Motherhood

Where do babies come from?

I knew this question would come up very soon. In fact with the inquisitive nature of my four year old I would say, she delayed way too long in asking me. Way too long. So it didn’t come as a surprise when she broached the subject. It was rather interesting how she brought it up.

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I come from work, and my wide eyed toddler was looking at me with curiosity in her eyes. I could read the way she was looking at me as I walked around the house that something was up with her. I at first thought she did something that was making her have those guilty toddler moments. You know those ones that they look at you thinking that you already know what they did and at the same time they are trying to hide it from you? She had that look.

When I was about to probe what she’s been up to, she couldn’t contain herself she asked me in an excited tone.

“Mom, which supermarket did you buy me from?”  I was thrown off balance. Then she looked up at me. Expecting a ready answer. I almost chuckled. Seeing the seriousness in her eyes, I tried desperately to hide my laughter. I looked at her and decided it was time. She needed to know where she came from.

The day, I gave birth to my daughter, I made a promise to myself that I will do my level best as her mom to make sure she gets the right information from me. Information on her sexuality, her life, her family, her schooling, her friends, her health etc. I want to be the source of right information for my daughter. I promised myself to educate her on all matters that affect her as they come in a way that I will be able to tell her the truth but at the same time be able to explain to her in a way that she will be able to understand it at her age without me being overly explicit or complex for her to understand. As a mom, I wish to be straight forward with my child. I want to be gentle in explanation. I want to be open with her. To school her. I want her to run to me first when she wants information. When she is being bullied. when she cries. When she needs understanding, I wish for her to know her mom has her back and she can come to me first.

Truth in my motherhood is very essential. If I don’t school my child in this age of internet and knowledge from the streets, she will still get that information. Information that she would perceive it indifferently. It is very important for me to create that balance as a mother and what she will learn from the world.

So I asked her where she got that idea that I bought her from the supermarket. She said that one of her friends mother had just given birth. During one of her visits to her friend’s house, the second time mom told them that babies are bought from supermarkets. I could only imagine the questions the kids might have asked. You know how curious kids are? Toddlers for that matter. I could imagine, they must have been staring at the new baby with utmost awe. Maybe they were curious at how tinny he was. Oh what tinny head he has! Oh, what small hands he has! Oh, what tinny body he has! Oh, what tinny feet he has!And then maybe came the question. Probably from her friend to her mother, “Mommy where did you get this baby?” Or maybe it was my daughter who asked more daringly. “Where do babies come from?”

I gently took her in my arms and sat her down and smiled. Motherhood is hard. Really hard. Explaining some issues to a four year old is the hardest. But like I said, its important for me to explain the truth to her in a language that a four year old can understand without being explicit or loose meaning.

I explained to her that babies are not bought from supermarkets. I emphasised that I didn’t buy her. I had to  be really careful with my next choice of words. Taking a second to pause in between words, checking her reaction and level of understanding. At the same time bracing myself for further questions. Our conversation went something close to this.

Me, holding her hands, “God put you in my stomach”. Pause. Searching  her eyes. Holding my breath dreading her next question which I thought would be something like, “How did God put me in your stomach?” Sigh of relief. She didn’t ask. I wasn’t ready to explain the “How”. Oh God.

Me, using gestures, “My stomach grew big, like this”

Her, “Inside here?” Touching my stomach.

“Yes. When it was very big. I went to the hospital and the doctor removed you from my stomach.” Pause. Searching her now wide open eyes. I knew she would ask the next question.

“How did the doctor remove me?”

I lifted my blouse and showed her my C-section scar. “The doctor gave me medicine. I slept and then he cut me here and he removed you then he put glue and closed me up”

“Did blood come out?” She sounded terrified.

“Yes. Blood came out. But the doctor cleaned it.”

She almost jumped out of her skin, “So babies are cut from their mommies stomach!”

Me, “No baby. Not all babies are born that way.”

“So their mommies buy them from supermarket?”

“No sweety.” Trying so hard to be gentle. Pronouncing each word slowly and deliberately. “All mommies get big tummies. Then they go to the hospital and they give birth and then come home with their babies.”

Her nodding. We getting somewhere.

Me, “So, all babies are born in hospitals.”

Her, “Which hospital?”

“Do they cry?”

“Was I tinny?”

“Did your mummy go to hospital?”

