Woman has 38 children by age 36 and is raising them alone

Woman has 38 children by age 36 and is raising them alone

A 39-year-old woman from Uganda has 38 children - and is raising them as a single mother.

Mariam Nabatanzi's husband reportedly abandoned her three years ago. Reuters reports that Mariam first gave birth - to twins - just a year after she was married off at the age of 12; since then, she has given birth to five more sets of twins, four sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets.

Then, three years ago, her husband abandoned her, leaving her to raise her 38 children on her own.

This is the jaw-dropping amount of food Mariam has to prepare every single day:

Her husband, who was apparently absent for long periods of time throughout their marriage, is now referred to by Marian using only an expletive - his name is a family curse;

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

The 39-year-old mother lives four cramped houses made from cement blocks and corrugated iron roofing with her children in a village 31 miles north of Kampala.

Credit: YouTube

Tragically, her last pregnancy had complications, Reuters reports; one of her sixth set of twins died on childbirth - tragically her sixth child to die.

“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,” says Mariam's eldest child, 23-year-old Ivan Kibuka, who was forced to drop out of secondary school.

After her first set of twins were born, Mariam visited a doctor who told her that she had unusually large ovaries, and that birth control pills could cause health problems.

Large families are not unusual in Africa, as Reuters reports, in Uganda, fertility rates average out at 5.6 children per woman - more than double the global average of 2.4.

Even in Uganda, though, the size of Mariam's family is extreme.

Mariam's own upbringing is steeped in tragedy. Three days after she was born, her mother abandoned the family. Then, her stepmother poisoned the fiver older children. They all died. Mariam says she survived because she was visiting a relative at the time.

Providing for her large family is a never-ceasing challenge; twelve of the children sleep on metal bunkbeds, while others sleep on shared mattresses. The older children help with chores, like cooking and looking out for the younger siblings.