If you think raising one or two children is hard to try to imagine having to deal with dozens of them at once.
For one 39-year-old mother from Uganda that is a reality that she can’t escape from.
Mariam Nabatanzi gave birth to 44 children despite being only 39 years old. While she lost 6 kids on the way, she still keeps 38 of them under one roof.
While the mother is proud of her children and her big family, her life was never easy. When Mariam was only 13 years old, her parents sold her off to a man 27 years her senior.
The parents claimed it was all a part of arranged marriage but Mariam never knew what was going on until she found herself trapped at her ‘husband’s’ home.
A year later, at the age of 14, she gave birth to twins, her first babies. In the next year, she gave birth to triplets followed by the birth of quadruplets. By the age of 39, Mariam gave birth to 44 babies in total, including 6 twins, 4 triples, 3 quadruplets, and only 2 singles. 6 children died.
Speaking of her teen years, Mariam said:
“My husband had many children from his past relationships and I had to take care of them because their mothers were scattered all over.
“He was also violent and would beat me at any opportunity he got, even when I suggested an idea that he didn’t like.”
The mother also explained that she is thankful to God for providing her with so many children. The only thing she feels upset about is their father.
Allegedly, the man would often leave her and her children for months or years before returning home. Eventually, he abandoned them completely and Mariam was left alone to take care of 38 kids.
According to the woman’s oldest son, who is now 23 years old, he hasn’t seen his father for over 10 years.
Despite her struggles, however, Mariam never complains. She’s dedicated her life to taking care of her children and providing them with everything they need to grow up healthy.
As the mother revealed, one of the biggest problems the family has to deal with is satisfying their food demands. The large family consumes as much as 10 kilograms of flour, 7 kilograms of beans, and 4 kilograms of sugar per day.
The hardworking mother also made sure that all of her children are getting a proper education. “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 achieve these dreams, something I was not able to do,” Mariam said, adding that one of her firstborn twins became a qualified builder while another became a nurse.
To provide for her big family, Mariam resorted to taking on whatever work gets her way. She bakes cakes, collects and sells herbs, styles hair, organizes events, and lays bricks among other jobs.
“I know these children are a gift from God that I have to treasure, so I try my best to fend for them,” she said.
Fortunately, Mariam’s story made it viral after she was approached by Kassim Kayira, a former BBC journalist who was touched by her outstanding family.
Speaking to Kassim, Mariam shared some valuable advice for other parents belonging to her culture: “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.”
As for the fathers, Mariam urges men not to forget their responsibility “because marriage is a joint responsibility to raise your children.”
“I’ll 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 added.
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