In Medellin, Colombia, Martha, a 39-year-old woman with an astonishing 19 children, has recently announced her 20th pregnancy, and she has no intentions of slowing down. What makes her story even more unique is that all her children have different fathers, and she is determined to continue expanding her family until her body physically cannot conceive anymore.
Despite her prolific approach to motherhood, Martha’s perspective is unconventional – she sees her role as a mother as a business venture. While she does receive financial support from the Colombian government for her brood, consisting of seventeen children under 18 years old, the funds barely cover the expenses of raising and caring for such a large family. In addition to government assistance, Martha seeks help from the local church and neighbors.
The Colombian government provides Martha with approximately $510 each month, but the allocation per child varies, with her eldest receiving $76 and the youngest receiving $30.50. Martha’s financial strategy suggests that she views childbearing as a source of income rather than a traditional vocation.
Living in a small three-bedroom house, Martha faces the challenges of providing for her children adequately. The living conditions are cramped, with the eldest children sleeping on the sofa. Martha acknowledges the difficulties she encounters in providing sufficient meals on a limited budget.
Despite these challenges, Martha remains resolute in her decision to have more children until her “body doesn’t allow it” and her current children grow up. Her unconventional approach to motherhood sparks a conversation about the complexities of parenthood, financial support systems, and the blurred lines between family and business dynamics.