100 days of working out: here’s my progress

100 days of working out

I still can’t believe it has been 100+ days of working out consistently. When I started out, it was initially to keep my mental health in check. 2018 was a rough year for me – emotionally and mentally. I had been struggling – with purpose, with parenting, with love and with work.

Having lived with depression before, I know too well what the triggers are. I know I am never too far away from the edge. I cannot afford to not be self-aware, constantly checking with myself to know how I am feeling and why. This, alongside selfcare, helps me stay in a good place mentally. One of the ways I do this is through exercising.

Exercising helps with my mental wellness

It has not always been this way. The truth is, I have not always been a fitness enthusiast. I remember how much weight I had added when I had Postpartum Depression (PPD), thanks to overeating. My depression typically came with eating too much, which is one of the symptoms of PPD. In addition to this, I found it hard to take care of myself. It was difficult to eat well, get enough sleep, and working out was the last thing on my mind.

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I shared a post up on the blog last week – on social media and how easy it is to compare our day to day with the often heavily filtered and edited highlights on IG and FB. • This photo was a mothers day tribute, but there's a back story to it, and this is it: • I was smiling here, grateful to have my mom, but struggling in my own motherhood. I was probably at my heaviest here too, because one of my (negative) coping techniques was eating comfort food. It made me add lots of weight, I was criticizing myself harshly + living with Postpartum Depression didn't make it any easier. On many days around when this photo was taken, I would cry myself to sleep as he was nursing by my side. {Link in bio} #whatididntpostoninstagram #mothersday #postpartumdepression #PPD #PPDKenya

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After going for therapy, my psychologist walked the journey with me and I gradually introduced exercising to my routine. Going for walks is therapeutic for me, so at the onset, I started with morning walks. Fast forward to 2017, and I had amped my routine with morning jogs. A year later, however, my mental health took a dip and I stopped going for the morning walks.

Teetering on the edge in 2018

When I had PPD, one of the risk factors associated with my experience was financial instability. I lost my job at 8 months pregnant, and this spun me right into pregnancy depression. This was not diagnosed, and I would later get full blown PPD. At the time of therapy, my psychologist let me know that going forward, financial uncertainty would be a trigger, considering my past.

Read More: Every June

My online work contract ended mid last year, and I found it incredibly hard to cope. I remember struggling with life generally. I was tired of living, but I wasn’t suicidal – which is hard to articulate. The closest I can come to explaining it is that I wanted to exist as an inanimate object. Like a chair or a table. Looking back, I am thankful for my support system – family and close friends who made that season bearable.

Getting back to working out

In late 2018, I got a new small time contract that helped me get back on my feet. With it, came the desire to get back to my routine. This time around, I decided to switch things up a bit, from running to total body workouts that targeted different parts of the body. I had been following my former school mate on IG (she posts her progress here), and her passion to workout consistently got me thinking that this was something I could do. She shared her progress on her Instagram every day, and her positive energy rubbed off on me. I asked her to share her workout routine, and I got started.

Working out with the bare minimum

When I started working out in late 2018, I had very little to get going. Instead of this dampening my resolve to start my fitness journey, it led me to make the choice to work with what I have. Initially, all I needed was a mat. I did not have one, and couldn’t buy it either as this was around the time my contract was about to end. So I took to using an old blanket. This might sound funny but, I also didn’t have the fancy workout clothes. So… wait for it, wait for it… I took a pair of old bikers, beige and black and showed up on my old blankie. Thank goodness I had a good pair of sports bras – nothing funny about jiggly boobies when doing jumping jacks.

Captured here, my old ‘weights’, and old blankie













Fitness Progress
Gifted dumbbells. We all need a friend like Lily.
















I showed up on that blanket almost daily. Around January, I increased my workout intensities and moved to the second level of the workouts. This called for the use of dumbbells and came right after my contract ended. I would have loved to get the dumbbells, but as it were, I had to balance between my son’s school fees and basic upkeep. This led me to fill two 2Litre bottles with water and use that for my weighted exercises. This option was clumsy and I could do better with the actual dumbbells – but they worked pretty fine.

That was until a friend saw my FB stories and was kind enough to give me her 2.5 kgs dumbbells. I was excited about this very kind gesture. The dumbbells went a long way in improving my workouts, something I am very grateful for. (Shout out to Dr Lily for this!)

Workout Progress so far

When I started out, I was not too fixated on the scale. I knew this would not be a 100% reflection of my progress. To get started, I took my BMI with the values below.


Initial Weight – 160 lbs (approx. 73 kgs)

Initial BMI – 29


Weight – 150 lbs (approx.. 68 kgs)

BMI – 27.4

Read More: My progress, two months into my workout routine

Seeing this significant drop in my BMI was such an encouragement. But what keeps me going, far beyond the figures is the progress I see with my photos. What these photos do not capture, is the fact that lately, I have been in a better mental space. This really helps with my mental wellness, and I couldn’t be more grateful!


This is to encourage anyone keen on starting their fitness journey:

  • Start where you are. Do not give excuses. I started with an old blanket and God-forsaken bikers.
  • You have to make time for working out.
  • Consistency is key. It is everything in this fitness journey.

PS: I’m not an expert – just a fitness enthusiast keen on mental wellness and great health.

