At the age of 39, Mariam Nabatanzi, a woman from Kabimbiri village in Uganda, has reportedly given birth to 44 children, all from the same man, although she has sadly lost six of them.
Mariam’s life took a challenging turn when she was married off at the young age of 12, following a near-death experience at the hands of her stepmother, who had added pounded glass pieces to the family’s food. Miraculously, Mariam survived as she was away at the time of the meal, while her four siblings who consumed it tragically lost their lives.
In 1993, at the age of 23, Mariam got married to a 40-year-old man who was already polygamous and had children from previous marriages. Unaware of the challenges that awaited her, Mariam found herself adapting to her new life and taking care of all her husband’s children, as he had several wives.
Mariam’s prolific journey into motherhood began a year into her marriage when she gave birth to twins. Subsequently, she had sets of triplets, quadruplets, twins, and several single births. By her sixth delivery, Mariam had 18 children. Concerned about her well-being, she sought medical advice, only to be told that stopping her high ovary count could be life-threatening.
Despite facing the challenges of raising a large family, Mariam’s situation became even more difficult when her husband abandoned her after 25 years of marriage. He left her to single-handedly raise their children, ranging in age from six to 28, as he married other women.
In a recent interview, Mariam revealed the struggles of caring for her children alone and emphasized the lack of support after her husband’s departure. She explained that the marriage had been arranged by her father when she was very young, resulting in an age gap that led to a lack of emotional connection. Mariam’s husband, who was 45 when he married her, left because of her high fertility, unable to cope with her continued ability to bear more children.
Mariam expressed the challenges of being a single mother, highlighting societal expectations regarding parental attention to grown-up children, particularly daughters who are seen as potential sources of income through dowry. The hardships of Mariam’s life story shed light on the complexities of early marriage, polygamy, and the resilience required to navigate the adversities of motherhood.