Russian mother Nadezhda Osyak has given birth to so many children that she received a special honour from the Russian President himself, Vladimir Putin.
As the mother of 18 children—10 sons and eight daughters—Nadezhda was awarded the prestigious Order of Parental Glory. Her husband, Orthodox priest Ioanna Osyak, also received the award for bearing such a large number of children and for being “morally upstanding”.
Speaking to journalist Marcel Theroux on SBS's Dateline, Nadezhda explained that she first fell pregnant at age 18.
“As soon as I graduated from school I started working at a bread factory,” she said. “Them we got married and hard out first baby and I went on maternity leave. And that lasted for 28 years without a single interruption.”
The large family live in an elaborate, multi-story house in Rostov-on-Don, a port city close to the Ukraine border.
The couple’s eight daughters go by the names Olga, Elena, Maria, Tatyana, Anna, Nadezhda, Evdokia, Daria, Ksenia and Anastasia, while the boys are called Ivan, Alexey, Evgeniy, Alexander, Vladimir, Grigoriy, Sergey and Serafim, as noted in The Telegraph.
The children’s ages range from seven to 33, and Nadezhda now has 25 grandchildren.
In the eyes of husband Ioanna, a woman's ultimate duty in life is to bear offspring.
“A woman herself is a creation of God and when she’s pregnant she fulfils the highest human mission,” he said. “She gives new life.”
Journalist Theroux suggests the family's ginormous size reflects the growing influence of the Orthodox Church in Russia. The church was persecuted by Russia's communist rulers in the past 100 years, but President Putin has attempted to improve relations since he came to power.
It seems orthodox religion and conservatism are on the rise in Russia—and you'll find 18 fine examples of it under Nadezhda's roof.