We had the amazing opportunity to ask an outstanding mother of 16 children (!!!) about her life as a mother and wife. She went to college with our mom, so we thought it would be better if my mom asked her these questions and reconnect! She is truly an amazing and unselfish woman!
(picture with 9 of her children)
Can we say REMARKABLE, OUTSTANDING, UNSELFISH and GOOD TO THE CORE. These adjectives describe Darla Hansen. Mother of 16 children! Not a multiple birth in the bunch. She BORNED each and every one of them!
I knew Darla as a Freshman at Dixie College with what seems like a 100 years ago. She was beautiful, confident and hilarious. We only had the privilege of going to school together for one QUARTER. Can you believe that you can learn to love someone that quickly?
Darla came from a family of 14 children and I was mesmerized with her back ground. How does anyone come from a family of 14 children? I went to visit Darla’s family on their newly acquired multi acre farm and I couldn’t believe there were families that still worked and lived like that.
Darla and I got married only a month apart. She always said she wanted a big family like her mother, but did I think 16? huh NO!
Year after year I would get birth announcements almost yearly. Christmas cards with one more person added to the family and an ever positive love that flowed from her. Then I started to get graduations from high school, graduations from college, mission farewells, wedding invitations etc. etc.
Then one day about 9 years ago I got another birth announcement. Wait I thought! It can’t be! We are 48! She can’t be having another baby! I was having my 2nd grandchild at the same time and she was having her last baby. I was in SHOCK! Could this be for real? I’m worn out and she is having number 16.
(picture with 15 children, before she had her 16th, Faith)
Darla and I have communicated through mail for 37 years without talking on the phone or seeing each other even once. I call that a miracle in and of itself. We have never lost interest in one another and I have told my children for years that “I have a friend who is a miracle worker”.
Finally 37 years later, I gave Darla a call and you are privy to the facts about a FABULOUS mother of 16 and NOT counting.
Darla’s life has NOT been without heartache. They have been well acquainted with death. She lost two brothers (one to suicide and one to a car accident). Her nephew was killed on the farm when her father accidently backed over him. Tragic as the deaths were her family is strong in their faith and deep in love of God.
Darla has a son who is 16 and autistic. He has very limited speech and is always doing something unusual. Like climbing a tree he can’t get down from, putting items in the microwave that make it spark (she fears one day he might light the house on fire), and his favorite (running away from home). Almost daily Darla finds herself out searching the acres of farm for her son.
In Darla’s own words “he is God’s gift to us and we are going to enjoy him.”
(all 16 children)
A few questions I asked her:
What size home do you live in? We remodeled a 100 year old home that now has 10 k square feet. My husband is a perfectionist so my yard looks like the temple grounds.
Has money ever been a problem? No and yes! We have had good years and bad years with money just like everyone else, but I will say my husband is a genius and he is the hardest working man I have ever known.
Do you worry that you don’t give your children enough attention? YES! But I have had to look at it this way; Faith is our youngest, 9 years old and she has 7 additional mothers. Each of her older sisters is a mother to her. They care about her as if she were their own.
Was your husband always on board for 16 children? Yes, he always agreed with the children.
Have you ever dealt with post-partum depression? Yes! After number 15 I was sure I would never have another baby. I had my hormones completely off and I said “that’s it.” The last one was not planned for us, but she was planned with the Lord. I think I need to add here that Darla told me that every one of her babies were planned and the most intense prompting she had was when she had the autistic baby.
She still noted for us “OLDER WOMEN” “my hormones are STILL messed up 🙂
What has been your greatest joy in life? Oh definitely it would be our children.
What motto do you live by? As soon as you are feeling good about yourself you get another trial. And “When you drink from the bitter cup sometimes its hard not to become bitter.” I read recently on someone’s Instagram “one day you will look back at your life and realize that there is a purpose for every trial you have gone through.”
What do you try NOT to do? I can’t be around negative people. Negative people pull me down and with the life I have I can’t be or stay down.
Do any of your children want 16 children? No, I do not believe they do. But I have a couple that say they want as many as they can handle.
What was the inspiration behind all the children? When I was about to get married, I was praying constantly for about 3 days if I was marrying the right person. I had a dream and in the dream I was told I was to have 17 children. I decided if that is what the Lord wants me to do I will do it. I have never used birth control once. I only got 16, but I had 5 miscarriages and I decided that was all the Lord had in store for me. I would often look around the table and say “is everyone here?”
When I knew we were having that many children, I knew I wanted them to be blessings to our community, church and us as parents. I felt like if I was going to have so many children, I had to do my best to do everything the leaders of the church ask us to do. Brian supported me in this wholeheartedly. I know it was like paying an insurance premium by reading scriptures every night and saying family prayer morning and night it would insure us that our children would have strong testimonies and make it through whatever adversity they have to face. They are not perfect children, but they all have great testimonies which is a major blessing.
Darla’s favorite saying is when people say bless your heart she says “my heart is fine, bless my body.”
Darla is a miracle to me! She is my hero in every way. She is a champion of keeping the course.
God bless you Darla as you go forward with faith! I love you with all my heart.
(Darla and her husband Brian and their 16 children)