A mother who’s had 10 children in 10 years with her pastor husband, is keen to increase her brood to 12 – just like the couple in the 2003 Steve Martin comedy, Cheaper By The Dozen.
Courtney Rogers, 36, who was a virgin bride when she married Chris Rogers, 32, in October 2008, has not been without a baby bump for more than nine months since tying the knot.
The couple who live in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, have just one ‘date night’ away from their children each year. They have six boys and four girls aged between nine months and ten years, who are home-schooled and ferried around their neighbourhood in a 15 seater van.
The family live on a 12 acre plot, spending around $1,200 (£975) each month on food. In January the family went on an economy drive, cutting all eating out and fun purchases, because it was costing them well over $1,000 (£812) a month.
Courtney Rogers, 36, who has ten children with her husband Chris Rogers, 32, revealed they’re hoping to increase their brood. Pictured: The couple with Clint, 10, Clay, eight, Cade, seven, Callie, six, Cash, five, twins Colt and Case, four, Calena, two, Caydue, 21 months and Coralee, 10 months
The family who live in New Mexico, spend around $1,200 (£975) each month on food and the children are happy to wear hand-me-down clothes. Pictured left to right: Caydie, Case, Cade, Coralee, Clint, Callie, Clay, Colt, Calena and Cash
The children are happy to wear hand-me-down clothes and shoes, and the family shop in the sales to cut cost. Once a year they enjoy a family holiday for a week, camping near relatives in Georgia, 1,500 miles away – costing them $1,000 (£812) for travel and expenses.
At Christmas, Courtney and Chris forgo presents for one another, so they can spend $1,000 (£812) on gifts for their children.
Their last child-free date together was in November, when friends looked after their children.
Courtney said: ‘We walked downtown and ate a little something at several restaurants.
‘Then we went in a few shops and ended the night at the symphony listening to Handel’s Messiah. It was very nice and we both enjoyed the quiet time alone.’
The couple love their life as part of a massive family and have no desire to stop having children any time soon.
‘We want to have more if we can,’ said Courtney, whose youngest children Caydie and Coralee were born just 361 days apart.
Courtney revealed they hope to have to have more children, and perhaps become a family of 14. Pictured: The family at the supermarket
Courtney who teaches local children at her church, in addition to home-schooling her own kids said she loves knowing what her children are learning. Pictured: Courtney with Coralee
‘We want to have 12 children, a family of 14 even.
‘My husband is the eldest of 10, so before we got married, he joked about having as many as his mother had.
10 children in 10 years
March 13, 2010 – Clint was born weighing 8lbs 14oz
July 26, 2011 – Clay was born weighing 7lbs 13oz
September 16, 2012 – Cade was born weighing 6lbs 9oz
July 25, 2013 – Callie was born weighing 4lbs 8oz
October 24, 2014 – Cash was born weighing 7lbs 6oz
September 12, 2015 – Colt was born weighing 4 lbs 6 oz
September 12, 2015 – Case was born weighing 3lbs 8oz
May 9, 2017 – Calena was born weighing 6 lbs 6oz
June 10, 2018 – Caydie was born weighing 7lbs 9oz
June 6, 2019 – Coralee was born weighing 8lbs 9oz
‘The kids want us to be like the film Cheaper by the Dozen, where the parents compromise their careers to raise 12 children.
‘Having several kids in diapers at once and having lots of strollers – this is normal life to us.’
Keeping two bottle-fed lambs, dogs and chickens on the 12 acres of land where they live, neither Chris or Courtney who were both home-schooled, find teaching their children a chore.
‘I love having them with me all the time and seeing them learn and knowing what they are learning,’ said Courtney, who also teaches local children at her church on Sundays, but is not currently doing so due to the coronavirus lockdown.
‘I can adapt the lessons to each child and I don’t have to make them sit for hours all day. I love how it’s flexible and 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 will come up to me and ask me questions about it. I’ve often got a baby in my arms, or I’m changing a nappy and I’ll have four kids queuing up to ask me a maths question.’
Courtney and Chris met through a mutual friend at a church camp in Georgia in 2007. Pictured left to right: Calena, Case, Cade, Clay, Callie, Caydie, Colt, Cash, Clint and Coralee at the park
Since meeting through mutual friends at a church camp in Georgia in 2007, Courtney and Chris have become soul mates.
They spent a year living 300 miles apart, with her in North Carolina and him in Georgia – before tying the knot in October 2008, when she moved states to join him.
And two months after getting married, Courtney who is the eldest of six children discovered that she was pregnant.
‘Sadly, I had a miscarriage,’ she said.
‘When I got that positive result, it was a dream come true, but then we lost it in the December.’
Just five months later, she fell pregnant again, with their firstborn Clint.
Courtney who doesn’t use birth control, is adamant that her massive family is a personal choice rather than because of religious reasons. Pictured: Chris and Courtney
Then, seven years ago and several babies later, they moved to New Mexico.
Courtney, who has never suffered with morning sickness, continued: ‘I love being pregnant. I love growing another person inside me, thinking about what they will be like and picking out names.’
Unhappy about using birth control, although she swears it is not for religious reasons, Courtney is adamant that her massive family is a personal choice.
‘Some people think it’s for religious reasons, but it’s not,’ she said. ‘I am the only mother at our church who has lots of kids. I think the most anyone else has is four.
‘I have never been comfortable going on birth control, as I don’t like the idea of taking a pill.’
The mother-of-ten revealed morning is the most hectic part of the day, although the older children have chores to help the day run smoothly. Pictured: Coralee
Mother to Clint, 10, Clay, eight, Cade, seven, Callie, six, Cash, five, twins Colt and Case, four, Calena, two, Caydue, 21 months and Coralee, 10 months, Courtney has had seven vaginal births, two caesareans and, sadly, two miscarriages.
