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2 September 2019, 15:01
Mother-of-11 Bethan has said all of her children 'get the care they need'.
A mum-of-11 has hit back at her critics for who judge her for being on benefits.
Bethan Carter, 40, is mum to five girls and six boys between the ages of three and 23, and her husband Andy is dad to seven.
Nine of their kids still live at home in Neath, Wales, while two older children have flown the nest.
As well as caring for her family, Bethan struggles with severe epilepsy and memory loss due to a brain cyst and a malformation at the base of her brain.
Three of her children also suffer from epilepsy, while her son Mark, 16, has autism and epilepsy.
Speaking about the criticism she's received, Bethan told Wales Online: "People judge me because I am on benefits, but unless you have a severely autistic child you can't know what it is like.
"I am happy with my family - I do not care what people say. They are happy and get the care they need.
"They are loved. I find it very rewarding to be a mum.
She added: "Being a mum of so many kids is hard but I love it - they are all so loving."
Bethan worked in a café until she had Mark and was forced to give up work to look after him full time.
Opening up about the teenager, she revealed he can fit multiple times a day, explaining: "When he fits, he just collapses and, when he comes out of a fit, he screams. He can not handle the little ones and likes being on his own."
Bethan, Andy and their children live in a five-bedroom house with the girls and boys having separate spaces, and the eldest sleeping in their own rooms.
The busy mum detailed a typical day in the Carter household, revealing she sets her alarm for 6am so she can get all the children ready for school.
After driving all the kids to their lessons, she then spends the rest of her day cleaning the house, before collecting everyone and getting their dinner on the table.
Spending around £400 on their mammoth monthly food shop, the family can eat around six boxes of fish fingers and £30 worth of sausages.
“We get frozen food mainly because it is cheaper and more convenient," Bethan said. "It is what they want."
Bethan also admits to treating her kids to a takeaway once or twice a week if they’ve had a busy day, opting for McDonald’s or KFC.
The kids are usually in bed by 9pm, and Bethan spends the rest of her evening tidying up and preparing for the next day - sometimes staying up until 1am.
Having given up work for her kids, Bethan relies on £500 state benefits which come in every two weeks, including income support, child benefit and disability allowance.
Admitting it’s “tough” taking care of some many children on a budget, the mum-of-11 added: "It is not enough. I could take them all to town and spend £200 just on shoes for all of them.
"We do not have any savings - all we have goes on them. We spend all year saving for Christmas."
Andy added: “I like having that many kids, it is always busy – it is non-stop.
“People can judge me as much as they want but I do not care."