I am a wife and a mother to the most handsome little boy in the world. I married the man...(click here for more information on me: http://sisusami.com/welcome-to-sisusami-com/)
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By Sage Nyatsanga
I once came across a picture that said, ‘Dying doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else’. To some extent this is true. Dying was the first thing that came across my mind when I found out I was pregnant. It seemed like the best option at the time, followed by abortion. My train of thought was a very dark and bleak one. To most women pregnancy is much celebrated, to most teenage girls, it is not. It is a sign that something went horribly wrong and the only way to fix this wrong is to play God. But what right do we have to play God? The day I found out I had fallen pregnant everything fell apart, well it seemed like it had fallen apart. All the plans I had made for myself seemed to have fallen down the drain. I did not go through the motions very well. I cried and cried and cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. Slowly, I began withdrawing from the world, shutting people out. I felt ashamed of myself, what I had done and what this meant for my family. For the most part, I thought the ‘curse’ had caught up to me. The ‘curse’ was something my best friend and I nicknamed the constant teenage pregnancy syndrome that seemed to plague my line of the family. My great grandmother had her first child at 17, so did my grandmother and mother.
I was troubled and my family began to notice how withdrawn I had become, they started to enquire more about my life and I resorted to lying each time. After a couple of weeks I told my closest aunt about my predicament. She did not take it very well and made sure I knew the repercussions that were headed my way once my mother found out. Like my boyfriend, she was strongly against the idea of abortion. Did I feel proud of myself? Most certainly not. I was forced to come clean, so I did. My mother did not take it well; my father was the total opposite. She took it harder than I thought she would and I felt even more disappointed in myself. The relationship I had with my mother died in an instant. The first thing she asked me was if I had thought about the possibility of dying during labor due to my anemia.
I was certain in that moment she had already killed me in her head.
I felt more like a failure than I ever did in my life and I thought about ending it once again. At some point I even had a conversation with my then boyfriend about suicide, he was not happy. He asked me what I would stand to gain, how the people left behind would feel, if that decision did not feel remotely selfish. He told me that if I succeeded he would hate me and never ever visit my grave. This hurt me extremely because it was coming from someone I deeply cared for, someone I loved. From that day, I shelved all suicidal plans. As time progressed I slowly began accepting the new reality that was playing before me, I was going to become a mother in 2017, a scary and yet exciting prospect once I began to look at it positively.
My life was progressing at an alarmingly fast rate. Before I knew it I was already showing, people were asking about my due date, the baby shower and baby welcome. I felt overwhelmed, even more so when my boyfriend came to pay roora/lobola (bride price) for me. After everything I had said and done to him in my darkest moments, he still wanted to be with me. So, on the 1st of October we were customarily married, which was a step in a positive direction. The steps in my life plans were happening in a haphazard manner and I quickly had to adjust. Eight months into this pregnancy, I am now in a good space. Happily married, rebuilding relations with my mother, planning for the arrival of my baby girl and planning for my upcoming wedding. In all this I have not forsaken my academic studies, difficult as it had become I continued with my program and successfully finished my first year. Dropping out of school was and is never going to be an option, with or without this blessing that has been given to me.
With the coming of this child I am even more determined to do well in life and thrive to be a better person than I had initially intended to be. The main thing I have learnt this year was that if you dip your feet in water they will get wet. Everything has a consequence and that of being sexually active is eventually falling pregnant by chance or by choice. Being a pregnant teenager is not easy. It happens to the best and worst of us. Those who are strong will live with consequences of their actions and those who are weak will play God. Killing someone will rip away a bit of your soul and humanity; you will never be the same person. Killing yourself may end your pain but it will only increase the pain that those left behind were already feeling.
When things get overwhelming for me, I write letters to no one in particular to help me organize my thoughts and express my feelings. I feel so much better afterwards. This helps me distress, though once in a while I talk to an actual human being to get help and advice. The moment I started seeing my unplanned child as a blessing things became easier. Life did not end because I made a couple huge mistakes, it just changed direction and in it doing so I have to come up with ways to get to where we wanted to go initially. I have started learning to maneuver through life as someone responsible for another being and not as a single entity as I did before. My mother always tells me that the pregnancy will not be easy because people will judge you harshly and call you names, but once the baby comes they will be the first to want to hold it. So what’s a hellish nine months compared to a lifetime of memories with your little human?
