40-year-old Mariam Nabatanzi has had six sets of twins, four triplets, and five sets of quadruplets.
If you didn’t do the math, that’s 44 children that she has given birth to, in 23 years.
She’s been dubbed as the “world’s most fertile woman”.
Nabatanzi has been banned by doctors in Uganda from having more babies, taking “family planning methods” to ensure it, Mirror reported.
Sold into marriage at 12
Life has been tough for Nabatanzi since she was born.
Sold into marriage when she was 12, she had her first child a year later.
According to Reuters, after her first set of twins was born, Nabatanzi visited a doctor who told her that she had unusually large ovaries. The doctor advised her that birth control, like pills, would give her health problems.
So, the children kept coming, until three years ago, when her husband abandoned her.
Since then, Nabatanzi had to single-handedly support her 38 surviving children.
She had 44 children, but six of them, unfortunately, did not manage to survive.
Her last expectancy, which happened three years ago, had complications and one of her twins in that pregnancy died in childbirth. It was her sixth child to die.
Struggles to put children through school
She shared in an interview that her husband had also been abusive during their marriage, and put her through a lot of suffering in the 23-odd years he was around for.
To bring up her children, Nabatanzi does all she can to earn enough money — hairdressing, event decorating, collecting and selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine.
The money is quickly spent on food, medical and school fees, and clothes for her kids.
Her eldest child Ivan Kibuka, 23, had to drop out of secondary school when the money ran out. He said:
“Mum is overwhelmed, the work is crushing her, we help where we can, like in cooking and washing, but she still carries the whole burden for the family.”
A fervent believer in education, Nabatanzi said in an interview with Al Jazeera that her children “can lack anything, but they must go to school”.
Nabatanzi’s desire to have a large family was mostly due to a tragic childhood, where her mother abandoned her family when she was just three days old. She was the youngest of six.
After her father remarried, her stepmother poisoned her five elder siblings, who all died.
Nabatanzi only managed to escape as she was visiting a relative, she said during the interview.
She grew up wanting to have six children, to rebuild her family, although her unusual medical condition resulted in a lot more than she asked for.