I am Suzanne Smit, née Van Wyk, a country-side girl living it up in the city. Wynand and I have been married for 13 years and we have two daughters, Klaradyn and Nina-Maria. We enjoy roadtrips and connecting as we leave the hustle and bustle behind. We also love good coffee, wine and cooking together. We love our family and friends and value experiences above things. “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all” is quite apt. I am a tax specialist and an admitted attorney and enjoy assisting clients with solutions.

I had pre-eclampsia with both pregnancies and both our daughters were born prematurely and admitted to NICU. Subsequently we had some challenges to navigate and some storms to weather. By grace alone, both are healthy, strong and happy today.

After the challenges and storms, together with the underlying angst that goes with it, the never-ending balancing act between work and family life, my mother’s sudden passing and my father’s hospital admission two days after (which was unrelated), I had to face my PTSD symptoms and deal with it. At times I felt like Casper the friendly Ghost, totally transparent, vulnerable and naked, but with grit and determination I managed to sort the toys in their respective boxes. Don’t be fooled: it’s an ongoing process. Together with Lente and Juanli, I am committed to normalising mental health – everyone has mental health. PTSD to me is like a bad cold which was neglected and developed into pneumonia. We are quick to visit the GP, but not necessarily a shrink …

Our NICU experiences taught me to be stronger than I ever thought I could be (you don’t really have a choice …), my mother’s passing taught me that loss and grief are fluid and dynamic, and PTSD taught me that it’s not just soldiers in a war zone who may suffer from it – life itself can also be a battlefield.

The only constant today is change … at a rapid pace! And for this very reason I want to actively participate in it. I want to leave the world better than it was yesterday. My message to parents is this: It’s OK to not be on point every day! Our children should learn from us that it’s important to name your emotions and have a healthy relationship with your mental health, body and thoughts. It’s OK to be completely vulnerable. Without fear, you cannot be brave – you may feel scared, but choose to be brave.

Kontak my gerus vir ‘n spreker geleentheid deur ‘n epos te stuur.

suzanne@dienaguilklub.com