Superbly organised, she and Chris usually start the day at 7.30am, when they wake up with baby Coralee and put together breakfast of cereal and fruit for the other children, who are up and out of bed by 8am.
‘The morning is the most hectic part of the day – there is always so much going on, with kids running everywhere,’ explained Courtney.
The older children, who each have chores to make sure the day runs smoothly, help clear up after breakfast and Courtney starts her day of classes – giving the kids a break after a few hours to help bottle feed the lambs.
‘On a good day, I will also get three washing machine loads of clothes etc done,’ she said.
Chris who is a pastor at their local church, sometimes does odd jobs around the town including landscaping and construction to bring in extra cash. Pictured clockwise: Caydie, Calena, Case, Colt, Cade, Chris, Clay, Clint, Cash, Callie and Coralee eating lunch
‘Then everybody helps out with lunch – it will be something like sandwiches or leftovers – and I’ll put the little ones down for their afternoon nap, while the other kids watch a movie or get their chores done.’
Chris who is a pastor at their local church, is usually home for dinner, which could be lamb fajitas or pizza, but sometimes works late, doing odd jobs around the town, such as landscaping, construction, or helping with renovations at home and at the church building, to bring in extra cash.
The enterprising couple are also extending their house to give them five bedrooms, as well as creating additional accommodation to generate an income.
Courtney explained: ‘We moved a little shed onto our land last year, which we are trying to renovate and do up, so we can rent it out and earn some extra money.’
Courtney has been told there is a higher risk of haemorrhaging if you have lots of babies, but she’s not worried. Pictured: Courtney with Cade
Courtney who had her first baby at age 25, claims she didn’t think they would all come so fast. Pictured: The family at the beach
The family, who their mother says seldom argue, even try and do their bit for the environment, by using cloth nappies and wipes during the day and bamboo nappies at night, which can be composted.
Meanwhile, despite the World Health Organisation recommending a gap of 18 to 24 months between pregnancies, Courtney – who was advised by doctors after the caesareans to try and leave a longer time if she wants to have vaginal births – sees no reason to stop having children any time soon.
‘I’ve been told there is a higher risk of haemorrhaging if you have lots of babies, but that’s never been something which has worried or affected me, because I give birth in hospitals so they are prepared,’ she said.
‘I had my first baby when I was 25. I didn’t think they would all come so fast, but, of course, I wouldn’t change it.’
Not all Courtney’s pregnancies and births have been without incident.
Courtney gave birth to baby number three, Cade, on the driveway. Pictured left to right: Cash, Case, Colt, Clay, Cade, Coralee, Clint, Calena, Callie, Caydie at Christmas
Baby number three, Cade, came so quickly that Courtney gave birth to him on the driveway outside their house.
‘That’s our exciting birth story,’ she said. ‘I began to get contractions on his due date.
‘After the in-laws picked up the oldest two boys, we headed to the hospital to be checked and monitored. I was already 3cm dilated, but after a while on the monitor, my contractions basically stopped and the nurse got instructions to send me home.
‘We arrived home around 2am, exhausted, and went straight to bed. A few hours later, I woke up with a horrible pain.
‘I called the hospital again and was told to come in, so made my way outside, but when I got to the car, I couldn’t go any further. It was time to push!’
Paramedics arrived just in time to deliver Cade on the driveway.
Courtney gave birth to baby number four Callie, with a caesarean delivery because of complications. Pictured: The family at the supermarket
‘From the time I woke up, to the delivery was only 15 to 20 minutes,’ said Courtney, who has given birth to most of her babies alone.
‘For most of my births, Chris has dropped me off at hospital, then had to go home to look after the other kids.
Baby number four, Callie, was a Cesarean delivery, due to complications caused by placenta previa – when the placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix.
This meant Courtney started bleeding at just over 33 weeks, prompting the emergency Cesarean.
She then had a second Cesarean with the twins.
And she had a second miscarriage at 11 weeks when she fell pregnant after having Colt and Case, who were born six weeks early in September 2015, weighing just 4lbs 6oz and 3lbs 8oz, respectively.
‘When the twins were five months old, I fell pregnant again,’ she said.
Courtney said she was unable to go anywhere on her own, when she was bringing up seven children under the age of six. Pictured: The girls
‘But I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks, which was hard, because it was further along than my first miscarriage.’
At one point, bringing up seven children under the age of six, even Courtney admits it was ‘challenging.’
‘I could not go anywhere on my own and it stopped me from doing anything alone,’ she said. ‘It’s easier now they are all older.’
Still, Courtney is quick to shoot down in flames anyone who criticises her and Chris for having such a massive family.
She said: ‘I have been criticized for having them so close together, but I take good care of myself and my babies.
‘The people who ask how I can give all my kids enough attention are usually those who send their kids off to school.
Courtney revealed the family start celebrating Christmas from the beginning of November, buying new clothes and presents for each child. Pictured: Clay and Cash
Courtney said she doesn’t regret the number of children she’s had. Pictured: The family having a BBQ
‘I do not understand their logic when I am around my kids 24 hours a day.’
And she and Chris always make sure that none of their children miss out – particularly at special times, like Christmas.
She said: ‘We start celebrating right at the beginning of November, with music and decorations.
‘We get them all new pyjamas, an outfit for Christmas Day and we get each of them three or four presents, plus stocking fillers.
‘We ask them what they want and we can usually get everything they ask for.
‘I do not regret having so many children – the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned.
‘Chris and I love being parents and, as a family, we have a great time together.’
Chris added: ‘It gives me such pleasure to see them growing up.
‘Each have their own gifts, and I love to see them using them around the home and at church.’
You can follow Courtney on Instagram @littlehouseinthehighdesert