I am a 29-year-old mother of four. I had my first child in 2007 when I was in Grade 11. The father of my child was 10 years older than me and he disappeared when the baby was three weeks old.
In hindsight, I realise I related to him like a daughter would to her father. Later when I was in university I met someone who was three years older than me. I became pregnant with twins and gave birth in 2010.
One of the twins unfortunately died at birth, and the father also left me and denied fathering the children. In 2012 I again tried my luck at love but, unfortunately, I met a man who was already engaged to someone else.
I found out he was engaged to a woman with whom he had two kids. That year he committed suicide by drinking poison shortly after we had been together.
I had a gut feeling something was wrong and went to look for him even though we’d just been together. I found him and called an ambulance and he died in hospital two days later.
His brother told me he was suffering from depression. A month later, in January, I found out I was expecting twins. Sadly, when I found out about the pregnancy, I also tested positive for HIV.
I suspect he committed suicide because of the HIV and he never told me. Again, my children were destined to be without a father.
I took some time off dating to reflect on where my problems are rooted. This is when I found out that my father, who had abandoned me, was married to someone else and having an affair with my mother when I was conceived.
He walked out on us when I was in preschool. He bought me a dress and promised to come back but he never did, so I was raised by my mother.
Even though she did her best to fill the void, I still felt rejected by him. Relatives called me an illegitimate child because they had never met my father.
When I was 12 years old, I went to look for my father and found out he had died. It hurt that I never had a chance to bury him. I thought my visit to his grave would give me peace, but it didn’t.
Bitterness and resentment filled my heart. I now see that my failed relationships were partly because I couldn’t relate well with men and I searched for my father in every man I met but faced a lot of disappointment.
Just like my father walked out on my mother, men have walked out on me all my life.
One day I broke down and handed over everything to God. I found peace and comfort in Him. Indeed He is father to the fatherless, husband to widows. I was able to forgive myself and my late father.
I don’t know what happened between my parents, and it has nothing to do with me. I am currently rebuilding my life and studying towards a teaching degree through Unisa. I know everything will be fine, eventually.