When Mariam Nabatanzi was born, her father had already arranged a marriage for her. She was married off at the age of 12. By 13, she started having her own children. “Nothing good happened to me in my marriage, except my children,” says Mariam.
Her much older husband humiliated her and brought lovers home. Mariam says she couldn’t leave him because she only wanted to be with one man. After giving birth to three pairs of twins, Mariam asked a doctor for birth control, but he told her she couldn’t stop giving birth, as it could result in tumour.
In total, Mariam gave birth 15 times and had 44 babies! Her husband eventually left her.
Now, she’s a single mother. With 38 surviving kids, Mariam struggles to make ends meet and takes on every opportunity to make money.
Although fertility rates in Uganda are one of the highest in the world, with 5.4 children per woman, Mariam’s story stands.