Jummai Musa, 28, is a mother-of-seven, all of which she had in the space of five years. She opened up to Daily Trust on how she achieved the feat.
According to DailyTrust this is how the interview went: Did you plan to have so many children within the space of five years?
Jummai Musa: (Laughter) It was not that I planned to have seven children within that period or to have so many children in the first place. It so happened that I was married for three years and didn’t have a child. I didn’t even get pregnant. My husband and I are farmers and didn’t have money to do tests to confirm if there was anything wrong with either of us. All we had were our prayers, God and support of our families and friends. God answered us after three years and I had a baby girl. Two years after I had her, I was pregnant again and so excited about it. It was even more exciting to everyone who knew us when we discovered in my second trimester that they were twins. I danced, and my husband was so happy and especially happy when he was later told that one of the twins was a boy.
But beneath our joy, we were a little worried about how we would take care of them on our very low income. But God was kind and people helped and have been helping. Then three years after, I was pregnant again. I got worried because of our finances but had belief in God. When I went for scan, I was told I was expecting triplets. At this point, joy overwhelmed me as I began to wonder about God and how He does things.
DT: Was it a difficult pregnancy?
Musa: Yes, especially towards the end. I had morning sickness but not for long. Then as it progressed and the babies grew, I became more and more exhausted and had to stop a lot of activities. I went for check up. My neighbours were very helpful and would take me or help me get things I needed. But I was tired a lot, too much that sometimes I would wonder if I had the energy to push the baby. All this while I imagined how the triplets would look. I wasn’t very keen about their gender because I already have male and female, though.
On May 27, which was Children’s Day, at about 2am I went into labour. Luckily, there is a midwife not very far from my house who someone went to call and let her know I was in labour. We couldn’t go to hospital because of the pain and we really didn’t have the means to do so at that time of the day. The babies started coming out. Each one took two hours after the previous one before it came out. For six hours they were coming out. I was thoroughly exhausted and had just enough strength to push out the third before I collapsed. After she came out, the midwife said, ‘wait it seems there is still another one inside.’ At that point I passed out. I was so exhausted and didn’t know what to do with myself.
By this time it was day time. I was immediately rushed to Gwarinpa Hospital where they admitted me and delivered the last baby four hours after the third. I was afraid.
DT: What was the feeling when you first saw all of them together?
Musa: I said to myself, ‘na me born all these pikin [sic]?’ My small body carried four human beings? I exclaimed ‘God you are great’. I couldn’t believe it, especially because I was expecting three babies.
DT: Was it the thought of a fourth one, when the midwife told you, that made you pass out?
Musa: (Laughter) All of the above! The surprise that I am such a small-statured person and from my own understanding couldn’t carry four babies and also the fear that the fourth one might be too sickly, plus the excitement in my heart, all terrified me. In all, I truly was happy and decided to stay optimistic. Thankfully, they are all healthy, asides the third who is a little sickly.
My plan was to have three children, at the most four. I was not very particular about whether they were all boys or all girls. I was just looking forward to being a mother.
DT: What is it like looking after quadruplets?
Musa: Wow, the joys are as numerous as the challenges. Challenges, in terms of attending to their immediate needs and you have come at a time when it is the toughest for me with two or more of them crying at the same time for food. Sometimes, it feels like my head would explode. But as the months go by I have learnt to deal with the situations two at a time or one at a time. You can see I am breastfeeding two at the same time and a third one is crying. In such situations, the older children in the compound are eager to help me. I don’t know what I would have done without them. My neighbour also comes immediately to my aid. I don’t even have to ask her.
The one thing I am so grateful to God for is that they sleep well at night, except one who keeps me awake sometimes when he wants to play. Then sometimes they feel irritable, especially times when I take them for vaccines. When they come home they are so irritable and don’t want anyone to touch them except me. As I have learnt, I can only do two at a time. So the ones I can breastfeed and sing to sleep I do so and then take on the rest until they too calm down. Times like this, my entire day goes to them.
Somebody else has to help me with the other children, cook the food and do other things I would have planned to do.
DT: What kind of help have you received so far from government or from individuals or groups?
Musa: As for government, I haven’t received anything. Even when I had the babies in Gwarinpa a group from the FCT had said I should be given free treatment and the children as well, but the officials at the hospital said the person who made that statement didn’t make any payments and I therefore had to pay for whatever needed to be paid for. In fact they didn’t even attend to me immediately on that day of the delivery until deposit had been made for my treatment. People who were in the hospital that day and heard of my situation along with those who went there with me rallied round and raised the money I needed.
Subsequently, between my husband and I and some people close to us, we have been able to take care of other needs. No group has come to our aid but individuals, sometime in the past, came to us with money and baby things. As for now, I don’t go to farm, I stay at home to look after the children, so the burden is on my husband. We would really appreciate whatever help we can get.
DT: If you had a choice, would you reduce the number of children you have?
Musa: No. When I look at them, all of them, including the twins and my first child, I remember to thank God because I remember those three years of barrenness and how much I prayed to Him to open my womb. After all, God teaches us that He will not give us burdens that we cannot bear and that children are His gift to us. So I have handed them over to Him to look after. I have no regrets.
DT: Does this mean you are looking forward to more children?
Musa: No! I am happy for the ones I have and continue to pray for their good health and strength. But they are enough. Even my husband doesn’t want more. He is very happy with the ones we have.