At 39 this woman has 38 children to fend for

The Hush Post | 7:46 pm | Two-minute read |

A woman in Uganda has been left by her husband to fend for herself and her 38 kids. Mariam Nabatanzi was married at the tender age of 12 and gave birth to twins a year after. Subsequently, she gave birth to five more sets of twins, four sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets.

Nabatanzi’s husband abandoned her three years ago. She has since been supporting her 38 children alone.

Today the 39-year-old lives with her children in four cramped houses in a village 50 km north of Kampala.

Mariam Nabatanzi visited a doctor after her first sets of twins were born who told her she had unusually large ovaries. The doctor advised her against birth control like pills, saying it might cause health problems.

With no contraceptives in place, the children kept coming.


Nabatanzi was last pregnant two and a half years ago, but had complications. It was her sixth set of twins and one of them died in childbirth, her sixth child to die.

He husband subsequently abandoned her.

“I have grown up in tears, my man has passed me through a lot of suffering,” she told Reuters. “All my time has been spent looking after my children and working to earn some money,” she added.

Nabatanzi does each and everything to make a living and feed her 38 children. She does hairdressing, event decorating, collecting and selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine.

She spends all the money on food, medical care, clothing and school fees.

Today, the children have grown up. Older children help look after the young ones and everyone helps with chores like cooking. Her eldest daughter is 23 years of age.

Interestingly, what drew Nabatanzi towards a large family is a tragedy.

Her mother abandoned her along with five other siblings just three days after her birth. He father married for a second time and the stepmother poisoned all her siblings.

Luckily for Nabatanzi, she survived because she was visiting a relative, she says. And all the while she grew up; she always wanted to have have six children to rebuild her shattered family.

Notably, women in Uganda have an average fertility rate of 5.6 children per woman. This is more than double the global average of 2.4 children.


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