• Fri, Oct 18 - 5:00 pm ET

Woman Spends 13 Years Of Her Life Pregnant, So Far

shutterstock_73524859__1382128966_142.196.156.251A California couple gave birth to their 17th child this week. That means the woman has spent over 13 years of her life pregnant. Wrap your head around that for a minute.

The couple, Chrisi and Dave Cason, haven’t ruled out having more children because they don’t believe in global warning or carbon footprints. Well, I sort of added that part:

“It’s an amazing experience – I cry every time. Vaughn is our second largest baby and we love him just as much as all the others.

Christi and Dave, from Lake Elsinore, California, are already parents to Dalton, 20, Austin, 18, Bailey, 16, Gage, 15, Kaylee, 13, Harper, 12, Emma, 11, Rebekah, nine, Trevor, eight, Walker, seven, Morgan, six, Laura, five, Sawyer, three, and Nathaniel, two – and Christi’s two children from a previous relationship, Jessica, 23, and Chad, 21.

My first pregnancy was pretty easy – physically. It was exciting and all the things I was experiencing – whether good or bad – were new. My second pregnancy seemed to last forever. The novelty of being pregnant kind of wore off quick. I felt big, and slow – and I just really wanted to be able to pick up my toddler. While we’re on that topic, can you imagine being pregnant with over a dozen kids to take care of? No? Me either. Christi did that five times.

I really don’t think it’s the best idea to have as many children as your body allows. Can you imagine if everyone did that? The world as we know it would come to an end even sooner than it’s going to already. Maybe they live on a farm and grow all of their own food or something. Oh, no they don’t:

The family eat up to 16 boxes of cereal and eight loaves of bread a week, guzzling two gallons of milk per day. They eat their meals around a 11ft long table.

And the family’s weekly shop includes 14 gallons of milk, 8kg of hamburger meat, 7lb of chicken and three-dozen eggs.

Wow.

“I hope people don’t judge us. We know we can afford a 17th child and all the children get loads of love and attention,” said Christi.

17 children? I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I’m judging you.

(photo: Alliance/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • NicknamesAreDull

    Thankfully, all of their names don’t start with the same letter.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Thank GOD I am not the only person who thought this. My first thought was “at least their names don’t suck like the Duggars.”

    • NicknamesAreDull

      My daughter’s name is very long (It’s Kathleen Grace-Elizabeth). For a long time, I felt like I made a mistake. Then, I heard of the Duggar cult. Now I feel better about giving my kid a long name because at least it isn’t creepy.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      First of all, I love that name. It’s great. My mom’s name is Kathleen and I love the name, and I think the whole name that you chose just flows well.

      But the Duggars? They are cray, just on the names alone. The names themselves aren’t so bad, but the whole same letter thing is weird in my book. Just solidifies that they don’t want them having too much of a personal identity.

    • https://www.facebook.com/bluegrasskitty bgk

      Joshua Duggar’s kids all have the same first letter for their names, too. All “M” (Makynzie, Marcus & Micheal) names to honor Michelle (his mama), which I kinda think is actually nice.

      For some reason the original brood all being “J” names weirds me out, but Joshua’s kids all having “M” names as a nod to his mother doesn’t. Idk why…

      But maybe it’ll be different once there’s 19 of them, too. :P

    • Blueathena623

      My son has the initials MAK. If our next kid is a girl, she will be MAK as well. We aren’t trying to be cutesy, its just the both my husband and my’s idols have MA names.

    • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

      I don’t think it’s a mistake at all, it’s a very lovely name.

    • Flo

      I have an Anna-Catherine Elizabeth. I, too, felt guilty for giving this tiny baby so many names but I loved all three and couldn’t decide. She goes by Anna-Cate and it really suits her.

    • Rachel Sea

      I like long names. It’s old fashioned, but nice.

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  • cesp

    I don’t care how many kids a couple has as long as they can afford to care for them all. The argument that parents with a dozen or so kids couldn’t possibly give every one all of the love and attention they need is ridiculous. I am the oldest of four and although I didn’t always get tons of alone time with my parents we spent tons of time together as a family. Their love and influence was a constant and if I needed to talk to my parents alone they always made time. We all took care of each other because that’s what families do. I love having three younger siblings because although we didn’t always get along as kids now that we are adults we are all very close friends. We share a history and connection that is more important to me than any other friendship I have. Honestly I would have loved to have more siblings, although my mother probably would have developed a drinking problem.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I get what you’re saying, and I sort of agree, BUT four siblings is different than 17 (or 20 like the Duggars). I have two sisters myself, and two step brothers, so there were five of us for much of the year (and always in my heart…I know, I’m lame) but I can’t imagine 17 or more. I would never support something crazy like legislation against how many kids someone could have (which I know no one here is supporting, obv) but I can’t help but question their intentions. I don’t see my feelings as outright judgement, I just wonder what their thought process really is. Especially the couple mentioned in this post, because they don’t seem to be as religiously motivated.

