Pretoria - A Gauteng woman who gave birth to 10 babies – breaking the Guinness World Record – has appealed for help to raise the decuplets, saying she can’t afford the financial and emotional demands.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, gave birth to her decuplets at a hospital in Pretoria on Monday night, breaking a record held by Malian Halima Cissé, who gave birth to nine children (nonuplets) in Morocco last month.
Her seven boys and three girls were two more than the eight children that doctors had earlier detected during the medical scans.
In an exclusive interview with the Pretoria News at her family home in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, the retail store manager said she won’t be able to return to work due to her new situation.
The Pretoria News spoke to Sithole and her husband Tebogo Tsotetsi last month, but publication of the story was delayed due to the couple’s concerns for safety and cultural reasons. They requested that the interview be published after the birth of the children.
Sithole, who already has twins, said she had exhausted her savings after taking unpaid leave two months into her pregnancy earlier this year. “I was sick. I left my job early and decided to stay at home because I couldn’t cope. I realised I was battling and decided to quit earlier than expected because my body couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to stay at home until I started feeling better,” Sithole said.
She ruled out going back to work, saying her salary would not even cover the costs of the helpers she would have to employ to take care of her bundles of joy. Her immediate needs included clothes, baby formula, diapers and accommodation for the decuplets. “I appeal to the public to help me in whatever way they can. Anybody who has anything I would appreciate it. I am relying on my mother-in-law now. She is old, lives on her old age pension and has grandchildren. I will also need people who can volunteer to help me raise the children – helpers,” Sithole added.
The unemployed father, Tsotetsi, said his wife delivered the decuplets – both naturally and by caesarean section – 29 weeks into her pregnancy on Monday night. Tsotetsi said his wife was still in hospital. “It’s seven boys and three girls. She was seven months and seven days pregnant. I am happy. I am emotional. I can’t talk much. Let’s talk again in the morning please,” Tsotetsi said.
However, when the Pretoria News contacted him again yesterday, Tsotetsi referred further enquiries to family spokesperson Makgoshi Maponyane, who he said they had appointed to handle media enquiries and co-ordinate public donations on the couple’s behalf.
Maponyane, the founder of NLP and life coaching company Facade Estilo, said members of the public who wished to help Sithole were free to drop off items at printing company Lesedi 7 Group offices at 143 Johannesburg Road, Lyndhurst.
“Anybody wishing to assist can contact me on [email protected] or 076 917 7347. Those who wish to make cash donations can make them directly to the family under the following details:
Ms GT Sithole, Absa, account number 9354679538 or Mr Tsotetsi, Capitec, account number 1488629054,” said Maponyane.
Lesedi 7 chief executive Lesedi Mapheto said Gauteng residents who need transport to move items to the Sithole and Tsotetsi families should contact his office for free collection within the province.
Independent Media chief operating officer Takudzwa Hove said members of the public were also free to drop off items at the company’s offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. This included the Pretoria News offices in the Pretoria CBD.
Sithole has broken the record of the most children born at the same birth, previously held by Cissé, who delivered nonuplets last month.
Before Cissé, the record holder of the most children delivered at a single birth – and they survived – was reportedly American Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to eight children in 2009. Her octuplets were conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Deputy head of the school of medicine at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) Professor Dini Mawela said Sithole’s kind of pregnancy was rare and usually caused by fertility treatments. The children will spend the next months in incubators because it was a “high-risk” pregnancy, she added.
“It’s a unique situation,” Mawela said.