Let’s Talk About: Home remedies for terminating pregnancy.

Hey Chomas,

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions around home remedies for terminating pregnancy (Abortion), especially on “does coke and disprin work for abortion”?

This is only one of the home remedies that young women have used to get rid of pregnancy and your Choma is here to get real with you about that!

Well… disprin for one is an aspirin, an over-the-counter medication which is usually taken for mild to moderate pain such as headaches, nerve pain and to also treat fever associated with colds and flu.

A person who’s pregnant is not advised to take anything more than a necessary panado, as it is risky to the pregnant woman and her baby.

What does a home remedy like disprin do to a pregnant woman, her fetus or unborn baby?

It induces the pregnancy…inducing means using a strategy to start a process of labour. So, that will basically cause the fetus or baby to ‘escape the womb’. Inducing labour is only supposed to be done by a health professional (doctor) as there is a risk to the unborn baby or mother or if at due time of labour, the baby needs to come out to stop it from losing its life. These safe strategies conducted by a doctor are proven methods which ensure that the mother and baby remain safe.

So, what is this big risk about inducing pregnancy with things like disprin?

It will not only induce the pregnancy but will cause a life threat to the pregnant mother. What will happen is that you can experience what is called a partial miscarriage or incomplete abortion, which means some fetal tissue will still be left in the womb of the woman (also known as kobo in Sesotho)…this can be fatal, meaning cause death, for the woman because of the unusual bleeding or high infection due to the fetal tissue. This can only be treated medically.

A high dosage of disprin may also cause liver or kidney disorders, even affect the gastrointestinal tract (a pathway where food enters and solid waste is released). In short Chomas, disprin and coke are NOT safe pregnancy termination methods.

Tip: Rather rely on contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Use methods such as PrEP to prevent HIV and make sure you learn about your sexual health, so that you keep your body healthy and make better life choices.

Still got questions, feel free to send me a message.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, an  Instagram message, a  Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)

What is Autism?

Autism is a term you might have heard before, but what does it really mean? In simple terms, autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that affects how a person communicates, interacts with others, and experiences the world around them. It’s called a “spectrum” disorder because it can affect people in different ways and to varying degrees.


What Causes Autism?

The exact cause of autism is not known, but researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role. This means that someone is born with autism, and it’s not something that can be caught from someone else.


Common Characteristics of Autism

People with autism might have difficulty with social interactions, communication, and repetitive behaviours. For example, they might have trouble understanding social cues like facial expressions or tone of voice, or they might have a strong interest in specific topics and engage in repetitive behaviours like rocking or clapping hands.


Autism is Part of Who Someone Is

It’s important to remember that autism is just one aspect of a person’s identity. Everyone is unique, and having autism is just one part of what makes a person who they are.


How to Support Someone with Autism

If you know someone with autism, there are ways you can support them. Be patient and understanding, and try to learn more about autism to better understand their perspective. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, regardless of their differences.


Autism is a complex and often misunderstood condition, but with understanding and support, people with autism can lead fulfilling lives and make valuable contributions to the world around them. It’s important to be accepting of differences and to remember that everyone is unique in their own way.


If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me on Facebook Message,  Instagram message Twitter DM, or WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)

How To Kickstart Your Financial Goals This Year

The new year is upon us, and there’s no better time to lay the groundwork for your financial success. Careful planning and strategic decision-making can help you have control over your finances this year. Here are some of the strategies to empower you to take charge of your finances in 2024:

Create a budget.

Creating a budget involves planning for how you’ll use your money. You decide how much you’ll spend on things like bills, groceries, and entertainment. By tracking your spending, you can make sure that you’re not spending more than you earn and that you’re directing your money towards the things that matter the most to you. This helps you make adjustments if you see you’re going off track.

Paying of debt

Coming up with a plan to tackle your debt involves creating a smart approach to paying back the money you may owe. You need to prioritize which debts to focus on, whether it’s credit card balances, loans, or other obligations. By making consistent payments you can make progress towards being debt-free. You can pay more than your required repayments to finish off your debt sooner. This strategy empowers you to take control of your financial well-being, which can alleviate stress and set a more stable future.

Take steps to have other means of income.

Whether you’re currently looking for a job or thinking about turning a hobby into a side hustle, like baking, sewing, or doing people’s hair. Increasing your income streams is another way to improve your financial well-being.

Spend intentionally.

Align your finances with the things that are most important to you. The first step is to track where you spend your money, whether that’s just with pencil and paper or one of the many apps that help you track your finances. Follow your income and expenses for a couple of months so you can know where your money goes. In that way, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether you’re spending on the things that are most important to you or not. Those insights can help you improve your financial life.

Making and keeping financial decisions can affect every aspect of your life, giving you choices and a new feeling of control. So, start small, get organized and have financial freedom this year.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Maintaining Physical And Mental Well-being: Self-Care Tips For The New Year

We’re all about self-care in 2024! Self-care encourages you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. It’s all about caring for both your physical and emotional well-being. So, how do you go about it? Well, here is your guide:

 Start being physically active.