The focus changed from where babies come from and the conversation trailed off and finally to an off topic. I know that would not be the end of her questions. But each day, as she grows she will ask more and more hard questions. And as she advances in age, curiosity and knowledge, I will expound my answers more and explain as clearly as possible in a way that she will understand. I know one day, we will have explicit conversations as mother and daughter.

Till then it’s baby steps. Literary.

How do you handle hard questions from your toddler?

 

Motherhood

Her thoughts on breastfeeding

I love this mama’s thoughts on breastfeeding. It makes you take a moment and reflect. How well do you connect with your baby when they are breastfeeding? I am a pro-breastfeeding mama myself and having successfully breastfed my 4 year old. Yee! I am guilty too as well. Sometimes I would breastfeed while trying to cover something else. We women call it multitasking. Breastfeeding when eating. Breastfeeding when reading a book. Breastfeeding when watching a movie. Breastfeeding when writing etc ..LOL…Guilty. How often do we take time to be still, just you and your baby enjoying the moment? #Reflection

Read on..Awesome read.

 

 

I breastfed both my children. It was a choice I made before both were born, something that felt right for me. I knew I wanted to support them as naturally as I could concerning their immune system, building a relationship with them and cradling them. I did not know what this looked like in reality […]

via Reflections on Breastfeeding – How Connected to our Babies are we? — Women in Livingness Blog

Motherhood

Toddler Tales

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This is my definition of a toddler; Little people below the age of five with the ability to change into anything they want in less than a minute. In less than a second, a toddler changes into someone that you hardly recognise and instantly change back to the sweet adorable baby that you know. They will terrorise you, raise all the inches of your hair, drive you up against the wall, and within an instant you have lost your mind. They put you in a situation that, you begin to believe that it is you with the problem and not them. I mean, why would you be angry at a laughing little one who just dipped his cup in the toilet bowl and drinking from it? It is fun after all, to have an open water supply, is it not ,mom? His small eyes seem to ask you.

Just when you want to scream at him, he jolts out of the bathroom to the living room and that’s when you realise his legs have poop and he is staining your well manicured floor. Now, you are going crazy. You are insane. You want to shout ,stop! Baby come back here! Let me wash you. But what comes out of your mouth is a horse whisper “Oh my God!Now who will clean this mess?” You ask yourself under hot breath.

Instinctively, you run towards him. He sees you, these little people have compound eyes. They can see from the back of their heads. So, he sees you running after him, and he immediately takes that as a cue for playing. He starts giggling loudly trying to escape your grasp.By now you can not recognise your floor. Your carpet is a mess. Poop all over. You scream your house manager’s name.”Wairimu!” No answer. Then it hits you. It’s a Sunday. She’s off duty. You get an instant migraine, it dawns on you,it’s just you and the now little monster. So,help me God.

He is still running away from you, soiling all over the house. You trying so hard to duck the mess. Your arms are fully stretched towards him, bingo, you have him now and just as you are pulling him towards you, you slip on the poop and accidently you let go of his hand. He falls down with a thud. He screams. Powerfully. The cry that follows can wake up your ancestors. He has strong powerful lungs. He is crying terribly. At that second the memory of your labour pain kicks in, and your maternal instincts takes over, you hold him defensively in your arms.  Within a second you forget that you were going insane. He is now your baby who needs you and not the little rascal you were chasing around.

Now he is in your arms. You are soothing him. He then decides he is very hurt and he is in crucial pain, so he escalates his crying to level five. You panic, maybe his bone is broken. You check him he seems fine. No broken bones. No blood. You ascertain. You try to assure him he is ok. If he could please keep quiet so that you can wash him. Now both of you have poop all over. But it doesn’t matter now. He’s your cute baby who has fallen down and all you want is to clean him. So, you start singing those happy cartoon songs that he loves. Usually he would join in and the two of you would have a fun time singing. Not today. He decides, to increase his crying to level ten. He is throwing his arms and legs all over. You are distraught.You want to pick the phone and call his paed, you now believe he is truly hurt. Maybe some internal injury. You want to take him to the ER. You frantically try to grasp the phone with your right hand balancing him on the left.

