07 December 2018

Bad choices left me feeling ashamed

Having three children by the age of 20 turned Happy into a loner and an outcast in her neighbourhood.

"I was only 14 years old when I became pregnant with my first-born. The father of my child was my brother's friend who lived with us. My life was never the same again because there was no parent who wanted me near their daughter. I was seen as a bad influence on other children. I dropped out of school in grade seven in order to care for the baby. My parents were disappointed and felt betrayed by the father of my child because they took him in and raised him as their own son. Feeling that I was a disgrace to my family, I developed suicidal thoughts," she said.

Two years later, Happy fell pregnant with her second child.

"My life became a living hell. I became a loner who battled with low-self-esteem. The father of my two children became emotionally and physically abusive. He even cheated on me and didn’t want me to make friends. He always wanted me to stay at home and not even go to the shops. I had my third-born at the age of 20 and in her efforts to stop me from making more babies, my mother told the doctors to sterilise me without my consent or knowledge. My mother only told me when my youngest child was five years old. It did not bother me so much at that time, until years later after I married the man who is now my husband," she said.

In 1999, Happy and the father of her three children broke things off.

"The following year I dated Themba who loved and respected me. In 2006, I was invited to the Universal Church. I attended Wednesday services for my spiritual life to develop and I completely re-gained my confidence. Years later Themba asked for my hand in marriage. I was surprised by how he supported me, even after I told him that I could not bear him children since I had been sterilised.  I’m happily married and my children have their own families. The presence of God in my life gave me peace," she said.

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