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.
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.
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!’
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.
“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”.
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.
“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?