He is a toddler. He has seen a window of opportunity. Like lightning, he runs out of your arms up the stairs. He starts to laugh. “Mom,catch me!”, “Again mom”. You don’t know what hit you. Bewildered,you look at him. He is wearing one of those cute adorable smiling faces that you love so much. He wants to play. You are confused. Was he not the one crying in so much pain? You look at the floor, at your blouse, the smell is annoying. You want to scream. He disappears around the corner. You fall down into a heap on the floor. Now, you are beginning to really question your existence.

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I have been there. I have been that mom. One time my daughter threw a terrible tantrum. She wanted to use a blue cup to drink water and not the green cup that I had given gave her. She threw a terribly fit. Crying and stamping her feet, throwing her arms in the air, simply because she didn’t want a green cup. I thought she wanted water and it didn’t matter to me whether it came in a green or blue cup. I was thinking that I was a grown up and she was the baby so , you do what mama says. At first I didn’t badge. I did not change the cup. Neither did she drink from it. Toddlers can be stubborn like that sometimes. I didn’t see it coming, she took the green cup  and threw it on the floor while demanding the blue one.

I became infuriated. Am standing there wondering whether to scorn her, pinch her, scream or just ignore her. Then she suddenly realised my mood has changed and she immediately knew that mama was not happy. She toned down, looked up at me, gave me one of those sweet innocent eyes and a little warm smile. Then she asked in the most timid sweet voice ever.

“You don’t love me now mom?”

That did it. Her tone, her sweetness, immediately defused the anger I was feeling. Within a second she was my beautiful adorable baby who needed assurance that mama loves her. I forgot I was mad. I took her in my moms and smiled.

“No baby girl,I love you baby.”Then I added, “You are just four. That’s all.”

Toddlers they teach us the values of love, patience and understanding. They have taught us to be fearless, carefree, to forgive easily, to be happy, to be easy, most importantly my daughter has taught me to live. To live for the moment and enjoy every little second that I have in my life and to appreciate each challenge that comes my way. She has taught me how to be a conqueror of my hopes and dreams. Because of her , I live.

What lessons have you learnt from your toddler?

Motherhood

        BIG GIRL NOW

Growing up happens in a heartbeat.But the memories of childhood stays with you for the long haul” The Wonder Years

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The other day I was washing dishes and my four year old girl comes to the kitchen and asked to help. Washing dishes is not a fun thing to do for most of us, neither for me. I was anxious to get out of the kitchen so I quickly brushed her off and said something to the effect that mommy is ok, she’s almost done, could she pick her toys from the floor, please? She didn’t move. She stood there. Keen not to get into those mummy daughter fights of ‘I want to do this’ ‘don’t do it!’ kind of thing, so I did what every best mom would do, I ignored her. I continued cleaning up. She continued standing there. I ignored her. I knew what was brewing; soon she might start to throw another tantrum in protest of being denied her request. I wasn’t in the best mood of handling a tantrum. I looked at her, I smiled. She didn’t smile back, instead she said, ‘I am a big girl now mom. I just want to help’ she pleaded.

Light bulb moment, ding!

It hit me. So hard. She was indeed a big girl now. She’s four. She’s not breastfeeding anymore. She goes to school. She can spell and write her own name. I mean, the minute you can spell and write your name, you are big. Right? She is no longer my small baby anymore. These little people grow so fast. So fast that it’s so hard to keep up sometimes.

A moment of reflection

Just the other day I went to the hospital and came back home, with a baby. I was now a mom. It was surreal; I was now somebody’s mother. It took a few minutes to dawn on me that I was now fully responsible for a tiny bundled being. Amazing. She weighed just a little over 3 kg and she easily fit in my arms covered up in some colorful baby shawl. We did breastfeeding, the highlight of my motherhood. Then she was a crying baby. She would cry when she is hungry. Cry when she poops. Cry when she is left alone. Cry when she sees new faces. Cry when she wakes up. Cry the colic away. She would cry at literary anything except on two occasions. One, when she was breastfeeding and two, when she was asleep. She loved my boobs so much as much as I loved her feeding on them. This baby of mine was a milk guzzler.

Then she grew up. By and by. The dippers went off. She became acquainted with the potty. Breastfeeding stopped. Solids came in. She didn’t crawl this one. One day, I woke up and she had stood up on all twos dragging herself off along the sofa sets. It was a beautiful camera moment. Then her first baby steps. Her first words. And many more ‘her firsts’. One day on a beautiful Monday morning, she reported to her new school. That was a year ago. Indeed she is a big girl now.

