Mama Matters Mama Tips,

 

Heeeelllooooooo everybody. Today I’m going to go through some things I’ve done to get through this mama thing. I am no expert, just a mama who loves mamas, so if there is anything useful for you here my sister, grab it and go ham.

Fathers, and fathers to be, there is so much you can do to help. I myself would most likely  not have risen out of my funk so quickly were it not for the perpetual presence and support of my husband. Without his assistance, I wouldn’t even be rested enough to write these articles.

When you read this, my gentlemen, please don’t use it as a mansplaining manual, with which to tell her what to do. Instead, if you would like to see magic, look through this for things you can, with her permission, help her do. Also, kindly do not stop looking at her with romantic presence, right now, she will forget she can ever be beautiful, and you are the magic mirror in her life.

For ease of reference the rest of this article will be categorized. Enjoy!

Eating.

Mama, both you and I know ourselves, we can not have peace unless baby does, therefore, this particular article will be riddled with baby kicking off tips. However, when it comes to eating, right now, you eating well means baby eating well. There is a cyclic relationship here.

Firstly, nie, I believe a full baby will be a happy baby. I also know for a fact, that a hungry one can be anybodies nightmare. Eating well and drinking lots of fluids will stimulate better milk supply. If you are blessed with a baby whose appetite exceeds milk flow, even mixing formula and washing baby bottles requires energy.

It is a common myth that maternity leave is “time off”. It is a full time job, with not enough rest, but one of the primary job assignments is to eat well.

Daddy tips; mother nature did place a heavier onus on women, I do know that you can’t breast feed. There are some magical things you can do:

a) Express support. Emotionally, Psychologically and physically be there for her. Stressed mothers have the highest difficulty producing milk. Even if they are eating right.

b) Eat with her, accompany her at meal times at every chance you get. Eating in company makes it much more doable and enjoyable. She is putting out a lot of calories right now and all the vitamins and minerals her body can get a hold of. Including stock from her own bones, helping her replenish this is a sturdy investment in the health of your family.

c)Let her teach you how to help, and don’t give up asking gently until she does. In my case, the only thing my husband can’t do with the baby by now, is nurse. Boys are not often taught how to do these things, the way girls are. However, with consistent effort, and patience, you can transform your wife into a rested human being. Fatigue inhibits most of a humans capacity for fun, so if you don’t do this, the next thing you will take yourself to go complain about how your wife has ‘changed’, lol.

 

Sleeping

Hah, here goes another myth, “sleep when the baby sleeps”. This myth, like most people, forgets that a mama is still a human. She still has the basic human requirements to fulfill when the baby gives her rest, she needs to shower, eat, sleep… The myth also forgets that, because she is the woman of the house, she probably needs to take on roles of preparing and/or planning and/or procuring meals and/or tidying up.

All of the above depends on there being assistance in the home, when there is no assistance, add on washing, hanging, ironing and putting away of clothes, cleaning and tidying of the home. My gentlemen, can you hear me?

Moving on, my sisters, I will not tell you to rest when baby rests, you are masters of your time, my queens. What I will suggest is that, within your time planning, you bear in mind the quality of sleep you purpose to achieve. May your power naps be powerful. Take that shower, do the things which can put your mind at ease, before every well deserved nap. Right before you fall asleep, put thoughts on pause, consciously focus on recharging. You deserve it, you need it, it’s good for everybody when Mama feels well.

As a side note, this type of napping reminds me of those times, umechoka yani, kwa route umezoea, you know your timings. Nikama kuteleport yani, ju unafunga tu macho hivi, kibeti upande ya dirisha, ukifungua mume bakisha stage mbili ndo ushuke. Lol.

Burping

Here is one you may not have expected. It seems so simple, but burping babies has some innate challenges. Let me list those, then get to why this is so very vital.

  1. Putting babies to sleep is sleep inducing. This means that, you can end up having zero energy, exactly at burping time.
  2. You never know how many there are. The task has no definite objective, (tip; Watch very intently how babies face and body moves or doesn’t before and after burping, from birth; fist clenching, brow furrowing, even in sleep can be a sign she still has gas in there).
  3. There is no perfect recipe. Each person, would burp each baby slightly differently. Experiment with softly tapping, bouncing, and even soft upward strokes on their back.

