She gave me more than just meaning

I hate ending a post on a negative note, it allows too much dark feelings and even though that is essentially what it felt like, I always found reason to have that little bit of hope and faith inside of me. A voice screaming inside my soul, and for some or other reason I knew God had something much bigger and greater in store for me.

My love and dedication towards and for my daughter, had superseded my depression far beyond my imagination and even though I had harsh feelings towards her dad, I never let it get in the way of him seeing his daughter. That was not a relationship I intentionally wanted to tarnish as I knew what it was to grow up without a dad, whether it was out of my control or not, the repercussions thereof would cause much more damage than I could fathom at the time.

As I mentioned, Shay-Leigh was a colic baby, but there was this one song of Tamia that I always use to sing and loved, she grew to love it too. Every time I would sing this song, she would just stare at me with those big blue eyes and I could feel myself developing a silly grin on my face just looking at her.

It was as if I could see the endless of ocean of hope in those blue eyes. I felt no regret about how my life had transpired then, I knew my actions caused a hindrance, but no regret.

My hustle started back then, I started selling drugs (Crystal Meth aka Tik) in Blackheath to ensure my daughter had her daily milk, diapers and any additional needs I had to see to. Where did I get the money? I borrowed it from someone and paid it back in full within 3 days.

My cash at hand by the end of the week would total to R2500 per week, as I started out small. From there business grew, my weekly cash total would be anything between R4000 – R5500, people got greedy for drugs and my family members started taking advantage of the fact that drugs was flowing freely and felt entitled to me providing them with it, without paying of course.

From here, things got out of hand and I saw how it started swallowing them whole, right in front of me.

Even though I was selling the drugs, I refused to touch it, as I knew it would escalate to something I know I would never have control over, considering my past.

My past quickly became my future.

 

The Present in her Presence

I was discharged from Tygerberg Hospital 2 days after I gave birth to my blue eyed princess.

I was quite angered in my heart as I had to take a taxi home from Tygerberg Hospital to our home in Blackheath. I at least expected a family member to collect us from hospital and take us home. We had no support structure from any family or friends and I felt alone and abandoned. I remembered something my dad told me, “don’t expect anything from anyone, that way you avoid disappointment.” Seemed as if I was a sucker for it every single time, not sure if I was a sucker for expectation or the disappointment.

I informed Christo, Shay-Leigh’s dad, that I gave birth to a baby girl and what her name was. I never heard back from him until a few weeks after her birth. Christo and his mom rocked up at our place one Saturday afternoon. His mom conveys how disappointed her son was about not being involved in the choosing of our daughter’s name. In my head I asked myself “why?”

Christo had no interest in our daughter from the time I told him I am pregnant, why would I give him the privilege of naming her.

I allowed him to have a relationship with her from the time she was born as being vindictive about keeping his daughter away from him was not my nature. The little that I received from him to feed and diaper our daughter was not even enough to last a week.

He would visit Shay-Leigh every 3 months, so in between I had to hustle to clothe, feed and diaper our daughter. Alone was an understatement about how I actually felt. Being a single 20 year old first time mother was hard and I received no assistance from mine.

Shay-Leigh became a colic baby when she was 3 months old. She would cry whole night from 6pm in the evening to 6am the next morning and even though my mother was there, she would not take Shay-Leigh from me, she wouldn’t help with anything.

I became depressed, cried all the time and my mother avoided interacting with us like the plague.

I suffered from postnatal depression where there were times Shay-Leigh would cry non-stop and I would feel this agitation, so much so, I felt like hurting her because she wouldn’t stop crying. I felt anxious, hopeless, tired, no appetite and guilt, day in and day out. It was such an overwhelming feeling that I would sometimes think about hurting myself. I never acted on any of this even though the feeling was so strong, I believe that God helped through it somehow.

I only found out later on, when Shay-Leigh was over a year old that I was suffering from postnatal depression and because of my mother’s disinterest, she never saw the signs.

Through one of the most difficult time in my life, God saw me through so many times and I was blinded to not see it.

His grace, mercy and faithfulness made me see that He was and is always enough for me.