Sometimes as a mom, I sit down and talk to myself. Moms do that quite a lot. We talk to ourselves. We sit us down and have a meeting with ourselves and give us expert opinions that we think we know. It’s motherhood. I talk to myself sometimes in mom language. So sometimes, I ask myself if I have done enough for my child. She is growing so fast. One day she will go to high school, then college, then get married and then…make me a grandmother! Yes, we moms sometimes project our thoughts to years ahead. I wonder if at four years, I have given her the tools she needs to proceed to five years old. I wonder if I allowed her to be a baby when she was a baby. Did I allow her to play enough? Did I allow her to make toy messes on the floor without me making a big deal out of it? Did I allow her to sing out loud to funny cartoons, without me telling her to tone it down? Did I deal well with tantrums? Does she know that I love her? Am I doing the best for my daughter? Am I a good mom? You see, as a mom you keep asking yourself such questions, you grade yourself, you even identify areas of improvement. Sometimes, you even come up with a plan on how to handle baby issues in future. Because as a mom all you want is the best for your child. You want to be the best mama for them. You want them to be proud of you.

Kids are visitors. They come and go. They grow at a very fast rate and one day they will be out of the house and it will be an empty nest. As a mom you don’t want to regret that you wish you had done more for your kids. You want to give them the best. Sometimes am very hard at myself. I don’t give myself credit. Sometimes I am a harsh critic of myself. Sometimes, I forget about me. Totally. I sometimes forget the interests that make me happy. I sometimes lose myself. I forget am a woman first and a mama second.

You see, I have come to learn, as moms, you are enough. All that you are doing for your kids is the best.  It is very important to live knowing that you are doing the best as a mama. You need to take care of yourself first, so that you can take care of your kids second. Truth is, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, yes when I have those conversations with myself, I remind myself that I am enough. I am the best and I have given my best to my child. And this should be a focus to every mama out there.

My daughter says she is a big girl now. True. She is. By and by she will be bigger and one day it will be an empty nest. We can only give our kids the best and the best is now. When they finally leave home we will be happy we did it.

Back to the dishwashing story. So, I pulled a stool and helped her on it. Since she’s  well, a little person, she needed a boost to reach the sink. Boy, was she happy to help. She was very excited helping mama with the dishes. Obviously her idea of doing dishes is different from mine. The tap was opened full blown, the liquid soap was turned into bubbles. The sink was a mess. Full of soapy running water. She was happy playing with soap and water. She poured some water on herself. Creating bubbles. Throwing water, laughing, screaming, rattling the dishes. Poor dishes. Then she started singing one of those animated nursery rhymes. More bubbles…

I could only watch with wonder, hoping I would not need a canoe in my house.

Motherhood

Good Bye Kindergarten One

“Develop a passion for learning, if you do, you will never cease to grow,” J. D’Angelo

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The other day my daughter graduated from kindergarten one. Yippee, I know, I know it’s not kindergarten graduation but to me she did graduate. She graduated Kg one and next year she will be in Kg two. You see I have learnt to celebrate all my small wins and my big wins alike. This, is a big win. She was happy she was finally going to the next class. It was the school graduation day for the Kg three pupils, since they were graduating to standard one the following year. The rest of the nursery school pupils were taking part in the ceremonious accession. My daughter looked radiant, like a princess in a long umbrella white frock. Her hair was done in small braids and she wore a beautiful head band made of ankara material that matched her butterfly belt. She wore white shoes and white stockings to match her beautiful princess dress. To compliment her attire she wore  white pearl earnings and matching white bangles. She didn’t forget to wear her beautiful, big warm smile. She was the flower in the room. The princess in the castle. She is my beautiful baby girl.

It was just yesterday at the beginning of the year when she first joined kindergarten.  At three years, she begun to write her future. It was a long-awaited day in her life. Overtime since she begun talking I used to tell her about school, about books and classes, teachers and pupils. I bought her different coloring and reading books. We would sing along to nursery rhymes and count up to a hundred and recite poems, alphabets and colors. I think I taught her a whole year of kindergarten before she even joined school. This made her long for school. She developed an urge to study.

January 5th 2016, 0600 hours: A wakes up unusually early. This day was special it was the day she would finally join school. She would take a shower, brush her teeth, wear her uniform, have breakfast and go to school. She was excited at the idea, so excited such that she refused to finish her breakfast.

