Actress Innocent Sadiki (32) chose to deliver her second child on her own terms. She shares why this was important to her, and how she did it. By Kwanele Mathebula Pictures Supplied
I have always wanted to be a mother. My mother died when I was four years old. Luckily, my maternal grandmother raised me and my twin sister. Though I had siblings from my dad who had another family, they didn’t live with us. This left me yearning for more siblings because I loved the idea of a big family. I knew then that I would have my own one day.
I had my first child when I was 23 years old. I grew up under very traditional values; I wanted to get married, then have children. In 2010, I got married to Phindu, and we wanted a baby as soon as possible. Six months later, I fell pregnant with our daughter, Emma (7). During my pregnancy I took everyone’s advice – doctors, friends and family – because I didn’t know anything about it. I then gave birth to my daughter in 2011 via caesarean section (C-section). At the time, I found out that it limited my ability to have more than three children. I decided that I would have my second child naturally.
I found out that I was pregnant again in early 2018. To ensure that I made informed decisions throughout my pregnancy, I researched how I could prepare myself for natural birth. I exercised, attended prenatal classes, watched videos and came up with a birthing plan. Part of it included giving birth at a hospital that specialised in natural births with the option of a C-section in case of emergencies. I also changed my gynaecologist numerous times because they kept advising me to have another C-section, saying that a natural one posed a threat that would make it difficult to intervene should any complications arise. But, I wanted vaginal birth. So, I opted for a midwife to help me.
Recovering from natural birth was not easy. In October, I welcomed my daughter Ntombana. I thought I would recover quickly because it was natural, but soon realised that I was wrong. Just like my first pregnancy, I still needed six weeks to recover. I allowed myself to rest in order to recover fully, which took me six months. This helped me discover a new-found appreciation for my body and pregnancy.
Raising children of different ages has been a learning curve. Emma is in grade 1 while Ntombana is seven months old. I initially felt that I wasn’t giving them what they needed from me as a mother, until I decided to put a routine in place so they don’t feel neglected. It has helped me manage my time wisely and fulfil both their needs, as well as my husband’s and mine.
I am looking forward to having more children. Although recovery was tough, I am glad that I decided to give birth on my own terms. Unlike the C-section where my muscles took longer to heal, I enjoyed that I could walk right after giving birth, taking care of my baby and myself. I am happy that I can have more kids, which is what I have always wanted.