A couple who have 18 children
have announced they are expecting number 19.
Kelly and Gil Bates
, who are evangelical Christians and do not believe in using birth control, are over the moon to be expecting another baby, who is due on Valentine's Day 2012.
The announcement came as the family, who range from 22-year-old Zach to 11-month-old Judson were filmed for ABC news
. The couple from Tennessee were shownn on camera having an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy.
Kelly, who home schools her younger children, had been taking hormones to help her carry a baby to full term after suffering three miscarriages, and is now over the moon to be expecting another baby:
'It feels more normal to me to be pregnant than not be pregnant. I'm happy holding a baby.'
Kelly, 44, has spent almost her entire adult life pregnant, but looks remarkably youthful.
Their massive brood includes Zach, 22, Michaela, 21, Erin, 19, Lawson, 18, Nathan, 17, Alyssa, 16, Tori, 15, Trace, 14, Carlin, 13, Josie, 12, Katie, 11, Jackson, nine, Warden, eight, Isaiah, six, Addallee, five, Ellie, four, Callie-Anna, two, and baby Judson.
The couple also told the programme they ultimately would like to have an even 10 girls and 10 boys, which would make them the largest American family, a title currently held by the Duggars, a reality TV family who Kelly, Gil and their children are good friends with.
While Mr and Mrs Bates don't believe in using birth control to limit the size of their family, they have been using hormones to help them have another baby, despite not having health insurance for their youngest 10 children.
'We just want to trust God, But at the same time, if there's already a life living, we don't want to deny medical help to a baby that's in trouble,' says Kelly.
The 18 children, plus mum and dad, share a five bedroomed house which Gil, 46, a tree surgeon, is planning to extend. They travel together in two family vans. The family go to the supermarket every other day, with their bill always reaching $250. They have five washing machines and four tumble driers to cope with the family's washing. They don't have a TV, preferring to play family games instead.
On the family's website (!) they say: 'We were told that having a house full of children would result in a ruined marriage, a frazzled and worn mom, a frustrated dad, and unhappy children. On the contrary, the children keep us feeling young and the responsibilities have driven us to more committed and meaningful relationships.
'We were told having a large family would send us to the poor house. Well, great expenses are required and that has increased our faith all the more. It has also taught us contentment and gratitude. We realize that having food, clothes, and living in America - no matter what our tax bracket might be - already makes us richer than most who live in the world.
What do you think about having a family this big?
Would you want to go through 19 pregnancies?
And how about home schooling while coping with that much washing and cooking? A sucker for punishment?
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Brad and Ange are proud parents to six children - Maddox, nine, Pax, seven, Zahara, six, Shiloh, five and twins, Knox and Vivienne, three. Their large brood is home schooled as Angelina reckons normal schools <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/06/03/angelina-jolie-schools-aren-t-good-enough-for-my-children/" target="_blank">aren’t quite up to scratch,</a> and the gang are regularly seen strutting through airports as they jet off en masse around the world.<br />
<strong>Brad says:</strong> ‘I know it seems extreme from the outside, but I've always kind of operated this way. I had a friend who had a big family when I was a kid. I just loved the chaos around the breakfast table.’</p>
- Seal and Heidi Klum
Supermodel and supermum, Heidi, welcomed her first baby, Helene, in 2003, with then partner, Flavio Briatore. After the couple separated, Heidi started seeing singer, Seal, with whom she’s had another three children – Henri, six, Johan, five and newbie Lou, one. Seal has also adopted Heidi’s first child, Helene as his own, and the couple are regularly spotted on family days out stateside as a six-piece.<br />
<strong>Heidi says:</strong> ‘It's a lot! The noise factor around our table is unbelievable. There's so much going on. My husband and I sit and look at each other and say, 'soon there will be Number four at the table. It will be even noisier!'</p>
- Nadya Suleman, aka Octomum
We couldn’t do this gallery without mentioning Octomum, Nadya Suleman. The mum of fourteen (yes, fourteen, not a typo) made headlines when she announced she was expecting octuplets in January 2009, despite already having six children. Nadya conceived her eight babies using IVF, and countless interviews and reality TV shows followed her life as a new mum to eight newborns.<br />
<strong>Nadya says:</strong> ‘I don't get much sleep, about two or three hours a night. But I'm continuing to move forward with my life and trying to be the best mother I can be.’</p>
- Rod Stewart
Rocker Rod is dad to, wait for it, eight children. His first, Sarah, was born when Rod was just 17, and given up for adoption. Next came Kimberley and Sean with his then wife, Alana Hamilton, followed by Ruby with girlfriend, Kelly Emberg. Ex-wife Rachel Hunter welcomed Rod’s next two children, Renée and Liam, and his seventh and eight children, Alastair and Aiden are the youngest. These little ones are with current wife, Penny Lancaster, making Rod a fully paid up member of the older dads club, with a new baby aged 66.<br />
