunt me forever. And, I`m afraid they`ll haunt my kids. This is a school I can call with an issue, and the principal will call me back within a few minutes.
PINSKY: I was talking to my wife about your situation, and she said something I thought was kind of vivid. She goes, boy, you have to dig out from this, because it`s 18 years with this. You`ve got to get all the way through it.
SULEMAN: Right. Right. Right.
PINSKY: You`ve created quite a hole for yourself.
SULEMAN: I`m climbing out and I feel it. And I see the light at the end of the tunnel --
PINSKY: Eighteen years away or 16 years away, whatever.
SULEMAN: Sooner than that. The thing is I don`t like cameras. Again, I don`t like being the use (ph) of the light or whatever -- I don`t like it. I wanted -- my dream in life was to become a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor. And so that I opted on that one year away from my masters in counseling. Can`t go back because I owe too much (INAUDIBLE). What the heck am I going to do?
Then I`m going to use the media because then I`m able to then generate revenue from other countries. This is not the only place in the world, you know. I`m hated in my own town like I mentioned -- and guess what, hated in my own town.
PINSKY: You are?
SULEMAN: That`s what I feel, because of the death threats. What would you think if you were me and you receive -- you have stalkers. I didn`t even mention the stalkers. There`ve been women for -- they stopped actually about six months ago. Somehow, the Oprah thing helped them stop. I don`t know how it happened, but they stopped. There were women, I don`t know, five, six times, who would park themselves in front of my home and wait for me to leave.
And I don`t think they just wanted to stay there. One time, I left -- here I`m digressing. As a parent, I accommodate to my kids. I`m a little (INAUDIBLE) with the older stuff. And they don`t want to eat what I cook. So, I took on a Friday night, my boys to -- it`s 9:30 at night. They have their pillows and their blankets. They`re ready to have fun and camp out in the car. It`s fun for them. A lady in front of my home, she was just sitting there.
She`s shocked, I think, I went out with my boys. What the heck do you think you`re doing? Where are you taking those kids? And I turned around to see who`s actually looking at. I`m looking at my door. I`m like, what are you doing -- what are you doing in front of my house? And she said, those kids should be in bed. You put those kids to bed, and you shouldn`t be out with those kids at night.
It`s Friday night. And I`m thinking, I rush them in the house, you know, with my background, working with mentally disturbed people, it just takes one person. I rushed the kids in the house, and then I quickly said, if you don`t leave my street, I`m calling the police. And then, she said nothing. All she said was you need stop having kids and get off our taxpayers` money. And I`m like I`m calling the police if you don`t leave. And then, she drove off and honked, honked, honked all the way down.
And it`s like -- a lot of these people, they need to feel powerful. Maybe they -- because being a societal scapegoat, I am one to whom everyone can feel superior. Maybe, they need that person to whom they can dump, project their inner feelings of shame and self-worthlessness. Maybe, it gives them that five seconds or 10 seconds of I don`t know.
PINSKY: I think you`re right. It`s a very powerful statement. Let`s talk about your panic. Tell me about that.
SULEMAN: Panic. OK. Swallowing emotions for a couple years. Eventually, as I mentioned earlier, they don`t just stay down. They -- and you can use sense or humor just to a certain point. But they started to, you know, boil and bubble up into terror. I said rage, but I think a lot of that is more just mixed together emotions that I`ve been suppressing.
PINSKY: Did you do scary things in front of your kids because of it?
SULEMAN: No, no, no. My scary thing is on stair master.
SULEMAN: No. With my kids when I go to the gym. If I can get there, I do 40 miles a week if I`m lucky, and I do 11 miles at, you know, just 99. I push on the stair master, level ten, take my weights, and we`re having people will walk past --
PINSKY: You tell me you wanted to kind of talk about the panic.
SULEMAN: This is how I`m self-medicating to reduce panic.
PINSKY: But you have agoraphobia, too, right, where you`re fearful of being outside --
SULEMAN: When I was little, I`ve always -- I was afraid of crowds. I don`t really like to be around a lot of people. I don`t want to go out.
PINSKY: That`s agoraphobia. Yes. That`s pretty anxiety disorder.
SULEMAN: Right. I don`t like to go to parties. I`m not a person to do that. And I like to stay home.
PINSKY: Are you ever going to date?
SULEMAN: OK. That`s a huge issue separate from -- let me finish this, because -- let me finish this topic. The agoraphobia, the panic. It started -- let me tell you how it started. Swallowing the emotions ended up manifesting into the fear, the fear of people. And I took my daughter for her birthday about a year ago to Disneyland. And we`re there. And I look at the ground more than anyone, because I want to, you know -- I just look down and had my sweatshirt hood on.
People still recognize and guys. It`s the guys. They`re not negative. That`s what`s interesting. It`s the women that seem to be more negative. They`re positive. Groups, I`d say completely disassociate from one another. There`s about three separate groups of 20-some guys. They scream Octomom. They`re chasing us down California adventure halfway through, and we`re running.
