When Pregnancy Coincides with Positive Diagnosis of HIV: Accounts of the Process of Acceptance of Self and Motherhood among Women in South Africa
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Design and Setting
2.2. Data Collection
2.3. Data Analysis
2.4. Ethical Considerations
3.1. Description of Study Participants
3.2.1. The Unanticipated HIV Diagnosis
I did not believe. I kept on asking myself how I got HIV because I was not that kind of person who is sleeping around with different guys, so how did this happen? (Mother of a 6-year-old).
I did not believe that my result could be HIV positive. My partner and I have dated since we were still young and I never dated somebody else without him. That is why I have asked myself how I could be positive (Mother of a 6-year-old).
It took some time; I was asking myself a lot of questions, that I am positive while I was not running around or changing partners. I was faithful to him and I still have this thing while I was at home all the time, waiting for him. So this is really hurting (Mother of an 8-year-old).
3.2.2. Fear of Premature Death
Ooh! I was shocked telling myself that I am going to die soon. I saw myself as a person who is dying at any time, it was not easy at all; it was hectic. I felt like I am losing my mind a bit. People were dying then (Mother of a 9-year-old).
What came through my mind was death, I thought that I was going to die…, I am going to leave my children behind (Mother of a 6-year-old).
3.2.3. Extreme Emotional Distress
What makes it difficult is the fact that you become scared of other people and you do not accept the status that you are in, and so it becomes painful all the time. (Mother of an 8-year-old).
I felt so much pain I even lost weight. I still have this pain that comes to my mind. I can’t even sleep well at night (Mother of a 6-year-old).
It is painful because you ask yourself whether you will live like this your whole life (Mother of a 10-year-old).
It is not possible for a mother not to worry about dying; it crosses your mind when he gets sick and you wonder is it because he is HIV positive (Mother of a 6-year-old).
I worry about the child too, who is going to die first the child or me. This is my concern (Mother of an 8-year-old).
It felt like I had lost a lot and had no life, feels like you can’t continue with anything. I had plans for my life but it felt like I was no longer living (Mother of a 6-year-old).
Ahhhh (sigh)…, let me tell you…, I was so stressed…; I did not know what to think. I even felt like killing myself (Mother of a 7-year-old).
Sometimes I felt like defaulting treatment and let myself die (Mother of a 10-year-old).
Self-Neglect and Depression
It took me maybe six months. I even slept at the hospital. It drained me a lot. I got tired emotionally (Mother of a 6-year-old).
I did not bath, I did not see the importance of waking up I was feeling down and it was not nice for me (Mother of an 8-year-old).
I lost a lot of weight, I kept asking myself if whether I will die and leave my children..., I was stressed I did not talk to anyone, I felt like no one understood my situation (Mother of an 8-year-old).
Guilt, Shame, and Self-Blame
I had multiple partners before, some of them I was no longer when I tested; so I did not have a clue of where I got this disease. I only blame my past…, why I did not insist on using a condom, I was very ignorant. I blamed myself big time (Mother of a 9-year-old).
I feel useless and irresponsible (Mother of a 9-year-old).
I should not put blame on someone else because I am the one who risked my life. First thing, when you have sex you must use condom, you have no right to blame someone else (Mother of a 10-year-old).
I felt betrayed, because I was not sleeping around and my partner was the one sleeping around and I had no idea what he was doing outside. So I felt that he betrayed me after I found out I was HIV positive. He confessed that he was the one who infected me with the HIV. I felt much betrayed (Mother of a 9-year-old).
I got if from him, my husband is all over the place. I was angry with him, I do not want to lie, and I did not speak to him for a long time (Mother of a 10-year-old).
I was blaming him big time, I was so angry I was swearing at him, I was shouting, swearing at my man (Mother of a 6-year-old).
3.2.4. Disclosure of HIV Diagnosis
Eish! Disclosure is a difficult thing because you will tell people, then after disclosure they start to discriminate your child and not allow their children to play with him (Mother of a 7-year-old).
I am scared that once they know about my child’s status they would tell their parents and in that way, it would lead to stigma. They would reject her and make fun of her when they play (Mother of a 9-year-old).
I told my mother and my little sister (Mother of a 6-year-old).
I told my friends that I am positive (Mother of a 9-year-old).
I talk openly about my HIV status (Mother of an 8-year-old).
I told my oldest child, my mom, my siblings, and some relatives (Mother of a 7-year-old).
Outcome of Disclosure
When I disclosed my HIV status to my mother, she told me that she doesn’t want an HIV positive person in her home. You won’t believe when I say that most of the family members don’t want to touch my child because he is HIV positive (Mother of an 8-year-old).