Do you work out? If you do, how has your journey been? What is the one lesson that has stuck with you?




Here is how I am teaching my son about consent

Teaching my son consent

Consent – talking to my son about it

The other day, my seven-year-old-son came home after school and told me that a few kids in his class had refused to play with him. Naturally, I was curious about why that’d happen. Turns out, it’s the girls in his class who didn’t want to play with some of the boys, a group of which he was a part of. I prodded further and he said,

“The girls felt our games were too rough and that we often got too much into their space. We touched them even when it was not intentional…”

Translated from his Swahili response: Girls walisema games zetu ni rough sana, tunawaingilia sana na tukicheza tunawagusa hata kama hatutaki na ni game.

For a split second, I was dumbfounded – not because this is an unusual thing, but because I didn’t think we would have this conversation so soon. More importantly, I figured the need to teach consent early. Lately, social media has been abuzz with talk on consent, particularly following an increase in the number of rape cases reported (and an accompanying worrisome trend on young women been raped and murdered).

I am teaching my son about CONSENT

Consent has little to do with sex, and everything to do with boundaries!

I have been reading about consent and reflecting on my personal experiences. I realized something: Consent has very little to do with sex. It revolves about boundaries – creating them and the need to respect these boundaries. As a parent, I know the need to model the same for my son.

Read More: Struggling with parenting

I honestly did not think I would need to have this talk so soon, and when I began to respond, I found myself questioning whether it was the right time.

“He is only 7 years, isn’t it too early?” I’d think to myself.

“But if not now, when is the time?” I’d reply to myself.

Too early to teach him about consent?

The notion that consent is to be learnt at a later stage in life, perhaps the teen years, comes off the idea that sex education should wait as well. But we live in a digital and super-connected world, which means that kids are getting more information earlier in their lives than ever before. Isn’t it then, the right time for me to talk to my son about consent?

In retrospect, I had already started to talk to my son about body autonomy a little earlier – by letting him know that no one ought to touch them without their permission. No one was allowed to touch their private parts, and that a ‘No’ means a ‘No’. That included been ‘forced’ to embrace or to hug someone as a form of greeting. I made sure to emphasize that this was an important part of creating boundaries. In addition, if he ever felt uncomfortable with someone, he had permission to let them know they were uncomfortable and to leave that space.

In the same breath, he was not allowed to touch anyone without their permission. If someone told him they were uncomfortable, they needed to respect that – even if he did not think there was reason for someone to be uncomfortable.

Read More: Can I get Postpartum Depression after the first year?

When it comes to consent, a ‘No’ means NO

This brings me to this conversation we had recently. The girls in his grade felt uncomfortable playing with my son’s group of friends. My son needed to understand that he had to respect the girls’ decisions and boundaries. Granted, he may not have seen the ‘roughness’ of their games, but if the girls said No to that, they had to stop it.

I could see that he still didn’t think it was a ‘big deal’. So I flipped the conversation and asked him how it would feel if he had to keep telling someone that he didn’t want to play, even after he said ‘No’. Then it started to sink in. I saw his nonchalance turn to empathy – of course, he would hate for someone to do that. He is still learning. I know this provides a great chance to teach more about consent. I am aware that it gets more complicated as he approaches pre-teen and teen years. When all is said and done, the underlying lesson is the need to respect others and to create boundaries. This is not a one-day conversation – it is something I hope my son will keep in mind as he interacts with different people.

Practical ways to teach your child about consent

I got these handy nuggets from the Fatherly website, on practical ways to teach young children about consent:

  • Teaching a child about consent means teaching them about boundaries. So establish boundaries in the home and natural consequences when those boundaries are crossed.
  • Explicit lessons about physical boundaries can begin as soon as children are becoming curious about bodies, around 4-years old.
  • Lessons around physical boundaries start simple with reinforcing the idea that no means no. It also means that children are not allowed to touch another person without permission.
  • Parents need to respect their children’s boundaries, too. Model consent by not tickling, hugging, kissing or wrestling children when they say no.
  • If children are struggling to understand couch the lesson in the idea of asking permission. This may be easier for some kids to understand.

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The Invisibleness of Stay-At-Home Motherhood

The invisbleness of stay-at-home motherhood

And finding meaning as a Stay-At-Home Mom

I have blogged severally about my Stay-At-Home Motherhood experience here and here. This past week I found myself reflecting on it (yet again). Been a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM) means I have also been away from the typical 8-to-5 routine. I will be honest and say, sometimes I miss it. This became more pronounced in the past few weeks I have been out of work. Granted, it is not an easy experience. But looking back it has afforded me more time to just take a step back, reflect and truly define what success looks like for me.

Helping moms with Postpartum Depression is where my heart truly is

My heart’s passion is to provide psychosocial support for moms with Postpartum Depression (PPD) through the organization I started, the Postpartum Depression CBO (click this link to go to the website). I have been there as the 1 out of 7 moms who got Postpartum Depression. As a survivor, I know what it feels like to be a new mom and not to feel the bliss that comes with motherhood. There is also the hopelessness that a new mom feels when she cannot bond with her child. I have had suicidal ideation and struggled with intrusive thoughts. But, I got help.

Read More: Can I get Postpartum Depression After the First Year?

