Being pregnant for the first time has been nothing short of a miracle for Expresso presenter Kia Johnson. Now the TV presenter and producer is giving back to her Cape Town community to create an awareness about motherhood.
The 33-year-old TV star and her fiancé, Oscar, are two months short of welcoming their first child into the world, but Kia has already been planning a special charity drive that underprivileged Western Cape mothers can benefit from.
“I’ve started a charity drive after finding out I was expecting a child. I realised that some mothers do not have the means to support themselves during their pregnancy and after the child has been born, so this was something I felt I needed to do,” says Kia, who is one of four presenters on the daily morning show on SABC3.
“For me, it is mainly about giving back. I have had a number of years in the entertainment industry and sometimes we take things for granted. I want to move away from that, by including people in the same condition as me and hopefully making things a little more easy for them and also working with established brands to bridge the gap.”
The condition Kia is referring to is polyps, abnormal pieces of tissue that grow in the bladder, intestines or cervix. Kia’s polyps had grown stalks and were attaching themselves to her endometrial lining and ovaries.
“The doctors say that when this happens, your womb becomes an unsafe place for a baby to develop, so chances are you can’t conceive, you have to constantly remove them. When you’re ready to fall pregnant, the doctors will then plan the fertility medication and/or in vitro.
“When I heard the news, I burst into tears in the doctor’s office and immediately told my close family and friends. It’s not that I wanted to have a baby at that exact moment, I just wanted to be able to have the chance to fall pregnant in the future,” she recalls.
“My mother, Sharon, also had problems with all her children and lost a set of twins due to her womb being ‘weak’ and not the safe haven for baby attaching properly.
“So with all of us she had to lie flat down for the first three months of each pregnancy. It was something I feared would happen to me.”
But her pain turned into joy. After experiencing similar symptoms to that of polyps, Kia took a pregnancy test and was “in disbelief” after finding out she was pregnant.
“When I saw the two stripes on the test, I was in shock about being pregnant. I then went to a doctor who confirmed the news. For me it’s a miracle that I am pregnant and I am looking forward to becoming a mother,” she says.
Kia says the suburbs that will benefit from her initiative will be in and around the Cape Flats and Cape Town.
“I am looking at working with safe homes and child centres in Philippi, Woodstock and Manenberg. If there are more areas interested in this charity drive and it grows from this, then I’ll be happy.”
So how will these pregnant mothers benefit from Kia’s initiative? “I will be donating baby products, having talks and partnering with people who teach baby care, it will be a good selection of activities and we will be creating hampers to give to mothers-to-be.”
She adds that it’s important to give back and becoming a mother-to-be has made her appreciate the importance and miracle of having a child in your life.
“I want nothing more then a happy child, and a happy child is a gift from God and it’s important that the mothers will gain some experience and some kind of help during this time.
“I hope that this will make things a bit easy at least.”
The initiative is expected to be implemented by the end of this month through “hands-on involvement” from herself and the sponsors she’s bringing on board.
“I want the project to last long after I am a mother. I want each year to be a special experience for mothers and babies. The drive consists of weekly charities and it all ends with a ladies tea to celebrate a shared journey.”
For Kia, becoming pregnant after trying for so long changed her view on motherhood.
“I feel as if I have a better understanding about life and the joys that go with it as a mother. I am now responsible for someone else’s life and I have to look at always putting my child’s needs before my own. It has changed my perception and my world.”
“I don’t have a child yet, but being pregnant is just a wonderful experience when you do not have to worry about things like nappies, food and baby care. Some mothers-to-be do not have that luxury, so I want to help give them that at the starting stages of their pregnancy.” - Cape Argus