A Mother’s Advice to Others Grieving the Loss of a Child

March 2014 was one of the happiest times in Bubele Busisiwe Ndlovu’s life.

“I was happy just like any normal woman would be, happy to know l was expecting and on the twenty fifth of November l gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and named him Prince. I loved him wholeheartedly,” Bubele told The Weight She Carries.

Due to financial difficulties, Bubele and her husband decided to take Prince to his paternal grandmother until their situation improved.

“When my husband informed me that my baby was not looking well l thought maybe he was being beaten or abused over there.” 

Nothing prepared her for the events that took place two weeks after her husband visited Prince.

“It was a very shocking experience when my mother-in-law brought the child to us because we were never told of any serious illness, but it was clear that our child was wasting away,” she said. “We rushed him to the hospital where he was observed for three to four hours and was later on admitted into the pediatric ward that same day.”

“At about two in the morning l woke up with a searing pain across my abdomen which l attributed to stress over the ongoing situation. It was a shocking experience because l never thought that anything tragic could happen. As a mother, one can never anticipate that anything bad could happen to [her] child. I held on to hope and refused to give up.”

This hope, accompanied by prayer, continued even when she went back to the hospital in the morning to visit Prince and found his breathing irregular. His blood glucose levels were fluctuating and his heartbeat was too high for an eighteen-month-old baby. They continued to observe him and eventually placed him on an oxygen tank because his pulse was becoming faint.

“The nurses told me to remove the mask if any mist formed and l did exactly that. After some time, the mist started disappearing and l was so happy. l rushed to the nurses’ desk to inform them that the mist had stopped,” she said.

The nurses rushed to the bed and Bubele could tell by their facial expressions that things were not well. Shortly after, they informed her that his heart had stopped beating; there was no pulse.

“On the 19th of June, in the midst of winter, l felt a surge of heat and l rushed out of hospital. I could not believe it,” she said. “I had lost my father two months earlier and now this!”

Bubele remembers Prince as a very sweet, calm, loving and adorable baby whom she lost.

“Grief got the better of me because l grieved for a very long time after his burial. My blood pressure became critical to a point of almost stroking. Bitterness towards my mother-in-law was at the forefront, but now l thank God because l have found a source of healing, which is God,” she said. “Now l know that l cannot die and leave my eldest son on his own. I remain with a wound that l have to nurse carefully until it is healed completely or else it will kill me.”

To grieving mothers, Bubele advises:

“It is okay to grieve but do not let it take too long because chronic grieving may have long-lasting effects that are detrimental to one’s health.”

She points to heart disease caused by hypertension and an abnormal heart rate as well as mental illness as some of the issues that could result from prolonged grieving.

“Trust in God for healing and comfort,” Bubele encourages. “Look for activities to keep you busy so that you do not continually reminisce on the tragic loss and, if possible, change the environment.”

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