One family from Uganda is about to completely change your definition of a “big family”.
You probably think you were raised in a large family if you had five or six siblings, but imagine having thirty-seven biological brothers and sisters. Mariam Nabatanzi, 39, from Uganda has given birth to 44 children in her lifetime, out of which six have passed away, which means she now has 38 children in her home.
Mrs. Nabatanzi was “married” off by her parents to a man 27 years her senior when she was only 13 years old. At her young age, she didn’t even know what was happening until she found herself at her “husband’s” house. It was only one year later that she gave birth to her first pair of twins. A year after that, she had triplets, and the following year she had quadruplets.
On top of her own children, Miriam also had to take care of her husband’s children from previous relationships, all during her tender teenage years. What’s worse, the man her parents married her off to would beat her often, even if she just dared to express an opinion he did not like.
Her story was brought to light by BBC journalist Kassim Kayira who visited her home and wrote about her. Miriam explained that after her 23rd child, she visited a doctor to consult on whether there was any procedure she could undergo so she would stop having children.
She was informed, however, that due to her high ovary count, if she tried to undergo any sort of procedure, her life could be endangered. So, in total, Miriam gave birth to 44 kids, out of which there were 6 pairs of twins, 4 sets of triplets, 3 sets of quadruplets, and two were born on their own. Unfortunately, an additional six of them have passed away.
Her husband has abandoned them all, and Miriam revealed that he has never been involved in their children’s lives. The most he would do is give them names, and even that sometimes took place over the phone. Miriam’s eldest son, who is 23, shared that he has not seen his father in ten years.
But fortunately, the siblings have a dedicated mother who has made it her life’s mission to try and give them the best life she possibly can, even though it can get really rough. For starters, food is one of the biggest concerns for the family, who have to go through over 20 lbs of flour, 15 lbs of beans, and 17 lbs of sugar on a daily basis.
Despite how hard life gets sometimes, however, she explained that she has no regrets about her children and considers them all a gift from God.
“I am hopeful that my children will go to school,” Miriam shared. “Because they all have big ambitions of being doctors, teachers, and lawyers. I want them to achieve these dreams, something I was not able to do.”
Out of her firstborn twins, one of them became a nurse and the other is a qualified builder.
To cover these costs, Miriam does a variety of work. She bakes cakes, organizes events, does hairstyles for brides, lays bricks, braids hair, and collects and sells herbs. But she said that she will “keep on fighting to make sure my children always have food to eat. I will never abandon them, even if we suffer to survive daily.
She told Kayira that her message for the parents in her culture is:
Stop selling your daughters to men for early marriages. They suffer too much, and the loss of parental love is something that they can never fully recover from.
She also had advice for the men and fathers:
Do not forget your responsibility, because marriage is a joint responsibility to raise your children.
This woman is a true inspiration, and an example of just how strong a mother’s love is, and the lengths she is able to go to provide for her offspring.
Her children will surely never forget her sacrifice and one day she will hopefully be able to rest, content in the knowledge she has 38 people to take their turn in taking care of her.