Endless Ocean of Hope

On the 3rd February 2004 at 04:20am, I began experiencing extreme contractions, one’s that were so bad, that I actually thought I needed to go to the bathroom every time.

I kept on getting up from my bed, then finally, at 05:00am, when I felt like I could climb the walls, I decided to wake my mother. She immediately called my other father, Branton Riddles(my uncle) to rush me to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital about 05:35am and was taken up in the maternity ward. Nurses, who were not very pleasant, especially with young mothers told me to walk around so I can dilate. First question popped in my head, “how do you even know how far I have dilated if you haven’t even checked?” Not in the frame of mind to argue, I walked around the ward, then finally 30min later, the nurse instructed me to lay on the bed. I dilated to 6cm and as she removed her hand from you know where, my water broke. At this time I could not contain myself and all I wanted to do was push.

As the contractions came and went, my mother was rubbing my back but even that felt like the heat of her hand made the pain worse, so I kept on pushing her hand away. And then, this MASSIVE contraction raided me from head to toe and as it hit me, I lifted those steel draws that you find in government hospitals with my left arm…..not taking note that there was a jug of water on top of the draws.

I still could not resist pushing and my inexperience’s taught me no better, I pushed. The nurse came back to feel how far I have dilated, “7 cm”, she says. I kept on pushing, even though they kept on telling me not to, I had to.

Then at 07:35am, the nurse did another dilation check and she says, “9cm” and instructs me to lift my legs and start pushing.

I thought I was about to die and with my final push, my beautiful daughter was born at 07:53am at Elsies River Hospital weighing in at a whopping 4kg. Me not knowing the sex of my baby, I ask my mother, “what sex is the baby?” She turns and says, “It’s a girl.”

She did not make a peep, she just lied there, looking at the light above her. Eyes as blue as the beautiful ocean and she was all mine.

I was not able to allow them to place her on my chest and I could not lift my head from the pillow as I lost consciousness every time I tried. The doctor walked in and said, “You lost a litre of your blood and we need to transport you to Tygerberg Hospital.” My question to him was, “where is my baby?” and he replied by saying, “with your mother, she doesn’t want to leave your baby’s side.”

I cannot remember how I got to Tygerberg Hospital, I think I lost consciousness as when I woke up I was at Tygerberg with my mother and daughter by my side.

My mom eventually had to leave and the nurses wanted to take Shay-Leigh to the baby room and I looked at them and said, “My child is not going anywhere, she is staying right here.” I manoeuvred my arm in such a way that if someone wanted to take her, they would have to move my arm.

I was restless, scared but yet bonded with her in such a way that made me feel like I was a mother way before giving birth to her.

Every time she woke up I stared into those blue eyes……..

it gave me an Endless Ocean of Hope.

Gypsy Kings (Part 5)

My pregnancy was an emotional rollercoaster. I found myself crying most of the time and throughout Chris was completely “un”– present, even after my attempt to win him back that day I went to see him, without his knowledge of my intent. Even after the confirmation that the baby was not a result of the rape, I was pregnant a month before the incident.

During this time, my mother could no longer keep up with the rental payments for the house in Parow, actually no, she never made any rental payments for a good couple of months. I was always responsible for buying groceries for the month from the menial salary I was earning at Virgin Active, Tygervalley at the time. For a family of five, it was almost impossible to ensure that the food supply was enough, considering that my brothers were growing teens/adolescents.

This was the time the questions started arising such as, “so does this mean there is no more money left?” And also, “where is the money going to that my mother gets every month?”

My dad ensured, before he passed, that we were set for life. So, besides the 7 or 8 life policies he had, he also had some kind of pension fund with Telkom(he worked for them for almost 20 years), that would pay my mother half of his salary every month until she remarried or passed on. Over and above this, she would also receive an increase and a bonus(like a 13th cheque) every year.

I never asked the question, the one question every body was hoping would be answered without uttering a word. I think I was too afraid of what the answer would be and also because I hate becoming confrontational, especially with my mother, as a matter of fact, I hate being confrontational with anyone as it is just not my nature.