    • Zoe Lansing

      I agree.There’s a big difference between 4-5 kids and a brood numbering in the double digits.I’m the youngest of 5 (3 are actually my stepbrothers but we all lived together 50% of the time for the first few years,then 100% of the time less every other weekend and occasional dinners/vacations when they were with their dad after that) and a few of my friends were one of 4 or 5 kids.We all got plenty of one-on-one-time with our parents and although the older kids in our families helped their parents out sometimes with the younger ones,they didn’t practically raise them.This doesn’t seem to be the case with most really huge families.A girl I went to Sunday school with growing up was the 3rd out of 10 kids.I used to see her at the park sometimes with her mother and siblings.She could never play with me and the other kids around our age because she was always watching a couple of the younger kids she’d been “assigned” to(she was maybe 8 or 9 at the time).The same was true at a couple of church picnics I saw her at.This should sound somewhat familiar to anyone who’s ever watched “19 Kids and Counting”.Their parents’ choice to have so many kids has caused the older Duggar girls to sacrifice much of their adolescence to basically become unpaid nannies.

      I also went to college with a girl who was #11 out of 14 children.She talked to her parents maybe once a month,not because she didn’t get along with them but because if they talked to all their young adult/adult kids much more often than that,they would spend a ridiculous amount of time on the phone.They came to maybe one or two of her high school track meets a year, couldn’t take her to look at prospective colleges or drive her to school and help her move into her dorm freshman year,never came to visit her at college once in 4 years (until graduation),never saw her compete in a college track meet,etc.Not because they didn’t care about her or love her but because who has the time (or money) to do all that for 14 kids?Not everyone may care,but it was obvious it really bothered her that her parents couldn’t be there for her as much as most people’s parents could.And if you have that may kids,there is bound to be at least one kid who feels that way.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      My aunt has 13 kids, so I totally see what you’re saying. My cousin, who is now in her mid 20s) was actually featured on a documentary TV show about having a lot of siblings, and is very bitter about her upbringing. She was expected (and still is) to do a great deal of the childcare.

      Why does she continue to do it? Because she is a great person who cares genuinely about her younger siblings care. BOTH the parents work so she is essentially a live in nanny. Don’t get me wrong, my aunt and uncle are great people too. Their reasoning was religion-based, so as an atheist I wouldn’t even begin to know how to discuss this with them, but hey tried their best and paid for their family without depending on charity or the government, and their kids are all great people who are open-minded and generous.

      My cousin is such a talented, smart, gregarious person. That being said, sometimes she thinks she is wasting her best years, and I can’t really argue with her, however great her parents and family are.

      I have three kids myself, so I am not one of those people who thinks you should only have enough to replace yourself (or less), and I am sure there are large families that make it work better. But I still seriously wonder how families who aren’t overly religious justify having huge families.

  • Ginny

    Pro-choice = you can choose to abort, or have one, maybe two children. After that, I’m gonna judge you.

    • Copperkroewe

      Why?

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      She was being sarcastic methinks!

    • Andrea

      She was. I feel pretty dumb now, since in retrospect, it was pretty obvious!

    • Copperkroewe

      Oooh I see… Here’s my sign! Lol. My apologizes @ Ginny..

    • Andrea

      I’m not that crazy about massive families, but seriously you judge people that have 3 or 4 kids?

    • Ginny

      Sarcasm?

    • Andrea

      Oh eff me. I missed it entirely. My apologies!

      In retrospect, it was really obvious, I must have been really tired last night, I am sorry!

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      There is a difference between being a little judgy (and I’m not saying I am judging them) and supporting legislation against something. I am 100% pro-choice. Hell, I got a death threat for writing a pro late term abortion post on this very site, as I think it should be a legal option for women with doomed pregnancies or other similar situations. BUT I would judge someone for using abortion as birth control (which is something I’ve never actually witnessed, but some people insist it happens, so IDK).

      I would be completely against legislation against someone having a huge family. I think it’s a slippery slope towards abuse and I don’t think I, or anyone else, should have the right to dictate the size of someone’s family. I don’t even judge someone for having a lot of kids (heck, I have three, a lot of people think that is a lot of kids). I do wonder about someone’s reasoning, BUT that is more in the spirit of curiosity than judgement.

