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Meet Uganda’s Most Fer­tile Woman Who Has Giv­en Birth To 44 Chil­dren At The Age Of 40 (Video)

Mari­am Nabatanzi, At the age of 12, was mar­ried off to a man 28 years her senior, after sur­viv­ing an assas­si­na­tion attempt by her step­moth­er. At the age of 40, she’s known as Uganda’s most fer­tile woman after it was report­ed that she has giv­en birth to 44 chil­dren.
In her home vil­lage of Kabim­biri, cen­tral Ugan­da, Mari­am Nabatanzi is known as Nalon­go Muza­ala Bana (the twin moth­er that pro­duces quadru­plets) and that nick­name is well-earned. In the 18 years that she spent being preg­nant through­out her 40-year life, the woman has giv­en birth to six sets of twins, four sets of triplets, three sets of quadru­ples, as well as a few sin­gle births. Out of the 44 chil­dren that she brought into this world, 38 are still alive today, most of them still liv­ing at the fam­i­ly home. Mari­am is a sin­gle moth­er, and although pro­vid­ing for such a large fam­i­ly, she some­how man­ages to put enough food on the table for every­one.

Mariam’s life has nev­er been easy. At age 12, she was mar­ried off to a man 28 years her senior, after sur­viv­ing an assas­si­na­tion attempt by her step­moth­er. She claims that the woman put crushed glass in the food and man­aged to kill her four sib­lings. She only sur­vived because she was away at the time, but her par­ents still man­aged to get rid of her, by mar­ry­ing her off to a much old­er man who phys­i­cal­ly abused her when­ev­er she said or did some­thing he didn’t like. “My hus­band was polyg­a­mous with many chil­dren from his past rela­tion­ships who I had to take care of because their moth­ers were scat­tered all over,” Mari­am told Uganda’s Dai­ly Mon­i­tor news­pa­per. “He was also vio­lent and would beat me at any oppor­tu­ni­ty he got even when I sug­gest­ed an idea that he didn’t like.” Nabatanzi gave birth to her first chil­dren, a set of twins, in 1994, at the young age of 13. Two years lat­er, she had her first set of triplets, and near­ly two years after that, she birthed quadru­plets. While that may seem unusu­al to most peo­ple, Mari­am didn’t find it strange at all, because she had seen it before. Her father had 45 chil­dren with sev­er­al women, and she claims that they all came in sets of quin­tu­plets, quadru­ples, twins, and triplets. Dr. Charles Kig­gun­du, a gyne­col­o­gist at Mula­go Hos­pi­tal, in Kam­pala, Ugan­da, told the Dai­ly Mon­i­tor that the cause of Mariam’s extreme fer­til­i­ty is most like­ly genet­ic: “Her case is genet­ic pre­dis­po­si­tion to hyper-ovu­late (releas­ing mul­ti­ple eggs in one cycle), which sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­es the chance of hav­ing mul­ti­ples; it is always genet­ic.”

Mari­am had always dreamed of hav­ing six chil­dren, but by her sixth preg­nan­cy, she had already giv­en birth to 18 babies, and she want­ed to stop. She went to a hos­pi­tal for help, but after run­ning some tests, the gyne­col­o­gist there told her that inter­fer­ing with her fer­til­i­ty in any way would have put her life at risk. “Hav­ing these unfer­til­ized eggs accu­mu­late pos­es not only a threat to destroy the repro­duc­tive sys­tem but can also make the woman lose their lives,” Dr. Ahmed Kikomeko from Kawempe Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal con­firmed. “I was advised to keep pro­duc­ing since putting this on hold would mean death. I tried using the Inter Uter­ine Device (IUD) but I got sick and vom­it­ed a lot, to the point of near death. I went into a coma for a month,” Mari­am recalls. By age 23, Mari­am already had 25 chil­dren, so she went to the hos­pi­tal again, but she was told that noth­ing could be done because her egg count was still very high.

How­ev­er, Dr. Kig­gun­du claims that there are pro­ce­dures that can be car­ried out to pre­vent women from becom­ing preg­nant, but adds that many of them just don’t know about them. Mari­am Nabatanzi’s fer­til­i­ty woes final­ly came to an end in Decem­ber of 2016, after the birth of her last baby, as she claims the doc­tor told her that he had “cut my uterus from inside”. Dr. Kig­gun­du said this was most like­ly tubal lig­a­tion. It’s hard to imag­ine a moth­er rais­ing 38 chil­dren by her­self, but Mari­am some­how man­aged to do just that.

Her hus­band is hard­ly ever around, and when­ev­er he does come by, he sneaks in dur­ing the night and leaves before the kids have a chance to see him. 23-year-old Charles, the woman’s eldest son, told the Dai­ly Mon­i­tor that he had last seen his father when he was only 13, and that some of his sib­lings have nev­er even seen him. “I can com­fort­ably tell you that our sib­lings do not know what father looks like. I last saw him when I was 13 years old and only briefly in the night because he rushed off again,” Charles said.
Mariam’s hus­band only comes home about once every year, and when he does, he is always drunk and vio­lent. He doesn’t pro­vide for the fam­i­ly at all, so that bur­den is sole­ly on her. The woman said that he wasn’t even around to name some of the chil­dren in per­son, doing it by phone instead. “I car­ry these humil­i­a­tions because my aunt advised me to always endure in mar­riage and have my chil­dren as the cen­ter of focus. She advised me not to pro­duce chil­dren from dif­fer­ent men,” the ded­i­cat­ed moth­er said. In order to take care of her fam­i­ly, Mari­am Nabatanzi will take any work avail­able. She admin­is­ters local herbs for var­i­ous ill­ness­es – which she says she has done since she was a young girl, but also takes casu­al jobs like plait­ing hair and styling brides for wed­dings, as well as tak­ing care of dec­o­ra­tions for var­i­ous events. She does any­thing she can to put food on the table for her chil­dren. “Every­thing is sole­ly from my pock­et; I buy 10kg of maize flour a day, four kilo­grams of sug­ar a day and three bars of soap. I need to have Shs100, 000 at the least on a dai­ly basis to have the fam­i­ly catered for. God has been good to me for they have nev­er gone a day with­out a meal,” Mari­am said.

After the Dai­ly Mon­i­tor fea­tured Mari­am Nabatanzi’s sto­ry in April of last year, a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign was set up for her on GoFundMe. It man­aged to raise $10,000 in just over a month.

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