Ntombi has a refreshing outlook on life and says one never gets over losing a child, but the support she received from friends and family is what carried her through her pain.
Tell us about your second pregnancy…
My second pregnancy was very difficult as I was sick throughout and it only got better at seven months.
Your son had a very rare heart condition, tell us more about this.
The left side of his heart was not functional, which meant that his heart could not pump oxygenated blood into the rest of his body. He had successful open-heart surgery when he was seven days old, but unfortunately complications arose a few days later and he passed away when he was 28 days old.
When did you know that there was something wrong with your baby?
We found out that he had a hypoplastic left heart syndrome [a birth defect that affects the flow of blood through he heart] when I was eight months pregnant.
Does one ever get over losing a baby?
It’s impossible. He lives in my heart and I feel his presence every single day.
How has the experience affected your outlook on life?
I appreciate life and the people that God has blessed me with a whole lot more and live life to the full, because there are no guarantees in this world.
What was it like dealing with your loss publicly?
It helped me a lot, because I met a lot of women who had gone through the same experience and were healed by my story as I was healed by many of theirs.
You come across as quite strong and self-assured, what would you attribute this to?
God has been my pillar of strength. Staying close to Him, reading His word and holding on to His promises has allowed me to accept, learn and move on quicker. He has given me peace that I can’t even explain in words.
Do you look forward to being a mom again in the future?
Definitely! I’m very excited about it and when the time is right, I believe it will happen. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying being the best mom I can be to my daughter, Nomfundo, and a super awesome wife to my amazing hubby.
Would you say you have a strong support system in place?
Oh yes, I do. My parents, siblings, husband, friends, fans, and my brothers and sisters in Christ have been so supportive from day one and I really don’t think I would have coped as well as I did without them. I’m too blessed and I thank God for every single person who reached out through prayer and encouraging messages.
What’s your advice to other moms who are struggling to deal with the loss of a child?
Trust God and allow Him to take over. The other important thing is acceptance, because that’s when the healing begins. Never blame yourself, because it’s not your fault. Only God has the power to give and take a life. And try your best to find yourself and be happy again, because dwelling on the pain won’t bring back your child anyway, so do what’s best for you and your health going forward. I know it’s hard, but stressing about something you can’t change won’t help you or the situation.
Thobeka Phanyeko is mom to Oratile, 4. She is a journalist with a BA in Media studies from the University of Cape Town and has extensive experience as a journalist and content producer which she gained from Reuters, eNCA and Caxton Magazines. She is also a life coach and NLP Practitioner and is passionate about motherhood and women empowerment.