Pregnancy Traumas Are Tough To Go Through

Amidst my cheekiness here and there someone who’s as silly as I am, mentioned pregnancy. In the jist of silliness I talk without thinking sometimes, I blurted “I’m not an athlete but with the sight of pregnancy even my scent won’t be felt.” So when I was with myself I sat ruminating over my words.

I realized as much as I love children I have pregnancy traumas. I have had fears for days!

So I sat myself down for a talk. Emily, what makes you have these fears?

A pregnant woman

Trauma in my first pregnancy

My first pregnancy was the best yet the scariest.

One early Madaraka day, I made a decision to move out of where I was staying. I gave away a few things and left everything else there. They were actually those things that I’d do without. 

I left with my duvet in a Nigerian bag, clothes in  a suitcase and my pans. I had to carry my pans jameni, I love food and the kitchen. Sleep and food are very important. I had kept getting sick so often that I couldn’t survive on my own. I was 5 months pregnant. I padded all the time because the flow couldn’t stop and the baby persisted to live on.

I walked into my friend’s abode with my baggage and an upcoming belly.  I flew there on a motorbike. I made a quick  offload and told my gal, I am traveling upcountry and will come back after the holiday. She kept my belongings.

We had made an agreement with her that I only need a place to stay during that pregnancy. I’ll be taking care of my meals, and if possible I’ll help with a few chores here and there. 

She was a married lady. We were friends from way back, I had carried her in her season of need and so in my head it was obvious that she’s my ride or die, that’s what they say right? I wanted to live around people since the pregnancy was risky.

Pregnancy life becomes harder

We sailed on. Two weeks later I am coming from work on a Saturday and even before I get into the house, my gal beckons me huko kando (aside). “Irene, we’ve been advised that two pregnant women can’t stay in the same house, so you need to leave” 🙆‍♀️ Obeee! It’s 7pm in the evening. Achieng, a neighbor whispers to me after am left to add 1 plus 1, “waombezi were here the whole morning, wale watu wa roho – you know those churches with a whole robe with cross labels and headgears, yes those ones.”

I remembered  I had another friend close by whom I had hosted for 3 months when she got into the city. Achieng carried my suitcase, and I carried my Nigerian bags with pans clattering inside. Because the flow was always happening, I’d feel my abdomen saying things with the weight of my baggage, and my belly led the way. We walked on in the hustles and bustles of Kibera heading to Makina. I was received well.

The next day it’s Sunday, I am lazing on my friend’s bed tossing huku na Kule. Then a lady walks in, the house is partitioned with a curtain. Then my host laughs, you know those laughters  of hehehe huuuuu, luos can laugh, and laughters can be translated into words. Then she goes on “yaaani in this day and error, there are women who can go having s3x without protection, kwani how much is a cd (condom)? Alafu they want to be a mzigo (burden)  aaaaii never, not me.” 😶

It descended like a hot slap, those ones Mama Ojo unleashes.

Rising again ...

I rose with so much strength, boarded a matatu to Kawangware for house hunting. I got a house the same day. A lady who’s currently a pastor, her name is Jacky, a very nice lady gave me a whole high density mattress plus other cooking pans and jerricans. Plus my other loads attracted attention from onlookers but kwani kuna shida mtu akihama?

I had no money for a taxi so matatu was the only option. They kept ignoring my waving down. I had too much load. By the time I reached Kawangware 56, I was more than exhausted. I had boarded like 3 matatus. I had to cross the road to the other side, I left part of my belongings without caring for their safety. But I luckily found them. People are good.

In that house my neighbor was a chang’aa (illicit brew) seller. They’d make noise till the wee hours. Sometimes I’d sleep with the door open because I didn’t have strength to go shut it after taking the smelly smoky cooking stove outside.

Suicidal thoughts

I had bought a small radio 📻, it consoled me. As I kept thinking how this baby could be out of my system and also making attempts by intentionally walking into  oncoming cars. I listened to Aketch Aimba the Founder & Director of Pearls & Treasures Trust on Hope FM and I began praying for my child when I was 7 months pregnant. 

This same night I got to grasp and own the scripture in Micah 7:8 – Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. – Amplified version.

The house I was staying in had huge openings for windows, it could be so cold at night and so I had to find a way to block them with clothes. Sometimes I’d wake up and those drunkards had removed all the clothings I had sealed the openings with. I’d wake up to a bright house, but alive. Some of them would sleep right on my doorstep till morning. The amazing Grace  of God carried me. I survived.

One afternoon, as the flow kept happening I walked to the nearby chemist to ask for a remedy because that day I was sick, feeling contraction and everything in between. The guy quickly put me in a matatu without the driver’s permission and asked them to drop me at any hospital. I was tired, sick with nothing underneath. I didn’t close the door. On reaching the hospital, a miscarriage was to happen and I was saved by a whisker. I woke up the next day. I was admitted for two days.

Nelly, my childhood friend, came in and whisked me away from that forsaken house. Herself and her sister Sarah gave me a place to sleep. I’d travel from Kiambiu huko behind Buruburu to Kileleshwa everyday but I was safe. Incase of anything I had people around me. 

