Meet Mariam Nabatanzi: The 39-year-old Ugandan woman who, after giving birth 44 times, is raising 38 children all on her own.
Whether it be IVF, surrogacy, or adoption, our favorite celebs have been open about their journeys to motherhood due to infertility issues that many women experience. Just this week, Gabrielle Union and her hubby, Dwyane Wade, surprised us all by revealing their newborn baby girl delivered via a surrogate. With all this going on, a woman on the other side of the ocean has been deemed the most fertile women in Africa.
Mariam Nabatanzi is from the Kabimbiri village where she is known as the Nalongo Muzaala Bana, which means "the twin mother that produces quadruples." According to The Daily Monitor, Mariam has given birth to six sets of twins, four sets of triplets, three sets of quadruplets, and two single births; 12 girls and 33 boys. All these births were natural except her last child who was delivered by Cesarean section.
In 1993, Mariam was married off to a 40-year-old man when she was only 12 years old. Mariam recalls that day and said she had no idea that she was even getting married.
“I did not know I was being married off. People came home and brought things for my father. When time came for them to leave, I thought I was escorting my aunt but when I got there, she gave me away to the man.”
During her tumultuous marriage, Mariam was forced to take care of her polygamous husband’s children from his previous relationships. She says that he was violent and would beat her any time she would speak her mind. Despite this, Mariam says that she took the advice of her aunt who told her to always endure when it came to marriage.
After just one year of marriage, Mariam gave birth to her first set of twins. Two years after that, she had triplets and then one year and seven months later she gave birth to quadruplets. But this wasn’t even surprising to Mariam!
“My father gave birth to 45 children with different women and these all came in quintuplets, quadruples, twins and triplets,” Mariam explained. Doctors believe that Mariam has a, “genetic predisposition to hyper-ovulate,” which is why she has so many multiples when she’s pregnant. When hyperovulation occurs, women will release more than one egg during their menstrual cycle so twins are more likely to occur.
Many of you may be wondering why she didn’t just start using birth control! By her 18th child, Mariam did try using the UID but due to her condition she got so sick that she was in a coma for a month. Due to her high ovary count, doctors say that if she did somehow get her tubes ties, the buildup of unfertilized eggs would kill her.
Mariam does the best she can to provide for her children after her husband of 25 years left her. She's even been approached to have children for other women but she refuses. Her eldest son, Charles Musis, says that he knows that his siblings don’t even know what their father looks like.
“I can comfortably tell you that our siblings do not know what father looks like,” The 23-year-old said. “I last saw him when I was 13 years old and only briefly in the night because he rushed off again.”
The single mother of 38 says her biggest concern is making sure her children are going to school, that they are healthy and that she can feed them, which is difficult for a woman living in the village with no land, garden or farm. Luckily, Mariam says her children have never gone without a meal.
“I do not despise any job as long as it brings in some money. Feeling sorry for myself is something I dropped because I know these children are a gift from God that I have to treasure, so I try my level best to fend for them.”
Mariam’s siblings were all killed by her stepmother when they were younger. Because of this, she loves taking care of all her children and believes that her love and care will help them grow better and achieve their dreams.
“I am hopeful that my children will go to school because they all have big ambitions of being doctors, teachers and lawyers. I want them to realize these dreams, something I was not able to do.”
Mariam is already proud to say one of her oldest twins has a certificate in nursing while the other has a certificate in construction. In a world where many women suffer with infertility issues, 39-year-old Mariam Nabatanzi is doing her best to care for the 38 blessings she has been given.
(Photo: Henry Wasswa/Picture Alliance via Getty Images)