This TikTok famous mom wanted 16 kids. Now, a week after giving birth to her 12th child, she says she’s done.
Veronica Merritt, known as ThisMadMama on TikTok, has given birth to her 12th child.
The 37-year-old said she wanted 16 children but would stop at a dozen.
Her last pregnancy was difficult and she found out her 11th child has cancer.
When Veronica Merritt was pregnant with her 12th child, the controversial TikTok star vowed to have four more children.
The 37-year-old, who is known as “ThisMadMama” to her 160,000 followers, has told her fans and critics that she would continue until her brood is 16 years old.
But now, after the birth of their youngest child, Modi, on April 17, Merritt tells Insider that she’s changed her mind.
“The pressure is off,” she said. “I allowed myself to stop.”
Merritt described Modi, whose name she believes meant ‘god of the wrath of battle’ in Norse mythology, as ‘absolutely beautiful’. She added, “Just looking at him makes me feel calm and at peace.”
The single mother said her desire to have a large family was a “compulsion”. She believed it was driven by a “preoccupation” with numbers, sequences, patterns and colors.
“Now that Modi is here, I have six boys and six girls,” said Merritt, who suspected she had some type of OCD, although she hadn’t been officially diagnosed.
Merritt got pregnant for the first time when she was 14
Merritt was 14 and in high school when she had her first child, Victoria, who is now 22. Then along came Andrew, 17; Adam, 15; Marah, 14; dash, 12; Darla, 11; Wonderful, 9; Martalya, 7; Amelia, 5; Delilah, 3; Donovan, 2; and 10 day old modes.
She said she liked to color code the children by dressing them in different shades. For example, Adam is green, Darla is purple, and Dash is orange. Modi already got a color, so his blankets and rompers are yellow.
“The colors reflect their individual personalities,” Merritt said. “But they also keep me grounded and organized.”
Merritt has been chronicling her family’s hectic lifestyle on TikTok since December 2020. Her videos often show her preparing healthy meals, homeschooling the younger kids, or driving the yellow school bus she uses to house everyone.
But their posts sometimes trigger outrage and provoke judgements. Merritt rarely misses an opportunity to clap back and defend her decisions on social media. But she told Insider, “I honestly don’t care what people say or think.”
Victoria and Andrew were fathered by Merritt’s first husband, who she has declined to identify, while the rest of her children are owned by her second husband, Marty, from whom she is separated.
A critic on TikTok recently claimed that Merritt’s offspring came from “11 different fathers.” But the mother shrugged. “People can think what they want, but my children only have two fathers,” she said.
Marty attended his son’s birth on Easter Sunday, despite Merritt’s initial objections. “I didn’t really want him there,” she said. “But I didn’t have anyone else to bring with me.”
Merritt said she has always turned down pain relief during labor and is horrified at the thought of an epidural, but with Modi she was prescribed Xanax for her anxiety.
She had planned to have Modi at home before being told her medical history — developing deep vein thrombosis last fall and contracting COVID-19 in December — could put her at risk.
Her biggest source of stress, she said, involved her second youngest, Donovan. In early February, he was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.
“Right now I’m feeling optimistic and positive,” Merritt said of his prognosis. “But I’m scared a lot and I try not to think about the things that scare me.”
Merritt has numerous critics on social media who blast her decisions
Merritt said after talking about Donovan’s disease on TikTok, she was trolled. Some of the attacks came from critics who objected to the government support it received. Over the years, payouts have included stimulus checks and food stamps.
“People said I shouldn’t have any more kids if my son is sick,” Merritt said. “I’m like, ‘What should I do?’ I was seven months pregnant when I found out.”
But the support she’s received online has far outweighed the negativity: “Most of my followers have been very, very caring and amazing,” she said.
She had 3 of her babies at home
Merritt gave birth to Amelia, Delilah and Donovan at home without the help of doctors or midwives, she said. Marty cut the umbilical cord every time. “I couldn’t do it myself,” she said. “It is disgusting.”
The decision to have the three home births followed what Merritt described as “harrowing” experiences at the hospital.
“I don’t like having a lot of strangers come in and out of the room and examine me and see me naked,” Merritt said. She once mentioned her concerns to a working nurse. “She was mean and said, ‘Why? Shouldn’t you be used to it by now?’” Merritt said.
The turning point came in 2015, when a gynecologist “nagged me, told me I was taking too long, and threatened to have a cesarean,” she said. The mother felt vindicated when Martalya gave birth vaginally soon after the disagreement.
But her hospital work with Modi has gone well, she said. She added that the infant won the hearts of his siblings. “You want to hold him and kiss him,” Merritt said.
But it won’t be long before the kids can take care of another newborn. Victoria is expecting her first child in June. “I can’t wait,” Merritt said of becoming a grandmother.
Meanwhile, she said she’s proud of the dozen children she’s bought into the world.
“Looking at my family together, it’s like taking a step back from a garden that I’ve worked very hard on,” Merritt said. “I admire all the things I’ve done and take in the beauty.”
Read the original article on Insider