At this time I was a house help to an Indian who had gifted me those nonstick pans because we both loved cooking. She loved me a lot. She’d foot my hospital bills without a grumble and still pay my salary in full.

My labor for this child happened for 15 hrs.

I called him Kael Mich. He survived.

Kael means a mighty warrior and Mich means a gift. He is both.

My traumatic second pregnancy

I told no one I was pregnant apart from the man who made me pregnant. I informed him because I needed rest. Rest from it all. I now had a qualifier to be a wife and my son now could belong and be fathered.

I had gotten into the marriage with a child from a different man. His mother didn’t find me interesting or appealing enough for her son and so she asked me to show myself out. And I did but made a mistake doing it.

I went back to a man I had once loved but betrayed my love by impregnating another girl and now I was pregnant with another man’s child. I found him safer. 

When I told him the truth after the baby was born, he embarked on a journey of finding his own blood. The ultimatum was I either get pregnant or I forget being a wife and my child getting fathered. No child, no marriage.  I chose the latter, yet prayed each night that I don’t get pregnant. I was still breastfeeding. I had a boy who was a good feeder and it was frustrating to stop breastfeeding in search of another. 

Marital rape

I resented the whole pregnancy idea. I gave an option of leaving the marriage now that I had spoken the truth but each time I’d pack we’d be asked to unpack. We’d be asked to leave in the morning, but amidst preparation to leave, 2 hrs later we’d be asked to stay. It went on for close to two months. My desire was to raise a child with a father. I was torn between choosing my dignity and choosing societal dignity – Raising a child with a father.

It was a series of forced sex each night. He’d be on top of me but gasping “I’m an African man, I want my own child.” No night passed. I call it marital rape. It went on for six months till conception happened. I chose to hang on the identity society cherishes.

A married woman is more respected, a single parent is wayward, you know. I trashed my God ordained identity. Before conception, at a slight  symptom of me being sick I’d be whisked to the hospital and the first instruction to the doctor would be: “Daktari check if she’s pregnant.” Pregnant was a curse word for me.

I got pregnant breastfeeding another, holding another, unready to mother another. So weak to nurture another.

I got a call from my mother at five months asking if it’s true I am pregnant. She caught wind, I was. I didn’t answer, she was asking if there’s nothing else I wanted to do apart from being pregnant. I had not said yes to the pregnancy, yet my belly kept communicating it.

I met a close friend who asked what was wrong with me, if I had chosen to get pregnant each year. At  five months, I left the town I was in to Nairobi for a job change and also for relief.

I got to accept the pregnancy at seven months because my boss had to remind me each day that I was pregnant. He was the 2nd person I told I was pregnant, I did so because I had kept it a secret during the interview. I had feared he’d not hire me if he knew, it was five months when I got the job.  

This is the time I started attending prenatal clinics. The nurses asked questions I couldn’t answer. I bought  no maternity dress but my usuals, I’d just unzip and do life.

Traumatic childbirth

It went up to 42 weeks. Labor started and disappeared, the heart rate of the child couldn’t be felt. I stayed in some machine for over 4 hours. On the 3rd day of my stay in the hospital and a nurse having mocked me that even if I stay for two months I won’t get a baby. A young doctor came and saved me. He checked and wheeled me to the labor room immediately. Got induced and behold; a baby girl.

The episiotomy process was bad. After the trainees did their stitching, the main doctor came and ripped it all off. There was no anesthesia. I had bled to my head. I was soaked in blood. That hospital traumatizes me till today.

My childhood friend Nelly was again present, through it all. The man who married me and wanted the baby had flown out of the country. He saw the baby at 15 months.

Am not sure if I ever had a moment to feel the baby kicking. I can’t remember my cravings for the 2nd pregnancy, I didn’t even have or maybe. I didn’t get to tell the father of my child the name I wanted to give to my daughter. We used the name he had chosen. I was a villain paying for her sins. 

Today I love my son and daughter so much despite the journeys of bringing them into this world.

Healing from pregnancy traumas has so many layers

Letting go shame

I recently had a cookout with teen mums – few were pregnant others had babies already. We had fun over delicious food and games. My intention was to allow them to experience warmth, love, compassion and lots of fun outside the restriction of the rescue centres and their homes. I shared my story with them, spoke healing over them and they in turn had chances of sharing their stories. It was transforming. – Emily Omondi

Sometimes because many years have gone and you ain’t feeling an ounce of pain you feel it’s all gone, then you encounter a similar experience from an individual or a group then voila! You have opened a door to your own healing. Healing from all that you had buried or rather you had only put a bandaid on, and it was sure looking good.

God is in the business of redeeming us to Himself and while at it He heals us, piece by piece, layer by layer, He wants us all whole and fulfilling His purposes.

There’s a need for healing from pregnancy traumas and I have said yes to the process.

Do you have any pregnancy traumas? Or do you know someone going through the same?

Please do share if you can, if not you can always call, I’am  ready to listen. Contact me on 0762384819.

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