Physical health is a core part of self-care. Research has shown that regular exercise increases the level of serotonin in our bodies significantly improving our mood and energy. When exercising for self-care, you should choose an activity you love, this could be running, taking a walk or anything that makes you feel alive.

Get enough sleep.

Sleep is essential for your well-being. It’s recommended that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Your body needs time to rest and renew. You can also take daytime naps as they are excellent for refreshing your body and improving concentration levels.

Eat healthier.

Your diet is one of the major parts of self-care. Eliminate foods with saturated fats, sugar and salt. Instead, make a habit of consuming foods that build your body like vegetables and fruits.

Live your best life.

Look for what motivates you and inspires you, these are things that make you feel alive.  You can start by going on solo dates or treating yourself to something simple like taking a relaxing bath or doing your hair or nails. Keep this commitment to yourself.

Self-care does not have to cost anything; it’s just doing things you enjoy. Remember that self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

How To Raise Kids To Be Able To Express Themselves by Sipho Khumalo (Registered Psychological Counsellor)

Have you ever wondered why some adults struggle with expressing their emotions and feelings, especially males? Let us look at a scenario that might assist us in answering this question. Imagine a boy and a girl child are both playing and all of a sudden, they both trip and fall. In your opinion, which child is most likely to be picked up first and comforted? If you said, the girl child, chances are very high that you might be correct. Various studies done on parental behaviour towards girls and boys have indicated that parents have differential expectations (gender roles) of sons and daughters as early as 24 hours after birth. These gender roles are culturally influenced stereotypes which create expectations for appropriate behaviour for males and females. Going back to the above scenario, girls are taught how to handle and display their emotions differently than boys. For example, it is more acceptable in society for girls to cry and express their emotions whilst not the same treatment is afforded for a boy child. In a nutshell, this can be seen as ‘your feelings are not important and that you are not entitled to ask for what you need and to express how you feel’.

Feelings are complicated, especially for a 4-year-old who doesn’t understand why you won’t let them eat another cookie or an 8-year-old who is upset that you got called into work and you have to leave the playground early. Children experience emotions before they can use words to describe those emotions. Children also understand language before they can use it themselves. So, one can help their child understand what they’re feeling by helping them develop ‘emotional language’. It is hard to teach children about feelings because it is a fairly abstract concept. It is hard to describe how it feels to be sad, upset, happy or excited. It is important to begin teaching kids about their emotions as early as possible since their feelings affect every choice they make. Children who understand their emotions are less likely to act out by using temper tantrums, aggression, and defiance to express themselves. A child who can say, ‘I am mad at you,’ is less likely to hit. So a child who can say, ‘That hurts my feelings,’ is better equipped to resolve conflict peacefully.

Teaching your child about their emotions will help them become mentally strong. Additionally, research has shown that children who understand their emotions and have the coping skills to deal with them will be confident in handling whatever life throws their way. Building resilience is an ongoing journey and knowing how to work through feelings is an important first step in helping kids and teens learn to handle life’s ups and downs.

Here are some tips that parents (primary caregivers) can use to help their little ones with emotional regulation skills:

What we need to understand is that everyone has feelings and having feelings is not a weakness. All feelings are OK and normal. Feelings aren’t good or bad, positive, or negative. Rather they are all there for a reason and to be felt.  Feelings are temporary and can change from moment to moment. People can feel more than one feeling at a time and that is okay. It’s normal to feel both excited and nervous at the same time or to have moments of happiness in times of sadness. It is OK to talk about feelings. Talking about how we feel can make us feel better, while not talking about our feelings can sometimes make us feel worse or make us disconnect from ourselves emotionally.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

High EQ is linked to high IQ

Children with higher levels of emotional intelligence generally perform better in most spheres of their lives, for example, forming healthy relationships, regulating their emotions and expressing their feelings appropriately. They also tend to have higher grades.

Better relationships

Emotional intelligence skills help kids manage conflict and develop deeper friendships. Adults with high levels of emotional intelligence also report better relationships in their personal and professional lives.

Childhood EQ is linked to higher success during adulthood

Children who were able to share, cooperate, and follow directions at age 5 were more likely to obtain college degrees and begin working full-time jobs by age 25.

Improved mental health

Individuals with higher levels of emotional intelligence are less likely to experience depression and other mental illnesses.

In conclusion, emerging research suggests that children who have experienced early life adversity can experience persistent difficulties with emotional regulation; and their interpersonal relationships can be characterised by over, or under, emotional reactivity. This may lay the foundation for the development of later social, emotional and behavioural disorders. Children who have experienced early adversity, neglect and maltreatment may benefit from professional psychological treatment. These children can also benefit from a range of caregiver or professionally delivered strategies to address emotional regulation including building emotional literacy, modelling emotional expression, teaching mindfulness and other coping strategies; structured thought-challenging exercises; and activities to build tolerance for strong emotions in the context of safe interpersonal relationships.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, an  Instagram message, a  Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

All You Need To Know About Child Mental Health

Mental illness in children is a real and significant concern, affecting millions of young individuals worldwide. Common mental health disorders in children include anxiety disorders, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorders.  Early intervention and diagnosis are crucial for managing mental health conditions in children and adolescents effectively. Factors such as genetics, grief and loss, parent divorce, neglect and isolation, bullying, abuse, exploitation, unhealthy competition/comparison with siblings, trauma, and family history can contribute to the development of mental health problems in children.

