With The Festive Season Upon Us, We Spoke To Four Women To Find Out Why This Was A Particularly Memorable Year

‘Parenthood has changed my life in the most incredible way’

KIRSTEY CECELIA MOORE, 28, IS A BUSINESS DIRECTOR. SHE LIVES IN RANDBURG WITH HER PARTNER, NICHOLAS, 35, AND THEIR SON, JOSHUA, NINE MONTHS

I was just 23 when my gynaecologist asked me if I wanted to have kids. A lot of women dream about becoming moms, and I was no different, but my immediate response was, ‘No’. I felt far too young to start a family – it was the furthest thing from my mind. That’s when my gynae said it might be difficult for me to conceive. My gynae explained that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which meant that I would likely battle to fall pregnant When my partner, Nicholas, and I started talking about having children, we expected it to be a long process, and we didn’t want to get our hopes up in case it just wasn’t on the cards.

With The Festive Season Upon Us, We Spoke To Four Women To Find Out Why This Was A Particularly Memorable Year Photo Gallery



Then, one Saturday morning in July last year, we were at the shops and I complained that I just wasn’t feeling like myself. Nicholas suggested I take a pregnancy test – I scoffed at the idea. In fact, I was so convinced that the test would come back negative that I did it right there and then in the shopping centre loo. A pink line appeared on the stick – we were so shocked we bought three more tests just to make sure! My pregnancy was a very easy one: I had no morning sickness and fortunately it flew by without any problems. At 20 weeks we were so thrilled to find out that we were expecting a boy. Joshua was born in March and he’s perfect – he has brought such joy into our lives. I know how lucky I am, and our story could easily have ended differently. My life has changed so much over the past year; I’ve changed jobs to spend more time at home, I have made loads of new ‘mommy’ friends, and I have a new love for Nicholas – seeing him as a dad has been amazing; I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy motherhood as much as I do if it wasn’t for his support. I’ve learnt the unexpected can be a beautiful gift.

‘I ticked a life-long dream off my to-do list’

MUNENE KHOZA, 29, LIVES IN SANDTON. SHE RECENTLY LAUNCHED HER OWN COMMUNICATIONS START-UP

Growing up, the women I admired most were strong, self-made entrepreneurs who had worked their way from the ground up. Seeing how rewarding running a business could be made me determined to launch a start-up of my own one day. This year, I finally did it. I’ve always had a flair for languages – I love reading, writing and working with words – so I did a Master’s in English Language and Linguistics. Although I wanted to launch a start-up as soon as possible, I knew that starting a business straight out of university was overly-ambitious, and that I still had a lot to learn before venturing out on my own. I joined a managing consulting firm, where I worked for three years, which gave me a decent understanding of commerce, as well as the hands-on basics of how to run a business. After that, I spent a year and a half at a communications firm, honing my writing skills. So, using the skills I’d learnt over the past five years, I put together a solid business plan, registered the company, and developed a corporate identity, which all took six months. I found some of it overwhelming, especially the financial side of things. In those moments of uncertainty, I went back to basics: I spoke to entrepreneurs, and spent hours researching on the internet. There’s a lot of information for anyone wanting to launch their own start-up – if you have the patience to sift through it all! One of the biggest challenges I faced – and one every entrepreneur has to deal with eventually – was finding the confidence to turn down a steady salary and go it alone. I started Mint Language Consultancy to help people come up with the right words for any situation, from copywriting and editing, to proofreading and translation, right down to wedding speech writing – I really do it all! I soon realised that people are desperate for services that make their lives easier, and that’s why my business has done well. While I’m sure that I’ll make mistakes along the way, I take comfort in the words, “the error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future”. I love being my own boss and the level of flexibility that brings; I ticked off one of my life-long dreams this year, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for me.