My mother did not know I was pregnant, until our car broke down and I had to help her remove and strip the Skyline’s gearbox(not an easy job). My mother and I lifted the gearbox and my t-shirt somehow lifted above my stomach and she noticed my stomach. She didn’t say anything, but I had a feeling that she knew. I’m sure knew way before then. Anyway, so we put the gearbox back after replacing the gear synchronizer and pretended like nothing happened.

After the owner, of the house in Parow, evicted us from there, we had less than a month to find a place. We eventually found a place in Ambleside, Blackheath after our long tedious search. We moved in there in a matter of days. My mom then started speaking very openly about my pregnancy, which was an absolute relief, considering the amount of emotions I was experiencing on a daily basis, I did not need that additional stress of resentment and disgust.

As the time drew closer to the birth day of my unborn child, I became more anxious, scared and began questioning my capabilities of becoming a good mother, being able to provide for my child and whether I was even ready for the “un”– known.

I was ashamed, embarrassed and began isolating myself to avoid judgement of others.

Again, I felt lost.

 

The “positive” from the “un”- positive

During the two months after I was raped, Christo(Shay-Leigh’s dad) and I still continued to see one another. However, in this time, my drinking and drugging was no longer my habit of self destruction. Smoking was at a minimum compared to my packet of 20 cigarettes per day…..I was just put off by it.

Little did I know……….

My all time friend until this day was with me at home that, contemplating whether or not we should go to the club….we decided not to. Earlier that day, I bought a pregnancy test because my appetite increased so much so, I started suspecting that I am pregnant.

She went with me to the bathroom, but then again when do women not go with one another to the bathroom!!!???

I did what I had to do to obtain the results I was dreadfully waiting for…………..in that few minutes I think I smoked about 8 cigarettes. Then the “un”- deniable truth kicked me in my teeth, POSITIVE.

I smoked that entire packet of cigarettes in that bathroom. I was happy, but also worried about whether I was pregnant from my rapist or ???????

I became nauseas with anxiousness, as I kept that secret deep inside my heart. The second worry that ran through my mind was, “how do I tell my mother?”

I was 20 years old at the time.

I broke the news to Christo that night at my place in Parow, unexpectedly, he seemed happy about it. He kept on rubbing my tummy when he saw me, while he kept on singing “My Girl”.

Two weeks later, while enjoying a game of pool in our backyard, one of his friends came to me while I was sitting on one of the steps, Christo standing quite a distance from me, his friend asks me if I went to see a doctor. I said yes and continued by saying I am 3 months pregnant. He then asks me,  “don’t you think it’s best if you go for an abortion or is it too late?” Thinking to myself, “there is no way I am having an abortion.” So my automatic response was, “yes, it’s too late.”

After that weekend, I never saw them again. Months went by, no pop up visits, no interest, just nothing until I decided one morning before work to ask my mom to take me to Stellenbosch so that I can find out what is up with the sudden “un”- present excitement.

I walked through the door, went straight to the room where Christo was sleeping and asked him, “why have you been so distant?” His answer(drumroll please), “I’m in love with someone else.”

My heart broke, but not revealing it, I uttered the question “Why didn’t you just tell me?”

He failed to answer that question.

I got up from the bed, walked out of that door and never looked back.

 

The Rest of Our Lives

On the 14th February 2018, my husband and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary. Through those 2 years, we had moments of insanity, emotional distance, silent treatment, lying in two separate bedrooms, angered words and discontent. Together with those emotions, thoughts and actions, deep down we still loved one another, we shared deep memories, kids and a love deep down in our souls that was inexplicable.

I decided on January 31st, 2016 that I was ready to accept the Lord into my life as my personal Saviour. My baptism took place on the 7th February 2016, one week before our wedding day. Just as my baptism, our wedding was not planned either, which I was okay with as my vows to my husband and his vows to me was a commitment we were going to make before God. We never got to make any wedding speeches/vows to one another on our wedding day, so here it goes:

To Rory:

“I never knew when I met you that we will be spending the rest of our lives together. Today marks a huge mile stone in our lives where the two of us are bonded forever. I thank God every day for blessing your parents, myself and the kids with someone so amazing, loving, caring and humorous.

Our journey together thus far has been quite adventurous, puzzling at times, we had missing pieces, puzzle pieces that just sometimes did not fit, but I’ve always known deep down in my heart that as we mould those pieces and keep trying it would eventually create a masterpiece of art worth struggling for.

