Many think of fertility as a blessing, but for Ugandan mum, Mariam Nabatanzi Babirye it is a curse.
Because of a medical condition called “hyper ovulation”, she keeps getting pregnant with multiple kids – occasionally four at a time.
According to Lagaaju’s story, Mariam’s life of hell started at a very young age. Her wicked step-mum allegedly attempted to kill her and her four siblings by adding pounded glass to their food. Mariam was not at home at the time so didn’t eat it, but her siblings all died.
But having dodged what would have been a painful death, she now faced a life of hardship. At the age of 12 she was married off to a 40-year-old polygamist in Kabimbiri village, north of Uganda.
“I did not know I was being married off. People came home and brought things for my father,” Mariam is quoted as saying.
“When the time came for them to leave, I thought I was escorting my aunt but when I got there, she gave me away to the man.”
Miriam became a mum for the first time aged 13 – with twins. It was a sign of things to come: among her kids are twins, triplets, and quadruplets. Her last born – a singleton – is just a few months old. Although she has given birth to 44 kids, six of them have died. Of her 38 surviving kids, 10 are girls and the rest boys.
By the time Mariam was 23 she had given birth to 25 children. Worried for her health, she sought medical advice. She was told she had a condition known as “hyper ovulation”, which is when more than one egg is released during a woman’s menstrual cycle. But she was given little help and sent on her way.
Adding to her misery, Mariam’s husband is a nightmare. “I have been tortured countless times by my husband; he beats me to a pulp when I try to reason with him over any issue, especially when he gets home drunk,” she is quoted as saying in the report.
“He does not provide basic needs and welfare of the family; the children hardly know who he is since he is an absent father who gives his children names over the phone and not physically.”
But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the overburdened mum. Thanks to the Daily Nation’s report, well-wishers have been lining up to donate money to help her support and educate her kids. According to the Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen, the equivalent of about R136 500 has already been raised since Mariam’s story first appeared in April.