Untreated mental illness in children can lead to academic difficulties, behavioural problems, and impaired social functioning.  Sometimes, children with mental health issues may be seen as delinquent, naughty, lazy, or disrespectful. It is important to recognize that children with mental health issues are not to blame for their conditions, and a supportive, non-stigmatizing environment is crucial for their well-being.

Access to mental health services and professionals specializing in child and adolescent mental health is essential for diagnosis, treatment, and support. Effective treatment options for children with mental health disorders often include psychotherapy, medication, and family support. Schools and parents or caregivers play a vital role in identifying signs of mental illness in children and seeking appropriate help. The stigma associated with mental health can create barriers to seeking help for children and their families, emphasizing the importance of mental health awareness and education.

Signs of mental health issues in children

Mental health issues in children can manifest in various ways, and it’s important for parents, caregivers, and teachers to be aware of the signs. It’s essential to note that every child is different, and the presence of one or more of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean a child is experiencing a mental health disorder. However, if these signs persist or interfere with a child’s daily life, it’s important to seek professional help from a mental health professional. Here are some common signs of mental health issues in children:

  • Changes in Behaviour: Sudden or gradual changes in behaviour, such as withdrawal from social activities, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or a decline in academic performance.
  • Mood Swings: Excessive mood swings, prolonged sadness, irritability, or extreme fearfulness that interfere with daily activities.
  • Changes in Academic Performance: A sudden decline in school performance, loss of interest in school activities, or frequent complaints about not wanting to go to school.
  • Social Withdrawal: Loss of interest in friends and activities they used to enjoy. Avoiding social interactions and spending excessive time alone.
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances that occur frequently and affect daily functioning.
  • Changes in Appetite: Significant changes in eating habits, either loss of appetite or overeating, leading to noticeable changes in weight.
  • Physical Symptoms: Complaints of frequent headaches or stomachaches without any apparent medical cause.
  • Excessive Fears or Worries: Intense fears or phobias that interfere with daily activities. Excessive worrying about things that seem out of proportion to the situation.
  • Regression: Reverting to younger behaviours, such as bedwetting, excessive clinginess, or thumb sucking.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Inability to concentrate or make decisions, leading to a decline in school performance.
  • Expressing Hopelessness: Expressing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt. Talking about death or suicide, even in a vague or indirect manner.
  • Aggressive Behaviour: Persistent aggressive behaviour, including frequent temper tantrums, physical violence, or threats of violence.
  • Substance Abuse: Using drugs, alcohol, or other substances at a young age.
  • Self-Harm: Engaging in self-harming behaviours, such as cutting or burning, or expressing a desire to hurt oneself.

It’s important for parents and caregivers to be able to distinguish between mental health illness in children and having a bad day. If you notice these signs in a child and are concerned about their mental health, it’s crucial to seek help from a mental health professional, such as a child psychologist, or psychiatrist. Early intervention and support can make a significant difference in a child’s overall well-being.

Help is there!

HIVSA’s Choma online magazine has a Mental Well-being campaign called WeCare, a space where young people can safely share their stories in an effort to build mental well-being awareness.

Below are 24-hour toll-free helplines:

  • Department of Social Development Substance Abuse helpline-0800 12 13 14. SMS 32312
  • ADHD Helpline- 0800 55 44 33
  • SADAG suicide crisis helpline- 0800 567 567
  • NPOwer SA helpline- 0800 515 515, SMS 43010
  • Cipla Mental health helpline-0800 456 789, SMS 32312
  • Adcock Ingram Depression & Anxiety helpline-0800 70 80 90
  • Dr Reddy’s Mental Health helpline-0800 21 22 23
  • Pharma Dynamics Police & Trauma helpline- 0800 20 50 26

The writer of this article, Mrs Similo Tshabalala, is a trainer at HIVSA, as well as a qualified Social Worker.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Are Self-Care Tips Helpful For Your Emotional Well-Being?

Self-care means taking time to do things that boost your physical and emotional wellness. Self-care can help you manage stress, lessen your risk of illness, and enhance your well-being when it comes to your mental health. Even little actions of self-care performed on a daily basis can have a significant impact. But do they really help, let’s find out 😁

Self-care tips?

These are suggestions that are made to help you deal with everyday stressors that affect your spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well-being. These tips are there to act as a guide to help you develop a routine that can help you when you are feeling overwhelmed or stuck. They act as reminders to come back to yourself and feel more grounded.

Examples maybe?