(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Amid the recent baby-snatching incidents and debate on abortion comes the curious case of Kerry-Ann Anderson — a woman who has given birth to five sets of fraternal twins, four of which she had consecutively.
The odds of this happening to one woman are very slim, experts say one billion to one… so slim in fact, that doctors at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, where Anderson delivered her third set of twin girls last year, rejoiced, saying that her name should be added to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Anderson, 36, lives in the inner-city community of Denham Town, West Kingston, with 10 of her children, her mother, Patricia Bryan, her brother and father of her last twins, Lincoln Figarow.
When the Jamaica Observer visited the family last week, Anderson announced ecstatically: “You see all when mi have baby di last time, di amount a doctor come and shake mi hand. Dem say mi fi go inna di Guinness Book of Records. Dem say how nobody nuh know bout me.”
Anderson jested that one of the doctors said he was sorry he was already married. “Him say a me should a be him wife. Some people say di prime minister should a know me because dis a record in a history”.
Officially, the record number of children born to one woman is 69, to a Russian woman who had 16 pairs. However, locally, Anderson is suspected to have that record as civil registration manager at the Registrar General’s Department, Monique Lynquee told the Sunday Observer that the entity does not have record of any other mother with that many twins.
Anderson also has two other children. She explained that after having her first son at age 19, she gave birth to her first set of twin — boys — a year later.
“Kamaro and Kamal, they were my first twins”, she said “Mi never expect it, but mi did glad same way, because to me that was a blessing.”
She then later gave birth to her third son, Mario Cameron, who was then followed by his twin sister, Angel Cameron, whose double unfortunately died at birth.
“A two a dem mi have who died at the hospital,” Anderson revealed. “Di second set weh mi have were girls and one of them died at birth. Then after dat mi have another set, they were boys and one of dem also died. After dat, a straight twin mi have”.
At this point, Anderson would have gone through five pregnancies, with a year or two separating the first four.
On her sixth pregnancy in 2017, Anderson had her second pair of twin girls, Hailey and Kylie Pusey, who were followed by another set of girls, Calesha and Alesha Figarow, just last year.
The twins are now six months old and were cuddled in their mother’s arms, as she spoke with the Sunday Observer.
“See di two a dem here,” Anderson said, holding the youngest set in her arms, while the other two, now two years old, played at her feet. The other children were all at school, although, she explained, sometimes she cannot afford to send them.
“Sometime mi nuh have it fi send dem go school, so mi would a need likkle help fi educate them so they can come out to something good”.
The jovial mother admitted that she never intended to have so many children, but said, neverthless, that she is counting each of her children as a blessing.
“Mi never want fi have so much, but mi done bring dem and mi nuh know. But God love mi; everybody say dem want my twin dem. But mi say no, a better mi suffer and tek care a dem like how my mother suffer and tek care a me.”
Anderson spoke adoringly about her mother, Patricia Bryan, who sometimes does janitorial work with Manpower and Maintenance Services Limited.
“Di amount a tings weh she do fi mi, mi cyah pay her back. Mi mada help mi out big time, till she get all slim. Mi just want pay her back, but right now mi cyah pay her fi wah she do fi me. Me should a drink her foot water fi weh she do fi me. Mi cyah re-pay.”
She explained that their living situation is currently inadequate, with the kitchen and laundry area in the two-bedroom house in need of repair.
“Right now mi want a house fi myself because mi mother nuh really have nuh vacancy, so mi would a really want help fi get a likkle house fi myself. A she alone sometimes, and she still good to me nuh matter how people talk.
“Right now her kitchen sink and bathroom want fix. Every time she guh fi fix it she have fi a spend it pon we. Sometimes mi would a need a likkle machine ’cause mi have fi wash so much baby clothes.
Her mother, on the other hand, said she is happy for her 10 grandchildren, in spite of the struggles they have taking care of all of them.
“Mi happy wid dem man”, she said, “Every time she pregnant mi tell her say a twin she a guh have.
“It have mi rough enuh, ’cause mi have fi take care a dem, ’til mi get draw. But mi still help dem because a mi only daughter still alive. Di other two died.
