Even the best mothers admit to struggling with their children every now and then, but Gladys Bulinya could likely put many of them to shame with her staggering brood.
As the BBC is reporting, the Kenyan mom has borne a whopping 12 children -- six sets of non-identical twins born between 1993 and last year. But the 35-year-old Bulinya, who lives alone with 10 of her 12 children -- six girls and four boys -- in a one-roomed grass-thatched house in the village of Nzoia, says her situation is intensified by a local belief that twins are cursed by a divine jinx.
After being abandoned by her husband last year and disowned by her relatives, Bulinya recently agreed to undergo sterilization, despite the procedure being against her religion, as she could not cope with more children. "I am a Catholic," she told the BBC. "When I made the decision, I asked for God's forgiveness and I am sure God understands and will forgive me for doing that."
When Bulinya gave birth to her first set of twins in 1993, her own family ordered her to leave the babies at the hospital for adoption, as the Bukusu people, to which her family belongs, believe that unless one twin in a set dies, it means certain death for one or both parents. Luckily, Ms Bulinya says, when her boyfriend's father (who is from a different ethnic group, the Kalenjin) learned his sons had been abandoned, he took them in and has cared for them ever since. She met her now 17-year-old sons two years ago.
Though Bulinya has been married twice, both husbands abandoned her shortly after she bore more twins. And even local benefactors are critical of her situation. "The lady should have undergone sterilization after discovering that men were using and dumping her," Margaret Khanyunya, director of St. Iddah Academy where one of the children is attending school, told the BBC.