FROM THE ARCHIVE | Couple welcome 11th child but want a brood of 14

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Chris and Courtney Rodgers are proud parents to six boys and four girls – and they’re thrilled to be expecting again. (Photo: Instagram)
Chris and Courtney Rodgers are proud parents to six boys and four girls – and they’re thrilled to be expecting again. (Photo: Instagram)

Let's have 10 kids like my parents did, her husband said when they got married. She thought he was joking – who in their right mind would want that many children?

But just look at them now. Courtney and Chris Rogers will have 11 children in 10 years – baby number 11 is due in November. The pair are proud parents to six boys and four girls, including one set of twins and three sets of “Irish twins”, the term for when two children are born in the same year. And Courtney wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It feels normal to be pregnant so much,” she tells YOU from the family home in Santa Fe in New Mexico in the US. She’s one of six children so “being around so many kids is normal to us”, she adds. Pregnancy is really easy for her. She doesn’t suffer morning sickness and giving birth is a doddle.

 (Photo: Instagram)
The couple’s brood (from left) Clint, Clay, Cade, Callie, Cash, twins Colt and Case, Calene, Caydie and Coralee. “I get asked the children’s ages so I snapped a quick pic,” Courtney captioned this pic on Instagram. (Photo: Instagram)

The couple haven’t ever considered birth control and leave everything in nature’s hands. “It has nothing to do with our religious beliefs or anything. I just don’t like the idea of contraceptives. A large family is a personal choice and we love it.”

Courtney (36) and Chris (32) were delighted when they found out they were expecting a month after their wedding in October 2008. “I was thrilled,” Courtney recalls. “It was a dream come true starting a family so easily.” But it wasn’t meant to be – she miscarried just before the six-week mark.

“We were heartbroken,” she says. Six months later, however, she was pregnant again and this time everything went according to plan. Clint (10) was born in 2010, and 16 months later Clay (8) came along. Cade (7) followed hot on his heels – and he came so quickly Courtney gave birth in the driveway on the way to the car.

 (Photo: Instagram)
The Rodgers family love to celebrate Christmas. (Photo: Instagram)

Cade was only three months old when Courtney discovered she was pregnant with Callie (6). “I must admit I was a little embarrassed to announce I was pregnant with Callie. I thought, ‘What will everyone think? I have a three-month-old!’ Courtney recalls. Next came Cash (5), followed by twins Colt and Case (4). “When the twins were five months old, I fell pregnant again,” she says.

“But I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks, which was hard because it was further along than my first miscarriage.” Still, three more successful pregnancies followed and Calene (3), Caydie (2) and Coralee (1) are now ensconced in the clan.

“Sometime after that, I began to not really care what people thought about our family size. Healthy pregnancies and healthy babies aren’t a curse. I was thankful for each one God sent our way.” Courtney is a stay-at-home mom and home-schools the children while Chris does construction projects and gardening work. They’re also very involved at their local church and Courtney teaches Sunday school.

Lockdown hasn’t been a hardship for the family, who live in a six-bedroom house on a smallholding with two bottle-fed lambs and a collection of dogs and chickens. Other parents have been tearing their hair out with their kids around all the time but Courtney is used to it.

 (Photo: Instagram)
Everyone eats what Courtney prepares unless someone truly hates it. (Photo: Instagram)

“I love having the children with me all the time and seeing them learn. I can adapt the lessons to each child and I don’t have to make them sit for hours all day. I love how flexible it is and that the kids can run around outside or feed the lambs between lessons. I’m more like a tutor. I’ll set the children work to do and they’ll come up and ask me about it.

“I’ve often got a baby in my arms or I’m changing a diaper and I’ll have four kids queueing up to ask me a maths question,” she says. A typical family day starts at 7.30am and it’s go-go-go all day. The younger kids are all in bed by 8.30pm while the older ones can stay up until 10pm. Courtney has no idea how many nappies she changes in a day. “At one point we had four kids in diapers. We use cloth diapers to save money and reduce waste.”

There’s little me-time for this busy mom – no coffee mornings with friends, gym sessions or quiet solitary country walks. She also has no home help or extended family members living nearby. But even this devoted mom gets to the end of her tether sometimes and when that happens “a couple of hours in town shopping on my own or buying a coffee helps”.

 (Photo: Instagram)
Courtney and Chris will be married for 12 years (Photo: Instagram)

They own a 15-seater minibus but Chris and Courtney rarely take all 10 kids along when they go grocery shopping. “When we do we have three trolleys full of babies and groceries,” Courtney says. “Of course, everyone stares at us. 

They spend about $300 (R5 100) on groceries a week and Courtney does at least two loads of washing a day. Everyone pulls their weight around the house and has a list of daily chores to get through. She loves every minute she spends with her children and wouldn’t have it any other way.

 (Photo: Instagram)
Courtney rarely shops with all 10 children (Photo: Instagram)

“All the blessings, joy and laughter make up for the hard times. I love being a mom of a big family.” So after No 11 comes along, are they done? Never say never, Courtney replies. “The kids want us to be like the 2003 film Cheaper by the Dozen, where the parents compromise their careers to raise 12 children. We want to have 12 children – 14 even.”

Question is, though, will there be any names starting with a C left?

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