<strong>Rod says:</strong> ‘Penny and I had a good arrangement - she said ‘if the baby wakes up you can go and sleep in the other room,’ and he's up every two hours now. So a few nights a week to get my sleep, I sleep in another room.’</p>
- The Beckhams
David and Victoria are always running around (probably David doing the running to be honest) with their three boys, Brooklyn, 11, Romeo, eight, and Cruz, five and are now of course proud parents to their little girl, <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/11/victoria-beckham-names-baby-daughter-harper-seven/" target="_blank">Harper Seven.</a> Victoria’s made no secret of her desire for a girl after three boys, admitting in the past that she would love one to complete her family. saying: ‘I’m really girlie. I'd love to dress a little girl up.’ We can’t wait to see the stylish babygrows the new little lady will be dressed in!<br />
<strong>Victoria says: </strong>‘We've got so many children now, it's not about parenting any more. With so many, I'm constantly saying, 'Don't touch this, don't do that'.’</p>
- Kerry Katona
Troubled star Kerry is mum to four little ones – Molly and Lilly Sue with ex-husband, Brian McFaddon, and Heidi and Max, her toddlers with ex, Mark Croft. The TV personality has battled drug addiction and bankruptcy, but seems to have settled down in a new house in Surrey with her four children, who she says she does everything for.<br />
<strong>Kerry says:</strong> ‘If it wasn't for the kids, they're what's getting me through everything, they really are my strength. It's one of the most stressful things in the world (moving house) and bankruptcy and divorce, and everything all at once.’</p>
- Kate Gosselin
Kate shot to fame when she starred alongside her then husband, Jon Gosselin, in reality show, Jon and Kate plus 8, following the couple as they raised their family of sextuplets and twins. After the couple’s split in 2009, Kate went on to star in her own show with her children, Kate plus 8, and now juggles raising her eight children with TV work across the pond.<br />
<strong>Kate says:</strong> ‘My kids are the reason I have always done everything. My kids are the reason I laid on bed rest for 30 entire weeks. My kids are the reason that I wrote the books and it`s always about them. And, I know that it looks it`s all about me all the time, but what you don`t see is down deep inside it`s a desperate desire to provide for my kids.’</p>
- George Foreman
Former boxer turned ‘lean, mean grilling machine’ maker George has a massive ten children, with each of his five sons all called, wait for it, George! To make the distinction between one and another, each has a nickname. His five daughters got off a little lighter and are named Michi, Freeda George, Georgetta, Natalie and Leola.<br />
<strong>George says:</strong> ‘The thing you have to do is give them confidence. You have to give a kid a dream.’</p>
- Matt Damon
Matt and wife Luciana have three daughters together, Isabella, five, Gia, two and Stella, one. Making the family complete is Luciana’s older daughter, Alexia. The big brood live in trendy Manhattan, where Matt can regularly be seen doing the school run with his girls.<br />
<strong>Matt says: </strong>‘We're bracing ourselves for our next little tornado. We're excited. But it is a lot of work.’</p>
- Mark Wahlberg
Actor Mark is one of nine, so it’s not a shock he’s chosen to have a fair few children himself. He’s proud dad to four little ones - Ella Rae, eight, Michael, five, Brendan, two, and newbie Grace, one with wife, Rhea Durham.<br />
<strong>Mark says:</strong> ‘My wife has always wanted four, two boys and two girls, so miraculously she got everything she wanted. She's saying she's done. She loves being a mother, so she may end up wanting one more. We'll see what happens.’</p>
- Lauryn Hill
Soulful Lauryn has her hands full with her large family of five children, plus growing bump with long-term partner, Rohan Marley. The roll call of little ones in their household reads: Zion, 14, Selah, 13, Joshua, nine, John, eight and Sarah, three, with <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/06/07/lauryn-hill-pregnant-with-baby-number-six/" target="_blank">number six due later this year.</a><br />
<strong>Lauryn says: </strong>'I keep having these children. I don't know if I'm the most fertile woman in America. I've got five big children, you believe that? If you ask anybody I went to high school with, they'd be puzzled.'</p>
- Mel Gibson
Hollywood star Mel Gibson is a dad eight times over. He’s got six sons and one daughter with ex-wife, Robyn Gibson, and of course, love-child with former fling, Oksana Grigorieva, little Lucia, now one.<br />
<strong>Mel says:</strong> ‘I guess I'm Octo-Mel.’</p>
- Eddie Murphy
Eddie has five children with former wife, Nicole Mitchell - Bria, 22, Myles, 19, Shayne, 17, Zola, 12 and Bella, nine. After divorcing, Eddie went on to have baby number six with Spice Girl, Mel B. After asking for a DNA test on Mel’s baby, it was confirmed Eddie was the father of little Angel Iris, who he’s just starting to have contact with.</p>
- Jamie and Jools Oliver
Jools and Jamie have three girls, Poppy Honey, nine, Daisy Boo, eight, Petal Blossom Rainbow, two and Jamie’s longed-for new son, Buddy Bear. While Jools has said that she wants a football team sized family, Jamie reckons four is quite enough…<br />
<strong>Jamie says:</strong> Don't get me wrong, it's lovely, but I can't see any more. How can you divide your love? We're already outgrowing everything. I mean, I use to drive a Fiesta 950, then I got successful enough to have a tasty car. But now I drive a minibus with eight seats.’</p>