Parent24 previously spoke to Claire Brauer about her transformative birth experiences at a government hospital. Now we catch up again to hear what life is like for her and husband, Alon, with their eight children.
Claire and Alon never thought they would have a family this big.
She says they had always spoken about maybe having two or three children once they get married, but life had other plans.
Claire says her maternal instincts were not that prominent before she had her own children.
"I was never the type of person that wanted to hold a baby when I would see one, but having my first child was life changing. I fell in love with my son when he was born and I have loved being a parent ever since," she told us.
This certainly does not mean raising eight children has been a breeze.
Yet Claire dives into the challenges.
Time management is one of their biggest challenges.
"It doesn't always feel like there are enough hours in my day to do everything. However, the upside is that there are several set of hands that can assist so it makes it a bit easier," Claire says.
Ensuring all the children receive the individual attention they require and making sure they all feel seen and heard is another challenge.
Claire says they are very deliberate and intentional about this, but it is not always easy.
Their family has had to endure some distasteful comments too. When people hear they have eight children, the comments are not always positive or met with joy.
"Our eldest son, Elijah (15), has had to endure commentary from his peers like, 'have your parents not heard of birth control?' and it's hard for him because as a teenager you're still finding your place in society."
"You are already feeling awkward plus there's added pressure because of the family dynamic, but we always try to make him see the upside," she says.
"We have had to learn to just be gracious, because people do not know what a blessing it is," she shares.
Financially, it is not always easy for their family.
Although Alon is a qualified chemical engineer it's been very difficult for him to get a job.
"We have a very tight budget. My husband hasn't been able to get a job, but he does tutor and take care of the kids," she says.
While running a household with eight children, Claire a qualified graphic designer, is a freelancer designer. She also runs her own business, called Sovereign, selling baby products like bibs and carrier slings which assists with generating an income for their family.
She also presents sewing workshops, art lessons at schools and is currently training to be a doula.
Also Read: Benefits of a 20-kid family
"You won't always be able to give your children the latest and greatest but we place our focus on what is important, cause the materialistic things are not always important," says Claire.
Illness is another challenge.
If one person gets sick in the house, the chances of somebody else getting sick are very high.
"If somebody gets sick it means they will carry it on to another, and so the process repeats itself again. The recovery period tends to be close to a month because of this," Claire shares.
She says the challenges are very practical and present, but it's a massive upside to have a big family cause that outweighs the challenges.
The perks of having a big family
For every downside, there tends to be an upside luckily.
For Claire and her family one of the biggest upsides is having all eight of their children in their lives.
"I know that we have everyone in our family that we are meant to have," she says with a content smile on her face.
Her children and husband understand she only has two hands and can not do everything all by herself so everyone gladly does their bit, and there's always an awareness of others in the house.
She shares about the times when their eldest daughter, Aylah (12), would comfort her younger siblings.
"If one of the younger children would wake up feeling scared and insecure, she'd go comfort her sibling and lay next to them until they'd fall asleep again," she told us. "They are all very close and love each other selflessly."
"The level of love between our children is amazing. When one person gets hurt, there are seven people rushing to assist you, and won't hesitate to help you," she says.
It is a perk to have so many siblings cause there will always be somebody to spend time with.
Claire says if one sibling is disagreeing with another, there are six others you can befriend.
She also attributes Elijah's problem solving skills and love for children to the big family dynamic. His love for children has resulted in him becoming a jiu-jitsu instructor.
"Having a big family has taught us to be more patient, and I couldn't have done it without any of my family members," says Claire.
People often describe her as a supermom, or say she must be a better mom than them because they have eight.
"I feel that is a misinterpretation. Simply having one child is already challenging and a stretch. It does not matter how many children you have or will have, it will always be challenging," says Claire.
She adds, "I don't see myself as a supermom. I am just a mom with a few more kids than average. Not having all eight at once really made it easier."
More often than not they have to keep their eyes and ears focused on the two toddlers, Ezrah (2) and Judah (3), because they are always getting up to something mischievous whether it is pouring out the flour or putting the dog food in water, but Claire says she would not trade her family of eight for anything else in the world.
Share your story with us and we could publish it. Anonymous contributions are welcome.
WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325
Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @ parent24.com