Category: Motherhood

The truth about my post-partum depression

post-partum depression

One of the main reasons why I started this blog to have a platform where I could share my motherhood journey and experiences with fellow mums. I’ve had so many beautiful moments in this journey so far, most that I’ve proudly shared with anyone who was willing to listen, taken pictures of to have long lasting memories… then there are particular moments that I wish I could erase from my memory. Moments when I’ve doubted my ability to be a mother, and motherhood seemed like the worst thing to have ever happen to me. Well, I’ve never had courage to openly talk about it until now… I suffered from post-partum depression!

The truth about my post-partum depression

Post-partum depression affects a large number of new mums, some are courageous enough to speak about it, while others, like myself, hide preferring to suffer in silence. Only a handful of people knew about my post-partum depression, my doctor, our paediatrician, my sisters and a couple of friends. Most of those reading this post and happen to know me personally will be reading this in disbelief, that’s how well I hid it from everyone. The few that knew about it will not have known the full extent of how badly off I was at the time. You can imagine this is not going to be an easy post for me to write, as it takes me back to a place where I’d rather not go, it brings back memories that I’ve struggled to bury into a forgotten place, it opens up healed wounds… wounds that had damaged me. But I’ve decided it’s time to talk about it… if only to help but one reader who might be going through the same.

Yes, I was hit by post-partum depression  just a few weeks after Imani was born. When I had her, she suffered from a back issue that caused her a lot of discomfort and pain, due to this, we had major problems with breastfeeding. She never would feed properly, and would latch and unlatch several times during a feed. She’d be pulling on my nipples so hard that I’d scream in pain, resulting to them being very badly damaged and bleeding constantly. She’d never have enough milk to fill her up, and would need another feed barely an hour later… meaning the painful process, for both of us, all over again. It felt like torture! But I refused to give up!… giving up meant I was failing at my role. I already blamed myself for her back issue, in my head, all her suffering was my fault… so I couldn’t give up. That’s when it started, I’d lock myself up in the bedroom and cry buckets. I was not eating, I never could leave her, she had to constantly be by my side.

After witnessing all the suffering and pain we both were in, my midwife, somehow, managed to convince me to start pumping and bottle-feeding her breast milk. My milk supply was dropping and if I didn’t pump regularly, it would eventually stop. I had no choice but to agree to do it, with the conviction that I had failed. I was not giving my baby the best possible start to life, which was breastfeeding… as I had been told over and over again by advise-givers. What kind of a mother was I? I felt miserable, I didn’t even deserve her. I wished someone would take her away, give her to a mother who was more deserving. I had failed! I was completely rubbish at being a mum. Then I’d find myself at home alone with her, and I’d cry all day long. However, whenever someone would ring, or stop by to check on us… I’d put on my game face and pretend it was a smooth ride. I went to the extent of lying to my doctor, whenever he’d ask how I felt, I’d lie and say I felt much better. There was no way I was gonna let the world know that I was crumbling on the inside. They couldn’t know… how would they see me after that? They’d judge me! I cared too much what ‘the world’ thought… to hell with my sanity.

At around 4-5 months, and after several chiropractor visits, Imani’s back was mended. I was still pumping religiously and exclusively feeding breast milk. We had gotten into a routine, she was sleeping through the night and all was going well… so I thought, until my milk started drying up. I couldn’t get enough milk for a whole day’s feed and had no choice but to start supplementing with formula. And that’s when I hit rock bottom! Formula was poison… I knew that, because I’d heard it so many times before… again from the advise-givers. Here I was poisoning to my baby… what kind of mother does that? I hated myself so much, I started to have suicidal thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times I watched her, peacefully napping, and a little voice in my head would whisper, ‘Do it! Do it!’.

Luckily, it’s at this point that my sisters came over to visit and help out with the baby. Finally, I could talk to someone without fear of judgement. We would sit up late, chatting, laughing, crying, and suddenly all my worries seemed so insignificant. My eldest sister, Linda, shared her own stories from when she had my nephew. Just having them there made a whole load of difference. My baby was growing well, and was healthy… so why was I being so hard on myself? It took my sisters coming all the way from Kenya to make me snap out of it. I wasn’t alone anymore, all I’d needed to do was to open up. I realised I was trying too hard to be the ‘perfect mother’, I’d let the fear of judgement push me to a place where I wished for death. My sisters saved me, just talking to them, and them being there to listen, pulled me out of that very dark and lonely place. Linda, Caro… I will forever be grateful.

As a new mum, things get pretty overwhelming, pretty fast, especially if you try to be ‘perfect’! Perfect mothers don’t exist. You’ll have sleepless nights with a screaming baby and you’ll want to scream yourself… that doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother. You’ll have difficulty with breastfeeding and you’ll feel like giving up, that doesn’t make you a bad mother! You’ll make the decision to formula feed from the get go, that, neither, doesn’t make you a bad mother. Let no one tell you or make you feel like you’re a bad mother, because you are not! All the decisions you’ll make for the benefit of your own sanity, and that of your baby, only goes to show what a great mum you are! The crying and sleepless nights will pass, that baby you fed formula to will grown up as normal and healthy as all the other babies. Seriously, don’t beat yourself up! People will always have something to say about your parenting style… block the negativity! There’s no ‘motherhood manual’ and no one should make you think they know how better to raise YOUR baby! Go with your maternal instincts, take only advise you deem positive for you and your journey.