My dear friend Carol noticed I was battling with depression due to my anger outbursts. She recommended a therapist who took me through my sessions. This is what spurred me to start Postpartum Depression CBO. I am paying it forward. It also gives me a sense of purpose and fulfilment, certainly not monetarily.

Stay-At-Home Moms will often hear, “What have you been doing all day?”

In the mundaneness of Stay-at-home motherhood, the running up and down to care for my son and do chores has had me wondering – wondering if it matters. Domestic chores are at the crux of running a home. They are very time-consuming, but that’s not all. They also feel invisible. How many times do stay-at-home moms get the all-too-familiar,” You have been home all day, what have you been doing?”

To think that a mom may not even have had a chance to rest makes it sad and hilarious at the same time. From cleaning dishes to mopping the house, scrubbing the toilet, preparing meals and ironing, there is always something to be done in the house. Some invisible task that is only noticed when it is not done.

Read More: The Complicated Truth About Stay-at-Home Motherhood

Sometimes it gets to me – the mundaneness and invisibleness of it all. See, while at the office, you clock in the hours. It is easy to quantify the work done. I filed X reports, had a brainstorming meeting, got a new client on board etc. What for the SAHM? Does it matter that the laundry is done for the week? Or that the dishes are washed for the fifth time that day? Or that the week’s meals have been prepared in good time? Does it matter?

Spending moments with my son keeps me going

I struggle a lot with this, to be honest. It feels insignificant. In the large scale of things, what does it matter? In a number of years to come, will it be remembered that the house was sparkling clean? Or that my dish rack was filled with clean dishes? Or even that uniform was well ironed on Saturday evening?

The invisbleness of Stay-at-home Motherhood
Found this caption oh so true and relatable!

I am not so sure. Spending time with Jay is the one thing that keeps me going. The fact that I have the chance to mould him and spend these precious days with him makes the days bearable for the most part.

This feels like rambling now, and I am not sure it even makes sense. But I thought to share, for the stay-at-home who feels alone in these emotions. We are often told to savour these moments because they are fleeting and they will pass. Sometimes, a mom needs that reminder that it is worthwhile and that it counts for something.

PS: This article will be worth your while – This Dad Thought Stay-At-Home Moms Did Nothing All Day. Then, THIS Happened…

Featured Image: Photo by Fancycrave.com from Pexels



Book Review: Birth of a New Brain by Dyane Harwood


Birth of a New Brain, Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood

I remember it like it was yesterday: racing thoughts, intrusive images and the overwhelming urge to harm myself and my then 5-month old son. I would later learn I had Postpartum Depression and Anxiety (PPD/A). Sitting across the room from my psychotherapist a year later, and I broke down realizing just how close to the edge my motherhood experience had brought me. As a PPD survivor, I am always reminded of how lucky I am to have gotten help in good time.

Read More: My Postpartum Depression Story

That is what spurred me to start PPDKenya, a CBO that provides information, resources and psychosocial  support for moms with PPD. PPDKenya’s vision is a Kenya where moms are more informed about PPD, and have access to support and resources to improve their maternal mental health. In line with this, we carry out awareness campaigns both online and offline. Our online engagement is what led me to e-meet Dyane Harwood. Dyane is the author of the candid memoir, Birth of a New Brain: Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder.

Dyane and I are both survivors of maternal mental illnesses, and I was excited to hear from her. She offered to share a PDF copy of her memoir, both for my benefit and the moms we support in our groups. This year, I decided to delve into her book. Dyane is, no doubt, an incredibly talented writer whose ability to share her story candidly is both inspiring and compelling. I decided to share my book review on her memoir in this new series I am starting on my blog.

Book Review

Birth of a New Brain, Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood

Post Hill Press, New York, 2017

272 Pages, PDF Copy

Non-Fiction Work/ Memoir


From Amazon:

“After the birth of her baby triggers a manic maelstrom, Dyane Harwood struggles to survive the bewildering highs and crippling lows of her brain’s turmoil. Birth of a New Brain vividly depicts her postpartum bipolar disorder, an unusual type of bipolar disorder and postpartum mood and anxiety disorder. 

During her childhood, Harwood grew up close to her father, a brilliant violinist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic who had bipolar disorder. She learned how bipolar disorder could ravage a family, but she never suspected that she’d become mentally ill—until her baby was born.

Harwood wondered if mental health would always be out of her reach. From medications to electroconvulsive therapy, from “redwood forest baths” to bibliotherapy, she explored both traditional and unconventional methods of recovery—in-between harrowing psychiatric hospitalizations.

Harwood reveals how she ultimately achieved a stable mood. She discovered that despite having a chronic mood disorder, a new, richer life is possible. Birth of a New Brain is the chronicle of one mother’s perseverance, offering hope and grounded advice for those battling mental illness.”

Read More: When Moms Experience Trauma During Birth


Living with a mental illness is not easy. Moms who experience maternal mental illness will admit that it is not an easy journey. For moms with bipolar disorder, shuttling between the incredibly highs during mania and the despair-filled lows of depression makes it difficult to enjoy motherhood.

Dyane has lived with bipolar for most of her life. Her dad lived with bipolar one disorder too, yet never did Dyane once imagine that she would fight the same mental illness her dad did. It was not until her second child was born that her bipolar disorder was activated. Her first daughter’s birth, for whatever reason, did not activate the disorder then.

