Meet the woman who has given birth to 44 children and is now raising 38 of them singlehandedly
Mariam from Uganda has 38 kids and it is linked to a condition called hyperovulation.
I have two kids and am already feeling that my hands are so full. I know of friends who have three and some have four, and it doesn’t really get easier especially if they are young.
It is quite common to have many children back in the day – during our parents’ or grandparents’ time, but highly unlikely for the current generation like myself and also the generations to come.
So, can you imagine if you gave birth to 44 children?
A rare case
A woman named Mariam Nabatanzi from Uganda, gave birth to twins a year after she was married off at the age of 12. Her husband was 40.
She then had 5 more sets of twins, 4 sets of triplets and 3 sets of quadruplets. Only 2 of them were born as singletons. She had a total of 44 children but unfortunately, 6 died at birth.
Now at 39 years old, she has 38 kids and she is raising them single-handedly.
Single mom status
Three years ago, Mariam’s husband abandoned her and left her alone to support the 38 children.
“I have grown up in tears, my man has passed me through a lot of suffering,” she said during an interview at her home, hands clasped as her eyes welled up. “All my time has been spent looking after my children and working to earn some money.”
Desperate for cash, she would work for any jobs that come her way – hairdressing, event decorating, collecting and selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine.
The money is used for feeding her family, medical care, clothing and school fees.
Her eldest child, Ivan Kibuka, 23, dropped out of school in order to help her at home.
“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. I feel for her,” he said.
A tragic past
Mariam’s life before marriage was easy either. Just three days after she was born, Mariam’s mother left her, her father and her five siblings.
After her father remarried, her stepmother poisoned all her siblings with crushed glass mixed in their food and they died. Thankfully, Mariam survived and was married out shortly.
This tragedy sparked her desire to have a big family, but she only wanted 6 children initially.
A medical condition
After her first sets of twins, she went to a doctor who told her she had unusually large ovaries.
He advised her that birth control like pills might cause health problems, so the children kept coming. Mariam suffers from a condition called hyperovulation.
What is hyperovulation?
Hyperovulation refers to the production and release of more than one egg during a menstrual cycle. Hyperovulation can occur naturally or be stimulated via hormone treatments. Under normal conditions, when more than one egg is released, the chances of conceiving multiples is increased.
The phenomenon of hyperovulation is still not fully understood but genes, weight, height, environmental factors and diet can all contribute to this condition. It is possible that several egg cells mature in only one ovary or in both at the same time.
In most cases of hyperovulation, several ovulations take place within 24 hours, but there may be several days in between too.
Generally, most people can’t tell whether they are hyperovulating or ovulating at all. A few women have reported symptoms such as more severe ovulation pain and a heavier cervical discharge than usual, but that’s about it.
The only clear indication of hyperovulation is given by an ultrasound, which shows the single follicles in which the oocytes (immature ovum/egg cell) develop.
Mariam’s case seems like a once in a lifetime chance, and we wish her all the best with raising her children. After all, women are a lot more resilient than we often get credit for.
Source: Channel News Asia
Read also: 10 tips for raising twins and multiples