Octuplets Mom: A Huge Family Was 'Always a Dream'

updated 02/06/2009 AT 08:45 AM EST

originally published 02/05/2009 AT 06:50 PM EST

Nadya Suleman says she tried for seven years to get pregnant before she successfully conceived with in-vitro fertilization at a facility – "and then I just kept going in."

In an interview for the Today show, the recent mother of octuplets – who has six other children at home – tells NBC's Ann Curry: "That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family."

The desire, she says, stemmed from a dysfunctional childhood, according to the interview, which airs Monday with a sneak peek on Friday. (Dateline also will air a portion on Tuesday.)

"I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up," she says.

Asked what she felt she lacked, she says, "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. Reflecting back on my childhood, I know it wasn't functional. It was pretty, pretty dysfunctional, and whose isn't?"

Suleman, 33, was interviewed shortly after she was discharged from Kaiser Permanente's hospital in Bellflower, Calif. Her babies – six boys and two girls – remain in the hospital, all in good condition.

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