Alright, why is this on the list?

Because gas will disturb baby’s good sleep. When baby’s sleeping times are erratic and inconsistent, mama can not get anything done. We need a baby who has fed well and has no gas in her tummy. Gas can also be a choking hazard, more so the younger the baby is, because when we put them horizontally to sleep when they have it, it comes back out with milk, sometimes partially digested.  I didn’t put this first because I know my mamas know this.

Everybody has a different method, I tend towards soft tapping, but no two babies are the same.

However, I have found one thing to be a key factor with both my daughters; Don’t Rush It. The more you rush it, the longer it takes. To burp as effectively as possible, do it as though it is what you have planned for the next 24 hours. Shake off that sleep, and do not even think about the next thing you have to do. Just think of the burping process as your life from here on out.

The second is, learn your baby, and always expect an extra burp.

Daddy tip; you can help with this. Take the chance to bond with your little one.

Rejuvenation

Hey Mama, sadly, the world isn’t waiting to hold us up at this point, they want to hold the baby. lol. That’s fine, this phoenix rising game doesn’t need an audience, it does need some time and effort though. Also, gone are the days of dedicating over a half day having nails and hair (for now). What do we do?

My advice is to do it in bits, and where possible, even incorporate it. We can look at a short me list, and I am not usually on top of all of it, but doing these things once in  while is better than not at all, I aim, for smaller chunks of time.

Mobility

Here is a strange one. One part of getting fit that people don’t discuss is that it takes an element of courage and confidence. I have spent time in my life just so convinced that I could never look  a certain way that I hadn’t the strength to try.

We are living in a world that has us chasing the wrong objectives. The shape of a teenager has been idolised despite the blatant paedophilic implications. Throw away the measuring tape, what you need is courage, some effective little exercises, willingness to dedicated a little extra effort to loving yourself and a shuka.

Before your 6 weeks are up, all you are doing with the shuka is forming a habit. Get used to wearing one around the house, tie it loosely, not tight, around your rib cage, no lower, especially if you have had a cs. It should never hurt or restrict your movement or breathing.

I did do one other thing. I danced. In the kitchen, in the bedroom, with my baby, with my mop, at the sink, I put music on and began to stretch and move my body, not pushing, just small, fun movements, being mindful to slowly engage my core (tummy) muscles, and restore flexibility and circulation.

Composure

Life happens. People behave like human beings and life’s variable factors can be so much more than we were ready for. Especially as a new parent. You can not depend on your environment to keep you sane.

At least once a day, ask yourself how you feel. Be aware of the state of your heart and your mind. Identify negative emotions and address them, identify positive emotions and embrace and encourage them. Do not let anger, hatred or inadequacy grow roots within yourself. Negative emotions can be divided into two major categories. The things you can do something about, and the things you can do nothing about. The first requires careful, pre-considered action, while the later requires acceptance.

Dream. Hope. Aspire. If you find yourself feeling as though you can’t remember the last time you felt these things, it is important to try to reach out to your support system. Too often, in our post industrial set up, even those who care, are not able to find enough time to be there for others the ways they would wish they could. That means that it is really time to drop the stigma associated with therapy. Humans need other humans, and our jobs and families leave us with a tight social activity time budget.

This chapter of rejuvenation is a mental and emotional game. This part of the process is about healing and forgiveness as well. Don’t let anybody else’s actions, darken the mood of your heart. You are a super human mama, don’t let anyone let you forget it, especially yourself. Forgive, accept, move on, and invest in yourself. Remember that the people who stress us often do not spend as much time thinking of you, return the favour ;).

Check in on yourself, try to stay in touch with your levels of joy and hope, when ones capacity to experience these two things is affected, its time to reach out for help. For a bare minimum of half an hour in the day ( you may need to break it up) be selfish. Take care of Mama, without her at her best, the family can not be at its best. Consciously act, forgive and accept, where applicable. Negative emotions will affect the carrier worse than anyone else.

Beauty

I am no expert in this field, but we all have our little things we do to take care of our appearance. Don’t stop. Having a new born, will most definitely affect the quantity of time you can dedicate to beauty. Slowing down, is inevitable for now, just as long as you don’t stop.

However, this is about the time, when you should graduate from caring about beauty as a standard applied by the world outside, and shift it to rightful mental space: feeling good. Do take care of your beauty, in the ways that make you happy and comfortable. Pay mind to your own confidence, and aim to build that from the inside. Which things make you feel the best? Do them.

Bear in mind, that life with children is the life of interruptions. Don’t loose heart if you have wet nails when baby wakes up, and now you have to paint them all over again when she naps next. It recently took me three days to finish buffing my nails, they do look amazing now though. Count every single win and pat yourself on the back. You are worth every ounce of pampering you can manage, and more.

I will dedicate a whole article to my own priorities and beauty goals and regiments.

Closing Remarks

The new motherhood phase, all circumstances and factors favoring, can present like mother natures perfect, mild, hypomania, with the key difference of a voluptuous appetite (this time round, I didn’t get that, but that is a story for another day).  You are a super human right now. Bask in it!!

First Two Weeks Post Partum. Rest. Rest. Rest. Aaaaaaarrg!

I am a doer.

It becomes evidently very clear to me that using ones body is a privilege. A divine one, that for a short period after a surgery, one must delegate and accept every ounce of help offered. I am so blessed to have had so much help. The whole hospital team was very caring. My hubby, first born daughter and dm helped me through the whole home stay.

Despite all of this, being dependent on others for everything was so emotionally draining for me. I’m used to being the matriarch, the one who sorts out things, the helplessness aspect of recuperating really frustrated me. It had to be done.

The healing process after my second CS was much, much more painful. I didn’t see it coming. This, in combination with not being able to quickly get myself a glass of water left me in a mental state, where I felt I would never recover. My anxiety grew to be its own monster. My usual remedy, of trying to do something about whatever is making me anxious, was impossible to implement. This called on a situational depression, in combination with the anxiety, they conspired to give me a hard time.

One of the greatest sources of anxiety was this: “Is the milk enough”. Breast feeding is interesting, because you can’t tell for sure if it is working adequately, until the baby is full and asleep. When there is less milk, its possible to sit and Nurse, for hours, most of which you are thinking “Shes just about to drop off…”. Hours of ‘she’s just about to drop off’ in combination with a hugely unfinished to do list, it was mentally taxing and emotionally unnerving.

Due to these factors, the first few weeks from the hospital, involved a lot of tears. I cried buckets, whenever I could be sure of some privacy. Between tears, I prayed prayers of gratitude, and I began to promise myself something:

“This body, and it’s movements are not a given. The restrictions I had were not even as limiting as some conditions can be. I myself will use my body, to the best of my ability, I will move, and live in it, to its full capacity, for as long as I can.”

I used the waiting period to work up the resolve for consistent exercising as soon as it is allowed and comfortable.

My first two weeks were fully overwhelming emotionally, I had extreme relief, tension, gratitude, fear and all of the in betweens too.

We moved house, during my pregnancy, my nesting and home organizing were greatly affected by having very limited energy. This meant that right after delivery, this was another task on my mind. The sitting room still had boxes in it. Boxes I wanted to go through carefully and put away in a way that made for easy retrieval. I was busy during all my  waking hours and yet feeling like I was achieving nothing. People wanted to see the baby, and I couldn’t imagine letting them see the house.

Babies clothes were meticulously disinfected and folded like a tidy filing cabinet, mine on the other hand have not even been organised since I moved in. I think it is something quite common, for mothers to put themselves last. I am working on it, it is not as simple as one may think to put oneself first when there are those who are depending on you.

The main purpose of this article is to let new mums know one thing. It is ok, for the way you feel when your baby first arrives, to be complicated. People stop asking how you are, and the standard greeting turns into “Hows the baby?” If you answer any negative responses  at this time, people will judge you. “You should be grateful” sits at the tip of tongues, waiting to come greet you. It is simply, not that simple.

Emotions are influenced by two main things. Environmental factors, and biochemical factors. Giving birth upsets both these factors. Consequently, the emotions one goes through right after delivery can be enormous and founded. The world may not understand, but I do Mama. All your concerns and fears will likely be dismissed as “being negative” by people who just don’t have the time or empathy to understand how you feel. You are not. You are simply planning for the worst, as a mothers instincts demand of her.

It is at this time, that (if you haven’t already) you need to make sure you are in touch with a network of mothers. Mothers often share resources with each other, and will have more understanding of what you go through than other people. That said, even among mothers we can be hard on ourselves, and each other. Bear in mind that each persons journey is individual, if someones advise always leaves you feeling worse, don’t keep going back for more. Mothers are a demographic who are so heavily judged, that you have to develop a sense of autonomy, or else be walked over.

Looking back now I think WOAH! That is a lot I dealt with internally. Despite having support around me. Anxiety can be very hard to reach out about. Thoughts of inconveniencing others act like a gag, postponing requests for help until one can no longer even imagine reaching out. I got through, and now that I’m feeling better, I’m back to work too. My household, motherhood, exercise and professional capacities are back, and I’m not wasting a moment of energy. Mama, finding energy for yourself can be tough.  I have homework for you. The next time you have two free minutes, do five squats, five sit ups or five push ups.  Give your body a little circulation boost, and start getting your mind around dedicating minutes in the day, to you time.

Post Partum, Why Share The Journey?

Woof! It may sound strange, but I’m really happy to be alive.

Some may say there was no reason to be worried. As someone who has been through anxiety, I know how useless those sentiments can be.

Motherhood is all encompassing, it can swallow a person whole. Between planning and execution a mother can easily forget herself and prioritize her family, to extents that affect her health in every way. This phenomenon has been commented on by many prominent wives and mothers including Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Anxiety, hypertension, depression and burn out are just some of the repercussions of this, that many mothers suffer.

So here I am. I’m typing about worries I’m not supposed to have, in between glances at our baby’s crib, she’s sleeping soundly. I would like to share my post partum journey, in its rough form. In this first post, I need to tell you why.

This is my second time round. During my first post partum journey, I can now say honestly that I struggled mentally, emotionally to come to terms with the changes in my body. Queue the judgment… I didn’t talk about it, and all the people around me would say I had bounced back and have ‘nothing to worry about’.

Then I had a stroke of unlucky luck. I’ll need to rewind a little to tell how I came by it.

My first labour was longer than the average, a total of thirty hours were spent in the first stage of labour, of these hours, twelve were induced medically. Insufficient dilation, many hours of being told not to push yet, many hours of not being able to breath. Many hours of crushing strain on my back bone.

This was heavily unlucky for me, because my profession, and even the job of being a mum, had serious demands on my back. Months after the delivery, the pain would stab me unexpectedly, several times a day, it made bending and carrying things so so difficult. And this stroke of bad luck, forced me to make a move I probably wouldn’t have.

I had to work out.

A client and friend managed to impress on me, the importance of core strength in healing the spinal column. Once I understood that, came the lucky part.

It turned out she was right. Not too long after I started working out again, my back pain stopped, and I’ve never looked back since :). I still had my katummy, but I was strong, and feeling so much more capable of life.

IMG20190408231526
Me at 8 weeks pregnant. Not yet showing.

It wasn’t until two years later, when I met Sean T’s Hip Hop Abs work out that I discovered a physical freedom which even surpassed even my pre-pregnancy body ideals. That is when I began to look around and note, that when it comes to core building, your lower abdominal muscles are your corner stone. Lower core muscles are everything. You need them to do so much, and strengthening them increases get up and go energy, like crazy.

All this low pressure feel good exercising has kept me in shape, but it happens that just before my recent pregnancy I was doing some focused ab work and was almost at a four pack. Please bear this in mind when viewing photos.

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Trying on my mums old jeans. Just before getting pregnant. I was doing an ab challenge that I’ve shared on the gram.

This time I am super confident, my tummy isn’t worrying me even in the slightest, so I look forward to sharing the ways I got there the first time, and taking you with me on my post partum journey from baby number two.

A Comfy Spot To Sleep In.

I hear a small engine running outside, it’s time to walk away from my daughter again. Today she only cried a little.
I prefer to wear a jacket and the helmet when I get onto a boda, but today, with her sad waving from the gate at me. I just get on, or I try to, I lose my footing for a moment but recover quickly and tell him ‘Niko sawa’ trying to end the awkward. I’m ready, and we head off.

The edge of the road must have been straight once. Today, Patrick my boda guy, had to ride in a wavey line to avoid bouncing me up and down this Getathuru road. When I get off the bike a conclave of touts pounce around me. I hold my stance, they posture but don’t push or pull me. The odd thing, though not unusual, is that there are only two cars there, one bus or jav and one minivan; matatu. There are five red waist coated young men standing around me saying “Tao, tao” and gesturing their haste to me.

I get two hundred shillings out of my wallet, with it still inside my ankara print bag. Patrick doesn’t have change.

The shortest of the touts gestures for the note and is given it. He hands Patrick his fifty shillings and tells me he’ll give me the rest of the change later in the journey.

I give him a concerned look, and he assures me he will personally give it back to me. I walk swiftly towards the entrance of the jav. I grab the railing on the side of the door, swinging for a split second onto the first step. Then step up the rest of the stairs calmly. Leave no evidence.

There are many seats available. No window seat near the front, and I’m not feeling like too much time to spare for waiting, at the back, for people to get out when we get to town. I walk past two rows with men siting at the window and sit next to a young lady wearing a thin scarf like I am.

Here, I must explain something I have dubbed the center code. This is a code of conduct of personal space, in public transport in Nairobi. One should observe this code, or else you could be misunderstood for being inconsiderate, or a thief. There are naturally, people who are actually inconsiderate, and actually thieves, who may not mind being thought of as such, but if you are not one, here is how not to look like it. Keep everything you can as central as possible, especially your hands. The rule applies to bags, boxes, chicken and everything and anything else that you intend to leave the vehicle with. One, often complained about breakage of the center code is men’s habit of spreading their legs.

It puts a person in an awkward position when the man next to you does this. If you move, you risk giving up more of your own seat, if you don’t move, you are in danger of implying that his closeness is welcome. When it happens, you are placed in the position of gate keeper of your seat. You place your knee just so, warning not to take too much advantage, while not inviting further contact. Stone face? Check!

Finding a seat next to a young lady, is a score. They are the least likely people to invade space. Not today. My seat companion for the morning is spatially friendly. She casually places her forearm between our legs, seemingly unaffected by her breakage of the center code.  I shift my legs as though to cross them and then return to my original position. Do I really have to gate keep today? Its not even rush hour.

I do know, that it is entirely possible that she is simply unaware of the code. Most people observe it inadvertently, never naming it but following it none the less. I’m not the one to judge social awkwardness harshly, having my own generous portion of social anxiety. The nagging thing is, the last time I allowed a full invasion of my boundaries, The guy was rummaging through my rucksack in the guise of helping me open a window he had asked me to open. I only discovered it because I was guarding my center area which he had momentarily obscured (accidentally on purpose) with his satchel.

She gets the hint, and puts her arm back to the center. I breath out a silent sigh of relief. Today is not my cheeriest of days. Usiniletee please.

I resolve not to make any indication of interest in her direction. She has a busy aura, a young one. I don’t feel like talking today either. I have an email to reply and a poem to read for my Jalada workshop. I don’t feel like being observant at all, and that was our homework. I dive into local contemporary blogs and face book statuses. Before I know it, we have reached and passed Parklands police station, but I only look up briefly as we pass under the Museum Hill overpass. Tunnels make me nervous, nauseous, and then thrilled to be out of them.

As we wind our way off globe cinema round about and up towards Koja stage, my companion brushes her hand against mine and I give her a direct warning look. She apologizes, blushing, (wah, sasa ni nini na huyu,) she is very young. I quickly look around me and reestablish where I am in case I start feeling dizzy, I mentally mark the nearest shops that have guards. I do not get dizzy. There are many stories of intoxicating vapors, that all they have to do is brush it onto you. It happened to a friends mum, they convinced her to empty out her bank account then take them home so they could load her car with her things before they drove off with it.

In that frame of mind, valuing my senses is when I noticed the radio was still playing a Gikuyu station. That’s a first. I got into the trailing end of a praise song. Almost all the traditional songs I know are praise songs. Next on, was a skit of an uncle trying to teach his nephew how to say a sentence. The nephew sounds very young, perhaps no older than two, and his efforts were commendable. However he could not quite wrap his tongue around the word uncle. He kept repeating “Anuko” much to the amusement of his uncle.

The radio was then switched off. I remember joking with a friend about how they always change the station in Westlands. The assumption being that if you are heading towards Kiambu, you would be used to hearing Gikuyu.

I ponder on the reasons why he would have left it on. Perhaps it’s that, on this trip, we did not pick up anyone at or after Westlands. There is only a little traffic today, the driver pushes the bus over the curb of the roundabout, rocking us jaggedly as he does so. He is going to park inside it, but there’s another one in front of us, so we are stuck, lopsidedly, with the buses bum pointing at the top of the nearest building.

I stand  up and get into a one person line to get out. The tout blocks the doorway to do a look out for policemen, then swings off to give us way. Those who have time to, will wait for them to finish parking.

I walk swiftly between big and small buses, all shuffling into embarking order. Ducking under maroon sleeved gestures I get to the opposite end of the round about. I stand next to a young lady wearing a pink hijab, but she looks scared to cross the road. I spot a middle age man who looks like he has somewhere to go, and follow his pace across the road quickly, with him upstream of me in the traffic.

As soon as I step onto a curb I am faced by a boda  guy riding up it, headed straight towards me, so I alter my path and cross another road onto the walkway of one of the oldest buildings in town. Deep grey solid stone walls, strong enough to withstand snow. How useful. 

I weave around the plants that dot the sidewalk, sometimes walking along their stone edges.

I cross the road again, too far from the zebra crossing, but this one is completely empty when I do, Other people cross to my left, and to my right. We are all ceasing the clear road. In that moment, completely aware of our strength in numbers.

I chose the Givanji gardens walk way today. I really shouldn’t have. Last night being Friday, the partiers chose that fence to water with pee. I pass a city council cleaner, he is old, stooped, and  picking up litter from this fence that I am holding my breath to get past. I want to stop and thank him for the job he’s doing. I don’t.

I pass a pastry fragrant pizza spot and see the Uchumi sign, when I round the corner. One foot forward, one foot forward, I’m almost there, I often rush myself like this when I’m headed somewhere.

On my way past Nakumat, I step around a sleeping street boy. He is fast asleep, almost convincing me that, that is a comfortable place to sleep.

His dusty faded clothes camouflage against the chipped pavement curb.

This is his street, truly his, and I am just a passer by.

On Walls

We like to set up walls,
between spaces.
Such that, you can face someone
and not know they are there.

With a whole wall between you
you, needn’t care.
The wall is the illusion, and
the actualisation of a barrier.

With it there,
You needn’t know the other person
is there.
Because of it, you don’t.

In The Time

In the time it took for you,

to call me back,

after you said you would.

 

I had space to pretend to be ok about it.

 

And in the time it took,

for you to text me back,

I had had to figure out, what to do without it.

 

In the time it took for ticks to turn blue,

I had to learn not to count on you,

And in aaaaall the time it took,

For you,

To

Typing…

 

At your own convenience…

Be there for me,

Support, love and be companion to me…

 

I forgot why I thought needed you, in the first place.

Thats done now.

He used to rest his elbow, at the base of the window, in our big yellow toyota pick up. He was so tall, that his hand rested comfortably, simultaniously, on the grip, above it.

And I was sure that I could grow up to have an arm that tall,

Sometimes he would laugh it off,

Sometimes, join me in imaginary awe.

At how tall, sometimes try to manage my expectations by explaining that, though life sometimes has surprises,

Its not likely, as Daddy is not that tall.

He didn’t realise that from a little girls perspective, they were both giants,

That to me, there was no difference between their kinds of tall.

And there was, as I see it now, a small, inconsiquential cultural disconect, between my manner of speaking, and his consern for my cognitive developement.

But we sorted that one out.

We sorted many things out.

We never quite sorted out how, or why he taught me to be boujie without planning to ensure it was provided for. He spoilt me,

rotten, with gifts and affirmations, it’s just,

That

He wasn’t always there.

That

Sometimes, even when he was there, he wasn’t there.

That, sometimes, I was the most priceless princess, and sometimes, I wasnt there, when I was there.

That,

Mteja hapatikani, and somehow, I knew, not to apeal to,

That,

side of him.

Mama, kept me safely precious, all the while. All the while affirming me.

All the upheavals, where simply adventures to me. Her and I, the couragious warriors.

In this patriarchal sea.

That gives men options to change their minds,

Move on,

Temporarily,

Or permanently

‘Justifiably’ and legaly

and neglects to do the same for women.

But I rest my arm, just fine today,

Without having to have fitted into, his mould, his car, or his frame.

Sadly, out of the many lessons he actually took time to teach, one shouts over an abandoned haze.

That, it is not given,

That,

someone will catch you tomorrow, even if they spin you around,

Today.

Wewe ni?

Wewe ni?

Wah!!!
Hiyo swali ikona jibu nyingi,
But I can guess what you’re asking,
and the answer is,
Baba yangu nimzungu,
Ni Mwengereza.
The question is,
why are you so white.
But kaa ulikuwa na uliza mi ninani..
Kwa mafupi,mimi ni Mmama,
mimi ni Mkenya,
Mimi ni Mwalimu Mshairi.
But to cut you short, on what a Kenyan looks like,
I am a Nairobian, Diani baby,
Whose mothering mission spans a nation.

I always felt I was a mother,
I always knew I would never know
what being a mother felt like,
till I became a mother
I was right.
At that point when you place your hand on your belly and know you are sharing your own internal space,
Or are blessed to be arms for a baby you know has no other place.
You find out that there was more room,
in you…
than you knew could fit into,
one soul.
you discover that nothing is to heavy,
for their sake, you break walls.
But I had always felt I was a mother,
and on that too I was right.
You see,
my view of the world is one of an unabashed empath,
And so, the worlds soul resonates with my bones.
The mother in me, knows, intrinsicly, that no one is ok,
unless everyone is ok.
That all oppression is related,
that it can not be understated that we fight these wars for our young,
and yet, still manage to forget,
to try to leave the world less messed up,
for when their child rearing turns come.

I always felt I was a Kenyan,
a biracial Kenyan, and yes, I am half British,
which has obvious implications on my biology,
and less obvious implications of my expectations of integrity,
but I have never felt I was anything but Kenyan, and Kenyans come in all sorts.
We too, our Kenya, we children of different nose shape, hair texture and skin hue,
we are your children too.
Nakuna venye,popote Mungu ataniwezesha kuenda,
Nitasifuu tu Kenya, na roho yangu itaililia mpaka nirudi home vyema.
Soooo, waeza nichukua tu venye utajiskia,
lakini ukiamua kunisengenya,
Jua hii; Ukenya yangu ilituma jue kusengenya na lugha mbili, nakuelewa kaa tano,
So please nisengenye na lugha sielewi kaa kichina, au kiitaliano.

I have always felt I was a teacher,
I will literally jump up and down at opportunities to teach on something I am informed on.
I have early memories of trying to teach babys,
to sing, and talk and count,
everything I have learned from then on, I will still teach,
given a moments span of attention.
I love to share information,
it is an all purpose tool.
Information is anything from a cradle,
to a light bulb, to a weapon.
Akili ni mali, si mchezo.
Na haki ndio gari yakufikisha pokeo.
Kaakunakitu ninajua, yanaeza kukusaidia,
Mii nitakushow.

I have known I was a poet since I was five,
and in the years of handwriting practice Mama insisted I do,
I had plenty of time to visualise rhyming words too.
So by the time I met Eminem then Maya Angelous world veiws,
I knew for sure that my horrizons were lined with puns,
metaphors, punch lines and earth moving viewers.
Yes, viewers.
Because I’ll tell you, a performance poet never makes themselves,
Our Spoken Word artists are created by you.
In your ability,
you have the power to crush the poet,
as soon as they step on stage.
So, you made me, a possibility.

Kwahivyo kwamafupi,
mimi ni Mmama,
Mkenya,
Mwalimu na Mshairi.
Kwa zote, namshukuru Mungu,
Lakini pia,
hiyo ya mwisho,inastahili, niwashukuru nyinyi.

Thank you.

Watch live performance.

Dear Mama

I have to confess,

     it is strange to write to you,

As every time I step on stage,

I take you with me too.

In English enunciations crisp as morning dew

In sing speaking Kiswahili,

That play lulabys and bed time stories,

My first imaginative and schollarly journeys,

My earliest memories,

Are you.

You are omnipresent to my existance.

 

To the extent that, when I get on stage,

Talking to you gives me a sense

Of talking to oneself.

 

I am only able to take you with me on stage,

Because you gave and gave and gave,

So today I would just like to say

Thank you.