Our Story

Timina Jade Nieuwoudt and Family

My hope for every person reading this, is to be encouraged as I share some of our personal experiences and how we have learned to look to God for strength on a daily basis throughout our amazing, but challenging journey.

May you find the strength you need for today!

For those of you who do not know us, I would like to introduce you to our family:

Happy beginnings

My name is Beverley and my husband's is Michael (known as Mike). We were married in 2012 when I was 37 years old and I fell pregnant two months later. Mike and I were so excited that we were about to welcome a little life into our family and to become parents.

Couple on their wedding day
A newborn baby.

The day our lives changed forever

Unfortunately, I experienced pre-eclampsia and hypertension and was admitted to the hospital at twenty-four weeks into my pregnancy, where I spent three weeks. Our precious daughter, Timina Jade came into this world much earlier than expected at twenty-seven weeks. Shortly after birth, Timina Jade was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and had under-developed upper airways that were causing severe obstruction with her breathing.

Nothing could have ever prepared me or us for this moment and the only way I can begin to describe it, is that I was on a roller coaster that torpedoed into hyper speed. I was not sure if I was coming or going or which way to turn. I instantly became a “mechanical mom”, doing and saying what I thought was expected but when I was alone in my room I would weep and fall into the arms of our loving Heavenly Father.

The beginning of a life-long journey

Timina spent one hundred and one days in a neonatal ICU and this without a doubt was one of the most challenging times of my life. While I was able to spend time with her during the day, I had to come home every night without my baby. There are no words to describe the feelings I had at this time but I felt like I had been robbed and that I had failed as a mother. I heard so many stories of other parents telling us of the importance of skin to skin and kangaroo breastfeeding and it was very hard for me to come to terms with the fact that we could not bond in this way or that I could only attempt to bond after week 3 of her birth due to her still being on CPAP machines (to help her breathe).

Our parenting journey began with constant visits to the hospital that often lasted well over a week at a time. Spending extended lengths of time in hospital became a way of life for us and was just part of the robotic routine that had become part of our everyday lives. If someone came to visit with a snotty nose it was inevitable that Timina would pick up the germs and a few days later would be admitted into hospital.

A family standing by water
A father holds his child

Small steps

On 13 December 2015, Timina (then aged 3) underwent reconstructive jaw surgery in order to stretch her jaw to create more room between her throat and her pallet. This would allow her to breathe better. Thankfully, this operation made a tremendous difference. Our hospital stays became fewer and further between and I couldn’t help but think “hooray” we are eventually on our very own “walk to freedom”.
While we celebrate every step of progress in our journey, I now realise that I may have been a tad too optimistic to think that the worst of our challenges were over.

Since then, we have had to rush to the emergency ward on other occasions which often left me emotional, tired and overwhelmed.

Timina is a fighter, she is a determined and very tenacious child. She is not a super girl though and still gets the flu, germs, bugs and viruses. In fact, she can ward off most everyday illnesses much better than when she was younger but she is certainly still more vulnerable than the average child and we do need to be extra cautious as she still has a compromised immune system.

Hope prevails

My hope is that you will not be discouraged in hearing some of the challenges we have faced but rather that you will come to understand, as I have, that it is normal to be faced with overwhelming feelings of extreme fear and failure during stressful circumstances.

Thankfully I have learned to take things day by day and to do the very best for my little person and that is enough. No matter what your unique circumstances are, I hope that you will be encouraged by our story to take things one day at a time, and to celebrate every victory, no matter how small.

May you always look to our faithful Heavenly Father for the courage, strength and peace you need to run your own race well.

Moving forward, I hope to continue to share with you some of the ongoing challenges we experience as a family. Most importantly, I wish that you will be able to celebrate with us all our victories as we learn to grow closer to each other and most especially to God. He is my anchor and without His help and the support of my biological and church family, I would never have been able to do what I do.

All glory to our loving God, King Jesus!
A family taking a photo
A girl dressed as a princess

Journey with us

We would love it if you would partner with us in prayer. Words of encouragement and/or advice also help to carry us through the difficult times. One thing I know without a doubt is this:

God is reminding me how much He loves me and that He believes in me and that He hand-picked Michael and I to be Timina’s parents.

We may not be perfect parents but we are the best parents for her because He chose us. He chose us to love, nurture and care for His precious child, Timina. God does not want me to compare her to any other child and does not want me to compare myself to any other parent. I make many mistakes but I do my best each and every day. The beautiful part is that even when I fall short, I can humbly ask others to stand by me and lift me up with prayer and encouragement. I am a firm believer in breathing wind into other people’s sails and I hope that as you join me in this journey we can do just that. May our strength and hope grow, as together we persevere through the challenges that are thrown our way.

We may have never met or might not ever meet but I hope that through our story, you will see a glimpse of the love I have for my family and our God. I leave you with this:

Do not be afraid; or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you. - Joshua 1:9

I look forward to connecting with you as you share in the beautiful story that is our family.

Much love,