Nadya Suleman also told NBC News that she wanted a large family -- the octuplets have six siblings -- because she lacked "certain connections and attachments" while growing up.
After failing to become pregnant and miscarrying three times, Suleman tried in vitro fertilization and became pregnant, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
The Times reviewed hundreds of pages of state documents and NBC News recorded Suleman's first interview Thursday after she was released from the hospital.
The 33-year-old single mother lives with her parents in Whittier, Calif., and has come under heavy criticism for giving birth to the octuplets. In her NBC interview, she tried to explain why she wanted to have so many children.
"I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up," Suleman said. "I didn't feel as though, when I was a child, I had much control of my environment."
Suleman said her childhood made her yearn for many children of her own.
"That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family," she told NBC.
Suleman filed at least two claims for workers' compensation, the Times reported. State documents show she reported an injury in 1999 while working as a psychiatric technician at a state hospital, and another in 2001 after a car accident that happened while she was en route to medical treatment.