When I met Teresita last year, she was pregnant with her 16th child. At the time, she claimed that she was 39 years old but the health workers can’t really be sure. When she visited the health center the previous year, she said she was 36.
It’s not only her age she can’t remember accurately. She also wasn’t certain about how many pregnancies she has had. She got pregnant 16 times, she said, but her sister Arlene argued that it’s actually 17; one was aborted.
Arlene who came with her for prenatal check-up was also expecting. It would be her 9th baby.
I asked them if they really wanted to have that many children. They smiled coyly before Teresita answered, “mao may niabot [it’s what we got].”
Teresita didn’t finish elementary school; she only got to second grade before dropping out. She can barely write her own name.
Her sister was luckier. She reached sixth grade and was therefore designated with filling out the information sheet for both of them.
They got a good scolding from the health workers for not coming to the health center sooner. They were in their third trimester already and it was apparently their first time to have their prenatal check-ups.
If they both had successful deliveries, their babies would be almost a year old by now. They’re also probably pregnant again by now.