I am Varsha Govender and I am married to Sugen Govender who is my voice of reason. I am of Mom to 3 amazing Kids. Vetali is my firstborn who has down syndrome and she is blessed with twin siblings Yuvaan and Yuvika who are 22 months old.
When did you become a mom for the first time?
Our God Sent our miracle child came into our life in November 2014 after seven years of infertility. Two years prior, we had decided to make peace with our fate and stopped all the fertility treatment. I started to look into adoption process in January 2014 a few months later discovered I was pregnant.
When did you find out your child’s diagnosis?
I was 34 weeks pregnant and I suspected something was wrong my baby’s movements were not regular. I was booked in for an emergency c section as Vetali was in foetal distress . After the delivery I was informed by the doctors that baby was very ill and they also suspected a genetic condition. Ten days later a blood test confirmed Trisomy 21. I was in disbelief and could not understand everything that was happening. I cried for days and then realized I had to move on. I had to stop questioning my fate and stop with the pity Party for myself. This little baby chose our home and yes she was wrapped differently when she came to us with her medical issues but it doesn’t change the fact that I am her mother. I created her and now I must nurture her and protect her…
All I wanted to do was take my angel home. Little did I know that ” Trisomy 21 “was the least of my concerns. We had a battle of a life time ahead. My little girl was born with Congenital Heart defects. She had the AVSD, VSD, PDA and pulmonary hyper tension. Due to Low Muscle tone she had a severe case of GORD and required corrective surgery as well as a Peg for feeds. In 2015 none of the KZN hospitals had paediatric cardiologist or surgeons. We were transferred to Sunninghill Cardiac Thoracic ICU were Vetali had 4 surgeries. She had experienced a very difficult post op period with infections and failure to get off the ventilator. With God’s grace 157 days later we were discharged and made our way home to Durban. She could not orally feed until she turned 2. In 2017 we removed her feeding device and since then she is thriving. She came into our life to teach us patience, hope , faith and love. My warrior Princess is living proof that Faith brings home Miracles.
What is the hardest part about being a mom of a child born with Down Syndrome?
Not knowing how she feels as she cannot express herself verbally. I often wonder what she is thinking of ? I also find it heartsore when she is sick. She often picks up infections and almost every month we have to be on some sort of medication.
What do you do just for you?
Between working full time and raising “three” babies I try to make time for myself as I truly believe that us mums need times for recharging so we can be better moms. I try my best to indulge in a monthly pedicure in between the hustle and bustle of life.
Favourite guilty pleasure?
Tin Roof Ice cream
If you had to pick the soundtrack for your life what would it be?
Flying without Wings , Westlife.
What is the kindest thing that someone has ever done for you?
During our stay at Sunninghill, the medical team decided that Vetali needed a trachea vent as she was intubated for a long period. My husband and
the rest of the family was in Durban and the surgery was unplanned. I was shattered as I did not think I had the strength to endure another surgery alone. There was one specific Mom who came to the hospital at 6 30 am to offer support and prayed with me until Baby was out of theatre. She had her own problems. Her baby spent 15 months in Cardiac Thoracic ICU and sadly lost her battle in 2016.
What does Down Syndrome Awareness Month mean to you?
To create awareness and educate people about Down Syndrome. It is also a time for me reflect on Vetali’s journey and share our experience with all. We also participate in the Annual Buddy Walk in KZN . Our family looks forward to this event and I can proudly say that our group numbers increase annually. This year we have a whopping 70 family members supporting Vetali.
If you could change one thing in the world to make it an easier and better place for your child, what would it be?
To change the misconceptions of Down Syndrome so our kids will not be rejected in society.