Local mom of 11 shares her experience of competing in Mrs SA while pregnant

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"Falling pregnant was definitely not on the cards. It was a big, but pleasant surprise  to discover during lockdown." Photo: Supplied/Pearl Osa
"Falling pregnant was definitely not on the cards. It was a big, but pleasant surprise to discover during lockdown." Photo: Supplied/Pearl Osa
  • Pearl Osa entered the Mrs South Africa 2020 pageant unaware that she was pregnant
  • Her most incredible moment in the competition was making the top 25, when she is six months pregnant
  • She shares her struggles with weight loss and fulfilling her duties during the pageant

Pearl Osa is a strong example that women can do it all, sometimes at once. In 2020 the mom of ten entered the Mrs South Africa pageant with "a strong, unshakeable sense that someone's mother somewhere needed a reminder that having children need not to be the end of her dreams and validity."

Little did she know that this was not going to be an easy road for her, as she would find out that she was pregnant with her 11th child during the competition.

Osa tells Parent24 that she was surprised to find out that she was pregnant again, just after entering the competition. She admits that her head spun with many questions when she found out, such as:

1. Would she cope if she continued with the competition?

2. Should she drop out of the competition as this felt too much and undoable at the time?

3. Would she meet the obligations of the pageant if she continued?

She says she decided not to entertain negative thoughts, as she did not want her unborn child to feel rejected, but instead loved and to know that he or she was more important than the pageant.

Osa tells us that what made her to stay in the competition was the exact reason why she entered it, which is "to demonstrate possibility, to show that motherhood could be the beginning and not the end."

Read: 'A deal breaker': How many children do you want?

Pageants during lockdown

One thing Osa did not know was that she was entering the longest pageant in history.

The Mrs South Africa Pageant took 13 months to complete last year, which meant that Osa spent nine out of those 13 months carrying her eleventh baby.

The challenges that she experienced during this time, apart from pregnancy, included fulfilling some of the competition requirements, which included content creation for the official sponsors of the pageant - entering into partnerships with corporates and brands as brand ambassador in exchange for sponsorship to pay for the pageant fees.

Her real struggle was taking creative shots for her social media so that her baby bump was not exposed.

Apart from that, she says it was challenging to secure partnerships under lockdown, because most companies were not directing marketing to pageants due to the impact of lockdown on the economy and so many companies closing down.

Also read: Meet homeschooling mom of 10 and Mrs South Africa semi-finalist Pearl Osa

Her highlights in the competition

Osa's triumph was making it as a top 50 semi-finalist in a virtual event while she was six months pregnant. When the country opened up further, Pearl went to compete in person and she made it to the top 25.

Her hilarious highlight of the competition is when the lockdown restrictions were eased, and she could go out and mingle with some of the contestants in the competition, but she was too heavy at the time, and she says that she was not under the banner of a beauty pageant.

She said, "Can you imagine the sight of me waddling in, with my melasma, round tummy and swollen nose, asking a brand to sponsor my campaign for a beauty pageant? I think not!"

As a philanthropist, Osa says that the pandemic presented lots of difficulty in her life as she could not operate her charity. She was also not classified as an essential worker.

Despite what was going on in her life, she is delighted to have made it a finalist in this prestigious competition. Even though she did not take the crown, she is exceptionally grateful to her mother and family, who supported her through this time.

Her mother took care of her newborn baby whenever she had to fulfil the pageant duties or homeschool her ten children.

Osa reveals that she has overcome many challenges where her pregnancy's are concerned, as she has suffered haemorrhaging, post-operation infections and severe pelvic girdle pain. 

She also believes that the blessing of having children outweighs the sacrifices one have to make, and jokes that she is looking forward to having more children, as she wants to beat her grandmother's record of having 12 children.

Osa says her big family is her source of strength during difficult times.

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