36-year-old Ugandan woman banned from getting pregnant after having 44 kids

She was just 36 years old when she had her 44th child, leading a doctor to ban her from ever getting pregnant again! But for Ugandan mom Mariam Nabatanzi, that’s exactly what she had been asking for doctors to do, so many years ago.

Just like many young ladies in Uganda, Mariam got married at the tender age of 12, to a man who was already 40 years old at the time. Sold to her husband by her own family and unable to do anything against her parents’ wishes, Mariam had no choice but to carry on with life.

Months later, she gave birth to her first set of twins. Mariam was ecstatic.

Dreams of a big family

As a child, she had always dreamed of having a big family, thinking that having six kids would be awesome. She had no idea that her wish would be multiplied many times over and that she would give birth to a total of 44 children!

36-year-old Ugandan woman banned from getting pregnant after having 44 kids
Photo credit: DW / YouTube

This dream of having many kids stemmed from her being the youngest of six children from her father’s first family. She was just a newborn baby when her mother ran away, never to be seen again. She was 7 years old when her father remarried. One day, she was visiting with relatives when her evil stepmother poisoned the older siblings by adding crushed glass with their food. She wanted to have six children to somehow replicate that shattered family.

Multiple births

After giving birth to that first set of twins, Mariam had five more sets of twins! But that’s not all. She also had four sets of triplets and a whopping five sets of quadruplets. She bore a total of 44 children in 15 pregnancies; though 6 passed away for various reasons, including stillbirths.

Taking care of so many children and being pregnant for most of her life, Mariam wished to stop getting pregnant early in her marriage. She’s had enough of her situation but doctors discovered that she had unusually large ovaries. Birth control pills might cause more health problems, she was told. So, the kids kept coming.

Single mom

It was only after her 15th pregnancy and 44th child that a doctor finally found a way to help Mariam.

“Her case is genetic predisposition to hyper-ovulate, which is releasing multiple eggs in one cycle, which significantly increases the chance of having multiples; it is always genetic,” explained a gynecologist at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Dr. Charles Kiggundu.

36-year-old Ugandan woman banned from getting pregnant after having 44 kids
Photo credit: DW / YouTube

Dr. Charles banned Mariam from getting pregnant again, cutting her uterus from the inside, she explained. Though she won’t ever get pregnant again, the 36-year-old Mariam is quite happy, especially because she’s now a single mom as her husband left shortly after the procedure.

It is unknown whether he left because she had the procedure done or for some other reason. But one thing is for sure, the single mom is struggling to feed and raise her 38 children. She also dreams of sending everyone to school, no matter how challenging that might be.

“Generally, I have tried to educate them. My dream is that my children go to school. They can lack anything [else], but they must go to school,” Mariam said.

Thankfully, her kids help out in the house, but providing for their food and other needs is becoming more difficult for this single mom. Some of the children sleep on beds with thin mattresses while others have to sleep on the floor. Food for the entire family is mostly maize flour, with fish and meat being a rare addition.

“I started taking on adult responsibilities at an early stage. I have not had joy, I think, since I was born,” Mariam bitterly said.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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