After suffering four miscarriages and losing a prematurely-born baby at seven months, Durban mother Thembisile Mabaso had just about lost all hope of having a second child.
With help and support from staff at several KwaZulu-Natal hospitals, this 43 year-old resident of Woodlands is the proud mother of a cheerful two year-old baby boy, who was born at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH).
With February being Reproductive Health Month – Mabaso shared her journey of trauma, hopelessness and becoming a mother against all odds, thanks to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health.
Despite undergoing different types of fertility treatments, several miscarraiges and burying her six-month-old prematurely born baby in 2014, Mabaso never lost hope.
In 2016, she soon found herself pregnant again. This time, however, she sought the help of the public health sector.
“At the clinic close to my area, I was tested to confirm my pregnancy and then asked about my medical history. Thereafter, I was educated about pregnancy, including the foods I should eat. This was my seventh pregnancy but it was the very first time that I got educated about pregnancy.”
She was referred to Wentworth and later King Edward hospital. The two hospital found her case to be complex and Mabaso was sent to IALCH hospital where she met with specialist Professor Motshedisi Sebitloane, who is also the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department.
“Doctors found that I had a shorter cervix, and then told me to use a certain pill – Cyclogest – and take it every night. They told me that it would help ‘hold’ the baby so that I would have a successful birth.”
“I was blown away by the love and support that I received from healthcare professionals of the Department. They told me I would leave the hospital with a baby in my hands – and indeed it happened.”
Mabaso remains concerned about the stigma and lack of support, at community level, faced by women with infertility problems and those who miscarry. She says attitudes must change.
She urged women struggling to conceive not to lose hope and seek the necessary healthcare.