Thank you for opening up and sharing your story with us. Too many times we fail to bring purpose to the pain we have endured and one way is by helping others in similar positions. Studies done in the US show that more pregnant women died as the result of suicide than as a result of the major causes of death during pregnancy which are hemorrhage/placenta previa, eclampsia/pre-eclampsia, amniotic fluid embolism, infection, substance abuse and poor general health. Teenage pregnancy is still taboo in most parts of Africa especially in Zimbabwe and difficulties in the economy don’t make it any easier on the people involved. childtrends.org reports that about 1 million teenagers fell pregnant in 2011 and that 43% of those pregnancies ended in abortion. That shows a problem with the amount of sexual activity with teens. Again, we do not have any local studies or statistics because abortions are only legal in cases of rape and even the few that come forward to report rape are not a true representation of the number of girls who are raped and fall pregnant. Some choose to keep silent and most ‘take care of it’ quietly.
Someone might say that this is not news and that it’s been going on for years. WELL THAT’S EXACTLY MY POINT! The fact that it’s been going on for years and being swept under the rug means it’s not being dealt with. In 2016 alone I heard of 5 pregnancies that ended in suicide, 3 of which were actual suicide and 2 which were attempted abortions that ended in death of the mother as well. If you are pregnant and this is the last place you want to be no matter what age you are, you are not alone and you will get through this! The fear, the shame, the disappointment, the pain and confusion and everything else you are feeling will go away! Fight for yourself, fight for your baby even if everyone around you turns their backs on you as long as you still have breath in your lungs and strength in your arms, get up and fight! Work hard, save more, spend less, register yourself at a local clinic and see this pregnancy through and if at the end of it you decide you cannot take care of that baby, talk to someone at the clinic about giving them up for adoption. There are families just waiting for the blessing that you’re carrying. Find support, inbox us, talk to someone. You have options! Keep your head up!
Share your experiences with us and share this with someone who needs to read this. Lets raise awareness, lets save lives!
There has been a story going around on social media about a baby who was tied up in a plastic bag and flushed down the toilet only to be discovered after there was a blockage and plumbers came to sort it out. Now there has been a lot of cursing of the mother of this innocent child who, thank the Lord is still alive and any number of reasons could have led to the inexcusable act but this article is not for judging or acquitting the accused. Rather, the focus is on trying to spread the word that there are always more acceptable alternatives. This is in a bid to ensure that horrible acts such as this one, no longer happen. It’s just not right!
There are always options! This article may seem a bit tough but it is just what someone out there needs to hear to discourage any future incidents like this one. Please share this. Help educate our sisters and save our future leaders!
Dental care is generally very important but more so when you are pregnant because pregnancy hormones may cause the gums to be very sensitive, inflamed or even bleed.This is also known as gingivitis and is common from about the 15th week of pregnancy onward.
How to stop bleeding gums.
Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which weakens the tissue and bone that keep your teeth anchored in your jaw meaning you could possibly lose a tooth or two. This only happens when the disease is left untreated until it gets to an advanced stage so see your dentist as soon as you notice bleeding and tender gums. Make sure to tell the dentist that you are pregnant so you do not have any xrays unless you urgently need one and if you need a local anesthetic for dental work, anytime during pregnancy experts say it is safe.
Some experts seem to think that there is a link between gum disease and premature delivery and low birth weight however research has shown differing opinions on that. Rather stay on the safe side and keep your teeth and gums clean!
Zika is a virus that is usually mild ie slight fever, joint pain, rash and less common are headaches and vomiting. These symptoms can last up to a week. Zika is however a concern in pregnant women as it has been reported to cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a small head and underdeveloped brain).
Zika is transmitted through mosquito bites and can pass from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. Blood tests are done if one suspects that they have the virus based on the above mentioned symptoms.
There is no known cure for Zika but a doctor will probably recommend that you get plenty rest, drink lots of water to avoid dehydration and will prescribe something to relieve the pain and fever. Remember not to take any drugs when pregnant without permission from your doctor.
When planning to travel to areas where Zika has been reported such as South America and Tropical Africa, you need to take safety precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
Information about Zika is evolving everyday as it is still being studied. No cases have been reported in Southern Africa as yet but you are all advised to take the necessary precautions. Keep watching for more Zika Alert updates.
Heartburn though not harmful to you or your baby, can be very uncomfortable and more than half of all pregnant women report to suffer from it especially in the second and third trimester. It is caused by the relaxing of the muscle between the stomach and the esophagus which then allows acid reflux or acid to come back up to the esophagus.It is also caused by the enlarged uterus crowding the abdomen and pushing stomach acid upward.
If you’re already at the mercy of heartburn you may want to-
Cheer up mommy. Heartburn usually goes away after childbirth.
Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg does not move to the uterus but stays in the Fallopian tube.It is usually discovered by the 8th week of pregnancy and can be frightening and life threatening and so emergency treatment is required.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important that you pay your doctor a visit immediately. A quick response reduces the chance of
hemorrhaging/severe bleeding and preserves your fertility.
If the pregnancy had not progressed far and the Fallopian tube has not raptured laparoscopic surgery will be conducted to remove the embryo. In some cases, medication may be given to stop the growth of the pregnancy tissue. If the doctor suspects that the Fallopian tube has been ruptured emergency surgery is needed to stop the bleeding and in some cases the tube and ovary may have to be removed. After treatment blood tests that detect hCG level (the hormone produced during pregnancy) will be done to ensure that the procedure was successful.
Ectopic pregnancies happens in about 1 of every 50 pregnancies and most women who experience it go on to have successful pregnancies and births in the future even if one falopian tube has been removed. Doctors recommend waiting between 3-6 months before attempting to get pregnant again. If the ectopic pregnancy was caused by illness, treatment of the illness and healing of the body is necessary before giving it another go. You may also want to consider counselling to help you cope with the loss before trying again.
Mothers all over the world who have newborns have a common struggle and that is sleepless nights. Some opt for sleep training as early as 6 weeks to get babies to sleep through the night but experts advise against that as breast or bottle fed babies should not go more that 4 hours without a feed. This is because their tummies are small so frequent feeding is needed. The good news is that as they grow older and solid food is introduced, they can go a few more hours in between each feed.
I’ve heard it being said that once you wean your child then they are more likely to sleep through the night and based on my experience I can safely say that that is true. The reason being that they no longer wake up looking for milk. It does not happen right away and they may still wake up out of habit but give it a few days and your bambino will be sleeping for a good 8-10 uninterrupted hours. You may even find yourself waking up just to check on them because your body is so used to getting up intermittently.
I weaned my son at 20 months and within a week he was sleeping through the night. No crying, no fussing. For ideas on how to wean read Weaning- When??? and do share your experiences with sleep or lack of it in the comments below.
When babies gradually transition from milk to solids, many parents have difficulties with getting them to eat or to try new foods. Here are a few tips on how to deal with fussy eaters to make meal times less of a headache for both you and baby.
Remember, as long as their eating from the 4 main groups which are Protein, Fruits and Veges, Milk and dairy products and starch then don’t worry if its always the same favorites. You can gradually reintroduce new foods that they make have rejected before. Please do share any other tips you may have to help our little ones look forward to eating and eating healthy, in the comments below.
A C-section is a major abdominal surgery so recovery will take a while. Experts say it takes about 2 years for total recovery and that is why women hoping to try for a vaginal birth after c-section or VBAC, are advised to wait 2 years after surgery before falling pregnant. Here are some tips to get you well on your way to recovery mommy.
My boyfriend and I had been dating for two years when we decided to take the next step and get married customarily. He approached my family and the date for lobola was set for the 27th of September 2015. We were so in love and couldn’t wait to be formally joined together so we went ahead doing married people’s business while we waited for the big day.We used condoms as contraceptives but one day we were naughtier than usual and we didn’t use one. I drank a morning after pill and we decided not to be that risky again until we were actually trying to get pregnant so we went back to our trusted contraceptive.
You can imagine our surprise when in July we found out that I was pregnant! The timing could’ve been better but we loved each other and had decided to start a family anyway. So, it happened a few months before we wanted it to but we were happy. I decided not to tell my parents and although my mother noticed it the day I went home for the lobola proceedings, she was awesome and didn’t tell my father until only after the ceremony was done and everyone welcomed the news with joy.
Besides heart burn and morning sickness, I can say I had a relatively good pregnancy. I went for regular check ups and because I enjoyed seeing my daughter, I went for scans every month and the doctors assured me that everything was normal. It was only after she was born on the 2nd of March, very floppy, that they suspected she had down syndrome. Tests were done and 2 weeks later, it was confirmed that my baby girl had an extra chromosome. Join me for the next few weeks as I share our wonderful journey with you.
Your birth partner may be allowed in depending on the severity of the emergency. If there is enough time for them to change into appropriate attire and the surgery is straight forward then they will most likely be allowed into the operating room. You’ll be given antibiotics through an IV to prevent infection during surgery. The top section of your pubic hair will be shaved however if you can get it waxed a day before surgery that will save you the discomfort of new hair growth through your incision. You will be given an epidural or spinal block to numb the bottom half of your body but leave you conscious so as to experience the birth of your child(ren). A general anesthetic will knock you out completely (I was told to count backwards from 100 and I only remember getting up to 97, it knocked me out quick). It is usually used in emergencies. A catheter is placed in your urethra to drain urine during the procedure. A lot of women are squirmish about this but it’s nothing to worry about, you’ll barely even feel it. If you are having a scheduled C-section you are advised not to eat for about 10 hours before so you don’t throw up during surgery. If you’re completely out like I was, there will be a nurse keeping your head sideways into a dish and cleaning you up if you do.
