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Trading darkness for light. Our story.

Pregnancy. One of the most beautiful times of any woman's life. One of the most beautiful events in any family’s life. A fairy-tale most woman dream of. We experienced it all. Except instead of living the fairy-tale scenario, we encountered mountains. Instead of living the conventional fairy tale life, we were given a life full of thorns and sharp edges. This is something no one or nothing can prepare you for. We dreamed of a life with a family, living happily ever after, but our dream became a nightmare. We were thrown with a huge curve ball in life, but somehow, with the grace of God we managed to still be standing.

Quickly get up, get your tissues and a cup of strong coffee, because today I am going to take you along our journey:

Being pregnant for the first time held more challenges to me than I could ever have imagined. Not being able to keep in any source of nutrition, also being very ill in a time where swine flu did it's rounds, and battling with high blood pressure with pre eclipsia knocking on my front door of health.

Spending most of my 9 months in bed made my pregnancy one of the worst experiences.

Seeing and feeling my baby boy kick was the best feeling on earth. But my health hanging over us like a dark cloud, overshadowed all the joys we were supposed to experience. It was the most bitter sweet time imaginable.

29 September 2009, 00:15. Our first born came into the world. We proudly named our son after his grand father, who passed away at a very early age. We named him Nickholis in memory of his grandfather Nick. Knowing that if he is looking down from heaven, that he would be proud of his grandson carrying his name.

But soon the darkness of post natal depression came to cover all our dreams, all our hopes, all our aspirations. It was one of the most difficult, most lonely times of my life. It was a battle that I fought alone, It was a battle that I almost lost.

In my seeking for help I soon begun to start my little black book of doctors never to visit again. Going to the doctor for help, no one knowing of my condition, I was forced to overcome the darkness myself. Usually a doctor is someone who helps, who supports. I walked out of that doctor's room, more lonely than ever.

Thinking back, the scene plays of in my head again. Me feeling ashamed, scared, desperate. Trying to tell the Dr my new and frightening situation, as I was trying to utter my condition. The Dr sat back in his chair, arms folded, with a grin on his face, murmuring the words, ”so you want to commit suicide? “. Me never mentioning anything like that to the Doctor. He didn’t help me, he didn’t assure me, he didn’t make my condition better in any way. I left with totally over priced medication (which didn’t work), and the most indescribable sense of loneliness ever imaginable.

Being a first time mother I wanted to look like I had it all together. I wanted to make my husband proud of my parenting skills. I felt ashamed and fought the post natal depression battle all by myself, no one knowing.

Looking back at that season of my life, I realised that although I thought I was alone, and that I had no physical support, I was not alone. My heavenly father was holding his hand over me. He was accompanying me while I was all alone, fighting one of the biggest battles any woman can have. He carried me where I saw no road to walk, he took me out of my big black hole of post natal depression and he made me a survivor. He gave me life and a purpose. If it wasn’t for our heavenly father, I wouldn’t be here today to share our journey.

I want to urge anyone who may be experiencing baby blues, post natal depression,over excessive negative feelings, crying and emotions that one cannot put into words, after giving birth. To please go and speak to a medical professional about it. And if the medical professional does not give you the adequate help and support, please go seek the help of another. Because many might not be so lucky as I was. Many have lost this battle, and many will without medical assistance.

The struggle of post natal depression is real. And it is nothing to be ashamed of, either it is never too late to seek help.

Mostly having a new born in the house is something to get used to. For us it was this and much more. For us it was questions going around in our heads that we were too scared to put into words. Too scared to ask because the moment we were going to put our thoughts into words was the moment that we were going to accept that there was something wrong with our son.

As a baby Nickholis barely cried, it was strange in a way hearing everyone speak about their baby's crying the whole time. Some said we were lucky, some said Nickholis is a good baby but in our hearts we knew it was everything except him being a good baby.

It was almost like having a new toy, seeing the toy is broken, knowing there is something wrong. We were to scared to look why the toy is broken because of the fear that one will loose the toy and live without it forever.

Our worlds got turned around when a quick visit to the GP for an ear infection turned into an 8 year long nightmare. The GP noticed that Nickholis’s head circumference was very large.

Over a time of 8 years we visited 18 doctors, seeking for help and answers. Traveling the country, desperate to find out what is wrong with our son. Some made different diagnosis, some admitted they aren’t able to help, some tested medication after medication on him. We were getting no where.

Eventually doctor number 18 made the Autism diagnosis.

Today, we are proud parents of our Autistic warrior. Life took us places we thought we would never see, it gave us feelings we thought we would never feel. Our son changed our life’s forever. We learn from him every day. He is OUR warrior fighting Autism, following an amazing program from the Family Hope Center in Philadelphia.

We have hopes and dreams, not the ones we thought we were going to have, but the ones life told us we need…..


Getting to know Marné Kleinhans

Born and raised in Johannesburg. Life took me on a journey to find my destiny in a small farmers community, where my husband is farm manager. We have two beautiful boys, one on the Autism spectrum, living for anything farm related. Loving each moment on the farm. While our youngest likes to be creative, and being in the kitchen just like his mom. I am a full time stay at home mom, in charge of our son's well being and therapy. There is no dull moment in our family, especially not if you have a very curious pet donkey,who loves Astro’s. If life has taught me one thing, it is to NEVER give up, because there will always be a light somewhere in the tunnel.

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