Supporting children with disabilities, Mbali’s Story

Despite the lockdown we have continued with our Sinezwi, giving parents who we work with an opportunity to share their story and their experiences.

This is Mbali’s story

Mbali was in Matric when she found out that she was pregnant, she hadn’t given much thought to being a mom. At that time she was living in KwaNzimakwe with her mom, grandmother and siblings (brother and sister).

She was in labour for a long time at the local clinic. It was 4 hours before the ambulance collected her and transferred her to Murchison hospital, she was told she would deliver a natural birth. It was hours later that the doctors told her that the only way to deliver the baby was by C-section. A baby girl was delivered, but the doctors informed her that the child was dead (stillborn). Mbali was devastated. She phoned her mom and the father of the baby to let them know. The father said that they must not take the baby to the mortuary until he arrives.

A nurse arrived in this time and injected the baby, she cried. It was such a relief for Mbali to know her baby was alive. They prepared for the child to go to the nursery in an incubator, where she stayed in a coma for a month – the baby was having seizures and was unable to breathe on her own.

“I was writing my final exams while I was in hospital with my child, I have to wake up early and go to Nombuso high school from Murchison hospital to write exams.”

After a month, Mbali and her daughter were discharged from the hospital. The doctors told her that they would need to return for check ups and that because of the coma Mbali’s daughter would be delayed and may not be able to do some things. Mbali took her daughter to a private doctor who told her that her daughter has Cerebral Palsy. This doctor said that Mbali’s child would not develop properly, there was not much that she could do for her and was at risk of not surviving. She felt angry and wonders if C section was done earlier her child may not be disabled, seeing children same age as Iminathi walking also makes her feel sad and “breaks her heart”.

A relative of a child already supported by Siyakwazi suggested to Mbali that she contacts Siyakwazi for help. Siyakwazi introduced Mbali to the therapists at the clinic and supported her with home visits from a Siyasiza.

When Mbali was growing up she thought “I see person with disability, I was thinking that person is cursed or their parents are cursed.”

And now after she has had her daughter, she says, “With Siyakwazi’s help, I develop love for my child and I understand disability better now, I want to give my children everything in life.”

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