I am a mother to a 7.5 year old beautiful, melanin princess. She is by far the most amazing person I have ever met in life! Beautiful, loving, funny and smart. However, it has not been all rosy for the both of us. Just to back track, I was in an extremely toxic relationship when I was 18 years of age. I had just lost my first true love to an accident and I was looking desperately for someone to fill that void and make me happy again. So I met this guy who was extremely toxic from the get go. However, like I mentioned on my previous post, I did not know how to be loved by a man. I settled for so much less than I deserved and eventually, he dumped me for his current wife and mother to his two kids. That situation was toxic to the extent that it haunted my friends and I in 2016! Story for another day.
I had been with him for around 2 years and I recall once being suicidal when he dumped me for a few days. Life! Anyway, so his neighbor (not friend) who was also in the same campus I was in but older started to pick up on my Facebook posts that were so broken, that my mum and brother begged me to stop posting. He reached out offering a shoulder to cry on. I had gone into a really dark space where I drank hard liquor daily, spent all my time at the local bars in campus trying to numb the pain and he somehow came around and gave me a little bit more structure. He was doing his masters while I was in my third year at campus. I fell back in love quite fast and started speaking to my cousin about contraceptives. I had heard of femi-plan which is an every day pill. What no one tells us is that, these pills need to be taken at the same time every day. One lapse in consistency renders them useless.
I had a conversation with him about it and we agreed that we were ready to take that step together. We visited the campus VCT and got tested together and boom, the recklessness begun. About a month later, he started to distance me. I figured, he was probably overwhelmed with work and school. So, one Thursday, he told me that he would be hanging out with his friends while I took my evening class. However, my class got cancelled and I reached out to go hang out. He seemed off though…like not present. After half an hour, he asked to drop me back at my hostel as he needed to go meet his dad, who was running the business he worked his day job at. My friends wanted to have nyama choma and drinks later though, so I agreed to go back home.
An hour or so later, they picked me up and I suggested that we hit a joint in Zimmerman called Canopy. It was close and I had lived there before so I felt safe. When we walked in, I found my boyfriend with another lady in a very compromising situation. Of course a lot of drama went down, which led to a very bitter break up. A few days later, I took a pregnancy test. I had been feeling funny but never had morning sickness. POSITIVE! I went through a serious emotional rollercoster! I remember crying and telling God to just hit me with everything so it can all be done at once. I talked to a couple of people for advise and they were very realistic. They presented all my options to me but the emphasis was to ensure that he was part of the decision.
In the brokenness, he convinced me that he was willing to change, inform his family so we could settle down together, ensure I finished campus, get a house so we could move in together….A LOT! When we told my family, my brother told me that he would not fall for it. He vowed to raise my kid because he knew that the guy would not follow through. True to his word, one disappointment came after the other and my brother funded everything! I finished campus while 7 months pregnant, he rented out a house for me near campus and supplied me with pregnancy supplements monthly. Literally, he stepped in as my daughter’s father!
When time finally came to have my baby, I labored for 25 hours. A few minutes to her birth, she was loosing oxygen. Take time to watch the Dorothy Dandridge movie or documentary and see what long labor can do to a child’s life. Anyway, Kimmie really really put in a good fight through out the 25 hours. She came out literally navy blue from the lack of oxygen. My mum and friend were there to hold my hand. Fortunately, she came out healthy and I count myself extremely lucky that she had no brain damage during the 15-20 minutes before birth. Anyway, so after three days, we were discharged from hospital. He talked me into moving in with my sister in Kawangware while his father finished building the house “we were to settle in”. He didn’t show up to take us home. I remember crying painfully on my way home in my sister’s car with my tears dropping on Kimmie’s little face. I just kept asking myself, WHAT HAVE I DONE! She was so small and innocent…and she was MY responsibility!
My family had all gone back into their wallets to foot the bill and he had came in a day before to tell me not to name his mother. That he was doing me the honor of naming mine (hahaha, trust me, I did not laugh at that time). I started off my life with Kimmie alone and things had changed so drastically. I became a full time mum, no income, no support from her father. He threw in some diapers here and there when he felt like, a few technical appearances, one or two baby clinic visits…literally, less than bare minimum…if that is even a thing. My sister started to warm me up to the idea of single parenting. Unfortunately, I was not ready to accept. I hang in there until he dumped me when she was 5 months old. I had begun showing mild symptoms of postpartum depression, but this completely threw me off the cliff!
I moved back in with my mum because I needed the emotional support desperately. She had raised around Ksh 80,000 from her friends, cousins and sisters for my child. I started to manage that money to buy diapers, fund hospital visits and basically manage baby responsibilities while my mum housed and fed us. However, I got so depressed, sometimes I couldn’t even function or hear my own baby cry. My friends were all working and living their lives and I was home with a baby on my own. It tormented me how men can up and leave so easily, but women can’t. I loved her deeply, but I hated my life!
She was regularly unwell and I had no hospital cover. I remember the late nights filled with worry when she was suffering in pain from sore throats, a blocked nose and discomfort. I remember the crying, her little innocent face just begging me not to give up on her. All this tore my heart into pieces. So everyday became a fight…an emotional fight. A fight not to give up even when I never wanted to leave my bed, a fight to look at this baby who looked just like the father that abandoned us. However, she always held my face and planted wet kisses on me with her eyes filled with so much love, oblivious of what was going on around her. She literally was my reason for waking up every day. I begun to ‘survive’. I was a very empty person, but the little love I had left to give, I gave her!
This went on for years and I will flesh it all out with time. However, I find it necessary for every one to try and understand the symptoms of postpartum depression. It can be taken care of at it’s early stages. It is very hard to spot especially because women go through a lot of hormonal changes during and post pregnancy. However, the inability to get out of that stage is a sign. Child neglect, self neglect, loss of energy, spacing out etc are all signs. Let us help our beautiful mothers usher in these little angels with ease, even when they struggle to do it. As always, thanks for reading. Part 2 coming soon.