My eldest child offers support and encourages us [his mother and HIV positive sibling] in taking the treatment. My partner sends me money. My brother and younger sisters offer me support (Mother of a 7-year-old).
My mother supported me throughout this illness. So, I share everything with her (Mother of a 6-year-old).
3.2.5. Acceptance of Self and HIV Status over Time
I told myself that this is just a virus and it can’t kill me, it’s just an illness my body and if I live in a right way daily (healthy life-style and take treatment) with the belief I will live (Mother of a 10-year-old).
I told myself that I am not the first person to get these results. I accepted and told myself that if I am not accepting this, I will worry and this will make my immune system to be weak (Mother of an 8-year-old).
Acceptance Is a Process
You know to accept is hard and very painful. At first, it was very hard I did not believe I was HIV positive…, it took me almost a year to accept. As you go for counselling, they tell you that it is not the end of the world for you. Firstly, you have to take your pills, take care of yourself and then you will live a normal life like everyone (Mother of a 10-year-old).
At the end I realized that this is my life I have to accept even though it was not easy but I have tried..., now when I look back I am saying wow I did it (Mother of a 9-year-old).
It took me a while to accept. Sometimes when I walk the streets, I feel like people can tell that I am HIV positive or when someone looks at me, I feel like he/she can see me (Mother of an 8-year-old).
Counselling Gives Hope
To tell the truth the thing that helped me a lot is counselling; the counsellors help (Mother of a 10-year-old).
I went through counselling then I became strong. They explained to me that I won’t die. I’m going to get better and be like others who work for themselves, that’s when I accepted. I would have died but the counselling helped me a lot. I thought of suicide, but the counselling helped me a lot (Mother of an 8-year-old).
Eish, it is not that easy to accept that you are positive and that you are going to take medication the rest of your life. I decided to join a support group, so that is where I started to accept myself (Mother of a 9-year-old).
Trust in ART
I realized that drinking my treatment would help me live long because if I default I will kill myself (Mother of a 10-year-old).
Through counselling, I live normally and I am like other people. I have accepted and I am living a normal life. When I don’t take my pills, I feel as though something is missing (Mother of an 8-year-old).
I was told that if I take my medication I’ll be alright and live long (Mother of an 8-year-old).
The Importance of Support from Friends and Families
What keeps me going is that my mother supports me with everything. My mother gives me support like nobody’s business. It is like no matter what happens she supports me (Mother of a 7-year-old).
I accepted and took it as though it is another illness because my sister explained to me. I was lucky to find someone who was willing to listen, I realised that I could live long if I took care of myself (Mother of an 8-year-old).
My children also support me but my aunt support me more than them (Mother of a 7-year-old).
3.2.6. Life Changes after Acceptance
I had multiple partners, now I stick with one person. I am even living a healthier lifestyle, eating healthy too (Mother of a 6-year-old).
It has changed me because of the partners I had been with, it made me more responsible. I was not using condom before but now I use it. We also changed our diet (Mother of a 9-year-old).
My life has changed in many ways. I use to drink, but now I have limits in all things I do about my life (Mother of a 10-year-old).
I am no longer self-centred, having a positive child has thought me to care about others and not just myself. When I had no child, I would move around freely but now I restrict my movements (Mother of an 8-year-old).
I am HIV positive and my child is HIV positive, therefore, I have to look after myself also. I want to live for my children and to look after them (Mother of an 8-year-old).
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|The unanticipated HIV diagnosis|
|Fear of premature death|
|Extreme emotional distress||Despair|
|Guilt, shame, and blame|
|Worrying about the unborn baby|
|Self-neglect and depression|
|Disclosure of HIV diagnosis||Delayed disclosure|
|Outcome of disclosure|
|Acceptance of self and HIV status over time||Acceptance is a process|
|Counselling gives hope|
|Trust in ART|
|The importance of support from friends and families|
|Life changes after acceptance|
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Madiba, S. When Pregnancy Coincides with Positive Diagnosis of HIV: Accounts of the Process of Acceptance of Self and Motherhood among Women in South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 13006. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413006
Madiba S. When Pregnancy Coincides with Positive Diagnosis of HIV: Accounts of the Process of Acceptance of Self and Motherhood among Women in South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(24):13006. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413006Chicago/Turabian Style
Madiba, Sphiwe. 2021. "When Pregnancy Coincides with Positive Diagnosis of HIV: Accounts of the Process of Acceptance of Self and Motherhood among Women in South Africa" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 24: 13006. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413006