‘I wrote my book to help other parents who’ve lost a child’

KAREN COOMBER, 50, IS A COSMETIC CHEMIST. SHE LIVES IN PRETORIA WITH HER HUSBAND VERNON, 49. THEY HAVE FOUR CHILDREN BETWEEN THEM: TIAAN, 25, ROCHELLE, 21, MICHAELA, 19, AND JARROD, 18

The day that changed my life forever started with a trip to a spa. A friend and I spent the morning being pampered, and we both left feeling relaxed and happy. A few hours later I received the phone call that turned my world upside down: my daughter, Lavon – then 24 – had been in a motorbike accident. Vernon and I rushed to the scene and followed the ambulance to the hospital where we watched as doctors tried to resuscitate her more than once, but they couldn’t save her. She passed away that same evening. When we got home, I was distraught. I kept playing the awful scenes I’d seen that day over and over in my head. I was overwhelmed by emotions and the only way I found any relief was by writing my thoughts down. I dreamt of Lavon that night – the dream was so real and I didn’t want to forget it, so I wrote that down, too. I continued to write in the months after her death – it was the only way I could make sense of what I was going through. I remember wishing that there was someone I could talk to who knew what I was going through, or a book I could read by another mother who had lost a child. I eventually realised that I could be that person; I could write a book that helped others in times of crisis. I had already documented my grieving process so I turned my writing into 100 Minutes of Grace: Discover Healing After Tragedy. My book was published in June and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s so rewarding knowing that the difficult path I walked is now helping others work through their own tragedies. The book was an immensely personal project and the process of writing it helped me come to terms with losing Lavon. The last few years have forever changed me; they have been difficult, but I’ve come out stronger than ever.

‘There’s life after a cancer diagnosis – I’m proof of that!’

REFILWE SEDUMEDI, 39, IS A DATA MANAGEMENT AGENT, A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, AND HAS A SHOW ON COMMUNITY RADIO STATION, SLOOT FM. SHE LIVES IN DIEPSLOOT WITH HER SON, OLEBOGENG, 16, AND DAUGHTER, PONTSHO, 10

My life was pretty much perfect before I discovered a lump in my left breast in 2013; I had a job I enjoyed and a happy home life. The lump terrified me – I had lost my mom to a brain tumour a few years before and I didn’t even want to consider that I might suffer the same fate. I eventually mustered up the courage to go for a mammogram, and my doctor insisted I have an ultrasound and a biopsy, too. A month later, in October, the results came back and my fears were confirmed: I had breast cancer. What followed were months of intensive chemotherapy and two major operations. A cancer diagnosis changes your life in ways you’d never expect. One of the ways I found comfort during my diagnosis and treatment was through The SA Breast Health Foundation. They have support groups like Bosom Buddies that are run by volunteers who not only help the patients, but their families, too. In August 2014, before one of my many radiation sessions, I went for another mammogram and an ultrasound and, amazingly, discovered the cancer was gone. At first I couldn’t believe it, then I felt like I’d been given a second chance and vowed to make the most of every opportunity that came my way. When the foundation approached me a few months later and asked me if I’d like to join four other breast cancer survivors and trek to Everest Base Camp, I jumped at the chance. The idea behind the campaign was to raise awareness and prove there’s life after cancer. I began the expedition on 14 April this year, and I was shocked at how incredibly challenging it was. We faced very deep, hidden crevices, sub-zero temperatures, violent winds and, the higher we climbed, low oxygen levels. On the first day of the climb I had a terrible bout of flu – I remember having a panic attack, wondering why I had ever agreed to the trek. But I always told my children about the importance of perseverance when things get tough, so I knew that I couldn’t just give up. As I reached base camp and stood at an altitude of 5 364 feet, taking in the awe-inspiring surroundings, I realised what an amazing feat I’d accomplished. This struggle in a way represented what so many people go through with cancer – it’s on your lowest days that you have to try your hardest. I hope that having overcome both these struggles somehow inspires other women facing adversity to do the same. There’s certainly life after cancer – and I’m proof of that!

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