I never did think I’d say this, but my pregnancy was a walk in the park! Not the usual story right? Compared to the experiences I have heard about from others, things were smooth sailing. My son Dylan Gachie is now one year and eleven months old and my pregnancy journey had – no morning sickness, no cravings, nothing! In fact at 5 months, I did another pregnancy test just to confirm that I was still pregnant as there were no signs.
I think I was partially insane
The labor, however, was horrible! Now this is the point if I may say the devil was waiting for…. I tore all the curtains in my ward room, I ate my blanket! I think I was partially insane. I even wondered how women carry one, two, three or more pregnancies and go through all those multiple labors. After 10 long hours of labour the doctors started running up and down to set up the theatre for an emergency C-Section. One of the most frightening things I remember is one doctor asking colleague “Do you have O-(negative) blood in case of anything??” At that point, I almost lost hope. My friend Linet Makena was there with me though, giving me all the energy and hope she had when mine was absent.
The doctors had a side discussion before we went into the operation room. I requested to have localized anesthesia during the procedure so that just in case I passed on during the procedure I would be aware of it. I am really thankful that my mom and her prayer group were really praying for me. Actually, all my family members were present through it all (May God bless you all). After the operation I remember asking the doctor whether I needed more blood and he responded, “No in fact you need to donate some.” I promised to do so after I was done breastfeeding. I thanked God that the whole process was successful and I gave birth to a healthy bouncing boy.
I was going through postpartum depression
My extended labor experience made the beginning of my motherhood journey a rather sad one. I experienced postpartum depression. Before Dylan’s arrival, I loved to sleep and now here was a baby that cried all day and night as if he had nothing else to do. At some point I felt like taking him to a children’s home or just somewhere far, far away from me and get him back when he was over six months. I was unfortunately not aware that I was going through postpartum depression at the time.
After three months, I began to cope with motherhood
My mom, my sister-in-law, Gillian and my small sister Dottie were my support system through it all. My little sister, even though she didn’t have the slightest idea on how to go about it, kept encouraging me to hang on. All this time my friend Linet was there for me as well, advising me and giving me tips. My mom was just EVERYTHING I needed. I didn’t even know how to hold this delicate baby. She taught me everything – how to check temperatures, how to burp, how to dress him so that he wasn’t overdressed or underdressed. In fact, sometimes I would just let my mom sleep with him at night and bring him to me when he needed breastfeed. This was really helpful as he would be asleep all day and be awake all night. It was important to have someone to support me through it all. After three months, I began to cope with motherhood. At five months, Dylan and I began to understand each other. Our bond started to become stronger. At this point even leaving him with the Nanny was difficult. I would call home every minute. I accepted my baby and grew to love him more than I could ever imagine. I thank God for that every day.
I am just a new creature
Motherhood has changed me completely. I am just a new creature. I used to be a party animal. I would party on any day after work and weekends from Friday to Sunday midnight (yes that’s how much I loved fun). I would tour the country go anywhere I wanted at anytime. Sometimes, I would just fly to Tanzania for a weekend on a Thursday night and be back on Sunday. Now, I can hardly stay in a noisy place for more than 2 hours. Travelling without Dylan is unacceptable for me. Nothing beats the fun and time I spend with him over the weekends in the house. I love him exceedingly. Such a dramatic change and I love it.
The biggest milestone that took my breath away was when he walked- I shed tears. Our Nanny took a video and showed it to me when I got home. It was the MOST AMAZING thing. Every time he calls me mommy my heart literally melts. I love his white, shiny cute teeth too but he still has only 8- I don’t know why they are not growing fast.
Dylan is an exceptional child
Dylan is an exceptional child. He is a model and has been recognized by several companies, magazines, print media and the internet at large. He is also a dancer taking after his mum. He is a sharp boy, he is already reading and he knows all colors and shapes. He is a genius in the making- Doctors and engineers be warned there is a new kid in block. I am glad that he has both beauty and brains and he will not struggle much. I love everything about him.
Dylan loves his cousins to bits and although they don’t meet often- since most of them are in boarding schools- when they do, it’s the most amazing thing. One Linet Makena, my best friend, my mentor, and my housemate, is my son’s biggest love. He loves her to death. We live together but when she leaves for work, Dylan will cry his lungs out. When I leave he only says bye. Imagine that …I always comfort myself that it’s because Linet doesn’t pinch or beat him but for mama I have to discipline him once in a while as needed.
Being a first time mom can be really confusing
Challenges are always there in the motherhood journey but there’s always a way out. Being a first time mom can be really confusing especially when the baby cries, sweats, has high or low temperatures, but like I have said there’s always a way out. I have 2 good friends- Hamida and Beatie Maingi- who have really helped me. I call them even in the wee hours and they always advise me on what to do, be it what to give in terms of medicine or any other advice they may have.
The biggest challenge about going back to work has been finding the right nanny. One time I had to stay home for two weeks because the help woke up and announced that she was getting married that weekend. It is difficult to find the right fit who cares for my child and is good at her work. I have learnt to take it in stride and work with them within limit without compromising the comfort of my child.
The one thing that annoys me though, is when everyone tells you how to bring up your child. C’mon people, if a rat can take care of its kids why not me? People try to show you this is not right, or this is wrong, don’t feed the baby this and that, teach him to chew, swallow etc. I tell them if you really needed the rules, get own baby and do it. I will blend his food until he is 5 years (No….I’m just kidding)
Let nobody tell you that what you are doing is wrong
My advice to other first-time mums like myself is – be yourself. Let nobody tell you that what you are doing is wrong. Take your time, kids can really nag but in the end you will smile together. Follow your heart, don’t do something because someone else is doing it or feel challenged because someone’s kid is different from yours. All kids are different and they all grow differently, take time to understand your baby.
Given a chance I would change absolutely nothing about my motherhood journey. I am also happy and proud. I wish once you become a mother you are crowned or given a trophy. I would be carrying mine everywhere. Being a mom is the BEST thing that has ever happened in my life. My baby is my testimony, the luck, the joy, recognition and many blessings he has brought into my life I just can’t explain. I am just happy and humbled.
Don’t worry my child
My parting shot to my son- Dylan, Whenever life puts you in a situation you don’t want to face, just close your eyes and go back to the moment when your mom held you in her arms and said, ‘Don’t worry my child, everything will be alright’. You will always be my baby no matter how old you are. Love you Dylan!!