When two-day-old Maddilyn Rosalie was brought home from hospital by her mum Victoria Merritt and grandma, controversial TikTok star Veronica Merritt, she was greeted by 11 aunts and uncles.
The newborn’s youngest uncle, Modi, is two months older than her, and her mother’s other siblings range in age from 2 to 17 years.
“They keep saying how cute she is,” Victoria Merritt, 22, told Insider. She said they wanted to take turns holding the tiny child, who weighed just under five pounds at birth.
Veronica Merritt – who has more than 204,000 followers as ThisMadMama on TikTok, said she’s thrilled to be a grandmother at the age of 37. She said she was “more than happy” to help look after the child, which has brought the total number of people in the household to 14.
“She reminds me of a baby bird in a nest because she’s so sweet and fragile,” said Veronica Merritt.
Maddilyn was born on June 18 after Victoria Merritt was 12 hours into labour. Veronica Merritt said she was not allowed to attend the birth because of COVID-19 restrictions, but the child’s father and Victoria Merritt’s boyfriend, Leon, 21, were there the whole time.
Baby Maddilyn has a total of 11 aunts and uncles
Veronica Merritt posted a TikTok video introducing her granddaughter, telling Insider that her eldest daughter is “absolutely beaming” and a “good mom.”
Alongside Veronica Merritt, Victoria Merritt and Maddilyn, the clan consists of Andrew, 17; Adam, 16; Marah, 14; dash, 13; Darla, 11; Wonderful, 9; Martalya, 7; Amelia, 5; Delilah, 4; Donovan, 2; and the 9 week old Modi.
Veronica Merritt had her first child when she was 14, and she says she’s been pregnant for a total of nine years — almost a quarter of her life.
She previously told Insiders that her desire to have a large family is a compulsion. But although she initially planned on having 16 children, she said she decided Modi would be her last child. “I allowed myself to quit,” she said.
The mother of 12 was frequently attacked for her decisions.
In her previous interview with Insider, she recalled how a critic on TikTok said her children came from “11 different fathers.” She said, “People can think what they want, but my children only have two fathers.” Her first marriage ended in 2005 and she is now separated from her second husband, Marty, with whom she shares all but two of her children.
Veronica Merritt thinks Modi and Maddilyn will grow up more like cousins than uncle and niece
Veronica Merritt said the six TikTok videos she posted about the delivery this week got more than 150,000 likes. She said Victoria Merritt, who has opted not to show Maddilyn’s face on social media for privacy reasons, has received thousands of messages from well-wishers.
A commenter, referring to the fact that Maddilyn and Modi are so old, left this message for Veronica Merritt: “Happy grandma! You and Modi are going to have so much fun growing up together.”
The 37-year-old told Insider that Modi and Maddilyn “would grow up feeling like cousins, siblings or even twins.”
Shortly after Modi’s birth in April, Veronica Merritt told Insider that she faced criticism from critics who were outraged at the government support she received in the form of stimulus checks and food stamps.
But she said any income she earns from a regular job is eaten up by babysitting costs, though she sometimes makes money working from home as a freelance artist. Veronica Merritt also said the family is saving tax dollars by homeschooling their children for more than eight years.
Still, one person wrote on their TikTok when Maddilyn was 2 days old: “Another food stamp and a wick baby to feed.”
Veronica Merritt said she plans to take on some paid art projects – but only after her 2-year-old Donovan, known as “Donnie”, has been cleared of a rare form of cancer. “I’m scared, but I’m proud of how Donnie is handling all of this,” said Veronica Merritt.
The 12-year-old mother has been known to sometimes color-code her children by dressing them in different colors of the rainbow. For example, Modi wears yellow clothes, Adam wears green, and Dash wears orange. “The colors reflect her individual personality,” she told Insider in April, adding, “But they also keep me grounded.”
The grandmother said a number of fans on TikTok had asked if Victoria Merritt had implemented a similar system for Maddilyn. “It’s entirely up to her,” Veronica Merritt said. She said the new mom prefers fashions derived from anime, goth and indie rock.
Indeed, Victoria Merritt — who said she’s a big fan of Tim Burton’s dark-themed films — has balked at the pastel shades people traditionally choose for babies. She said she’s already started dressing Maddilyn in bold shades of red, green, black, deep blue and purple.
“She came out looking like a fairy,” said Victoria Merritt, “and those are the colors I associate with.”