0715 hours: We are in her school. There are so many parents doing new admission. So many new uniforms that you could smell the factories they were sewn. So much excitement in the air. Children crying. Others shouting that they didn’t want school they wanted to go home. Some trying to run away from their parents. Some were a mess rolling on the floor screaming and calling all names. Little rascals. You could read a mixture of frustration and excitement on parents faces. My daughter was calm, collected, smiling at everyone. You could clearly see she couldn’t wait to start her classes. Bliss.

“Is she a transfer here from another school?” One parent who had given up on her child being quiet asked me.

“Oh, no,” I smiled sympathetically, “First time”.

“Really?” She asked almost startled.

“Yes”. I smiled again trying to offer reassurance that the storm will pass.

She nodded. But I suspect she barely heard me as her child was already running past the school main door to the gate and she quickly zoomed past us like a wave of lighting to get to him. She dropped her purse and all the contents inside spilled over in that haste, for a split second she was torn in between picking her belongings or running after her crying child. She chose her child. I felt sorry for her. I picked her bags.

0800 hours: We have been registered. She had an admission number. One nanny guided us up the stairs to a room where A will call ‘my class’ for the whole year. She was absolutely happy. She was going up the stairs two at a time not caring whether I was following her or not. Then she looked over her shoulder and beamed at me “Mom, why are you not going home?”

“I want to meet your teachers”,  I answered “And I want to know your class”

“Mom!” She jumped three more steps. I gasped, for a second I thought she would tumble over.

We reached her class. It suddenly dawned on me that she is growing so fast. That this was the beginning of her future. Her teachers were very pleasant they received us well. A was already at home as she mingled with other kids quite well that she barely said goodbye to me. She had longed to be in school. Finally she had arrived. I said my goodbyes. She was happy to see me gone. As I was going down the stairs, I could not hold back my tears. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t help thinking over and over again that my little girl is growing so fast. It was just the other day I was breastfeeding her. Just the other day she was in diapers, then came the crawling. Her first tooth. Her first step. Her first words. Her many firsts that made milestones. Now she is three. Her first day in school. I took a minute and allowed the tears to wash down my cheeks.

The present: She’s finished kindergarten one. I am excited for her. I am a proud mom. She’s grown so much. Her diction has improved. Her mannerism, improved. Her sense of responsibility, improved. She is no longer my one month old baby that is breastfeeding. In her own right she thinks she’s a grown up. Sometimes I think she is too.

The journey raising my little girl has not been easy. It has had its shares of good moments and better moments. Sometimes it has been hard. So hard. But worth it. Trying to balance being a mom, in between working and at some point going back to school has not been easy at all. Raising her has had its shares of joy and pain alike. There has been tears as well. Especially at nights when she is sick and her temperature is escalating  to almost 40 degrees. Trying to put it down, trying my best to make her comfortable. Rushing between hospitals and pediatrician visits. It has not been easy at all.

Dealing with discipline and trying to curb unwanted behavior has also not been easy. Balancing how to punish her, how to make her understand what she is doing is wrong, teaching virtues and acceptable behavior at an early age hasn’t been easy either. Sometimes, I cry, not tears of sadness but tears of being overwhelmed. You see, am an emotional mom. I cried when my daughter got her first injection, I cried when she walked her first steps. I cried when she said her first words. I cried when she first joined school. I cry when she recites a poem. I cry when she makes me happy. I am a mom who cries sometimes. That is how I deal with my emotions. And when its a bit overwhelming, when I feel the plate is too much, When I wonder if I am doing the right thing and I feel it doesn’t work out. I cry. Then I wipe those tears. I get up and do what needs to be done. That’s how I ‘mom’.

So, she’s done with Kindergarten one. Next year she will be joining two. I am happy. I am excited. I am proud of her. When I look at her, I know I have done a good job raising her. I know when God gave her to me, He knew, am the right mama.

Here is to all the women raising their kids. To the mamas sacrificing so much to ensure their children are well taken care of. To the mamas wondering if they have done enough. Heres to let you know, that you have. You have done enough. You have what it takes to raise your child. You, are the best mama.

