NEO KEITUMETSE: DOUBLE AMPUTEE TALKS ABOUT HAVING TWINS AND BEING A MOTHER
A mother-of-two happily dotes on her loving husband and cares for her baby twins – despite being a double amputee.
Neo Keitumetse originally from Botswana, South Africa, was born with a congenital defect in her legs which meant she had to get them amputated when she was just five years of age. And despite sometimes being made fun of by children at school when she was a child, the now 29-year-old doesn’t care what people think about her disability anymore.
Neo has been a double amputee for 24 years and doesn’t care what people think about her disability – however, this wasn’t always the case.
She said: ‘Life in Botswana when I was young was fine but when you went to school, children look at you and some children make fun of you, you don’t have legs. So when children made fun of me, it was hard but eventually, when you grow up and you have a family that cares about you it doesn’t matter anymore. I still studied hard at school.’
Neo left for Canada to study, and while she was visiting a friend in America in 2014 she met her husband Garrett Kirchway.
She said: ‘I think he liked me when he first saw me, he was single and I was a student in Canada and I was coming here only for two weeks, the Christmas break. I met him on the 21st of December in 2014 and in those two weeks we clicked.’
The couple, who now live in Tempe, Arizona, got married and shortly after Neo found out she was pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, Neo’s pregnancy was very difficult and had many complications. She explained, saying that her pregnancy was ‘high risk’.
‘We found out I was pregnant but when I was four months. I got really sick and then I had to go to the hospital, I had a kidney infection because of pregnancy.
My stumps are fine but when I put more weight on them they become painful because I was heavy because of having two babies in my belly.’ But fortunately, she gave birth to two healthy twin boys, Caleb and Joshua.
She said: ‘When I found out that I was gonna have twins I was so happy because I am someone that loves twins.’
Neo does all the regular duties of a mother but without any legs. She said ‘Being an amputee doesn’t affect life as a mother, being a mother and a double amputee is just a matter of adjusting and knowing that I cannot reach something on the top. ‘I cannot have a crib that is high so what I can do I can make my baby sleep on the floor,’ she added.
When the couple goes out, Neo uses her prosthetic legs, however, she finds them difficult for long journeys. Neo’s main goal in the disabled community is to show that those who are less-abled should be considered the same as those with full ability.
She began a YouTube channel where she posts about cooking, looking after her children and everyday life as a double amputee, as she aims to show other amputees that it is possible to carry out regular motherly duties.
Since she began her channel last year, she has garnered over 6,000 subscribers who regularly tune in to follow her journey.
She said: ‘I created my YouTube channel in 2018. My main reason was to raise awareness that because you don’t have legs doesn’t mean you cannot have children.
Success! However, despite having a high-risk pregnancy, Neo, pictured in the hospital after giving birth, successfully gave birth to two healthy twin boys – Caleb and Joshua
Important message: In 2018, Neo created a YouTube channel to show others that just because they don’t have legs, it doesn’t mean they cannot have and raise children
‘I wanted to show people that you can have children and that I was able to get a husband. This just shows people that not having legs doesn’t mean that you are not a person, you can still do everything that the other person who has legs can do.’
When discussing her YouTube channel, her husband Garrett said: ‘Basically three different types of videos – cooking videos, vlog videos, amputee videos, but I think she tries to corporate all those things into her vlog and so it seems like a good mix so far.
‘She has got a lot of positive comments from Africans and from people who have disabilities and obviously, 99 per cent of those comments have been really positive’
Neo said: ‘If I could speak to my younger person I would say you are a person too just because you don’t have legs doesn’t make you different from any other person. ‘So hold your head up don’t be offended by these people who bully, don’t be offended by them, just go out and just get it,’ she added.
PHOTO CREDIT: YouTube