We’ve read it many times that children are the flowers of life. However, most of us would probably be happy with a small bouquet of 2 to 3.
Well, it has been reported that back in the 18th century, there was a woman that gave birth to 69 children. According to sources, her name was Valentine Vassilyeva, and she holds the Guinness World Record for the most children ever.
Whether you believe the story or not we’ll leave it up to you.
Valentina Vassilyeva’s first husband was a Russian peasant named Feodor Vassilyev, from Shuya, Russia. They lived in the 1700s, and Valentina is believed to have lived 76 years. She is also believed to have left behind offspring of 69 children, only 2 of whom she lost as babies.
The Guinness World Records claimed her to be “the most prolific mother ever”, as the woman went through 27 labors. She gave birth to 16 twins, 7 triplets, and 4 quadruplets.
Her fertile years must have been approximately from 1725 to 1765, which leaves us with 40 years for 27 labors. Knowing that the average pregnancy takes around 40 weeks, this might seem almost impossible, but it’s a known fact that the more children you have in the womb, the more likely it is that your labor will come earlier.
BBC’s calculations show that Vassilyeva could’ve had 37-week pregnancies with twins, 32-week pregnancies with triplets, and 30-week pregnancies with quadruplets.
When you add things up, it all comes down to 936 weeks, or 18 full years. So, Vassilyeva had to spend 18 entire years of her life being pregnant.
Some reproduction experts question the whole thing because, while it is possible theoretically, it’s almost impossible practically, because there are some facts to consider.
First of all, there’s multiple ovulation. Yes, around 5 to 10 percent of all your cycles may be a subject to it, there’s a chance that Valentina was a phenomenon. However, if she managed to avoid the vanishing twin syndrome, she’s a very special phenomenon indeed.
To add to that, pregnancy and labor are a challenging things for the body, and the risk of complications increases both for the mom and for the baby when pregnancies go one by one less than 18 months apart. So, if only 2 back-to-back pregnancies are risky, imagine having 27 of them.
And third and most important, experts doubt that this many children, as well as their mother, would make it even with today’s medicine, let alone in the 18th century and in Russia.
Oh, and let’s not forget about feeding this many children and providing clothes for all of them.
The story about Valentina Vassilyeva is actually backed down by facts. A list that was sent by the Nokolskiy monastery to Moscow on February 27, 1782, proved that Feodor Vassilyev had 82 children alive at the time, from 2 marriages. His second wife gave birth to 18 of his children, 12 twins, and 6 triplets, which means that the others were born from Valentina.
Another article that was published in 1783 by The Gentleman’s Magazine included a list regarding the Vassilyev’s case, and the author claimed that the “extraordinary fecundity” may come from the man, the woman, or both jointly, but it’s more likely that the reason was Feodor, because the story repeated with his second wife.
To add to that, the French Academy of Sciences tried to investigate the case and addressed the Imperial Academy of St Petersburg, and were told that the Vassilyevs lived in Moscow and received favors from the government.
So, what do you think? Do you believe the Vassilyev’s case to be true?