Mariam Nabatanzi is probably the most prolific mother in the world, and they call her “Mama Uganda” in her country.
She is only 42 years old but has given birth to 44 children since she was 13, which could easily translate to one child for every year of her existence.
Mariam has six sets of twins, four sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets.
Mama Uganda has a rare condition called hyperovulation which makes her produce multiple eggs.
Reuters reported that after her first sets of twins, she went to a doctor who told her she had unusually large ovaries that churn many eggs. He advised her that birth control, like pills, might cause health problems.
Her only solution was to keep having babies. And having babies she did!
Six of her children died. The 42-year-old woman looks after her big family alone as her husband ran away in 2016 with all their money.
Mariam Nabatanzi has never known happiness in her entire life.
Her mother abandoned her and her five siblings three days after she was born. Her father remarried, and when Mariam was seven, the stepmother poisoned the food with crushed glass, killing all her five siblings.
She was lucky to escape death by a whisker as she was visiting a relative. She grew up wishing to have six children to rebuild her shattered family.
Alone in the world, save for her father and his evil wife, relatives took Mariama in to stay with them. At 12, she was sold into marriage. She gave birth to her first set of twins at 13.
That was the starting point of her little clan.
After a staggering 44 children, Mariama had her uterus severed from the inside in 2016. Now her headache is taking care of her vast brood alone.
“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,” said her eldest child Ivan Kibuka, 23, who had to drop out of secondary school as there was no money.
Mariam scraps through everything, from hairdressing, collecting and selling scrap metal, and event decorating to brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine. The money is gobbled by food, medical care, clothing and school fees.
She uses 25 kg of maize meal a day. Meat and fish are a luxury her family cannot afford frequently.
Difficult as her burden is, she is determined to put all her children in school so they can make something out for themselves. She told Al Jazeera:
“My dream is that my children go to school. They can lack anything (else), but they must go to school. I can’t say they are nagging because they are my children. I can’t say I will abandon them because they are my children, and I love them.”
Check out her story below.