A symbol of hope for the abused

2014-10-01 00:00

I NEVER thought I would be a mother of two at the age of 18. Wow. Definitely both not planned, but I thought I have two children from the love of my life, but not so. I had a rude awakening when I became an “adult”. My story begins 20 years ago when I fell pregnant at the age of 16 and in Standard 9 at that time. Fortunately, I had a history teacher who saw potential in me and convinced my mother to allow me to complete my matric year. My daughter was 14 days old when I went back to school. Little did I realise coitus interruptus would fail me again, so there I was pregnant again at the age of 17. Having a six-month-old, pregnant, trying to complete my matric was the most stressful year of my life. There were days when I felt like quitting school. The pressure mounted. My boyfriend, father of the kids, decided at one stage he needed to get out of this relationship because it was too much for him to handle. Obviously getting the silent treatment at home for turning out to be such a disgrace and disappointment to the family, especially a Christian one, became too much. All was so unbearable at times that the only thing I could do was to sit and cry.

I became depressed, but always thought I needed to complete my matric to have a successful future. My dream was not as I had planned it. My happiness turned into sadness; joy into tears and peace into fear. Coming from a poor family, I was faced with great financial difficulties. My widowed mother helped me whenever she could.

When I went back to school, I had to leave my daughter at a friend’s house so her mother could take care of my child. I could not even afford to purchase milk or baby food, let alone pay her. She did it for free, bless her soul. The baby’s milk was made with water and less milk powder so it would last a week, which resulted in her being underweight. The clinic had to intervene and assisted with nutritional supplements.

My mother decided, due to our financial constraints, she could not afford to support another baby, so a social worker became involved. Giving up my second unborn child for adoption was the only solution. I was now five months pregnant and writing my final examination. I focused on obtaining my exemption pass as we knew it at that time. Results were out before the new year and I achieved my exemption pass.

The next hurdle was to get this adoption over with — although my heart ached and my mind kept on saying: “I don’t want to do this”.

My appointment date was set for March 25 and my expected date of delivery was on April 10. Well, God has His own plans for our lives. I went into labour on March 22, a Friday night. Within an hour, he arrived, at home, in our lounge. The social worker’s offices were closed on weekends, so he was not going anywhere. Well, he was absolutely gorgeous. No way could I let him go. So I kept him. Breast-feeding was my only option.

Now, I was a mother of two at the age of 18 and a stay-at-home mum, unemployed, as was the father. Life was tough and my gran took me to apply for child support grant.

I never imagined I would be one of those people standing in a queue for financial assistance.

The father became more of a party animal and more abusive to me. I was screaming inside, but no one saw the hurt and shame on my smiling face and no one saw the tears in my pretty brown eyes.

I was a victim of physical, emotional and sometimes sexual abuse. Fear constantly gripped my heart. I covered up his behaviour and never told a soul. I always believed him when he said he would change. It was a cycle I wanted so badly to stop, but it kept going on.

I had a dream one day that I found a job — and that encouraged me to wake up that same day and seek one. Once again God had provided. I found a job as a supermarket cashier.

My wages were low, but I knew I had to work to support my children. A thumbs up financially but thumbs down when it came to my relationship.

He became more abusive and insecure. I was accused of cheating on him if I came home 10 or 15 minutes later than usual. I knew I was in trouble. I used to pray in the combi for God to shut his mouth and to give him understanding and give me peace.

My daily prayer was he would change so we could be happy, but the more I stayed in that relationship, the more unhappy I was. Weekends, I hardly saw him, because he went clubbing and drank himself into a stupor. After the weekend was our usual fights.

I knew something had to change. The saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them”. Well my saying is: “If you can’t beat them, leave”.

I could not allow my children to grow up in an abusive home. The only thing they saw was constant fighting and their unhappy parents.

So that is what I did — left him. That decision changed my life forever. I never looked back. I applied for nursing that year and was a successful candidate. I completed my training and even bought a vehicle. Fifteen years later, I am a successful woman, a working-class mother, a student studying now for my bachelor of arts in nursing science, even a wife. Yip, I found my prince charming who accepted me and my baggage.

He adores me and has never laid a finger on me. We communicate and iron out our differences. We never go to bed angry.

This is what a relationship should be about — respect, trust, love. I have found my happy ending.

My story goes out to all the abused women and teenage mothers.

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