    • Sara

      A death threat…from a pro-lifer….? That’s not how it works (not you, Frances, the commentor.)

    • CrazyFor Kate

      I may not think your decision to have eleventy billion kids was a great idea, but I’m sure as hell going to defend your right to have them, if it ever comes down to it.

  • Sophia Rose

    My sister has 17 kids. She’s never been on welfare (including foodstamps, medicaid, subsidized housing, whatever,) she’s never been on a reality TV series, she’s not a “religious nut,” she’s happily married to the man of all her kids, and her kids are normal, well-adjusted, contributing members of society. What gives you the right to judge??

    • Simone

      I think I agree with this comment, despite my intuitive shock at the idea of 17 kids. I mean the gut says, There’s something wrong with this; but that’s purely a normative and ‘common-sense’ reaction. DO we have the right to be judgemental? Sure, of course we can, but I don’t know if we also have the right to criticise a woman who appears to be acting with free will and foreknowledge.

    • Stacie

      I have six, no, not 17, but I get comments about my brood. My oldest three are college grads with masters degrees,. They work and support themselves. My youngest three are still at home. They get good grades and work part time jobs. My kids are doing better than my neighbors kids who have one or two. I agree, until you meet my kids, don’t judge!

    • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

      As a member of the world community, I think there’s going to be backlash against having that many children simply because of the strain it puts on our already struggling resources. It isn’t a personal judgment, but at the same time when the only issues are “well I’m happily married, did this on my own free will, and the children are happy”, it makes one wonder why the thought process isn’t turned outward instead, towards the impact of bringing that many people into the world.

    • Justme

      Exactly. Not my family, not my business. Not my budget, not my business.

    • Justme

      Exactly. Not my family, not my business. Not my budget, not my business.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I have such difficult emotions surrounding these massive types of families… The birth rate overall is down, which is good for the planet. Obviously everyone can’t have families like this, nor should they. The Earth can’t sustain it. But if only a few people do it and they do a good job, then I don’t see the problem.
    Unless they kids are taught to do the same thing, like as a religious principle. Then it’s not just 17 children anymore. Those 17 and their partners, if they average, let’s say, 10 kids a piece (Accounting for some choosing against this way of life, and others going full force), would make 170 new people. If those 170 each average 10, then it’s 1,700 by the third generation.

    So, I guess huge families don’t upset me if they’re individuals doing what they do. When it’s being taught as a mandatory lifestyle, I get wigged out. What’s when shit gets problematic.

    • wannabevenus

      Basically most people probably teach their kids (directly or indirectly) that they SHOULDN’T have a large family..so how is that any different? It’s not like everyone one in the USA is suddenly going to turn into Duggar wannabes.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Not everybody needs to be the Duggars for this to escalate into a problem. Quiverfulls preach having as many as possible. In three generations there would be 1,700 new descendants as opposed to, say, 6-9. Do the math over five generations. These religions are bad for the planet.
      One family doing this is fine, but not when it’s a movement for many to do it and pass on the tradition.

  • Blueathena623

    I can’t imagine having that many pregnancies. If she breast feeds, she has not had her body to herself for 17ish years. I was not super strict on what I avoided during pregnancy and breast feeding, but when kiddo weaned off the boob juice it sure felt nice to know I could take any medication I wanted, didn’t have to time my alcohol intake, etc.

  • Tsitika

    There are too many people in the world. I don’t like judging people, but there are just too many people. Why contribute to overpopulation when you have the ability not to (aka birth control)? If you really feel the need to have a huge family, adopt and give homeless children a loving home. Of course adoption is a huge process and not easy at all, but I think if you choose to have that many children, you should be putting a lot of thought into it anyway. I just can’t get behind that many naturally born kids.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I totally agree! If everyone did that, the earth would be quickly fucked. It wouldn’t be so bad if they lived very simply and grew their own food and such and weren’t a drain on the earth. It’s my experience that many big families are not, though. The people I know who have the most kids don’t even bother to recycle because “it’s too hard with so many kids.” So they just throw everything away, even the easiest shit to recycle. My husband and I have 2 and recycle just about as much trash as we have every week–it’s about even. And we choose vehicles that get good gas mileage, and try not to waste, and all that. Purposely had only 2 kids to leave a replacement for each of us, not more. And we like kids and could have had more, but were trying to do what was good for the planet. Glad I bothered. I might as well have 17 because they don’t give a shit! Why should we?!

    • CW

      My observation has been the complete opposite- larger families are more “green” because they cannot afford a lavish lifestyle like DINK’s or single-child families can. Sure a smaller family who makes a serious effort to be “green” will have a smaller impact than a larger family that does the same things. But most families with 0-1 kids don’t.

    • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

      But see, when you have that many children, you only have to raise the first few girls and then let them raise the younguns.

      I’d bet cash money that these are quiverfulls. *slow shudder* They don’t believe in getting busy for stupid, blasphemous reasons like “love” or “recreation”. Nope, it’s shaky religious reasons from thousands of years ago.

    • Psych Student

      Your first point is the part I always find the most heartbreaking. There is no way that the older kids don’t spend most of their time taking care of the younger ones. I totally believe that children should have chores, should help take care of the house, and should even babysit from time to time, but they shouldn’t be live-in nannies. It breaks my heart to hear stories of children who have to care for their siblings because their parents have to work all the time just to make ends meet. Situations like that are forced. It seems *tremendously* selfish to do it on purpose. Kids should be kids. They should be free to run and jump and play, not spend their life caring for their 85 younger siblings because Mom and Dad like having babies, or are part of some dumb ass religion. It’s just distressing.

    • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

      ikr? And you can bet that these poor girls are being indoctrinated to be mommies when they grow up, while the boys can be in any non-science-related field they want. It’s damned sad.

    • CW

      We do not have an overPOPULATION problem but an overCONSUMPTION one. If everyone made a serious commitment to reducing their individual consumption, this planet would have the resources to support a larger number of people. Plenty of families with 0 or 1 kid have a totally wasteful lifestyle- huge McMansions filled to the brim with stuff all purchased new, multiple gas-guzzling SUV’s, a diet heavy in meat and processed foods, frequent vacations to distant locales, etc. Our society needs to worry a lot more about reducing consumption and a lot less about how many children a family chooses to have.

    • meteor_echo

      Yeah, right, because inhabitable land that people take up can actually stretch out like rubber and we’re never going to run out of it. Our society has to worry BOTH about reducing consumption and the amount of new humans that the current population of 7.118 billion churns out 365/24/7.

    • CW

      Multi-story apartments/condos are “greener” than McMansions so zoning
      laws should favor the former over the latter, especially near transit
      lines. Telecommuting (part- or full-time) can be encouraged via tax policy. Car-sharing services like ZipCar and Lyft can also be incentivized. Lots of things can be done to encourage reducing per-capita consumption. Additionally, the education of women (which I am very much in favor of) tends to lead to a lower average fertility rate. I’d like to see a world where every girl has the opportunity to get an education, even if that means she’ll probably wind up having fewer babies than she would otherwise.

    • meteor_echo

      Re: education – good point.
      Re: putting people closer together: this won’t ultimately end well. If the ratio of population/inhabitable land goes up in the favor of population, people will have VERY little living space per person, which not everyone can tolerate. This will lead to: depression, a massive surge of crime, killing people over their living space (as someone who lives on the post-Soviet Union territory, believe me, stuffing multiple people into flats designed for few ended up BADLY). Encouraging people to have less children and adopt the already existing one would deal with so many problems.

    • CW

      Japan and the Netherlands both have high population density with a low crime rate. Also, until recently it used to be the norm in the U.S. for families to have lots of kids in smallish homes, but the crime rate was way lower than it is today. When we were house-hunting, one of the places we looked at was a 1200 sq. ft. 3 BR home where the sellers had raised 6 kids. So I’m calling B.S. on your claim.

    • meteor_echo

      Japan falls out of the equation. It has a fairly low number of rapes and murders, but a high number of muggings, robberies, and – surprise – fabrications of property owning documents. Also, seriously, look at the statistics on depression and suicides there. Besides, you forget that in Japan, private houses are not built to last more than 25 years on average, so don’t argue about private houses here.

      Speaking of which: In medieval Russia, whole families (older people, middle-aged people, and often 10-12 children) lived in one-room houses. Not ~one bedroom~, just one room. Think this is normal? See, I can trump your example with mine.

    • Rachel Sea

      Our culture doesn’t equip us to live at the kind of density as the Japanese, and they do suffer significant mental health problems because of crowding.

    • Simone

      I do agree with this intuitively. As I mentioned I don’t feel any of us has the right to judge this woman as she exercises her right to bear children – that gets us into questionable ethical territory over human rights and you’d need some pretty smooth and waterproof arguments prepared if you want to go there. But of course overpopulation, AND overconsumption, are serious issues on our staggering, overburdened planet.

      We need to make people smaller, or stackable.

    • Rachel Sea

      Forcing her to stop having children would be unethical, but judging the hell out of her and her husband is completely, and totally ethical.

  • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

    So, what do they do for a living that they’re able to afford this?

