From Perfect Plans to Unexpected Motherhood


From Perfect Plans to Unexpected Motherhood

As I sip my coffee and stare out at the parking lot from my office window, I reflect on how, years ago, I had imagined that by the time I get to 30, my life would be perfectly figured out. This is not to say that my life isn’t great, it just took a very different tangent from what or where I thought I would be right now. This is how.

 I grew up on a farm in a small town in Central Kenya. Our family life was simple. My dad was a civil servant, was a strict disciplinarian whereas my mother, a perfect homemaker, is an industrious farmer who got recognition for her hard work and high crop yields. We didn’t live in luxury but my parents ensured our needs were met. They also had perfectly laid out plans of how their children’s lives would be. My siblings and I would study hard, get degrees, get good jobs, get married and have kids. It all sounded easy and perfect. For a while.

I completed my studies, got a job, and then life took an unexpected turn. This is how it happened. 

Determined to find the right guy, I threw myself into the dating field and dated them all; play-boys, laid-back men, funny ones and even the I-only-do-older-women type, but still, I got heartbroken. It seemed as though the dream of finding the perfect mate was slipping through my fingers. 

One relationship, however, left me with a bun in the oven. This is how it happened. I had just clocked my late twenties, and in my head, and according to my parent’s rulebook, that was the age when I was supposed to have been married with kids in a happy home. But there I was, single, expectant and co-sharing my space with my elder sister, whom by the way, I love immensely. I barely had enough to cover for my hospital visits. I also didn’t have money for my  newborn’s clothes and could not even fathom the expense I would incur in purchasing bags of diapers.

You would be mistaken to believe that, with every item on my “what I would have wanted to accomplish” list going against me, at least life would grant me my one wish of having a smooth pregnancy, but then life just has a way of making things fall apart in the messiest of ways.

 Halfway through my term, I was diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis, a condition that leaves pregnant women’s hands and feet itchy all through and reduces the term to a maximum of 37 weeks, otherwise the fetal loss risk increases.

I had my friends and family to lean on during that difficult time, but still, there was always that nagging feeling of “I wish he was here to get me through this journey”. Unfortunately for me, my last boyfriend wasn’t. He had made it clear that he was not ready to become a father. That revelation had shocked me, I hadn’t seen it coming. If anything, I had envisioned a pregnancy where I would have my man holding my hand, rubbing my belly, accompanying me to shop for tiny clothes for our small human, taking strolls in the Nairobi sunsets and shooting the footage for our Tik-Tok account which would showcase our journey to parenthood as first-time parents. But then, life is like a game of dice, and we never know what the next throw will bring.

 As the months rolled on and my tummy grew, the hurt I felt also increased, but by then, I had come to accept that it would just be me and my “bunny” as I loved to call my unborn child whenever she kicked in my belly. Still, I wasn’t sure of what was to come next. 

Thankfully, I delivered my “bunny” safely, with no hitches whatsoever. I took my faith more seriously after giving birth and prayed for my baby fervently. I wanted nothing but the best for her and knew that through prayer, this child would be loved, protected and her needs met.

As I slowly learnt the basics of motherhood, my mother, who is my everything, was there with me. She was extremely supportive in the labor ward, and taught me everything about how to hold, bathe and even rock my child.  I had her on speed dial and I remember once calling her in the middle of the night just to celebrate that my small human had finally pooped after two days of constipation. Another time, I anxiously called her when a neighbor asked why my daughter had not grown even a single tooth yet she was 8 months old. Mother listened quietly then burst into laughter then said words that I still hold onto dearly to date, “every child is different, and each child achieves milestones differently.” That taught me never to compare my daughter with other children.

Smoothly we sailed. Days went by. Inch by inch we grew. We struggled to crawl, but when we did, my house was literally overturned, nothing could stay in place and I had to move everything that was within her reach. Most of my evenings were spent looking for misplaced items such as TV remotes, and did I mention the number of items I have had to buy as replacements? Truly this has been a bitter-sweet journey, but one I choose to cherish.

Just when my life seemed to finally align, the long-lost human whose sperm miraculously turned into the most precious bit of me showed up. He almost swept me off my feet again with his charm. My childhood dream of achieving a “perfect life” stirred within me again, but luckily, this time round, Alfred Adler’s quote, “follow your heart, but take your brain with you,” kept me rooted. We rekindled our relationship, put our differences aside and gave it one more shot, for the sake of giving our child a family and stability. 

A couple of months went by during which I dreamily watched them play and run together. My heart skipped as I stared at them enjoying each other’s company and I felt like finally, I had what I wanted. But alas! My mind was unsettled and my heart told me that something was amiss. With each passing day, one thing became clear, I wasn’t happy and I wanted peace.

I knew that the decision to walk away from my baby’s father would not be a walk in the park, but the thought of raising her in an unhappy home, as I suspected ours would be, was clearly out of question. And just like that, I left him. With my unstable income, unsettled and emotionally dilapidated mind, I chose peace and uncertainty. I chose to raise my daughter in the best way I knew how.

Has it been easy? You would ask. Have I found the peace I desired? I would love to say yes, but I am not sure. What I am sure of is this; I get home to some warm tiny hugs every cold Nairobi evening, and my house echoes with my daughter’s laughter and footsteps. Even when my days are filled with uncertainties and doubts of whether I made the right decision, I’m convinced that I made the perfect choice, for my bunny.


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