Today is Mother's Day, a time when many children express their love with hugs and heartfelt words. However, not all mothers will experience these joys. 

The nbc News team visited the Windhoek Correctional Facility, where we spoke with mothers who are serving time.

The Windhoek Correctional Facility walls are home to women, some of whom have committed heinous crimes, who are serving time while being rehabilitated and prepared for reintegration into society.

Paulina Nghipunya is a mother; at 34 years old, she became incarcerated at the facility, serving a 10-year sentence after she killed her three-week-old baby.

Paulina adds to the statistics of those who have done wrong in society, and on this Mother's Day, she remembers her action vividly, that of taking the life of Haitange Omwene, meaning praising the Lord, her three-week-old baby boy.

"I regret what I have done. And I don't want to see my fellow woman doing the same thing as I have. Please take care of your children. Support them. And fathers, most of you, you ask women, are going through this because of you. You abandon us. You don't want to show us support. And we become frustrated, and anger comes in."

As she tries to hold back tears in her confined space, she explains that taking the life of her child does not make her less of a mother.

Paulina regrets ending an innocent life, saying she was in a state of desperation and depression and felt alone. She has two other kids, both fathered by the same man.

"Let me be specific. So the person abandoned me. The person said a lot of weird words about me. So it forced me, like, I tried to beg the person, but the person wouldn't. So I was hopeless, and I had nobody to support me. So it forced me to do what I had done."

Like Paulina, 30-year-old Esther Simao is also celebrating Mother's Day in custody; she is sentenced to 15 years.

Simao, in her 7th month of pregnancy, found out that her boyfriend was seeing a close cousin of hers; this, she described, was an embarrassment for her and was the cause of her ghastly act.

"It brought out so much anger to think that my close cousin and I were sleeping with the same man; all I could think of was to end my life, and that is why I took tablets."

Simao regrets her actions, and she realises the gravity of her actions.

"I am aware of what I have done, and it is wrong. I don't remember the details of what happened; all I know is waking up at the Engela Hospital, and that is when I realised that I must have done something wrong. I was devastated and heartbroken, and that has put my family through such a regretful and traumatic experience. I still think of my actions a lot."

This is the fourth Mother's Day that Nghipunya has spent away from her two children, and for Simoa, it is the second.

Both agree that the programmes offered by the facility have played a crucial role in the rehabilitation so far.

"I attend a programme that is based on violence. They teach us how to communicate with people in a positive way and how we must react. And if we find ourselves hopeless or going through things, we must seek help. The police station, to the nearest police station, pastors, counsellors, any nearest police station or clinic." 

The two say they are aware of the public scrutiny and the backlash they stand to face in the courts of public opinion, accept what they have done, and are cognizant that their actions were horrific.



Emil Xamro Seibeb