It's lucky baby number 13 for super-sized family

Tracy Ryan with her children: Bryce, 28, Mason, 25, Shelby, 23, Connor, 22, Austin, 18,  Griffyn, 13, Piper, 10, Isla, ...
Tracy Ryan with her children: Bryce, 28, Mason, 25, Shelby, 23, Connor, 22, Austin, 18, Griffyn, 13, Piper, 10, Isla, 8, Willow, 6, and Landen, 2½. Photo: Supplied

When Tracy Ryan began feeling nauseous and unusually tired in December last year, in the lead up to her 47th birthday, it wasn't long until she had an inkling about what might be going on.

After all, the Perth mum had experienced those same feelings several times before.

Mrs Ryan is now pregnant with her 13th child, and is due to welcome the baby into the world in August, 28 years after the birth of her first child.

 Photo: Essential Baby

"I'm going to be able to tell people I've got a baker's dozen," the very experienced mum laughed when sharing her exciting news with Essential Baby

Mrs Ryan's husband David was away for work when his wife discovered they were expecting again, just a few days after her birthday. His reaction when he heard the news was initially one of shock.

"He said 'no we can't be, we're too old'," Mrs Ryan said. "But once he got used to the idea he was happy."

The Ryan children are Bryce, 28, Mason, 25, Shelby, 23, Connor, 22, Austin, 18, Trinity, 15, Griffyn, 13, Piper, 10, Isla, 8, Willow, 6, and Landen, 2½. Their 11th child, a boy named Vallon, was stillborn at 26 weeks in February 2012.

Mr and Mrs Ryan also have two grandchildren, as Mason has a two-and-a-half-year-old son, and daughter Shelby gave birth to baby boy Harvey seven months ago.

While the thought of raising 13 children might cause most parents to fall into an exhausted heap, the Ryans are pleased to be adding to their family.

"My belief is we are only given what we can handle in life, and for this pregnancy to happen, then this baby is meant to be here and is a blessing," Mrs Ryan said.


Aside from morning sickness, Mrs Ryan said all her pregnancies were straightforward and trouble free until baby Vallon arrived at just 26 weeks. 

Mrs Ryan then suffered from pre-eclampsia with two-year-old Landen.

"My older children are worried about my health with this pregnancy after what happened with Landen," Mrs Ryan said.

"But my doctors are great and are staying on top of any issues from the start so I'm sure everything will be fine."

As if being pregnant, looking after the family and running the family business isn't enough to keep Mrs Ryan busy, the family is also in the process of packing up their six bedroom home in Belmont and selling it to move to somewhere bigger.

"We have six bedrooms already and that's enough, but we also run two businesses (Celtic Harp Irish Dance Accessories and Giftware
and Kidz Party Shack) from home so we need more space for that," Mrs Ryan said.

While the Ryan's brood is definitely larger than most Australian families, it is not the largest family in the country.

In 2014 Jeni Bonell from Toowoomba in Queensland gave birth to her 16th baby.

At the time Mrs Bonell said organisation was the key to keeping things flowing smoothly, with most of the clan pitching in with a roster system.

"We used to be terribly disorganised and I used to do it all," she told the Brisbane Times.

"So I came up with a whole bunch of lists and a roster with something for everything.

"We all jump in and help. The kids get rostered on to do jobs and it teaches them skills they will need later in life."

In recent years the Bonell family has introduced a roll call when out and about to ensure no member of the family was left behind.

That is something which might come in very handy in the not too distant future for the Ryan family.