A family of six in Nnewi, Anambra State, has become a family of 11 after the mother gave birth to quintuplets. Most parents find giving proper care and attention to one child exhausting and expensive. With 11 demanding children to look after, life has been an endless routine of washing, feeding and non-stop childcare for Mrs. Helen Odor, 29.
Odor had four children before she was recently delivered of quintuplets – four boys and a girl. And with the new additions, Odor has suddenly felt as if the one-bedroomed apartment where the family used to share has suddenly shrunk further.
The mother, an apprentice tailor, married to a commercial tricycle rider (popularly called Keke Marwa rider), has however vowed not to have any child again.
Odor, who hails from Nsukka, Enugu State, said if childbearing was a blessing, she has had enough of it and would not want more for any reason.
“I pray not to have children again in my life; and I’m serious about it. If childbearing is a blessing, I pray to God to give it to those who need it and not to me. What I’m praying for now is strength; I want strength, I want life. I want God to provide for my family so that we can take care of the children. God forbid that I will give birth to a child again,” she said with mixed emotions.
Odor has been pregnant five times and these have given her 11 children. However, she lost two babies out of the triplets she had from the previous pregnancy, leaving her with nine children in all.
Stressing that she never induced herself to produce more babies, Odor said, “How can I take ovulation induction drugs when I had had four children before these ones.
“I think it runs in our blood. In my husband’s family, they have twins, triplets and quadruplets; in my family, we have the same history. I think these things run in our genes. For my fourth pregnancy, I had triplets, but unfortunately, I lost two of them. I have produced 11 children from five pregnancies by the grace of God; but like I had earlier said; I have nine alive now because I lost two children.”
While expressing her gratitude to members of the public for the help they had rendered to her, especially financially, Odor noted that in her condition, no assistance would be too small or too big.
She said the family had been spending about N4,000 daily on formula to feed her quintuplets.
“We thank God for the kind of help we have been receiving since these children came. It’s been marvelous. A lot of help has been coming from foundations and groups. We are glad about the assistance we have been getting locally and internationally. We’ve got a lot of assistance. God is good to us. We also believe that God will put it in the heart of our leaders in the state to come to our assistance because I didn’t commit any crime by having quintuplets. They (state government) have come here to do some verification, but we have not received anything from them. O.J. Foundation has helped us a lot. But I need more help; nursing quintuplets is not easy. I can’t do exclusive breastfeeding in this kind of situation. We buy an average of three tins of formula daily at N1,300 each. And everybody knows how tough the economy is in our country. So, we need more assistance.
“My husband is a commercial tricycle rider and I am an apprentice tailor. I was learning that before I was delivered of the quintuplets. I have not established my tailoring shop. We leave in a one-bedroomed apartment; 11 of us and sometimes we have visitors. We need a bigger place but it will cost money,” she said.
On the future of the children, she said a philanthropist, who paid her hospital bill, had promised to give scholarships to the quintuplets up to the university level.
Describing domestic chores as one of her biggest challenges, Odor said, “Domestic work is affecting my health. My mother is alive. She has come to help us for two weeks but she has gone back. My husband’s sister is the one with us now; she will leave in few days time. If we don’t rotate it this way, you will be surprised that we will be consuming an average of 20 cups of rice per meal.
“Honestly, I won’t say I have time to sleep because I’m always busy taking care of the quintuplets.”
She however expressed concern over the state of health of her quintuplets, saying they have been often been sick and feverish.
Name: Odoh Helen Ndidi
Account number: 0048081828
Bank: Union Bank Nigeria Plc