We’ve worked very hard to build this relationship/friendship over the past 10 years to where it is now and I want to thank you for sticking by me through the turmoil’s, thanks to those that have supported us, given guidance and that have routed us on.

Rory, today I married the missing puzzle piece of me which is you…….I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

We are now one and my infamous words to you will forever be “I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART”

I pray that we have a fruitful, prosperous and amazing marriage.

From my dad to me and from me to you I want to say: “I LOVE YOU MORE THAN THE GRAINS OF SAND IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE AND I WILL FOREVER LOVE YOU MORE THAN ALL THE STARS IN THE ENTIRE GALAXY”

My vows to Rory:

“I take you to be my partner for life

I promise above all else to live in truth with you

And to communicate fully and fearlessly

I give you my hand and my heart

As a sanctuary of warmth and peace

And pledge my love, devotion, faith and honour.

I will love you for the rest of my days

as I join my life to yours and we join our life to God.”

Here’s to many more adventurous anniversaries ahead

 

 

Rape, Power & No Consent

Amongst my irresponsible drinking and drugging habits, there were irresponsible repercussions prone to happen and fearlessly lurking in the shadows.

One night a friend and I decided to go clubbing with guys we met the previous weekend at Club Libro……just for the fun of it. That night we decided to go to Valerie’s in Kuils River, consuming so much alcohol that I could not even’s remember the pin to my bank card. She was still sober enough to look after me and besides, that was always our pact, that if one or the other get’s too drunk, the other one will remain sober enough to look after both of us. I was hoping to meet Shay-Leigh’s dad there, but to no avail.

Eventually, when our 3 shots of tequila for R10 night was over, we headed to Mr. Burger for a Gatsby. I was ill out of my mind, puking while we were driving and even once we stopped at Mr. Burger.

Much relief when I got home, but also very stubborn as I did not want anyone to open the lock on the gate to get to my room’s sliding door. I struggled for almost 30min before my mom decided to come to the door.

I remember those words of disgust as my mom uttered…….”kyk hoe lyk die t!3f”. At that moment it was quite humorous actually as everyone stood looking at me laying against the wall as I was unable to move without stumbling.

As I crawled down the passage, my friend made sure I get to my bedroom and into my bed and in my drunkenness, I explained to her where the bucket was, just in case I get sick, as at that time my entire bedroom(head) was spinning.

Eventually, I fell asleep.

About 3 hours passed and guess who rocks up……….Shay-Leigh’s dad and I was still suffering from partial alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Apparently and according to my mom he smacked me across my face so hard and because of my condition, I did not feel a single thing. And NO, my mom did not do a single thing when this happened.

To their disappointment, I did not react and went back to sleep. In my confusion, I heard quite a few female voices, but was not bothered as I was not in a frame of mind to “introduce” myself, even so, I’m sure he brought his side piece along. Naivety was my blindfold, oblivious to the womanising treatment I was receiving.

An hour after I went back to sleep, someone came to lie behind me on my bed. My assumption was that it was Shay-Leigh’s father. Not fighting off the person behind me, he continues to try and remove my pants and underwear. I did not have the physical strength to fight, as I could hardly lift my head from my pillow.

Taking advantage of his advantage, this man rapes me in my own home and in my own bed, me realising what was taking place, left me almost paralyzed. Eventually, when everyone else realised that this man was missing from their company, then only did they look for him, by that time, the horrid act already took place.

The biggest and most disgusting surprise was that it was Shay-Leigh’s dad’s uncle who raped me. As young, naïve and stupid as I was, I was hoping my mom would take me to the police station to lay a charge against this sick man, instead, she ran me a warm bath and made me clean myself with Dettol!!!!!??????????

I’ve never told anyone this story and have never turned back to hunt my demons, however, lately it has been hunting me, day after day, night after night. It has been haunting me for the past few months, so much so, that I become paranoid for my 14 year old daughter, as I would never forgive myself if I allow something like that to happen to her.

I lay my hand and pray for my children everyday, protecting them under the Blood of Christ, that they will never experience torment and torture the way I have.