Veronica Merritt, a mom of 12 known as ThisMadMama on TikTok, has become a first-time grandma at 37.
Her granddaughter was born two months after Merritt delivered her 12th child.
Merritt told Insider that the babies would grow up more like cousins than as uncle and niece.
When Victoria Merritt brought her 2-day-old daughter, Maddilyn Rosalie, home from the hospital, accompanied by Maddilyn's grandma — the controversial TikTok star Veronica Merritt — 11 aunts and uncles welcomed the newborn.
The newborn's youngest uncle, Modi, is two months older than her. Her mother's other siblings are between ages 2 and 17.
"They keep saying how cute she is," Victoria Merritt, 22, told Insider. She said they wanted to take turns holding the tiny infant, who weighed just under six pounds at birth.
Veronica Merritt — who has more than 204,000 followers as ThisMadMama on TikTok — said she was thrilled to be a grandmother at 37 years old. She said she was "more than happy" to help take care of the child, who 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," Veronica Merritt said.
After being in labor for 12 hours, Victoria Merritt gave birth to Maddilyn on June 18. Veronica Merritt said she wasn't allowed to attend the birth because of COVID-19 restrictions, but the infant's father and Victoria Merritt's boyfriend — Leon, 21 — was there throughout.
Baby Maddilyn has a total 11 aunts and uncles
Veronica Merritt posted a TikTok video introducing her granddaughter and told Insider that her oldest daughter was "absolutely glowing" and a "good mommy."
Besides Veronica Merritt, Victoria Merritt, and Maddilyn, the clan consists of Andrew, 17; Adam, 16; Mara, 14; Dash, 13; Darla, 11; Marvelous, 9; Martalya, 7; Amelia, 5; Delilah, 4; Donovan, 2; and 9-week-old Modi.
Veronica Merritt had her first child when she was 14 years old, and she said she's been pregnant for a cumulative nine years — almost a quarter of her life.
She previously told Insider that her desire for a large family was a compulsion. But, despite originally planning to have 16 children, she said she'd decided that Modi would be her last child. "I've given myself permission to stop," she said.
Others have frequently attacked the mom of 12 for her choices. In her prior interview with Insider, she recalled how one critic on TikTok said her children came from "11 different fathers."
"People can think what they like, but my kids have only two dads," Veronica Merritt said. Her first marriage ended in 2005, and she's now separated from her second husband, Marty, who is the father of all but two of her children.
Veronica Merritt believes that Modi and Maddilyn will grow up more like cousins than as 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 that Victoria Merritt, who has chosen not to show Maddilyn's face on social media for privacy reasons, received thousands of messages from well-wishers.
One commentator, referring to the fact that Maddilyn and Modi are so close in age, left this message for Veronica Merritt: "Congrats, Grandma! Her and Modi are going to have so much fun growing up together."
The 37-year-old told Insider that Modi and Maddilyn were "going to grow up feeling like they're cousins, siblings, or even twins."
Soon after Modi's birth in April, Veronica Merritt told Insider that she'd been criticized by detractors who were outraged by the government assistance she received in the form of stimulus checks and food stamps.
But she said any earnings she made from a regular job would be swallowed up by the cost of babysitting, although she sometimes makes money as a freelance artist working from home. Veronica Merritt also said the family was saving taxpayer money because she'd homeschooled her children for more than eight years.
Still, one person wrote on her TikTok when Maddilyn was 2 days old, "Another food stamp and 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," is clear of a rare form of cancer. "I'm scared, but I'm proud of the way that Donnie is dealing with it all," Veronica Merritt said.
The mom of 12 is known for sometimes color-coding her children by dressing them in various shades of the rainbow. For example, Modi wears yellow clothes, Adam wears green, and Dash wears orange. "The colors reflect their individual personalities," she told Insider in April, adding, "But they also keep me grounded."
The grandmother said a number of fans on TikTok asked whether Victoria Merritt had adopted a similar system for Maddilyn. "It's completely up to her," Veronica Merritt said. She said the new mom preferred fashions derived from anime, goth, and indie rock.
Indeed, Victoria Merritt — who said she was a big fan of dark-themed Tim Burton films — has shied away from the pastel hues that people traditionally choose for babies. She said she'd already started dressing Maddilyn in bold tones of red, green, black, deep blue, and purple.
"She came out looking like a fairy and those are the colors I associate with," Victoria Merritt said.
Read the original article on Insider