According to Dr. Alaine Gregoire, the founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance,

“The Postpartum period carried the highest risk of developing bipolar disorder in the human lifetime, although reasons are unknown” as cited in Harwood, 2016, Page 26

Her second birth experience led to her hypomania, what she aptly describes in the first chapter title as ‘The Gateway to Postpartum Bipolar Disorder’. No one at the hospital seemed to have detected her hypomania, likely because she appeared ‘excited’ about her child’s birth.

Dyane is discharged to return home. In the chapters that follow, she shares her experience with hypergraphia. This is defined as an overwhelming urge to write, so much so that affected persons write on just about everything. For Dyane, it hampered her ability to care for her child as she could not stop writing even when breastfeeding or visiting the washroom!

Dyane soon realized she needed a psychiatric intervention after nights of sleep deprivation, racing voice and pressurized speech. She began to get psychiatric treatment as an outpatient. But as is the case with many who live with bipolar disorder, outpatient treatment may not be adequate. This marked Dyane’s first admission of what would turn out to be seven hospitalizations.

Dyane Harwood, Author of 'The Birth of a New Brain'
Dyane Harwood, Author of ‘The Birth of a New Brain’

Read More: Postpartum Bipolar Disorder 

The Birth of a New Brain paints the picture of Dyane’s resilience, especially after receiving several doses of medicine. Most of this medication was found not to work as a result of bipolar-medication resistance. In a bid to improve the quality of life, doctors will often prescribe multiple medications to better the patient. For Dyane however, this caused severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

One of the things that stand out in Dyane’s experience is the use of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) to lift her out of the depths of despair. This, following her dad’s death, drives Dyane to request for ECT. ECT is a process that induces seizures electrically to treat patients with medication-resistant bipolar.

Additionally, Dyane shares some of the changes that she makes at a personal level. These include bibliotherapy, forest baths, exercise, sleep and selfcare habits. Her book also lists resources (mainly in the US and the UK), but there are also websites which are accessible for many people. Dyane is also kind enough to recommend reading material for anyone who would love to learn more about maternal mental illness.

What I liked:

Dyane writes well and is able to let readers into her world as a person with bipolar disorder. She does not use big heavy words. Even she makes mention of medical terms, she goes on to explain what a word/technique means/works. Her writing style has prose and is easy to follow through. Dyane also backs up information with resourceful content for anyone willing to read further.

What I Did Not Like:

There is not much to write here. However, I was hoping to read a little bit about her husband’s experience having a partner with bipolar disorder. This, I presume, would be helpful for fathers reading the book. It would give a glimpse of their experience, as well as highlight other practical ways to help.


In conclusion, Dyane’s Birth of a New Brain does a great job of creating awareness and educating her readers on bipolar disorder. To do it so clearly required that she share her story with candour. I would highly recommend this book for the mom with Bipolar disorder, Peripartum onset. Moms who have had any type of maternal mental illness will catch glimpses of themselves in Dyane’s moving memoir.

Follow Dyane on her website here.

You can also read one of her many interviews on this post.

For Kenyans looking for a support group for bipolar disorder, USP Kenya and PDO Kenya offer psychosocial support, information and resources on Bipolar Disorder.


I Finally Got Around To Making my 2019 Vision Board: Here’s How.

A simple guide to creating your vision board

I have long been planning to make a vision board. When the New Year rolled in, I made sure to put that on my list of things-to-do (Alafu, is there anyone who is still saying Happy New Year? Because it is ageing really fast!) I finally got around to making it and was pretty stoked by how it turned out.

A vision board, just as the name suggests, is a tool on which you display pictures that represent what you aspire to be or have in your life. This not only helps you clarify your life goals, but it is also a wonderful way to stay focused on your goals.

A simple guide to creating your vision board

Why create a vision board?

When I decided to make one, I started by visiting this site to read up on vision boarding and what it entailed. In this day and age, many of us tend to be distracted from our goals quite a bit – whether that is because of a demanding career, transition to a new stage in life, a breakup, even social media! There are many things that make it easy for us to get distracted. This is where creating a vision board comes in handy.

Read More: 8 Lessons I am Learning From Being Unemployed

3 solid reasons to create a vision board

  1. A vision board gives clarity for your goals

Many of us will typically create resolutions at the start of the year. For the most part, these may include wanting to exercise, travel, eat better and improve relationships among others. But how specific are these goals? What would it take to exercise well for instance, or to improve your relationships?

Having a vision board provides clarity for these goals. This is because to make one, you will need to look for pictures that accurately capture the details of your goals. For some, exercise means going for a daily jog, taking bi-weekly Zumba classes or even purchasing a home workout DVD. In seeking these images, it is then possible to turn those resolutions into tangible action and achievable goals.

  1. A vision board is a great addition for your daily affirmations

For the most part, a vision board contains pictures of what you would want to do or achieve. It is important, however, to include words or phrases that resonate with your values and goals. This helps to silence the ‘Inner Critic’, you know the negative voice that never shuts up and continually discredits your capabilities? That voice is the one I am referring to as the ‘Inner Critic’.

Affirmations are a reminder of the potential that you have, away from the grip of the Inner Critic. Some great affirmations include:

“I am present in this moment”

“I am enough” and

“Worthy of the space that I occupy”

  1. A vision board helps you to stay focused

Lastly, a vision board helps you to stay focused. We are all too familiar with how quickly the ‘New Year, New Me’ vibe is easily buried by the demands of daily living. How then is it possible to stay focused? By creating a vision board. Regardless of what happens, this vision board serves as a reminder of where you would want to go. It taps into your conscious and subconscious so that your mind is fixated on your goals.

Now that we know the benefits of having a vision board, I will share the process of how I made mine below.

Read More: 7 Lessons in 7 Years of Motherhood

What you need to make your vision board

Most websites will include the use of a poster frame, glue, marker pens and old magazines as the things that you will need to bring your vision board to life. I, however, did not have the resources to purchase all those things. Here’s what I used:

  • The hard backflip of last year’s calendar, but you can use manilla paper or even buy a dry erase board for this purpose.
  • Office glue
  • Old newspapers
  • Old magazines I had kept in my closet (and which everyone has finished reading anyway)
  • Marker pens

Here are the simple steps I followed to make my vision board

  1. I first blocked out a period of time to prepare the vision board, ideally about 2 – 3 hours uninterrupted (Yes, I opted to do this while kiddo was in school). I then made cuttings from the newspapers and magazines, choosing pictures and words that resonated with my 2019 vision plan.
  2. Once I had all the cuttings, I divided the hard backflip of last year’s calendar into squares to cover different aspects of my goals. Mine included PPDKenya (the organization I founded to raise awareness on Postpartum depression and offer support), Finances, Health and Fitness (More about my fitness routine for 2019 in this post), Family, Relationships, Work, Travel and Books. This way, it would be easier to assemble relevant ideas on the board.
  3. I then collected the cuttings in the different categories and began to paste them onto my ‘board’. This went on until I had a collage of photos that represented my dreams and goals.
  4. I then let the vision board dry, before placing it on my desk where I would see it every day. I especially loved that I found words which I feel, are defining for my 2019 – BOLD and EVOLVE. Every morning I wake up, say a prayer and take a good look at my vision board. It is a reminder of where I am heading and what I would like to achieve this year.

PS: For anyone who would want to prepare their vision board on their gadget, the use of vision board software may interest you. Read more about that here.

PPS: Spurred by my pictures, my son also made newspaper cuttings and made a mini version of his vision board. In it, he has pictures of guys exercising (guess my enthusiasm rubbed on him, hah!), footballers, a spanky new car and a beautifully designed living area. I found his choice of images pretty interesting, and I hope his dreams come true!


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I Started Working Out 2 Months Ago – Here’s how it is changing my life!

I will be honest and say, I stumbled upon the idea of working out.

For the longest time, I have not been one to be fascinated by the idea of going to the gym. In spite of this, I have always wanted to maintain some level of physical activity. Part of the reason for this was because, as a Stay/Work At Home Mom, it is very easy to pile up the weight without even noticing it. To counter this, I found a way to incorporate morning jogs into my daily routine, or at least as often as I could.

Working out at home

The morning walks, I would later learn, help a great deal with my mental health. When I had Postpartum Depression, I remember vividly staying indoors for up to two weeks consecutively. The most I would do during this period of time was to go outside to hang baby’s clothes. The abrupt change from going to work and basically running up and about town (before pregnancy) to staying at home all day postpartum would ultimately contribute to my depression.


Later during therapy, the psychologist would emphasize that I always find time to spend time in the outdoors. When I started doing so, it helped alleviate the way I felt staying home all day – like the four walls were crushing in on me and suffocating me. Since then, I have kept up with walking and/or jogging. But what of the idea of a workout that targets different parts of the body? That, I stumbled upon.

When the bug to start working out consistently bit 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that lately, I have been posting selfies of my sweaty self after my morning workout, aka ‘sweatfies’. A couple of my friends have been getting in touch to encourage me on this journey, and applaud my consistency. And while I appreciate it, it hasn’t always been like this.

One of my friends, former high school mate, is an avid hiker and fitness enthusiast. She shares her journey on her Instagram page (yall go follow her here if you are enthusiastic about home workouts and pushing yourself), and as I have been following her for a while now, I couldn’t help but notice how committed she is to her workouts. She would post her steady progress, fitness goals, meal preps, hiking adventures and everything in between. It was impossible not to feel the zeal with which she shared her journey.

I started to talk to her, asking how when she began, how she has stayed consistent through it all and what motivates her. She was kind enough to answer my endless questions. I loved that she was and still is accessible and open about her personal fitness journey. One of the biggest benefits for her, and which stood out for me, was how exercise had helped manage her cramps.


Getting started on my workout routine every morning

Now, if you know me quite a bit, you would know that I have often gotten such painful cramps. Not once have I had to go to the hospital, skipped exams, even missed work and important functions because of menstrual cramps. The moment she said that, I was sold to this idea. Armed with the hope to reduce my cramps and improve my mental health, I decided I would start working out the very next day.

One fine November morning, must have been the 19th day, I dusted my sports shoes, got my sports bra and track pants and set to work out. Let me tell you guys, the heaving and panting and sitting on the floor I did that day will stay with me for a long time. I couldn’t keep up with the workout pace then. In that moment, I realized how unfit I was.

Instead of letting that discourage me, I committed myself to doing a workout daily, for 5 days a week. On either Saturday or Sunday, I would get my morning jog done and one day would be a rest day.  The weekday workouts are only 25 minutes long; I can afford to gift myself 25 minutes daily (which I would typically spend scrolling mindlessly on Social Media). I allowed myself to get going at my pace, and not to get discouraged for not keeping up.

I committed myself to this one thing for the rest of November and December (Yes, I put in a good 25 minutes even on Christmas Day J ), and keep going in 2019. Every day I would wake up, ease into the day by making my bed first and re-hydrating, then changing into my workout clothes and getting started.

How working out is changing my life!

Initially, it didn’t feel like there was much happening, but I noted, with great delight, how much the workouts improved my moods. In December, something interesting happened. My menses just began. I did not experience any cramping at all! For anyone who’s had painful cramps (save for those with medical conditions such as endometriosis for which treatment is required), you would understand what a relief this is! That only fuelled my gusto to continue working out.

In January, I started to feel my pants get a little loose around the waist area. Granted, the changes may not be noticeable to others, but these are the changes that keep me going! I remember sharing with my sister about how amazing it felt not to have my trouser button pop open!

I still have some way to go with my fitness goals for 2019, but I am certainly not where I was when I began. Working out daily has given me some level of discipline I did not have. I encourage myself to get up and get the work done even on days when I would rather sleep in. It continues to help my mental health too. I cannot wait to see how this journey unfolds all of this year – and yes, I will be sure to post an update, with before and after pictures!

Do you work out? How has your journey been? What would you say are some of the benefits of doing so? Let’s talk in the comment box below.

8 Things I Am Learning From Being Unemployed


One of the things I decided this year, was to blog a lot more often and to share from a place of authenticity and empathy. The Goal is to do 52 posts this year – quick math, that is a post a week for the rest of 2019. I am still on track so far, with these posts for the month of January.

  1. The 30-day Mental Wellness Challenge 
  2.  7 Lessons I Learned in 7 years of Motherhood
  3. This is What I Did Not Post on Instagram
  4. 7 Important Things I do During My Morning Routine

In today’s post, I am sharing lessons I have learned on been unemployed since late December last year. Admittedly, I cannot compare my experience with anyone who’s been unemployed for years, because I cannot imagine how much harder it is. On the flip side, I cannot downplay the fact that the past few weeks have not been the easiest of days for me.

Stay At Home Motherhood

So, I have shared before on the blog, that I have been a stay/work at home mom. After my son was born, I couldn’t go back to work and, for the first nine months of his life I stayed at home – literally. During this time, I was also battling severe Postpartum Depression (but didn’t know it for a while) and staying at home made the symptoms more intense.

Read More: My Postpartum Depression Experience

Towards the end of the year, a friend introduced me to online writing. By then, my son had settled into a pattern of sorts, and I could juggle motherhood and getting some work done. I kept at it, and would later grow into it through the different seasons and years. This past December holidays, however, two of my contracts came to an end, perhaps a little unexpectedly. It threw me off balance quite a bit, as it would anyone. Towards the end of the year, and for most of January, I have been applying for jobs as a freelance writer, sending cold pitches and generally keeping hope alive.

Today though, I broke down. There is something about seeing the calendar page flip to mark a new month when you don’t have a job. It is a subtle-not-so-subtle reminder that bills are due – rent, groceries, electricity, school fees, transport, insurance… name it. Today that reality just kinda smacked me in the face. It took all of the energy in me not to have a total breakdown. Part of what it took was to journal – my all-time go-to coping mechanism. I write and write and write and write, and as I did, I thought to share some of the lessons I am learning from been unemployed.

Lessons I Am Learning From Been Unemployed

Lessons From Unemployment

  1. There is no shame in being unemployed

Of course this is easier said than done. It is easy to feel embarrassed about a conversation that ends up with, “So, how’s work?” or “So, what do you do?” But I am realizing that this is nothing to be ashamed of. That many people will, at one point or another, go through unemployment for a period of time. If anything, you are encouraged to speak out and network because you never know what opportunities abound with the persons you interact with.

  1. Work does not define me, but it is intricately tied to a sense of self-worth

Knowing and reminding myself that I am worthy is one of my key affirmations. But even that, in the face of unemployment, gets shaken to the core. Having a job to go to or to do, every day is closely related to one’s self-worth and self-esteem. Part of the reason for this is that, subconsciously, going to work makes you feel as though you are making a contribution to the society. In the absence of this contribution, there is a sense in which one lacks purpose.

Add to this the existence of mental illness and it is easy to see how unemployment, lack of self-worth and depression create a vicious cycle. This study done by Gallup-Healthways in 2014 showed that depression rates are significantly higher for those who have been unemployed for six months or more. It underpins the link between work and self-worth and makes it easier for me to understand why, these past few days have caught me questioning my worth and contribution, even with PPDKenya.

Read More: Stay-at-Home Motherhood affected my self-esteem

  1. Having a support system makes a big difference!

The truth of how I have survived this past month, and especially with kiddo going to a new school, is the anchor that my family is. I have a super supportive family, and my sister has been incredibly gracious to me. My close circle of friends has also been incredibly resourceful in checking in and offering encouragement. This is something I cannot be blind to. I recognize it somewhat cushions me from the very jagged edges. I am also cognizant of the fact that not everyone has such a support system. For this, I am very grateful.

  1. Do not quit everything

Granted, life does slow down to a certain extent when you are unemployed. After the frenetic pace of school hunting, my days slowed down noticeably. The mundaneness set in after my sis went to work, and my son was off to school. I would find myself asking, “Then what?”

With this, it is easy to quit everything – quit eating right, quit exercising, quit sleeping well… and plunge into job hunting. But the truth is, this will easily cause burnout. What I have learned to do these past few weeks, is to keep a basic routine of sorts. Part of this has been in form of my morning routine that includes a daily 30-minute intense workout (for those who have been wondering where the zeal comes from!). The morning workouts give me something to look forward to, space to process my thoughts and a toned body at the end of it all.

  1. It is okay to have good and bad days

Someone recently Whatsapped me and said that they envy my lifestyle (having followed my daily workout selfies) – and I wanted to cringe. Because what she didn’t know, was that for the most part, those workouts keep me sane and grounded. On some days though, I will drag myself out of bed, workout and then watch the hours go by with barely any strength to look for a job or make connections. I realized that those bad days are okay too – I just don’t want to linger there too long.

Read More: 17 things in 2017

  1. Having an emergency fund is KEY

Yes, I did have some cash somewhere that helped changed schools for my son, but in retrospect, it should have been bigger. I am reminding myself why it is important in this season. Closely related to this, is that it is wise not to put all of one’s eggs in one basket. Ever since I started freelance writing, I would work with at most, two clients at a go. But I am now realizing how detrimental that is to my financial well-being – and I am taking it for a lesson.

  1. Do the things you have always wished you had more time for

It is easy for the days to waste away when there is no work to go to, but time is valuable, even in such a hard season. This past month, I have tried to make good of this time by

  • Working out a lot more consistently
  • Reading more books (onto my third read for the year)
  • Blogging a lot more
  • Sharing content consistently on the PPDKEnya platforms
  • Brainstorming and writing down ideas
  • Networking, making cold pitches and generally putting myself out there.
  1. Do not give up

I could as well be telling myself this every day. Do not give up. Continue to put in the work. I keep reminding myself that the worst anyone can say no when job hunting/ looking for opportunities, is a NO. The best that can happen, well, there is no limit to that. I will keep putting myself out there. Something will work out, and when it does, I will add an update to this post.

For the record: I am a freelance writer and have been published before on Standard Digital’s Ureport Platform, and you can read the articles here and here. My main niches are Parenting, Wellness, Productivity, and Maternal Mental Health, but I can cover just about any topic on request. Additionally, I have built and continue to run this, and the PPDKenya website which you can visit here. Please get in touch with me if you need services to be provided by a freelance writer. Here’s my LinkedIn profile too. 



7 Important Things I Do in My Morning Routine

Creating a Morning Routine

For most of my life, I never really thought myself to be an early riser, or what we commonly refer to as the morning person. I felt better suited to sleep late into the night and sleep in some more in the morning. It certainly did not go well during high school, and most of the times I would sleep in my uniform so that I am ready to go when the morning bell rang. That, or I would drag my sleepy self to class in my nightdress and a Maasai shawl to ward off the morning chill in Thika.

In my adulthood, I would only wake up early for work, and even then, it was a mad dash out of the house. I would typically wake up late, prepare in a huff, skip breakfast and get to work. This often left me feeling exhausted. The worst feeling, perhaps, was playing catch up with the rest of my day. My transition to motherhood wasn’t any easier. Sleep deprivation, coupled with my Postpartum depression (PPD) made it harder for me to settle into a routine.

Why creating a morning routine could change your life

My Morning Routine

Fast forward, and a few years later I can gladly say I wake up before 6AM on most days, even on weekends. So, what changed?

Part of it could be attributed to the fact that my son is older now, of course. But a big chunk of it revolves around the fact that I discovered the power of a morning routine in recent years. A morning routine is important because it sets the stage for the rest of the day. If you can get your morning routine right, you can get most aspects of your life right.

Your first ritual that you do during the day is the highest leveraged ritual, by far, because it has the effect of setting your mind, and setting the context, for the rest of your day. – Eben Pagan

One of my New Year Resolutions two years ago was to create a good morning routine. I came across Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning and Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. These two tools revolutionized my life, and changed my mornings for the best!

There are a number of reasons why morning routines are encouraged for anyone who wants to improve their productivity. First, a morning routine sets the pace for the rest of the day. You will avoid feeling like you are catching up with the one hour you lost in the morning. Secondly, getting this routine in place avoids mental fatigue.

Mental fatigue affects ALL of us. Why does this happen? It happens because we all have a finite amount of willpower at the beginning of each day. When we use it to make ‘small’ and inconsequential decisions in the morning, it means there is less energy to make sound decisions later in the day. If you would love to know, it is for this reason that Obama and Zuckerberg wear/wore the same thing from day to day (Link).

Read More: 7 Lessons I have Learned in 7 years of Motherhood

Knowing what to expect every morning reduces mental fatigue. To do this, try and make sure that your morning routine does not very much. Here are 7 things I do in my morning routine after I wake up at around 5:30 AM.

