'Octomom' and her brood doing well

CNN

Posted at Dec 19 2009 12:16 AM | Updated as of Dec 19 2009 08:16 AM

London, England (CNN) -- When Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets in January 2009 the news was greeted with amazement around the world.

But astonishment soon gave way to criticism directed at her -- it was revealed that she was already a mother to six children -- and over the ethics of fertility treatment.

So far she has weathered the storm and soon her eight babies will be celebrating their first birthday. But how on earth does she cope?

"The children sleep all night," she told CNN's Max Foster. "They sleep maybe from 7.30pm to 5am, but there are not enough hours in the day."

Caring for octuplets -- six boys and two girls -- poses a unique economic challenge for the 34-year-old mother of 14 who has also been criticized for being jobless.

"It's a challenge. It's a double-edged sword. I'm damned if I work and I'm damned if I don't. I can't work a nine-to-five job because that's not going to be enough income to support the kids. I'm trying to secure what I can."

Suleman says trying to manage the domestic budget is like "a revolving door of expenses. Every dollar that comes in goes on the kids."

"Octomom" -- as she has been dubbed by the media -- does have some help with the child-rearing from three helpers, one of which is dedicated to looking after her child who has autism.

Inevitably, it is impossible for her to give each child the attention they deserve.

"It would be impossible for a couple. You just try and do the best you can. You try and have special time with each child -- putting them to bed, telling them a story, asking them about their day -- as long as they get alone time and it's quality. I'd love to give them quantity but that's virtually impossible."

Despite her experience with fertility treatment Suleman is reluctant for across the board limits on the number of embryos that can be implanted during IVF treatment.

"Every case is subjective, every woman responds differently," Suleman said.

"Given my past reproductive history my doctor didn't make any kind of mistake, he was guided by what was successful in the past. So only a certain amount of embryos were transferred -- the same amount when I had my twins. The last thing anyone imagined was more than one or two growing."

Although the burden of raising 14 children is obvious, Suleman is reluctant to jump into a relationship. She isn't in a rush to find a male role model for her children.

"I believe I do not have to put myself out there. I do not have to date. I feel the missing piece of the puzzle will be placed naturally when the time is right. I don't see the point in going out and wasting precious time and energy that I need for my kids."

Suleman is currently documenting the experiences of the past year in a book and despite the constant sniping from the media she still manages to reflect positively on the past 12 months.

I've definitely grown more in the past eleven months than I have in the past 34 years. I personally believe everything happens for a reason and I've learnt how strong I am. It's a choice who you let into your life and who you are going to allow to affect you psychologically or emotionally. I've learned how to maintain boundaries and how to grow as a result of some extraordinarily challenging situations."