Bryan said twin births are not a rarity in her family. “Mi auntie did have twins, and then fi har grandmother had three set a twins. And my other daughter, who pass off, she did have two set a twins”, Bryan said.
Anderson, who attended the Carberry Court Special School because of a learning disability, explained that she left school without gaining any subjects. She said that currently, because of the children, she is not able to work, but hopes to eventually find a job.
“Mi would a like a good likkle work in a restaurant or hotel, but chu mi have di babies, mi cyah just leave dem like dat; it would a look selfish. Mi have fi wait ’til dem reach certain age.
Anderson has received harsh criticisms from individuals in and outside of her community for the fact that she has had so many children and with different fathers. She said, however, that other persons have said good things and she chooses to focus on that.
“You have people who say nice tings, but you have some other set who say some people who say some nasty and mean tings, but mi nuh mek dat trouble mi.
“Some a dem say mi shouldn’t have dem, you know how black people stay. But mi guh church and dem say mi nuffi watch nuh face, mi fi still come a church and nuh listen to weh nuhbody say. Mi just sorry say mi have so much, even though some people say mi nuh fi sorry, because other people want weh me have.
Anderson’s mother also addressed the criticisms that have been levelled at her daughter.
“She done have dem already, and a mi grandchildren dem and mi happy fi dem. Wi cyah live fi people. From you born people a guh criticise yuh. Some a guh talk good and some a guh talk bad. Me have my pickney dem fast too, and mi used to hide because mi never want nobody see me and when mi cyah hide nuh more mi mek dem see mi. So you can’t live fi people, you have fi just hope fi life better.”
Life, however, got even more difficult for the family when the primary breadwinner and father for three of the children was brutally stabbed and killed downtown a little over a year ago.
“December last year mek one year since him dead and is three a dem him dead lef her wid. So mi wouldn’t mind if she get a job, because right now a me she have fi shack up wid di children dem, and mi cyah put her a door, and once children around, yuh know yuh have fi treat dem good,” said Bryan.
The father of the last twins, Figarow, 23, has also been playing a role in taking care of not just his children, but also the youngest of the other twins. He said he was happy for his twin girls.
“Mi feel good because a di first mi a have pickney and a twin mi get,” Figarow said, adding that he recently had to remove his drink stall from in front of a wholesale downtown because of threats from the police.
“Mi nuh mek dat stop mi still enuh because a me have fi maintain dem. Mi meet har wid dem suh mi couldn’t just look after my two alone.
The father said he recently got a job on a construction site, and hopes to reopen his business soon. But for the meantime, he said he does not want any more children. “Right now mi good wid dem two yah”, he laughed.
Anderson was recently on the receiving end of generosity from the three police officers who were seen in a video that circulated on social media some months ago. One of the officers, Constable Robert Franklin has continued to assist Anderson with her youngest children. He told the Sunday Observer that Anderson has a blessed womb.
“To me, it’s a sign. And it’s something good, because when I found out that she have five set of twins, I saw that as a blessing. Remember enuh, when you have kids you bring forth life, and if God bless her womb so that she can bring forth so many twins that is a good thing.
“I see where she is very passionate about her children and some people only have one alone and dem disregard the child.”
Franklin praised Anderson for the fact that she is adamant that her children get an education.
“Me and my team, we share the same sentiment, so it was easy to make the decision that we made to help her that day and it was heartfelt, and after helping her we sleep good at night.
“So it’s a blessing, and I hope Jamaica at large can see that this woman is blessed,” Franklin said.
Anderson spoke glowingly about her children, one of them, Mario Cameron, she explained, is a budding track and field athlete at Bridgeport High School, and her daughter, Angel Cameron (whose twin died at birth), hopes to ace her Primary Exit Profile exams in the next few weeks.
“Mi want mi likkle son Alphanso (whose twin died) fi get a good education and fi dem here (motioning to her twin girls Hailey and Kylie), fi grow up and turn doctor or lawyer and come back come help me in the future. Mi nuh really want nuttn from dem, mi just want di best fi dem,” Anderson said.