In March, Nikki Henkele, one of the mums who posts regularly on our MadeForMums Chat forum (as Nikkinarno), revealed she was having a baby. No biggie, you’d think – except that this one would be her 11th!
We approached Nikki to ask if she’d be willing (if she could find the time!) to answer a few of our questions and share just a glimpse into what it’s like being a mum of 10 children, and pregnant, to boot.
We couldn’t even begin to work out, for example, how she gets them all rallied for the school run in the morning!
Did you always want lots of children?
“No!” says Nikki. “I was an only child, and, believe it or not, I never had plans to have children. I was petrified of needles, so having children was a no-go area.”
But when Nikki changed her mind, she did it in style.
Her first child Josh was born in 2001, when Nikki was 22. Josh, who turned 18 this year, wants to become a prison officer. After Josh, came 9 more kids.
Nikki’s children (many of whom are pictured above):
- Josh, now aged 18
- Chelsea, now aged 16
- Atlanta, now age 11
- twins Jensen and MacElla, now aged 9
- Bentley, now aged 7
- Audi, now aged 5
- Stanley, now aged 4
- Samantha, now aged 3
- Ross, now aged 2
Does having 10 children mean you’re very strict?
“Yes, I am a strict parent,” says Nikki. “I don’t allow my kids to go out once it’s gone dark. Even my 18 year old isn’t allowed out when it’s dark! And if that happens at 4.30pm, well, so be it.”
“When the older children are out, I expect them to let me know where they are and what they are doing. I do not allow ‘hanging around the streets’. The older ones have contract mobile phones, which I pay for, so they can always contact me and vice versa.”
How on earth do you manage the school run?
“I run a tight ship on school days,” says Nikki.
“Then it’s uniform on, breakfast, packed lunches to be put in bags and school files updated, including writing in the children’s reading records from the reading they did the previous night.
“They all have tablets to play on but these are banned in the morning.”
The older kids get themselves to school, while Nikki takes the younger ones. And when home time rolls around?
“The first thing they do is take their uniforms off and fold them or put them in the washing basket. I then cook the children’s tea: they eat around 4pm (most of the time I’ve prepared the meal ready to cook when they come home).”
It’s worth noting that Nikki’s 2nd child, Chelsea, does not attend mainstream school.
“I was told she was a ‘normal’ child until she was approximately 8 years old,” says Nikki. “She was put on medication for ADHD and, finally, I felt I wasn’t banging my head on a brick wall.
“After spending around £3,000 I got her a special-needs plan put in place. Although she can be hard work, she has improved over the years and, really, it’s all about how you react and approach her.”
We were so sorry to hear you had a miscarriage last year: how did you cope?
Nikki’s miscarriage, towards the end of 2018, was her 1st pregnancy to end in loss. “It was a shock,” she says, “as I have all the children I have and have never had a miscarriage.
“It was very tough physically as well as emotionally. I lost almost 2 pints of blood and had to be rushed to hospital.
“I completely look at miscarriage in a different light now. I suppose you never know know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it.
“But I’m lucky enough to have my children pick me up again, when others are not as privileged as me.”
And, of course, Nikki is pregnant again, and is all set to have baby number 11 later this year.
We can’t wait to hear what she calls it and how the kids welcome the new addition! We’ll update you here as soon as we know more.
Pics: Courtesy Nikki Henkele / Getty