Mother of Nine Gives Insight Into Their Chaotic Love
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
When local mom Megan Delaney first gave birth in 2008 at IU Health West Hospital in Avon, she never imagined she’d be back every year since to do the same, but that’s the way her big, beautiful life has played out — to create a big, beautiful family. And she couldn’t be happier, having given birth this past July to her ninth child — a daughter named Sloane. She and her husband Sean’s other children are Coyle (9), Shea (8), Cayce (7), Cael (6), Quinn (5), Brynn (3), Colyn (2) and Cadyn (17 months).
“It’s a team effort, for sure,” says Megan, who is grateful to Sean for playing a big role in the day-to-day life of their family. “I couldn’t do this if it weren’t for him.”
Though Sean works a full-time job in sales and engineering, he is sure to be present for meals, sports practices and morning and afternoon routines.
Megan, who has essentially been pregnant for a decade, doesn’t mind the physicality of the pregnancy. Nor does she mind the chaos of a growing family — in fact, she thrives on it.
“We have two quotes hanging in our home that nicely sums up our household,” Megan says. “One is, ‘Normal around here is just a setting on the dryer.’ The other is, ‘Some call it chaos — we call it family.’”
Though pandemonium reigns, Megan has found the secret to enjoying a slice of morning calm is to get organized the night before by packing lunches and setting out clothes, shoes and hair bows. They also stagger their morning wake-up routines to keep the line for the bathroom to a minimum.
“Don’t get me wrong. We’re never early birds to anything,” Megan says. “My husband jokes that loading the car or getting the kids ready for bed is like landing a 747 in that we have to start planning our approach well in advance.”
Thankfully, the older offspring are now able to assist with things like rocking, burping and changing the babies — a responsibility they relish. Family and friends also pitch in — especially Sean’s father and Megan’s mother. They often split up the tribe so no one person is responsible for nine children.
“Not many people can handle all of them at once,” says Megan, noting that although she attempts to plan a monthly date night with her hubby, realistically that happens just once or twice a year.
“It usually involves dinner and a trip to Sam’s Club,” says Megan with a chuckle. “But that counts if I get to enjoy adult conversation without being interrupted 50 times.”
Both Megan and Sean grew up in large families — four children on both sides, each with two boys and two girls. But that’s nothing compared to their parents. Sean’s dad comes from a family of nine. Megan’s dad was one of 12 and her mom was one of 10.
“My granddad sends me a big bouquet of flowers every year when I give birth,” Megan says. “This year Sloane became his 78th great-grandchild!”
Though the Delaney’s knew they wanted a big family when they got married, they never had a set amount in their heads. As if nine children doesn’t keep them busy enough, last Christmas the family adopted two Mini Goldendoodle puppies.
Speaking of attention, the couple sometimes tires of fielding the same questions and comments from passerbys such as, “Wow, are they all yours?” or “Woah, you’re nuts!” They do, however, hear plenty of kind comments as well, often from older generations who encourage the family to appreciate every minute.
“They tell us what a blessing the children all are and how lucky we are,” Megan says. “And they’re right.”
Nurses at IU Health West have told Megan the same about her nine easy-peasy smooth as silk deliveries. That’s due, in large part, to the tremendous care Megan has always received at the hospital.
“IU Health West feels like home to me,” she says. “I can’t imagine giving birth anywhere else.”
Breastfeeding has been an integral part of her journey as well. Through the years, Jan Record, lactation consultant at IU Health West Hospital, has gotten to know the family well.
“Megan has been an inspiration to many of the moms in our breastfeeding support group.”
The couple does their best to make every dollar stretch given the various expenses children bring, including food, doctor visits, school tuition and sports registration fees.
Though Megan occasionally ventures out in public with all the troops in their 12-passenger van (“You can’t miss us!” jokes Megan), she readily admits to adoring the curbside grocery pick-up systems that are now offered at several stores.
“The kids like to help the employees load the van and look at all the stuff as it comes in,” Megan says. “I like not having to battle the aisles with nine kids in tow.”
But if she does go inside, there’s a good chance she’ll snap a photo of the experience. Because the old joke about parents losing interest in commemorating special moments with each subsequent child does not hold true of Megan. In fact, she’s so intent on capturing each one of her baby’s firsts that multiple times she has run out of storage space on her phone.
“I’m a picture-a-holic,” she admits. “But I’ve got to get those falling-asleep-in-the-highchair pics!”
Then there are the pitifully sick pics. Though thus far the family has not experienced any terribly contagious illnesses that have, one by one, wiped out the entire clan.
“We sanitize like crazy and keep the sick one isolated from the others,” Megan says. “The hardest part of the sickness challenge is making sure you’re giving equal attention to every one of them.”
And that’s true when everyone is healthy as well. Megan and Sean carve out individualized time with each of their children so none of them feels neglected.
“So far, there’s not much jealousy among them,” says Megan, though she admits that in the presence of nine children, there’s always a playmate nearby.
“Sometimes one of the kids will ask me if they can have a friend over, and I’ll tell them to go grab a sibling,” Megan says. “They are close in age so everyone has a buddy.”