And Mira and I go into the bathroom. I lock us in a stall and I can`t breathe and I`m dizzy. I`m profusely sweating. I want to flush myself down the toilet. That`s what I want to do, but we stay in there for 25 minutes, and I`m trying not to cry but I am. And, again, I`m self- controlled.
PINSKY: Did that effect Mira?
SULEMAN: She was amazing. She was very patient with me. She understood, because she knew -- they know how I am. They don`t like to really be around people, but she was calm with me, and she was just standing there with me. I called a friend and I asked my friend, this is what`s going on. What should I do? She`s like, you know, I need you to stay there. Just breathe. You`ll get through it. You`re strong.
PINSKY: Do you have something called globus? Do you have like this feeling here like a fist coming up in your chest?
SULEMAN: Where I feel like I`m being choked?
SULEMAN: Intoxicating? I don`t know.
PINSKY: I`m feeling that right now, and I don`t normally feel that.
PINSKY: It must be yours.
SULEMAN: I`m sorry if I`m inducing that.
PINSKY: I just sort of trying --
PINSKY: Yes, feel your feelings.
SULEMAN: Not right now, but at that point, yes, I did.
PINSKY: So, what are Octomom`s thoughts about the doctor who helped her get pregnant with octuplets? We have exclusive details on how she managed to have eight babies at one time and it is not what you think.
PINSKY (voice-over): In this family with 14 kids, the writing is on the wall. There`s some shouting and even more running. Nadya Suleman never sits down.
SULEMAN: I`m still giving them lunch. I had no help. I was defensive and angry. What you did, have no paid help. So, I haven`t had any nanny for six months.
PINSKY: You heard it right. She`s the only one making lunch and changing diapers for eight toddlers. She says she likes it this way even though she gets just two hours of sleep a night. Did Octomom plan on having eight children? I asked her how this happened and for the first time, she shares the following exclusive details on how this happened. Watch.
PINSKY (on-camera): Let`s talk about the fertility specialist that got you eight kids.
PINSKY: How did that happen? How do you feel about him?
SULEMAN: Right. This is exactly what happened, and I have not talked really about this at all.
PINSKY: Previous fertility treatments for you. They put in five and one took.
PINSKY: And one time, when they put six in, two took.
PINSKY: So, your history suggests that you need more than the usual three that they do put in these days. OK. So, here you are with your doctor talking about. So, you must have been planning to put six in.
SULEMAN: Six total, right.
SULEMAN: So, I did the six. Now, we weren`t expecting something. In the middle of the procedure, my uterus started to contract. Again, I don`t think you heard this, no I`m talking about this. You just contracting. And after the transfer, he and embryologist came up to me. Now, I don`t know if you know they do give you medication. I was on Valium.
They give me a cocktail of drugs. I`m really not lucid at that time. So, he came up to me with embryologist and said, OK, Nadia, it`s really contracting heavily. We`re going to put you (INAUDIBLE) and we are going to wait, hold a little a bit, about an hour.
PINSKY: They put you upside down and their theory is that uterus is going to push out the embryos.
SULEMAN: He said -- he told me like I`m 97 percent -- 99 percent they`ve been expelled (ph).
SULEMAN: So, I`m like, OK, you know what, I`m not going to do this again. Just get them off. Just use whatever you have. I`m again not lucid in my state of mind.
PINSKY: It`s your decision. Intoxicated.
SULEMAN: So, he went to his office. he wrote out -- I don`t know if that`s professional or not, but he wrote something out stating that if just by chance too many grew, this is what I would do. He wrote something. He gave it to me so sign. Right there, while I`m laying down. And I signed it. And I didn`t read it. Like an idiot.
PINSKY: But you got eight lives.
SULEMAN: They`re amazingly healthy.
PINSKY: It`s hard for one mom to meet the needs of all of them.
SULEMAN: Of course. Here we go, going back.
PINSKY: And that`s where people have their outrage.
SULEMAN: I can`t blame them. Again, I also can`t blame them, because when the media creates something that takes on -- this octo creature that, again, sort of -- they takes on a life of its own and here me, the real me, avoiding, avoiding, avoiding, there`s queen of avoidance over here don`t want to get management. I really can`t blame people who want to learn about this thing.
It has every personality disorder plus some that haven`t been invented yet. So, this thing, I want to take a sledge hammer to that thing and kill it, because it`s -- for the creature, the octo creature. It is not beneficial to my children in any way, shape, or form. And I need to be able to turn things healthy, positive, focus on who we really are, you know, about health and fitness and moving forward. Coping.
PINSKY: Coping. I wish you the best. As a multiple parents, that`s the whole deal. Just digging out, getting through. It`s a long. It`s a marathon. So, thank you, Nadya Suleman.