Remember, for your baby to be at a good place, YOU need to be at that good place yourself. You cannot be trying to raise a happy and health baby when you, yourself, are in the gutter! Believe in your ability to raise that baby and raise them well. And please do me a favour, when things become too much, ask for help. A lot of people are there for you, and are genuinely willing to help! If all you need is to talk, open up to someone, anyone, even your postman… they’ll listen. Don’t worry about being judged by ‘the world’… even if you were ‘perfect’, people will still find something to bitch about! Be YOU! And also know that there are professionals out there who can help… when all else fails.

You are the best mother to your baby… Let no one tell you otherwise!

Have you been affected my post-partum depression? Or know someone who has and are willing to share your story? Please send me a message here. I’d love to chat.

Things no one tells you about post delivery

post delivery

PG rated… It gets graphic!

Am sure all mums-to-be have heard about how labour is a bitch! “OMG, it is so painful… you’ll think you’re dying!”… a friend had told me when I was expecting Imani. I was so terrified, I couldn’t see how I would possibly survive this. In my youth days, I sucked at handling the painful cramps I used to get when auntie flo was around, but apparently, compared to labour pains, auntie flo’s cramps were a stroll in the park, on a nice summer’s day, enjoying gelato! I seriously started contemplating a double dose of epidural and a c-section – except it’s not that simple in Belgium. Thankfully, my amazing team of midwives at Amala had prepared me all through the pregnancy, explained the labour process, what happens to a woman body during labour, and how best to handle it. I was ready!!

So I went in like a soldier prepared for battle! Breathing technique… check! Hypno birthing prep… check! I went in and nailed it! The ‘toughest’ part was over, right?!… Except wrong!! No one told me that shit was about to get real!

It seems no one remembered to mention that there are other post delivery beasts.

  1. There are chances of you bleeding for up to 6 weeks!!! Yep!… you read me right, 6 straight weeks! That’s 42 days nonstop! And wait until you see the pads they give you at the hospital…Ha! They don’t even have wings! Seriously, when was the last time you saw a pad without wings… like back in 1990 or something. Before mobile phones, before digital tv! That long ago is when I last saw a wingless pad.
  2. If you were constipated during the pregnancy, like I was, chances are you’ll shit yourself – for lack of a more ladylike word – while pushing out your baby! I’ll be honest, my sister, Velona, warned me about this… she’s a joker you see, so I didn’t believe her. I should have though, and it’s even worse if you’re having a water birth like I did, picture what I mean?
  3. Your jewel down there will be on fire… like someone stuck a piece of hot coal in there! And this will last for some time hun… so be prepared!
  4. A nurse will come into your room the day post delivery and ask if you’ve been to the toilet… basically, if you’ve taken a shit yet… and you will wonder what a weird question. Well, my friend… taking that first dumb after the delivery is the scariest shit you’ll ever take! You’re advised not to push… just blow air out, emptying your lungs and just let the shit glide out gently. Apparently, if you push too hard, you might end up pushing other useful bits of you out too… and we don’t want that, do we? My advise… find a good book or magazine, wait for baby to nap, go in and take your time! Could easily be an hour in there!
  5. You will be tempted to take a mirror, lay it on the floor, spread your legs over it to check the state of the your bijou!… DON’T! I have warned you! Am not even going to tell you what you’ll see. Just don’t! For your own sake… you will not be able to un see what you’ll have seen. I’ll leave you with this… raw liver!!
  6. For the less fortunate of you…breastfeeding will be a huge challenge! I had a tough time with breastfeeding when I had Imani. I consulted every possible professional with no success. At that time, to me, breastfeeding was the most painful thing ever! Cracked, swollen, bleeding nipples… the pain was worse than that of labour! I persevered for about 4 months, but it was greatly affecting both of us, so we settled for formula. With Teo, the gods smiled upon me, I never had a single issue… and we breastfed till 11 or so months 🙂 So yeah, breastfeeding is not automatic. If you have issues, please consult a pro, there’s a lot of help out there. But if it doesn’t work, like in my case… your baby will still thrive on formula.

All that being said… holding your little human in your arms everyday, no matter what part of you is aching, is the most amazing feeling in the world! Trust me!

Well, now you know the other side of things… or maybe I missed something. What was the one thing that no one warned you about pregnancy or post delivery?

Imani my darling – A letter to my daughter

Imani

My darling Imani,

Imani… I can’t believe you are 5 already! That’s half a decade! How times as gone by so fast! They say you don’t see the time passing when you are having fun… and what an amazing time it has been since you came into our lives 🙂 I know it’s strange to be reading this, but I wanted to take the time to write to you, talk to you heart to heart. Muffin, I don’t think if you can imagine how much joy you have brought us.

