I fell pregnant when I was 19 years old. I gave birth to a baby boy, who passed away at six months. I realized after his death that he had died from HIV. I tested positive a month later. I was with my dad. I was very disappointed, and I even thought that I killed my baby, you know, because I tested negative when I was six months pregnant and then I didn’t go for the next test. The baby was due before I was meant to test again. So being HIV-positive was another hurt, the second big hurt in my life. The sad thing is my dad cried, but I didn’t cry. I just told myself, “It’s life. If it’s time for me to die, I’ll die.”
Then, a few months later, I was very ill. I thought I wouldn’t survive. But I made it. I started taking medication. And now here I am. I’m living my life like it’s golden.
I think I know who infected me. I had unprotected sex with him because I thought he was being honest with me, only to find out that he’s got a whole lot of kids out there. He’s spreading HIV to others, and he doesn’t come see me when I’m sick. It’s funny, but he still comes to ask me for sex. What I advise people is: Trust no one.
I just lost my dad last week. It’s another hurt, the third one. I keep a room for disappointment in my heart, so I can accept all the hurts. And it’s always open. I have had to build a very big room so that each time I get hurt, I don’t get stressed or anything. When it’s time to cry, I do cry. I allow my emotions to take their place. I allow each and everything to take its place and its time in my body. But I can’t turn back the hands of time, you understand. I just have to carry on with my life, whether today I’m HIV-positive, today I lost my baby, today I lost my dad—but I’m still living.
My baby’s name was Tshegofatso. The day we came back from the hospital, he was very big, a healthy baby. He grew nicely and was fat, chubby, and he looked like his father. He was always laughing. But when he got ill he was always frowning, and he didn’t laugh anymore.
He just died in my hands. After breastfeeding him, he looked at me and then he started making a weird sound. I didn’t even cry. I just went like, “No. No! This is not happening.” But it was too late. I couldn’t stop his soul from leaving his body.
We tend to remember God when days are dark. But in the happy days we forget Him. When my baby was very ill, I prayed. I asked God, “Please help me. If I’ve done anything wrong to you, please forgive me. Don’t hurt my baby for my sins.” I do thank Him for anything that He does for me, for the life that He gave me, for the challenges that He gives me, and for His blessings. He tends to give me a lot of blessings in disguise. But I always say, “Thank you, Lord, for everything you’ve given me. I know you’ll never give me a challenge I can’t handle.”