Motherhood

Pain

“Of all pains, the greatest pain is to love and love in vain” George Granville

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I have been in pain. Emotional pain

It’s the worst kind of pain that anyone can feel

This emotional pain destroyed my being

It crashed my inner soul

It made me go against the things that I believed in my life

It changed me into someone who I wasn’t

You see, I was betrayed by a love that I took too deep in my heart

A man who was supposed to love and protect me hurt me

So deeply in areas that no man has and will ever reach

I have known pain to eat into me

I have felt my flesh tear out as pain ate on it voraciously

How can you explain that kind of pain to anyone?

When you couldn’t even understand it yourself?

How do you smile through tears when you can barely cry?

This kind of pain that I felt was so deep it ripped through my heart

It ate my flesh. It tore me apart. I was a mess

I cried bitterly, I screamed, my flesh was being eaten away

Unbearable pain

Shattered dreams

A decade of love,  I loved alone

 

A betrayal so deep

I fought her, I fought for him

I fought alone

He charmed me, gave me hope

False hope

I believed him, he lied

He said he loves me, he didn’t

I lost him, I lost us

That ripped my soul

A lost love

A love that loves another

More pain..

It lessens

I smile now

Motherhood

Enter Ann

I am privileged to meet different women from different walks of life. I like talking to them. To know their stories. What makes them? What inspires them? What can I learn from them? I want to tell stories. Of these amazing women. I want to share their experiences as well as my own. I want others to be inspired by these amazing women. Today, meet Ann.

“The first step towards success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself” Mark Caine

 

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At 22 she had already seen a fair share of life hardships. She comes from a large family of 8 children, she is the eldest. She become the eldest after her sister died at an early teenage age in mysterious circumstances. No investigations were done. Her sister’s death was accepted and the family moved on. Ann was now the eldest of the 8. Her family was poor. They lived in the village. Her father was the village drunkard. He was known to spend his full time drinking himself silly. He slept in the illicit brew dens and woke up along river banks. He was never seen at home, but somehow the children kept being born. Her mother struggled to keep the family together. She did menial jobs so that her children could get one meal a day.

The family lived in a small shack that they all shared. The space itself where they lived was illegally inhabited, the owner had threatened them several times to vacate or throw them out. But somehow they survived in that shack for years. Somehow Ann and her siblings managed to attend public primary schools.  Life in the village was hard. Tough. There was no future. They were desperate. So, when Ann’s city uncle suggested that she goes to live with his family in the city after her primary school, she was overjoyed. Things started looking up. For the first time in that shack there was a ray of hope. Her mother cried the day Ann boarded the battered bus to the city. Her siblings waved. There was silence. Her father was nowhere in sight. Years later, he has never known if she left the village.

Life in the city was much better compared to the life in the village. Her uncle, his wife and their two children lived in a two  bedroom dilapidated municipal house. People back in the village knew her uncle worked in the government, they thought of him to be a big man who worked in a large office and owned many suits. They envied him. Ann was soon to find out that her uncle worked as a driver to a local minister and he owned one old suit. Regardless, her uncle and his family were very kind to her. They took her in, put her in a municipal secondary school where she studied and finished her secondary education. Then her uncle hooked her up with a job as untrained secretary to an old businessman who had an office downtown. She started earning a minimum wage and soon she was sending money home to her mother. After a couple of months, she moved to a one-roomed house downtown just a few meters to her work place. She had her own house now and a job. Life was good. Until she met Waru.

Waru was a fine young man. He had a good job. He was a primary school teacher. A graduate from one of the local teachers training college. He was also from the same village as Ann but he had lived in the city longer. He loved her she says. He took her out to various nice places where they ate good food at local restaurants and he gave her gifts. Ann says that Waru gave her so much hope in life. She says when she met him he changed her life completely. He made her dream of a good life that they would have together. In fact Waru promised her marriage. She says that he spoke of a future together. He spoke of how much he could not wait to make her his wife and mother of his children. Then one day these dreams came to an end. It was the day she told him she was having his baby.

Ann’s world came crashing down. She thought of her now sickly widowed mother. She thought of her siblings who were all looking up to her. She thought of the sacrifices her uncle made for her. The more she thought about these things the more she became depressed and ashamed. At some point Waru had asked her to abort the pregnancy. Ann refused. On that night, Waru hit her. Ann says he kicked her belly, pushed her against the wall and hit her head repeatedly against the wall. She wailed, she begged him to stop, he didn’t. The neighbors came. Waru ran away in the darkest night. Two nights later he came back, he asked her to abort again. She refused. They urged. He hit her again. The first six months of her pregnancy Ann lived in hell. She suffered blows, kicks, and punches from her boyfriend. He hit her repeatedly hoping she would bleed and abort. She was shocked the once nice guy who loved her would turn out to be violent. Yet she did not tell anyone about it. She hoped he would change. Each time he would hit her she would make up excuses of her visible bruises. She suffered in silence.