I remember that cold autumn evening, it’s still so vivid in my memory, you came and life has never been the same. I remember being at the hospital with Papa and Aline, ready to welcome you. I was so scared… but also so anxious and excited to finally meet you. I couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms. I had decided that I would have a water birth, to make the transition gentle for you. All was set, I was ready, and so were you, with only 3 breathes you came into the world. But my heart stopped and panic took over when I didn’t hear a sound. See, I’d always heard that when a baby is born, they let out a cry, and so all along I was excepting that. I could see Aline holding you, I could see the young assisting midwife panicky and shouting something at her. But it was all hazy and I didn’t understand what was happening. I looked up at Papa, I could read panic on his face, although he was telling me that everything was alright. I could see that even he was not convinced of his own words. I remember Aline ordering the assisting midwife to move to the other side of the room, then waving Papa over to her so as to take you in his arms. I couldn’t see what they were doing to you. I was crying uncontrollably, my heart was pounding, and for a moment, I thought the worst. I called out to God and everyone else I could imagine… “please don’t let this be happening… this can’t be happening!” And as if He heard me, it came… the highest pitched cry I had ever heard! Oh… the relief! Papa looked over at me, his smile reassuring, and I knew I could breath.

As I held you in my arms that night, all quiet, calm and peaceful, a warmth filled my heart. I wanted to cry, to laugh, to scream, to dance… I wanted to stay in that moment forever – holding you like that forever. I wanted to love you to the end of time… and beyond! I never knew how much love my heart could hold… and still don’t, because with every passing minute, of every passing day, I love you more and more. You are my everything! And I would do anything for you Muffin!

I know you will grow up to be a phenomenal young lady. I know you are destined for great things. Don’t be scared to follow your dreams, don’t be scared to take the leap, break the rules, colour outside the lines. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, because you can! Don’t wish… do!! And guess what?… I will be there, every single moment, every step of the way, cheering you on… even when I will not be there!

And so today as you turn 5, I want you to know that you are the ‘specialest’ little girl in the world. I am sure you will enjoy being 5… it’s the best!! I wish you nothing but a year full of all the things that make you happy! I pray that you get to see many more birthdays, and eat loads more cake. I am so blessed to have you call me mama, and am so very proud of you my darling Imani! Never forget that!

All my love,

Mama

PS: At the time of my writing this, ‘specialest’, was not a real word! So don’t use it… unless now it is. xx

Moments when Imani was…

Imani

As Imani’s birthday draws closer, and after our interview, I decided to do things a bit differently… instead of a ‘traditional’ post, why not give you a gallery of simple moments in her life up until now…

That time she was just a few hours old…

Imani

That time she sat next to a mustard coloured wall…

Imani

That time she stuck her tongue out…

Imani

That time she slept so peacefully…

Imani

That time she had big hair, but didn’t care…

Imani

That time she was kissed by the sun in Diani…

Imani

That time she went on a dhow ride in Mombasa…

Imani

That time she was a skier in Italy…

Imani

That time she had crazy eyes…

Imani

That time she was a tiger…

Imani

That time she met and fell in love with her brother…

Imani

That time she was graceful on a carousel…

Imani

That time she pointed at something…

Imani

That time she showed love for Kenya Airways…

Imani

That time she made funny faces with Papa…

Imani

That time she rocked lensless glasses…

Imani

That time she had a red nose…

Imani

 And finally…

That time she became our Super Girl…

Imani

 

 

 

To my friends thinking of having kids

kids

Am feeling very generous today, and so I’ve decided to write this post and dedicate it to all my friends, family, and anyone else thinking of having kids. Having my munchkins, and becoming a mum was… still is, the best and the dopest things I’ve ever done in my life!! But, truth be told, it is also one of the toughest things i’ve ever done. Heaven knows I have not a single regret! Not one! My kids have completed me, made into someone I never knew I could be. They have made me love in a way I never thought possible. And am sure my fellow mums will vouch for me when I say it the most amazing journey you will ever undertake!

kids
Imani meeting Teo

BUT – yes… there is a ‘but’ – having kids comes with loads of sacrifices. Am sure you already knew that though. There are the obvious ones that everyone talks about, like financial sacrifices et cetera et cetera. However, there are a few others that not a lot of people will tell you about, but I will. Being the kind person that I am, I’ve made you a list of some of the less talked sacrifices you’ll be making when you decide it’s the right time. This list is from my own personal experience. These are 14 things that no one ever told me. Ha! Anyway, here it is… let’s call it the ‘Have kids if you hate…’ list.

Have kids if you hate…

  • Sleeping
  • Having grown up conversations and actually finishing a sentence
  • Having thoughts
  • Not watching anything else on TV other than Peppa pig
  • Eating a hot meal
  • Drinking a hot cup of tea… or coffee
  • Desserts
  • Having a clean and tidy house
  • Going shopping… in peace
  • Going to the toilet unaccompanied
  • Privacy in the shower or bath
  • Walking out your front door without drama
  • Not being able to use the F word… when the F word is the only appropriate word to be used 
  • Not having arguments with an 18 month old, or getting proper attitude from a 5 year old

So my dear, there you are, at least now you are not going in clueless, right?! 😉