    • Andrea

      Who can say, but my guess is that there is some economies of scale going on there. Clothes get passed down, you grow a lot of your own food and you buy in bulk more cheaply, etc etc

    • https://www.facebook.com/bluegrasskitty bgk

      That was my question, too! I always want to know what these people with gargantuan families do for a living!

    • Toaster

      The article says the father makes £50k a year and that the mother is ‘good at budgeting.’ I guess we’re doing it wrong because we’re a family of 4 living comfortably on about that amount, but we’re also putting a lot into savings, retirement, and college funds for the kids..

    • Rachel Sea

      They live in a cheap part of CA, but it’s still CA. I call bullshit on them supporting all those kids on his salary alone. Either they inherited their house, or they get a lot of help from family with clothes and food and transportation, or something. You can not maintain a house large enough to house that many kids (and judging by the width of their living room, I’m going to assume they are not crammed in, 6 to a bedroom) on his salary, and also meet all their other needs.

  • AlexMMR

    I’m gonna judge the number of kids you have (assuming you support them properly and treat them well) the same way I judge your fashion sense – I can think you’re out of your mind for that choice, but that doesn’t make it true and I’m sure as hell ain’t gonna try to legislate your ability to make that choice! I mean really, crocs? In public??? Who decided this was a good idea?

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Yeah, I feel the same way. There are lots of things I don’t think people “should do” because *I* wouldn’t do it, but I don’t think it should be illegal.

  • FatimaJoerling

    I can not believe that What any pregnant woman can be Life with her Baby for spent of 13 year?

    http://bellaathomesite.com/

  • Janok Place

    I *do* live on a farm and raise our own food. Seriously, 17 people only go through 2 gallons a day? I love how that’s where my head goes, but those kids aren’t getting enough milk!

  • Annona

    Wow. I mean, if you want to spend thirteen years pregnant and can afford to spend the equivalent of the GNP of a small third world nation on groceries every month, do it up I guess. It just seems really weird to me, and like it wouldn’t be very good for your body. Yeah, pregnancy is natural and all but it’s also very taxing on the system. To do it over and over again like that just seems like a bad idea. Especially since I’ve never felt the desire to do it even once.

    But if they’re not pulling some kind of publicity stunt and shilling for donations from corporations, or pimping their giant mega family out on reality TV, or expecting other people to pay for their massive brood, I won’t judge them. Everybody defines happiness a different way.

  • CW

    It’s refreshing to see a family that views babies as blessings rather than burdens. I would not personally choose to have a large family (we have 3 currently and haven’t ruled out a 4th but probably wouldn’t try for beyond that) but I have a lot of admiration for those who manage to pull it off. My hat is off to moms of many like Mrs. Cason!

  • meteor_echo

    Holy shit.
    I think my uterus just died somewhere inside my abdominal cavity.
    The thought of being pregnant for 13 years is beyond terrifying to me.

  • DoodleBug

    I seriously feel grossed out when people have this many kids. It reminds me of animals having litters. For the love of Pete, stop breeding! Just STOP.

    • CW

      All of Mrs. Cason’s babies were singletons, so no, it is NOTHING like animals having litters. Now if you want to talk the Octo-Mom and her abuse of IVF, then maybe you’d have a point.

  • Leafyleafster

    36 weeks pregnant with my first. The idea of being pregnant for 13 years… oh god, no. Just no. This hasn’t even been a difficult pregnancy, and I’m still just no. I’m at that point where I’m beyond sick of being pregnant, impatient to meet my child, and kind of want to kill anybody that asks me when I’m going to have “the next one”, like fuuuuuck you, can I get done with THIS one first?

    Sorry about the rant guys, just one of those days for me. =)

  • kim

    Yeah, you have no right to judge. Mind your own d*&% business. (Seriously, judgey sanctimonious people irritate me.) Good for them, for doing whatever the hell they want. I know I sure will.

  • NYBondLady

    I can’t really buy into the overpopulation argument for this family. In the US, as well as much of Europe, the population growth is very low. I know that the US is depending on immigrants to contribute to the economy in addition to the average 2.4 kids or whatever it is. However, if you are in a place like China, or India, and your country has a major resource/distribution issue, and many people are living in povery, THEN yes, maybe I can say that this type of “breeding” is not the greatest idea for a nation that is developing.
    I know a lot of families or just couples who live in very large houses and drive SUVs. Why point to family with a bunch of kids as contributing to “global warming”? Or, why not the CEO that travels 250k miles by plane each year? If they are raising the kids alright, they are alright in my book.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    i like double-names. i think there’s something traditional in them,don’t know why! i always liked Callie-Rose for a girl and Tobey-Tallon for a boy.

    wonder if my kids are gonna hate me?