He threatened her that he would not be part of the baby’s life if she kept it. She stood her ground. One day unknown to her, Waru gave Ann some juice to take that made her very sick. She later started bleeding and rushed to the hospital. The doctor on examining her told her that she had drunk some abortion medicine and she was having threatened abortion. Lucky for her, the baby survived. Ann was determined to keep her baby despite the hardships she was going through. She had not told her mother her situation and neither did she tell her uncle of whom she stopped visiting several months earlier. Waru finally left. He abandoned her. She was alone.

She found comfort in her pillow every night she went to bed. It was baby pink, her favorite colour, soft and cuddly. Roundish and almost half her size just the way she loved it. So that she could hug it tightly close to her as she slept. It was her comfort, her refuge.Tonight, just like last night she embraced her pillow tightly close to her .She tried hard to fight back hot tears that were threatening to stream down, after unsuccessful attempts she gave up and let the tears flow freely down her cheeks to her pillow .She hugged it more tightly and let herself cry.

It was a painful cry that told of wrenching heart ache and pain. Of betrayal, of regrets and shame. With more tears ,the pillow was socked wet. As if in understanding of his mistress pain the pillow moved an inch closer to her chest and offered more comfort. Tonight was no different from other nights, it understood and sympathized with her, it felt her anger and hurt. More than anything and anyone in the world it knew exactly what she was going through. If the beautiful pink pillow would speak of his mistress agony; It would tell of the hard day she had at work, the long assignments, the short deadlines and the increased pressure of her job. Of the unforgiving boss who did not understand why she came in late today as she did the day before and the other day. She could not tell him that she had no choice, that morning sickness was getting the better of her, the vomiting, the heart burns in the morning just before she left for work were unbearable.

The pillow would tell of the deep betrayal the mistress went through. Another day, another night she was alone. Suffering in silence. It would further elaborate how lonely the mistress feels every night and day, how she experiences a mixture of sadness and happiness and how she would love to share all those emotions with Waru, who has since gone under after two years of courting. All the cuddly pink pillow would do, is hope tonight the mistress will sleep like a baby after crying her heart out. And tomorrow she will wake up and seize the world. If the pink pillow was asked, it would say that it misses the smile on Ann’s face ,the perfumes she would adorn it in the mornings, the different beautiful covers it got every week and most importantly, it would say, it misses those dry nights that it would simply cuddle with mistress and sleep peacefully.

Ann become depressed. She cried all the time, at work, on the way home, at home. She was completely helpless. She lost her joy. Her friends left her. None wanted to be associated with a poor depressed girl. Her Boss become more demanding of her. He even threatened to fire her if she kept missing work and coming late. She lost so much weight. One day when she went for her free antenatal clinic the sister on duty was very surprised, she quickly pointed out that if Ann doesn’t add weight , she risks giving birth to a very unhealthy baby. Ann promised to improve. One afternoon, when she was at work, a woman with two small children came calling. She claimed to be Waru’s wife. One look at one of the chubby children who looked highly overfed, Ann saw Waru’s face. There was no mistake. The toddler was an exact copy of her dad. Ann was shocked. She cried some more.

Fast forward one year later, Ann is celebrating her son’s first birthday. A beautiful soul whom she named after her late father. Her mother is beside her holding the candle for her grandson. She seems happy. She is happy. I am invited for the small party and I couldn’t help but ask what her future plans were. Ann wears this huge smile and says, “I am going to college!” Then she excitedly shows me her accepted admission letter. “I start next semester, in two months time.”

Ann will be getting a diploma in business from a credited business school. She will be raising her son single-handedly with the help of her aged mother. She is determined to give her son a better life than what she had. She has fire and hope in her eyes. She refused to let her circumstances define her and she has a solid plan in place to raise above her situation. I believe her.

“What about Waru?” I ask her.

“Who is Waru?” she asks as she feeds her son a piece of cake.

I nod in understanding.