Relatives of Zinhle Maditla, who were in court on Friday when she was jailed for four life terms for killing her four children, said they were shocked by the sentence.
Maditla's aunt, Felicia Martin, said her family accepted the sentence out of respect for the law.
She was speaking to reporters outside the Mpumalanga High Court, sitting in Middelburg, shortly after Judge Sheila Mphahlele, imposed the sentence.
"I don't think there is a mother who can give birth to a child and be happy when that child spends the rest of his or her life in jail," Martin said.
"Whatever happened here, happened through the will of God. We will always support Zinhle. We hope to see her coming back home rehabilitated one day."
Maditla, 25, was arrested on December 30 last year after she handed herself over to the Vosman police station.
This was shortly after the decomposed bodies of her four children - two girls, aged 4 and 8, and two boys, aged 7 years and 11 months - were found in her rented room in Klarinet, about 100km east of Pretoria.
Maditla told the court on Tuesday that she killed her children on December 27 by feeding them bread that she had laced with poison after she has a fight with her boyfriend, Mfanafuthi Shongwe, who was also the father of two of the children.
Maditla said the fight broke out when she visited Shongwe at his home and confronted him about not buying food and Christmas clothes for the kids.
She claimed she also found a woman in his room on that day.
It also emerged in court on Tuesday that Maditla's mother, Beulah Martin, and other family members provided support for the children and bought them clothes.
Maditla, who dropped out of school in Grade 10, told the court that she worked as an agent for HomeChoice and earned a R2 000 a month commission-based salary when she committed the murder.
She said each of the children received a child support grant of about R400 a month.