Her children give her strength to carry on

BLESSING: (Clockwise from left) Father Musrin Ma'rof, mother Azidah Kamis, Hilman, Hazwani, Hisyam, Hazwan and Hanisah.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Madam Azidah Kamis

Her second child, Hilman, was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was two years old.

She remembers the day clearly - and how it was just five days after the birth of their third child.

Housewife Azidah Kamis, 38, says: "Going from such a joyous occasion to so much sadness, I felt like I could never be happy again."

Hilman would spend the next two years undergoing chemotherapy, stretching Madam Kamis' family financially.

But that did not stop her from having two more children, bringing the total brood to five.

While it meant having more mouths to feed, Madam Kamis considers each one of them a pillar of strength.

They had to struggle but she felt that she should "not reject the blessings from God".

Says Madam Kamis: "Times were hard, but each child has brought us so much joy. They inspire me to carry on."

It took them five years to pay Hilman's medical bills. They could not go on holidays and had to spend carefully.

Says Madam Kamis: "Not once did my children complain. They knew we were going through a tough time and did not want to make things harder."

But their dark days are finally over.

Hilman, who is now 13, is healthy and in secondary school.

Taking care of five children can get challenging, and Madam Kamis often delegates responsibilities to the older ones.

For instance, when she goes out and needs someone to keep an eye on the younger ones, she asks her eldest daughter, Hanisah, 14. Besides Hanisah and Hilman, Madam Kamis' children include sons Hisyam, 11, and Hazwan, four, and daughter Hazwani, 10.

HELPING HANDS

The younger siblings often ask the older ones for help with schoolwork.

"It has been great having such a big family. There is never a dull moment," she says.

While she takes care of the children at home, her husband of 15 years, Mr Musrin Ma'rof, 40, works as a civil servant.

Now, they go overseas together at least once a year. The family of seven just returned from Cameron Highlands, in Malaysia, two months ago.

When asked if she planned to have so many children, Madam Kamis says with a laugh: "No, this was not all part of the plan.

"But they are all gifts from God and I am so blessed."

This article was first published on Jan 24, 2016. Get The New Paper for more stories.