When the anesthesia has taken effect, your doctor will make 2 incisions, 1 above your pubic bone also known as a “bikini cut” then either a horizontal or vertical incision on your uterus. Vertical if your baby is premature and the lower part of the uterus has not thinned enough to cut. If you have a vertical cut you will not be able to attempt a vaginal delivery or VBAC with your next pregnancy as chances of rupturing your uterus during labor are very high. If you are alert during the surgery, a screen will be placed above your waist. If you wish to witness the birth, the nurse will lower the screen slightly so you can see the baby and not much else. Your partner will be seated close to your head. Once the cord is cut you’ll be able to see baby for a brief moment before they are taken for examinations while the doctor delivers your placenta and starts stitching you up. The process takes slightly longer than opening you up but no longer than 30 minutes. You doctor may choose stitches that dissolve on their own or staples/stitches that need to be removed between 3-7 days after surgery.
You may request that your baby be placed on your chest soon after delivery before they are cleaned up. Congratulations, baby is here! You can expect to remain in hospital for about 3 days. As soon as you have settled into the recovery room you’ll be able to breast feed. You will continue to receive fluids through your IV until you can eat and drink (it was 6 hours before I could eat and drink). You will also receive pain medication and you’ll be well enough to go home soon enough. Keep a close eye for quick C-Section recovery tips.
Also commonly known as a C-section is when baby is born through an incision on the mothers abdomen.
Your doctor may schedule a C-section no earlier if than 37 weeks for one of the following reasons-
A C-sections may be performed in response to an unforeseen complications which make inducing or continuing labor dangerous for you and for baby such as-
DID YOU KNOW that before a pregnant woman has a scan to determine the baby’s heart rate, they have to have been sitting upright or lying on their side for at least 10 minutes for the readings to be accurate? Lying down on their back can cause a false fetal distress pattern. Share this with every pregnant woman you know.
What is Preeclampsia?
It is a condition marked by high blood pressure and high protein in urine, developed by pregnant women during the second half of their pregnancy. The exact causes are unknown but researchers suggest that high body fat, poor nutrition, genetics and insufficient blood flow to the uterus play a part. This means that women with a history of obesity or women whose mother or sister had preeclampsia are at risk of having it as well. Other risk factors include women who had high blood pressure before pregnancy, are carrying more than one fetus, are over 40 or have a history of diabetes or kidney disease.
Swelling in your hands, face, eyes and feet are symptoms of preeclampsia although swollen feet not accompanied by other symptoms may be normal. Other symptoms include blood pressure over 140/90, abdominal pain, reduced or no urine output, excessive headaches, sudden weight gain (over 1/2 days), blurry vision and dizziness. If you experience these symptoms seek medical attention immediately.
There is no form of treatment and this may worry you however if it is detected early it is manageable. It is therefore crucial to stick to the antenatal checks and tests throughout the pregnancy. If you are 37 weeks or above the doctor may want to induce labor or perform a C-section as this is the best way to stop the effects of preeclampsia on the unborn child such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hearing and vision problems and, seizures, stroke, bleeding in the lungs and bleeding after delivery in the mother. If the baby has not reached 37 weeks the doctor may prescribe hospital bed rest for continuous monitoring of the mothers blood pressure and urine and baby’s heart rate as well giving medicines to lower blood pressure and prevent seizures until the baby can be safely delivered. After delivery signs of preeclampsia normally disappear between 1-6 weeks.
My 2 year old son loves grapes and because I always buy seedless grapes, I did not put any thought to the fact that the actual grapes not just seeds, can be a choking hazard. It was only after I saw a post on social media about a boy much younger than my son who choked on a grape and unfortunately died that I realized the potential danger.
I highly recommend that you not only buy and wash seedless grapes but that you cut them the long way down to avert the danger. Also, don’t leave children unattended because even the safest things can become a danger when these little ones get mischievous. I also recommend that you take a First Aid class. Make it a goal for the new year. No one wishes for accidents but knowing how to react in the event that you have an emergency on your hands is always a plus!
Please share other potentially harmful foods with us in the comments below and how to ensure that our children still enjoy a wide variety of food in a safe way.