Woman in India gives birth to 23rd child


If this isn’t the right forum, please move it. I know they aren’t Catholic, but it seemed to fit with Family Life more than Non-Catholic Religions. For rural India, to have all the children survive is remarkable.

Looks like they get the “Don’t you know what’s causing that yet?” and “Are all these children yours?” too.


Hum do hamare 23
By: Prawesh Lama
June 21, 2007

Mohd Ishaq doesn’t remember the names of his 23 kids or even recognise all of them. Yet, he is all set to welcome his 24th child next year. MiD DAY meets the man, the machine and the family that does not believe in family planning

Nuh (Mewat, Haryana): A 40-year-old woman in Mewat district of Haryana gave birth to her 23rd child on Sunday. The baby was born to Bismillah (40) and Mohammad Ishaq (50) at the nearby Al-Afia Government Hospital in the district.

The couple were married in 1976 and since then, Bismillah has given birth to 23 children, the latest addition being a female child who was born on Sunday and named Shabira.


WOW! It really is amazing that the human body can do that 23 times! And it really is amazing that they’ve all survived! I do find it a little unfortunate that the father doesn’t remember the names of all of his children. I wonder if that’s common among families with 20+ children.

Prayers and blessings for their family that they all remain healthy!


I would say that “a little unfortunate” is an understatement.

Tip for the parents: if you can’t remember the names of all your children, you should probably stop having more.


In the article,a medical worker said that lack of education was the
reason that villagers reject “family planning”. The writer of the article says,under the heading “Silver Lining”, “thankfully,there are some in the village who believe in small families”. These comments are insulting and show a disdainful attitude toward creation – as if a married couple creating an abundance of human beings was a bad thing,and a result of ignorance.


I’m all for big families, don’t get me wrong. But I think there’s something wrong with not even being able to remember your children’s names…and just talking about how your kids are going to take care of you. Makes it sound more like a business investment than a loving family.

And then there are the dates and ages that leapt out at me. They married in 1976. It’s 2007. So 31 years of marriage. She’s 40. Ummm… So that means she got married at the tender age of 9 when her husband was 19. That would be illegal here…and for a good reason.

Sorry but I can’t see this as a good example of the families we are called to be.


Maybe, but the way the article is written gives us a bleak picture of the pressure that pro-life families are under in many parts of the world. This kind of attitude has led to forced sterilization in many 3rd world countries.

I’d like to have more details. The numbers don’t seem quite right. She’d have to have had multiple births or babies stacked up one after another with no miscarriages to have 23 kids by 40. Maybe some are adopted or from a first marriage? I would think that formula would be too expensive. With bf, there would be some spacing.

I’m a little skeptical about this article. Could it be a misrepresentation as pro-contraceptive propaganda?


I would agree that the article is being used as pro-contraceptive propaganda. However, I think a distinction should be made between families that welcome children because they are trying to do God’s will and will responsibly provide and care for their children, and those that have children as a status symbol. While the children seem fed, it does not strike me that they are sufficiently clothed or loved. Not being able to recall your children’s names is inexcusable.

Mathematically, 23 kids in 31 years is feasible…even with breastfeeding. And if one assumes she did not do ecological breastfeeding and the children are evenly spaced, then the children are about 16 months apart. She also could have breastfed multiple children at one time.

I’d highly doubt that any are adopted…it states she gave birth to her 23rd.

I believe there is too much pushing of contraception in 3rd world countries, yes. But I also believe that people in 3rd world countries should practice NFP so that they can provide sufficiently for the children they are blessed with. If the facts in this story are true, I see this story more as an example of God’s goodness in giving even the poorest family the opportunity to follow His Will by practicing NFP…and how we should support it’s practice throughout the world.


When I was growing up in suburban Chicago, my mom had a friend whom she knew through Opus Dei that had 22 children. Only one set of twins. If I remember correctly, the woman was 19 when she got married, 20 when she had her first child, and 44 when she had #22. So, there was quite and age range, but no big gaps between kids. Their family certainly didn’t have all the hardship that a family in rural India might (the dad was a surgeon), but they went to pains to live frugally, and the mom was so organized she made Martha Stewart look like a slob. Too bad we don’t see this more nowadays!

And I’m pretty sure they remembered all their kids names too;) :smiley:


Too bad we don’t here from her either. It is hard to have a big family now a days and I’m not speaking of the raising of them but of the harrasment. Almost anyone who has more than two gets harrassed and even by fellow catholics. So the next time you see a large family, praise them.


I doubt that the father doesn’t know all the names of his children. Please let’s give him the benefit of the doubt! I can just imagine that this pro-contraceptive propaganda reporter asked him “What are their names” and he may have hesitated a few times (who knows, maybe to get them in order from eldest to youngest?). And who knows how many names each child has? It may be their tradition to give 4 names to each child, in which case I can understand maybe not remembering every single name without pausing to think about it.

Just about every kid in school knows the names of his 23 classmates. Why would a parent be unable to remember the names of his 23 children? I think that was probably something included in the article to paint large families in a bad light.


Sounds like the couple is Islamic by their names. Muslims do not believe in artificial contraception.


Yeah, but they said she was 40. That is what makes me doubt the credibility of the article. I think the writer didn’t get all his facts right.


I agree. He could have even been making a joke. The writer could have even led the conversation this way. I don’t trust such an obviously biased article.


Several provinces in India have highly skewed birth rates: some are 2 boys to every 1 girl born.
Several articles on CNN.com have highlighted the problems India is facing with selective abortions, infanticide, etc.
Even if families have females, in some states, they are highly likely to be sold off as child prostitutes, indentured servants or be left abandoned in remote locations to fend for themselves.

I agree this seems to be a skewed article, the quote below says it all:

"We distribute free condoms and contraceptives to them, but they do not accept it. They do not pay heed to our advice,” she said.

Silver lining

Thankfully, there are some in the village, who believe in a small family. Tayal Hussain (20), who married three years ago, has only one child. He says, “I read regional papers and have understood the benefits of a small family.”

They definitely point to ignorance as the cause of large families. What a shame. Although not much different here, right?
A family in my parish has 5 wonderful boys, ages 11-2. I’ve heard comments from fellow parishioners that break my heart: “Don’t they know when to stop?”, “They must keep trying for a girl.”, “Bet that last one was a surprise.” etc. I got to know the mother in a study group and I know she believes each one is a blessing from God, a soul given to their family to nourish. How heart-warming in a time of 2.3 children per family!!


Amen, amen, amen. Maybe not NFP per se, but at least LAM.



That’s a lot of reincarnations! :slight_smile:


I believe it is a excellent example of openness to the gift of life. It never ceases to be amazing how materialistic certain cultures can be. It is most certainly an example of generosity in the face of poverty. Ever contemplate how poorer people tend to be more generous? There is less desire to satisfy oneself and so much more to give.


The article doesn’t give enough information to make the determination that this certain mental capacity is ‘excusable’.

I believe there is too much pushing of contraception in 3rd world countries, yes. But I also believe that people in 3rd world countries should practice NFP so that they can provide sufficiently for the children they are blessed with.

What is the proposed criteria for when they “should” use NFP? What is your definition of providing sufficiently? House and car and three squares?


My quote was taken out of context. I preceded it with a discussion of the ages of the couple. I do not see it as an excellent example of openness to life if the bride is 9. Now, granted, that could be incorrect, but if we assume the article to have at least the facts straight, the ages alone are disturbing.

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