Like millions of women, Mariam Nabatanzi was forced by her parents to marry an older man at age 13. Just a few months later, she was pregnant with twins.
Mariam lives in Uganda where child marriage is rife. This is not something we promote in any way, shape or form, but we do want to give applause to Mariam, who strives to be the best mum to her children, even though this is not something she ever wished for.
16 births, 45 children
Mariam has spoken out about her fertility in the past, explaining that she always wanted six children. However, she has a rare health condition known as hyper ovulation which means that when she does get pregnant, the pregnancy usually results in either twins, triplets, or quadruplets.
According to some reports, she has given birth 16 times, but this has resulted in 45 children. Six of them have died under different circumstances. She had 16 girls and 29 boys. Her last child was born three years ago and her oldest twins would be 27 now.
She has six sets of twins, four sets of triplets, three sets of quadruplets plus a few single births.
Most fertile woman in the world
Mariam is considered the most fertile woman in the world, a title she didn’t exactly want. She has tried birth control in the past but both the pill and injection never worked.
I also tried the vaginal ring but my body reacted very negatively. I almost died. So I gave up.”
Children are “a blessing, not a burden”
Mariam’s husband is the father of all of her children. According to the media, he has abandoned her and the kids, leaving her to raise them alone.
Mariam does a number of jobs to keep her children safe and fed including decorating for events, braiding hair and selling various items.
As she explains,
I get money from here and there. I wash people’s clothes to survive and despite the fact that I am Muslim, I learned to make homemade brandy to have more income. I collect herbs, process and sell them and try to cure people of their diseases.”
It can’t be easy but, despite it all, Mariam prides herself on being the best mum to each and every one of her kids, explaining they are a blessing, not a burden. Her wish for them is that they are, one day, able to go to school.
Despite being illiterate, I am able to care for and raise my children and well, I try to trust the practical wisdom that God has given me.”
Mariam has also spoken out about her husband, who sounds like an absolute f_ck-hard (excuse the language). Not only did he continue to force himself on her, but he also beat her and didn’t provide basic necessities for her and the kids.
This is something that is happening every day, to women everywhere. There is a lot of badness in this world and child marriage certainly falls into this category. We applaud Mariam for her courage, her strength and her ability to be the best mum she can be in a situation that most of us couldn’t even fathom.
Head over to Plan.org.au to show your support to end child marriage. In the past three years, they’ve been able to stop 2,000 child brides from a life they did not ask for.
We also came across a GoFundMe page set up by a lawyer in Pheonix Arizona. She has raised nearly $30,000 USD that she sends to Mariam every few months. What a beautiful woman! You can read her story and updates here.
You can also check out this video featuring Mariam and her 45 children: