The Other Island of Motherhood


I ordered her a lemonade before she arrived. She had said she wouldn’t be long. I sat in a booth facing the doorway. Karen. The light outside was bright, pouring in through the doorway like a hungry flood. Music streamed in from somewhere. I sat with her lemonade for company, watching sweat trickle down the glass. I was thinking about nothing in particular, watching time pass me by and life flowing all around me as if I was a rock in a river, wondering what kind of conversations I would have with the lemonade if it could speak.

‘‘How did you end up here, Lemonade?” I’d ask and it would sigh and say,

“Life, man. It offered me lemons.”

I failed to notice her arrival because she was wearing a blue t-shirt similar to some of the wait staff behind the counter. Suddenly she was standing over the table, smiling, standing knee-deep in some trendy camouflage gumboots. She was straight from a pet project, a small charming farmhouse she and her husband Tee – an architectural designer – built in the scraggy nether regions of Ngong. It was something that was planted as a curiosity, sprouted into a passion and then blossomed into a business. They called it Windy Mills Cottage because, well, it faces the windmills of Ngong. She had been there dusting and cleaning and arranging and readying the grounds for a new client. Playing house for a home that is open to others.

I hugged her and said, “I didn’t notice you. It’s because of your shirt, it resembles the wait staff’s shirts.” She laughed mirthlessly, settling before me. She removed her mask and folded it, placing it neatly at the end of the table. Then she placed her phone on top of it. Then followed her car keys on top of her phone. A scrupulous pile of order. She did all these with the same deliberate OCD-like precision with which Denzel folded his napkin and cutlery in the movie Equalizer. In stark contrast to her studious sense of order was my debris of intertwined earphone cords, mask and serviettes.

She proceeded to order those famous big Java samosas that defy logic. The ones that weigh 23kgs and have a sharp end that can be used as a bayonet. I bet that if you tried going through airport security with a Java samosa you’d be stopped.

“Sorry, you can’t get into the plane with this thing,” an airport security guard would say.

“Why? It’s a samosa!”

“It’s a weapon. It can be used to maim and hurt,” he would say, turning it over in his hand, “You can commandeer a plane with this thing. This is a weapon. Sorry.” Then he’d toss it in that ravenous bin that devours shampoos, nail cutters and scissors. I think they should actually rename them in the menu as Relief Food.

When said samosa was delivered to the table on a forklift she doused it in tabasco sauce as I stared, trying to make sense of the tattoos running along her left arm and her right wrist and the septum piercing hanging from her nose. “So,” she said, cutting into her samosa, “Where do you want me to start?”

“Start from the part where you said you wanted to get on a plane and run away from your children and your husband and never come back again,” I said.

She chuckled, slowly setting her fork on the plate, chewing thoughtfully.

“No, let me start by telling you about my children,” she said, “I never wanted children. Ask anybody in my high school, I wasn’t into the whole thing of getting married and having kids and playing mom. I knew from an early age that kids weren’t my jam. There was a time rumor had it that Chris Kirubi lived in a penthouse in his own building in town, remember that time?”

“Mm hmm.”

“That’s exactly the life I wanted growing up. I wanted to make lots of money and live in a penthouse in the middle of tao.”

But then she met Tee. Quiet Tee who loved drawing and yoga and things. This was before urbanites started going about with yoga mats hanging from their backs as a social proclamation. Tee was already doing “Hand Giraffe” and “Foot Penis,” poses. Somehow Tee disrupted things, started dating her then married her. The wedding caught all her friends off-guard, she says, because she was not a marriage crusader. Soon after, she discovered that a baby was growing in her. “I completely freaked out when I discovered I was pregnant when we were dating. I didn’t tell Tee. In fact I ghosted him for three months,” she said, “Then I quit my job and watched TV and ate throughout the whole pregnancy. Then the real hell started when I gave birth.”

First her nipples were constantly cracked and painful. They bled. On top of that she also had hemorrhoids. “I was in such pain I literally lived on laxatives for a whole year. My ass was cracked. I couldn’t go to the loo for number two. I had this very very painful vein in my ass. I couldn’t even sit or sleep. I’d sleep like this.” She slants to the side like a sinking ship. I tried to remember if I’ve ever interviewed anyone in my life who talked about a cracked nipple and a vein in their ass while casually eating a samosa and nothing came to mind. This is called career progression, in case you are wondering. It can only get better, I thought to myself.

Only for her it never got better. The baby cried constantly. She slept less and less. She was irritable and constantly tired and the baby didn’t care that her nipples were so painful, or that her ass was cracked, all he wanted was his meals. She also didn’t know what to do with him. She didn’t know what mothers did in most situations. “We can’t have any more babies,” she told Tee one day. “I can’t possibly do this again.” Two years later, after she had started a new job she discovered she was pregnant again. She was dismayed and angry with herself. How now? Wasn’t the first time hard enough? She bought a book titled, “What To Expect When Expecting,” by Heidi Murkoff and it was Murphy’s law: everything that could go wrong as described in the book, she experienced. She grew fat, she piled on 30kgs, three of those kilograms on her nose. “I once ran into a friend of mine at the Kenchic in Westlands and he said, ‘Mo, you look like a piglet.’” I was so mad. I wandered through the baby shop at the mall, furious.

Her second born was born at 3.7kgs. A dramatic child, she says. “He didn’t sleep, he cried all the time and I remember switching off and going on autopilot.” She said. When she went to the clinic to get the measles jab she was asked if she has considered any new contraceptives. “I told them that I hadn’t, seeing as I had been breastfeeding exclusively for nine months, there was no way I could get pregnant,” she said. “I mean, everybody knows that breastfeeding is the best contraceptive.” The next day I went to do medical tests for insurance and my pregnancy test came back positive. I started laughing. There was no way I could be pregnant. I was breastfeeding! I was hysterical. I was laughing so hard the nurses thought I had lost my mind. You must be f***ng joking, I kept telling them, laughing. They called Tee and told him, “Come pick your wife, we think she has gone crazy.’”

For the rest of the pregnancy she never attended one prenatal clinic. She was in denial, in a daze throughout, like someone walking down a big farm at night, eating and singing dirges. Nine months flew by in a blur of disbelief. The last night before she gave birth she was so big she couldn’t climb up the staircase to the bedroom so she slept downstairs, on her side, like an impaled great white whale washed ashore.

“At the hospital my water broke but the nurse thought I still had a few hours left to give birth,” she said. “I had dilated six centimeters. I was in the labour ward when I felt the baby pushing between my legs. Tee was there, I said, ‘Tee, I think the baby is coming.’” Tee blinked and went to call the nurse who said, no way, the baby won’t come out until a few hours later. “When Tee came back I was pushing and the baby’s head was out and after a few pushes the baby’s head hit the bed.” She laughed.

“No way.” I said. A bouncing baby, literally.

“I’m telling you! Tee held the baby in a leso as she started crying and the woman in the next bed, asked, “Is that a baby crying?” [No, it’s a goat], because she couldn’t believe I had a baby in the ward. When the nurse came with a delivery kit her jaw dropped when she saw Tee holding the baby. Then they started scurrying about,” She rolled her eyes,” cutting the placenta and things.”

When they got back home, she found their two sons sick and their Help threatening to quit. “I told her to pack her shit and leave,” she said, “I call Help’s bluff when they try to manipulate you. So there I was with a newborn and two unwell boys. I started it on a rough patch. I think that’s when things started taking a turn.” The tedium of motherhood set in in a rough way; lack of sleep again, crying baby, visitors who come to see the baby and expect to be fed, not caring if you haven’t slept a wink. I was grossed out by the act of breastfeeding. I was very unhappy. People think that if you have been a mother once it’s easier to be a mother again and again. It’s not! Every new baby sets you back, you start mothering afresh because every baby is a new experience. You are not allowed to say ‘I don’t know’ as a mother. People assume you just know. You are expected to take care of the baby but nobody is taking care of you. On social media I could see my friends changing jobs, travelling, showing off their bodies in bikinis, while I was exhausted and bitter at home, a baby constantly latched onto my painful breasts. I grew increasingly unhappy and resentful that motherhood had taken over my life, taken away everything I was. I was losing the person I knew. I’d go to work and come back home very late deliberately, avoiding having to mother, hating being reminded about what I had lost, what I had become.”

One day they were watching TV at night, sprawled on the couch. The babies were all tucked in. The house experiencing that strange interlude of silence that houses with children sometimes get. “Tee looked at me and asked, ‘Are you okay? You look sad. You have been sad lately’ I was sad. Of course I was sad. I had been sad a long time. I looked around at the toys strewn in the living room, what my life had been reduced to, a heap of plastic toys and domesticity, someone who cleaned up and breastfed and worried about what people ate and when they took a bath. Someone who gave and gave and kept giving. I asked him, Is this it? Is this what my life will be? Will I just be a mother? This is not me. He looked at me silently, and Tee is one of those chill guys. He then said, ‘Mo, I can’t make you happy, the children can’t make you happy. You can only find happiness within yourself.’ I was so mad. You are my husband, I thought, your job is to make me happy! How could he say that? But I mulled over this over a few days and I grudgingly admitted that he was right. I had to find my own happiness. So I started making plans to leave this life of motherhood and wifehood. I started applying for an Australian visa.”

She was going to move to Australia and join her girlfriend who had just moved there. She was going to go and start her own life because this life of raising children wasn’t hers. She didn’t enjoy it. She didn’t think she was particularly good at it. In Australia she wasn’t going to be a mother or a wife, she was going to be Mo, the girl she was before all the responsibilities came along. As the Visa application dragged on she stepped back from being a mother. She switched off. She didn’t know what the kids ate, when they showered, what clothes they wore. “Tee did everything. He went for school functions, he did homework, he managed the house while I plotted my escape.”

Then she started seeing a therapist who she told that she found no joy in motherhood, in raising children. “We choose to have sex with our spouses but children don’t choose to be born. We bring them here,” her therapist told her one day, “Unless you walk away you have to choose what kind of a mother you want to be. If you take away all of people’s expectations of motherhood, what kind of a mother would you like to be? If you choose to stay, what does that look like?”

“It then became very clear to me. I decided that I’d choose when and how much time I wanted to give motherhood.” She said as her half-eaten samosa was carted away. “I stopped stressing about what kind of a mother society expected me to be and became the mother I wanted to be. People work Monday to Friday and then leave Sunday for family days. That’s prescriptive and it was not for me. If you call me on a Sunday and say, can we meet for cocktails in the afternoon I will not think, ‘Oh today is Sunday I should be with my children,’ I will go for cocktails. I don’t do that conventional shit no more, Biko. But I will also decide to go off grid on certain weekends and spend time with kids. I am dedicated to raising my children in a way that most people might find eccentric but it’s my way. For example, I don’t feel that my children have to feed three meals a day. Who said? When I ask them, guys what do you want for dinner and they say cornflakes! Then we will have cornflakes. We don’t have mealtimes in our house. Except Sundays, we don’t sit at the conventional table for meals. We can eat from bed or from the couch or outside. You don’t want to shower twice a day? Don’t. Last year my son didn’t shave all year. I let him. Kids are people with opinions and feelings; express them. My second son dresses in my dresses in the house. I let him. He is creative, he’s expressing himself as a person, as I am allowed to express myself as a mother. My daughter at some point had taken to using the dog’s plate to eat her meals. I let her. She’s the sweetest girl. We don’t have a sleep routine in our house.I want to raise my children to be open minded and expressive. Because I have chosen how to operate as a mother, I have invariably given them the independence. Parenting was killing me because I was subscribing to ideals of what a mother should be. Now I’m not. I choose what I want first; what do I want for myself? Only when I have answered that question is when I give motherhood what I feel is enough, without letting it take from me. Because I don’t care what anybody thinks I should be as a mother, I have found freedom and I don’t feel like I’m losing myself because motherhood will make you lose yourself if you let it.”

“Did motherhood make you resentful?” I asked.

“Yeah. It did. I felt like it changed me. It took away who I was. I couldn’t recognise myself anymore, I couldn’t remember who I was before or what I wanted. Being a parent was killing me. But the irony was that what stopped me from fleeing from my children were my children. I love them. But I also wanted to be free. I wanted days to myself.” She finishes her lemonade. “As my children grow older now, they are 13,10 and 9 – they require less and less of me. I can’t remember the last time I woke up on a weekend morning to make them breakfast, they make their own breakfast. I now choose when and how much I give of myself to them and not feel guilty. I’m not the conventional mother, I don’t want to be the mother anyone thinks I should be. I want to be the mother I want to be.”

I got up and went to the bathroom. When I came back I said, “Tell me about these tattoos on your arms.”

On her left shoulder she has a big tattoo of a dreamcatcher to remind her of her dreams. There is another one of three feathers that represent her three children. “I’m not doing anything without my children, I’m not leaving them. They are my feathers.” Then there is a tattoo of butterflies which represent the three hardest years when she was struggling with motherhood. “You must know the process when the worm struggles to become a butterfly, it’s not an easy struggle but at the end the butterfly is such a beautiful end product,” On the other arm is a tattoo of a phoenix rising from the ashes and one of a mandala which she proceeds to explain to be about Buddhism and energy. “You receive the kind of energy you give.” Under her left wrist are three animals: a zebra, a panda and a bunny. “Each represents my children’s favourite animals.”

I’ve been telling everybody I meet about her to hear their opinion. Mothers especially. Some punch the air and say, ‘More power to her!” like it’s a fight for freedom while others sigh gently and ask sympathetically, “Is she seeing a therapist?”

She did. That and a life coach. They helped her out of the funk.

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  1. “She proceeded to order those famous big Java samosas that defy logic. The ones that weigh 23kgs and have a sharp end that can be used as a bayonet. I bet that if you tried going through airport security with a Java samosa you’d be stopped”…. This java samosas though. They are incomparable . I think they would win in a samosa competition. Nice read and I am here early

  2. I like this lemonade, samosa eating girl, a lot.
    Gosh the first part of that story was funny! Talking to a lemonade glass and the vein in the ass! oh Biko, you go kill me with laughter one day
    FYI, I love those big samosas!

    1. The veins are called piles. Pregnancy and motherhood is like being reborn,its alien ,you learn as you go just like a child.

  3. ‘‘How did you end up here, Lemonade?” I’d ask and it would sigh and say,
    “Life, man. It offered me lemons.”
    Been looking forward to Tuesday! Great piece!

  4. …”I don’t care what anybody thinks I should be as a mother, I have found freedom and I don’t feel like I’m losing myself because motherhood will make you lose yourself if you let it.”
    Yaaay and more power to her…haha:-)

  5. The ones that weigh 23kgs and have a sharp end that can be used as a! I love those big Java samosas.
    You do you Mo, if it works for you and keeps you sane, then go for it.

  6. Society has taught us that there is no other ways to do things apart from what has been laid before. I am happy she has an understanding husband . Motherhood should be a career or whatever!

    1. It actually is. Motherhood is a career and so much more.
      The problem with society is that we have belittled it so much and still place such high standards that no sane woman can hack it without ridicule.

      Working moms have two full time jobs.

      I always swear by housewifery. If only the guys could stand up and be counted…smh

  7. I can imagine what Tee must be going through as a man..The other sad part is no tattoo for him..He is just a foot note in her life journey..But he is a cool guy…taking in silently…what I know is do not expect happiness to come from your the source of your happiness.

  8. I’m happy that more and more women are now being honest about motherhood. A while ago, giving birth was romanticised. Mothers would say how magical childbirth is. Now, women are honest. They tell it as it is. It gets ugly. Some parts of you tear and you have to be stitched up. Your nipples crack. And I think that it’s great that women are now being real and honest.

    I’d say more power to you, with the punch in the air.

  9. Motherhood is draining. I have three very active boys and most times I feel like climbing on top of a building and screaming my lungs out. I get her very well. I also never wanted domesticated life, I didn’t want kids or marriage but here I am. I resonate with her story and like her courage. Kudos

    1. Talk of motherhood draining. What with a special child? Who can’t feed herself, go to the toilet, take herself to bed etc. Totally dependant. As a SNP you don’t have the privilege of giving your child independence. I will tell my story one day. More power to all mother’s, especially SNP.

  10. This is the realest story i have read yet. To know that initially motherhood can be a struggle. That its not always an excitement. Sometimes it grows with time and awareness. Finally realising that life is about walking your path in the best way you know how even when it does not fit to any existing and set way. I love this weeks story…

  11. Is it me or am thinking Mo got Tee-d off by motherhood.

    At first she had a plan for her life, then it gave her lemons, all she had to do was make lemonade.

    John Lennon was right, when he said Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

    Growth in life is exponential not linear.

    Great piece.

  12. “I tried to remember if I’ve ever interviewed anyone in my life who talked about a cracked nipple and a vein in their ass while casually eating a samosa and nothing came to mind. This is called career progression, in case you are wondering. It can only get better, I thought to myself.”
    This cracked me up. A brilliant example of how good women are, at ‘compartmentalizing’.
    You do you girl…I don’t think there is any manual for motherhood; some mums are definitely more motherly while others are more sisterly than motherly. Added to that, each can be a sum-total of her experiences. I do think however, that your kids will learn very early the value of being open-minded, creative and expressive, which is good.

  13. I love her story! I am going through the same thing except, I have only one child and I live with a mother who constantly reminds me what a bad mother I am because I don’t conform to her idea of a good mother.

    1. I have one child .I am going through the same …only that I live with a mother who has to remind me dutifully that I fail at being a mother simply because I don’t conform to her idea of being a mother….siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!

  14. I love that more and more women are unmothering themselves. Recognizing that women are more than mothers, they have personalities and goals. If being a father isn’t the only thing that defines a man then it shouldn’t be the only thing that defines a woman! More power to her!!
    Also more women should come out and be honest about their zero desires to have children. It will save a society

  15. I’m a mother, a stay-at-home mom who writes, and that part about wondering if all I’ll ever be is “Mom” resonates so well. I have been there, and I had my own ‘Australian Visa’ moment, only I couldn’t afford to go to Australia, so mine was a more local thought — think Warufaga (Elburgon) or Chuka.
    I have now found grounding in my writing and building a career out of it, but I feel her!

    I wrote this in one of the hardest seasons. Read and follow my blog for more.

  16. Motherhood is difficult, before we even add the societal expectations. I would love to be a stay at home mom and decicate my 24hrs a day to my kids but I would definitely lose myself. Therefore, I choose to be present for them when I can, and do my own thing when I want to. My balance

  17. Your career is indeed growing…

    But what would life be without these challenges? I always ask. Like they were designed for someone… Poor you if that someone happens to be you.
    Jikaze, jikakamue…

  18. Wooow …i can relate…motherhood and being a wife is not easy you get lost until you find yourself it’s just hell on earth.

  19. Those who just copy paste BIKOS actual words as your comments because that part hit for you, perhaps try paraphrasing or just simply saying what is it you really feel about that part? Thank you
    Now this is an incredible story that every mom and moms to be need to read. do it at your own term. The rest of the world will adjust.

    1. Ahem, to each their own… There’s a maxim that only 1 way to do things and 1 way to accept them. Hehehe live and let live or leave.

  20. This is awesome……Kudos to this lady…..sharing with other mothers…

    Its high time we chose to live our lives as we wish not as per societal expectations in all areas.

  21. “My daughter at some point had taken to using the dog’s plate to eat her meals. I let her.”

    I had to laugh at this point. Open-minded it is.

  22. I sighed too, motherhood sucks but we love our children to death.Let people mother the way they want,not prescribing what other mothers have done before.More to you Mo.

  23. As a mother I can totally relate on the needing my me time, putting myself 1st and not losing myself. Only a full you can take care of your family well as they take care of you also.

  24. I am a mother of three…two of whom are young adults. Parenting has been full of twists and turns but then again who said that anything in this world promised to be easy. I can’t relate to this Mum but again…who says I have to. What matters is that she is at peace with her decisions and she will comfortably deal with the who her children become as adults.

  25. Mo, you look like a piglet.’”…jeez when will people learn to keep opinions and advise to themselves unless aksed

  26. It’s only this morning that I saw a lady waiting for the school bus with her young one. I really missed my boys who are away in boarding. And I made myself a promise, when they close school imma spend every possible moment with them, including to the market, because it hit me that they’re slipping through my fingers. Fast.

  27. My sister’s mother in law went through the same in the late 70’s as narrated to my sister by her.She was married to a significantly older and influential guy and in time became depressed(Marital infidelity).She was in her early 20’s.She applied for an American Visa and got it.She was gone for 8yrs having left her kids(2boys) behind.She came back after 8yrs to attend her former husband’s burial.During that period his sister had moved in and was taking care of the 2boys.In his deathbed, he asked the sister to continue taking care of his sons till adulthood.So during the burial, the boys asked their aunt who was that strange lady who kept staring at them(The lady being their mum).So after the burial, she stayed and they got into a custody battle with their aunt.It dragged on for an year or so until the aunty was diagnosed with cancer.Obviously their mum took over but the boys were never the same after the ordeal.As we speak, the older son is a narcissist(battering women,lying,cheating, having multiple kids,abusing drugs).Thank God my sister left him,I had many sleepless nights having nightmares he had killed my sister.The younger son is mentally ill and can’t hold a conversation.They are rich but riches can’t undo the damage.Am glad ‘MO’ you stayed.My sister’s mother in law advised her never to abandon her kids and thankfully she supports my sister and the kids.

  28. Motherhood!101.I can totally relate to this as I have 2 kids who’re 15 months apart.Children take alot from us as mothers .I keep on telling my friends that I can’t judge anyone who chooses not to have kids.As a society let’s embrace talking to our kids that they don’t have to have children unless they can take up the responsibility and not let it break them.

  29. “That’s exactly the life I wanted growing up. I wanted to make lots of money and live in a penthouse in the middle of tao.”

  30. You know what? The part of her laughing when she was told she was pregnant the third time,hits home hard for me. And yes, motherhood makes you lose yourself in the way you knew yourself….but her experience gives me hope. I will find myself,anew.

  31. Motherhood is tough; the sleepless nights and the constant worry. And SHAME on those folks who assume that when a woman is on maternity leave,they’re resting or on a break from work…my take away is to do just you,be the source of your own happiness….Great piece Biko.

  32. I her whomever she may be. She doesn’t need our approval that’s what’s amazing. Often Mothers wait to be approved by society, by husbands, by children, by mother-in-law’s and when they don’t recognize you or your sacrifices, or need for recognition, we become resentful, bitter, heartbroken. Be you honey, Be you. ” I am incharge of my happiness.”

  33. “I’m not the conventional mother, I don’t want to be the mother anyone thinks I should be. I want to be the mother I want to be.”

    Kudos to her for being true to herself

  34. Aki she didn’t finish the samosa? Now why?
    Anyway, cornflakes for super that’s fine.
    If my sons want leftover chips and mutura for breakfast, that’s ok with me.
    Kudos Mo, Do you.

  35. For me the take away point as a mother is, what kind of mother do I want to be if all societal expectations were taken away. Deep!

  36. i love your writing interesting catchy and contextual, the lessons are immerse and you strive to cover many aspects and struggles in society. Motherhood as defined by the societal expectations can make a woman loose themselves and wonder who they were and what their purpose was before motherhood. Its very important to take time off and be you and progress you before empty nest leaves you a sad woman who doesnt know whatelse to do when not being a mother. Asante Biko

  37. And here I was thinking I was the only one who found those Java samosas outragious. First time I walked into a Java, I did my usal “Kahawa na samosa nne” order. The waiter asked me “Are you sure?” Then she politely suggested I try one first. Long story short, She received a very nice tip from this villager.

  38. More power to her!
    When I become a mother, I also want my freedom and my power. I want to feel more and not less. I want to feel full and not lost. I think it is very possible to lose yourself, not only in motherhood but also in marriage.

  39. Motherhood! Sigh!
    It’s justified for a mother to cry together with baby when the baby cries for feeding; if she has cracked nipples and a cracked ass….chei

  40. Hii series so far iko underwhelming diambo… Sio kama men and marriage series. Haina story zinaeza inspire common mwana nichi. It seems all your stories bro, ni za people from one side of the payroll. Wadosi. Example hii hapa, the lady amechoswa na life, her option ni kuapplu visa ya Australia buuda . How’s that’s supposed to make a struggling Kenyan under serikali ya jubilee to feel.

  41. “My daughter at some point had taken to using the dog’s plate to eat her meals. I let her.” It is these two sentences for me, and the fact that no one seems to be bothered by them

  42. You have a way with words Biko. Captivating. Look what you did to the samosa. Would love to hear more about small, charming pet project.. Maybe in the “Lights On” section sometimes in the future?

  43. Those samosas are so bland though, beats the purpose.
    As a person who was privileged enough to know that motherhood was a choice and that any path I chose, as long as it was truly my own, would culminate in a beautiful life; I read this with so much trepidation about how the story ends. I’m glad she found her happiness and reframed motherhood for herself at the end of it.

  44. Biko!!! Thank you! She’s doing her! The freedom that comes with it is exhilirating. Her hubby is a realist and he did good by helping her out of the motherhood maze of unhappiness. Damn societal expectations! Motherhood is a challenge treading the unknown. 1 month ago I felt like walking outta my home coz I was tired. Do you know I fell sick and the lethargy is the worst. I looked at hubby n told him to take over I am tired and unwell. Let’s just say it’s been crazy for him coz he’s become the Dammy i.e. Daddy mummy. . My children have been good sports and have been helpful. They ate Weetos for Dinner!!!
    MO! Has found her rhythm. Nothing in this world beats that!

  45. I choose the free Fancy the flow at times . There is a time you indeed have to let them little ones be……It can be very tiresome.

  46. How I have been waiting for a story that will just give me the chilled mood on motherhood no pressure no expectations to fulfil no nothing!!!, Just being you, doing you and loving your children the way you want. This article is a plus to me and my girl karen especially because she’ll be a mom in a few months.
    Thanks Biko..

  47. For a moment there I thought I was reading about myself until she mentioned running away to Australia. I had another country in mind…and I’m yet to find peace

  48. Yes!
    I tried to remember if I’ve ever interviewed anyone in my life who talked about a cracked nipple and a vein in their ass while casually eating a samosa and nothing came to mind. This is called career progression, in case you are wondering. It can only get better, I thought to myself.
    Mine tooo!

  49. She has spoken for so many of us! I in particular can relate to “First her nipples were constantly cracked and painful. They bled. On top of that, she also had haemorrhoids” No one ever tells you these things and when they happen on you, you think you will die! I still want to run away but I keep telling myself that I shall wait till my last born is done with high school……………but at that point what is left of me? I love my children but I think I have lost my identity. I can’t communicate with my husband……….ours is just “there”

    Thank you for this piece.

  50. I like her and I think Tee is an awesome husband

    Her children will be great

    Cheers to you tattooed woman, mother, wife

    Never change

  51. She really should have finished that samosa…

    My nipple nearly fell off… my child would start to nurse and the pain would be so sharp a little susu would escape… Those were the says when a C-section was some serious maneno. I had to go back to work before the wound healed. Maternity leave was all of 2 months. Baby was weaned at 2 months and got attendant stomach issues to mean, no sleeping at night. Then he suddenly refused to breast feed and I got mastitis. Wueh!! Let’s just say that that chapter of having babies was closed na kufuli na viti…

  52. Nice piece . More power for her,motherhood is not a walk in the park! Java samosas need to be in the menu as relief food,that took me out…..

  53. Always and will forever look forward to the joys of motherhood! This beautiful read just prepared me to switch off from the conventional motherhood fear. Thank you!

  54. The piles, the cracked nipples,the yearning for a break..all that I can relate. I particularly prepared for my second baby with the energy only a pregnant woman can sermon. I saved leave days to 53 (and that’s a big deal where I work) and moved closer to my work place to make breast feeding trips easier. Needless to say, two weeks after her birth, the little girl was on formula and I was on anti depressants. Motherhood, bah! Not for the faint hearted.
    PS. Never judge before you know the story

  55. I love that women are now coming out and shedding off this layers of glorified motherhood. I resonate with what she is saying. I am a mum of one and I hate being a mother. You at times think that a child is that missing piece in you till you realize that you are complete puzzle by yourself and true; you have got to find and give yourself happiness.

  56. Even animals have maternal instincts and would do whatever in their power to be a “conventional mother”.
    Mo is just a narcissist and too self centered. Again, if motherhood made her think of making an Irish exit, how about her role of being a wife? People need to be responsible for their own actions! You can’t bring people to life and just want to ghost them. Simple and plain acts of egocentric!

    1. As a woman who has gone through an almost similar experience, I’ll tell you this for free: it’s not as easy as you’re making it sound. Honestly, if I had had a choice, I’d never have had kids and these days when people tell me they’re praying for me to get triplets, I pray those prayers of theirs are never answered because I simply cannot do it all over again. Once was enough. Yes, we make the choice to have kids and yes, we should love being mothers and we should love and cherish the kids, but this doesn’t always happen and we’re human and we make mistakes. Motherhood is a learning process that no one can do for you and sometimes it takes years before we can settle into our best versions while undertaking this role. And we do it without a manual and a lot of times, without support from our significant others. This is no walk in the park.
      Don’t judge her too harshly.

  57. Awesome.
    You can only do you and in your own way…that’s the only way to feel fulfilled. I love that she found her balance and she seems much happier now. People have their prescriptions about what you should do and not do, how you should run your household etc…including how your marriage should look like. This life is not a rehersal. This is it. Live it in your own terms. I like her a whole lot.

  58. Beiko.
    Today is Thursday
    Must we wait another 5 long days before we get anada?
    Grab the next guy, interview by force even, then post here
    You may even give a paybill #
    My 2cents

  59. This is the best piece I have read this year!
    This was so me some thirteen years ago!No is lucky she had a support system in the form of her husband,I tell you it’s not easy!Big up Mo!

  60. ” visitors who come to see the baby and expect to be fed, ” These ones though they have a special place on earth. Never quite understood how someone visits a new mum and sits to be fed.

  61. As a mother, I do not subscribe to her way of doing things. But she is she and I am me.

    But allow me to say, motherhood should not be entered into until you are ready. If you do not want children, take contraceptives. Seek out the advise of a gynaecologist and get onto the right meds. Or do not have sex.

    However, once they are there, be there for them. They did not choose to be born. They cannot be undone. Motherhood, with or without societal expectations changes you. Your body changes, your routine changes, a lot changes. Whether or not society demands, children do need direction and guidance. You brought them into this world, give that direction.

    That said, I hope she is on some contraceptives. Or the husband has had a vasectomy.

  62. ‘Mo, you look like a piglet.’

    “Is that a baby crying?” [No, it’s a goat],

    Those animal references had me laughing loudly.

    The comment section led me to her “Unmothering The Woman” video.

    As informative as it was, I’ve got to say I prefer how her story was uncovered here.
    Candid. The raw Mo got to be seen.

    If a picture speaks a thousand words, the video did not give me the billion words I was looking forward to.

    To be fair, maybe it’s because I already knew what was coming even before I started watching it.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Love that she is marching to beat of her drums.

  63. I’m a first time mother and I feel motherhood harassed me. No one prepares you for this journey, you learn on the ‘job’. I’m slowly getting the hang of it and enjoying every-bit. Thanks to my supportive partner for making the journey worthwhile.

  64. That lemonade part is figurative. Mo decided to make lemonade out of the lemons (children) life (God) offered her. Great piece, Biko!

  65. Oh wow! A beautiful piece in deed! Let every woman know that motherhood doesnt have some kind of manual..and not all women were fashioned to be mothers as much as it is a beautiful feel to be one. We all have choices to make about motherhood! How you raise your own doesnt have to be scripted to another. Every Mama has her own method! More power to you Mo!

  66. My opinion on it is: Motherhood is extremely tough. Like really. I’ve delayed it for myself intentionally. I know. But I also think shes a careless human being

  67. Freedom is the most powerful feeling, especially in our relationships with self, others, the government, supernatural being and all other beings.

  68. This must be one of the most fucked up idea of parenting I have ever read outside of fiction.

    In fiction a character in Nuruddin Farah’s ‘Sardines’ tries this kind of happy-go-lucky kind of parenting to an unavailing and a very disappointing end.

    I am not going to prescribe any mode of parenting to anyone. But I believe that any parenting worth a mention (not to say a long post) need to recognize that children needs to be moulded and shaped without necessarily eating away their individualities with thoughtless (some might prefer conventional) parenting agenda.

    In absence of such deliberate effort to shape them, they grow up believing eating using a dog’s plate is cool as we have been told (when is the one mentioned in the story moving in with the dog in its kennel?) and cross-dressing is just fine. That is being silly as a parent!

    You grew up envisioning life as a childless party train. Your train got derailed and now you insist on vicariously living up your warped idea of life through your children. How about you also put up a contingency plan for handling the monsters you are happily feeding and nurturing for when they finally lose all the nuts you are helping them to loosen up?!

  69. >.>Being a parent was killing me. But the irony was that what stopped me from fleeing from my children were my children. I love them. But I also wanted to be free. I wanted days to myself.”<< The authenticity here!

    I am not a mother yet, but I have friends who are. Only a few loudly admit (even to themselves) that they still need some time to themselves and not cease to be great mothers to their children. I think if more women understand this, more mothers can be liberated from what society has set as standards for proper motherhood…that they can live for someone (their children and yet still live for themselves).It's also self love. I am also glad Tee was that understanding for her.

    More power to her!

  70. Oh my.
    Motherhood and parenting.
    That a mother even contemplated fleeing form her own children means ot had taken a toll on her.
    I am not sure if I feel pity or I am just to cautious not to ever find myself there.
    Parenting must be one gigantic ghost that many have never mastered the art of taming it and living in the zoo of what is called family.
    Let me swallow my Mang’a.
    Good read Biko.

  71. Oh there is a.mother like me.out there!! She is an even better version of me! I love her!
    Doing motherhood to your own beat has to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I give and when I cant I don’t. God has blessed me.with the most amazing babies ever! But there are days I look at them and wonder where they came from or if they are even mine. Because my autopilot days have been many….and the days they have had to grow up fast are many too! But grow up they have! And every day I amazaed and thankful I haven’t killed either of them so far! I didn’t really want babies but God blessed me with the most amazing children and a village that understood that when I could not they had to……my babies and my village have been my bigeeest blessings!

  72. I am currently pregnant and OBSESSED with java giant samosa’s i must eat two in a week!i totally feel Mo. with my 1st child i struggled because i was not used to being needed and kids are super super needy.the cracked nipples. i think in baby showers we should tell women the truth. it will SUCK then it will slowly get better. but i also realised the challenge is the 1st few years once they are older its better. till ofcorse they are teens. im dreading the teenage years.

  73. Motherhood can be challenging but that doesnt mean its not fulfilling, amazing,
    worth it….. its all that !!!!

    I think we are all responsible for our happiness , most times its the judging, the comparing ourselves to others looking at other women on vacation or in bikini or with exponential career progression, i dont think its the children responsible for our unhappiness but on the other hand its our responsibility to raise them.
    I feel with children you require more effort in all aspects if life – but thats OK, right ?

    And moms dont suffer in silence, the moment you start to detect soreness even just an imagination get medication or just start by smearing breast milk at the nipple works wonders !

    That said, if you know you dont want children, please use contraception and if you are really sure have a tubal ligation, chances are even though no contraception is 100% you will never conceive
    Hapo pa chidren being lemons (nimecatch)

  74. I enjoy and love being a mother, growing up I wanted 6 children. My amazing DM who makes life easier thank God for her.
    As for Mo, I totally understand the need to be you. Motherhood can be draining and make you lose yourself. They say there is no balance, one has to give in.

  75. This has just given me a whole lot of perspective on motherhood. Moreso with single mothers it is the burden is ten times. When I grow up I want to be brave like her. Nice piece.

  76. Motherhood is ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR EVERYONE. I am a mother of 1 and i am most certainly not having another child. I love her to death but never again. Between the sleepless nights, cracked nipples (hurts more than labour), househelp drama i just don’t have the mental fortitude to do this again.

  77. I don’t know what to say except you should have stuck to your guns about not having kids. Our gut feelings are almost always right.

    Side note: can we get Tee’s side of the story?

  78. You can tell how highly feminized society nowadays is. Women have options, choices. Its not bad but it changes priority.

  79. Well. Good she is fine and has found peace .Am of a very different opinion but then again that’s my opinion. As a father i give my all. There is no me anymore .Just my family. If am wrong then too bad.

  80. I will say, to each mother their own… Do it the best way you feel how.. Motherhood is not for the fainthearted for sure

  81. I am a mother. My husband does 50% if not more of the work involved in raising our child. As a result, I am enjoying motherhood way more than I would otherwise. Dare I say the problem is more that most fathers think all of the physical and emotional effort of raising children should be borne by the mother? Maybe this lady also had some post-partum depression, but by and large, most fathers have a long way to go in this regard.