  1. Light stretching

I typically wake up and lie in bed for a few minutes. I breathe in deeply, tell myself it is a new day and it will be ah-mazing! Let me also confess that because I used to get sleep paralysis, I don’t sleep face downwards – ever. So after a night of sleeping on the side, I like to do a few stretches to get my body to wake up well.

  1. Get a glass of warm water

After more than 6 hours of sleep, I wake up feeling dehydrated. Warm water feels like just about the right thing to do, so I will take a glass of warm water to get my metabolism going before taking anything else.

  1. Morning pages (20-30 minutes)

My morning pages were inspired after reading about Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. This practice involves writing about 3 pages of whatever comes to mind. This is not content that you will ever publish or share with anyone. Think of it like a place to dump your thoughts and get your creativity flowing. Since journaling has always been my go-to selfcare tool, it was only natural that I fell in love with morning pages.

Read More: Self-care: Here’s what I like to do for my mental wellness

  1. Prepare my son for school (40 – 50 minutes)

He is usually up by 6 AM, and is picked about 45 minutes later. After he wakes up, we chat and bond for a few minutes then say our prayers. He will then make his bed, fold his pajamas and dress up ready for school. By then, I have prepared his breakfast and he is good to go. I see him off downstairs with a hug because you can never give your child enough hugs.

  1. Workout (30 minutes)

Once I am back home, I will then change into my workout clothes and do half a minute of HIIT. I am currently following the Focus T25 workouts by Shaun T. This is one of the best parts of my days! I break a good sweat with these workouts and add a morning jog on the weekends. Plus, the workouts are only 25 minutes, so there is literally no excuse for not putting in the work.

  1. Cold Shower (20 minutes)

After cooling down, I jump in to take a cold shower. There are many health benefits of taking a cold shower which you can read here. I feel so rejuvenated and energized after that, and as often as I can, I want to take a cold shower.

  1. Breakfast (20 minutes)

On most weekdays I will have breakfast alone and prefer to enjoy it unrushed. Since I started my workouts, I have found myself gravitating towards healthier choices. It doesn’t make sense to get all sweaty then eat all the wrong foods. My breakfast typically includes sweet potatoes/ arrow roots and tea, oats, cereal and eggs. As I am having breakfast, I like to speak positive affirmations.

“It is going to be an amazing day”

“I am a phenomenal woman”

“I am doing the best I can for my son, and that matters”

“Things will work out, eventually”

After breakfast, I then brush my teeth ready to start my day. I work from home and have a dedicated space to do that from. This routine has been incredibly helpful for me! I must also add that I prefer not to log onto my social media pages before getting the most important task of the day done. To do this, I schedule posts going out on Postpartum Depression Kenya (PPDKenya) pages using Hootsuite, and this allows me to get so much more done.

How does your morning routine look like? What is your favorite part of the routine?


This is what I did not post on Instagram

Black Girl On Vacation

“Do not compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel because of what you see on social media”

This has, for a long time, been a personal mantra. It is something I have been embracing, and a reminder for myself. You might be very familiar with the sinking feeling that you experience when, after scrolling endlessly on social media, starts to creep at the back of your mind. For a while, I opted to deal with it by keeping offline for extended periods of time. Of course that would work for some time, and then I would get back online and experience that sinking feeling.

Scouring the web the other day, I came across this article. The author of the post admits to signing up for a yoga retreat to cope with anxiety. One of the author’s friends made a comment about ‘how she was always on vacation’. For someone struggling with anxiety, that could not be further from the truth. It did, however, cause the author to reflect on how often it is that things look so glamorous from the outside looking in.


What I Did Not Post On Instagram

This is so profoundly true for many of us. I know fully well that it is stressful to compare my day-to-day life with everyone’s highlights (because few of us will rarely post the hard days, and that is okay), but sometimes there is that lingering feeling that I could be the only one who hasn’t found their footing. Reading through her post made me realize that those feelings are normal for the most part, and we do get through them (Unless it is a mental illness for which you would need professional treatment).

Looking back, I could not help but realize how it is possible to unintentionally create a façade. In this post, I will be sharing the backstory for some of my Instagram photos. Follow me on Instagram here.

A Mother’s Day Tribute while I was struggling with PPD

Backstory: I was smiling here, grateful to have my mom, but struggling in my own motherhood. I was probably at my heaviest here too, because one of my (negative) coping techniques was eating comfort food. It made me add lots of weight, I was criticizing myself harshly and living with Postpartum Depression. On many days around when this photo was taken, I would cry myself to sleep as he was nursing by my side.

Some parenting days are hard.

Backstory: He was 4 then, I cannot even remember how this meltdown began, but it ended up with him taking my mom’s plates and smashing them to ground. In a moment of utter frustration, I beat him so badly that he slumped and slept on the floor. The all-consuming guilt after he slept meant I cried myself to sleep, because of the frustrations and mostly, because I felt I was never a good mom to start with. PS: This is not something I am proud of, certainly. Therapy has helped me manage my anger better now.

Grief is hard – it is not a destination, it is a journey that changes you forever

I am laughing here, we are. But these are my cousins and we were hanging out the day after grandpa was buried. I am wearing a pink cap to hide my swollen eyes.

Vacationing – but still feeling lost

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sassy'Samoina Rembo Qui (@samoina.k) on

This photo was taken in Nyali, during our annual family vacation. It was an amazing getaway, and full of memories. What it doesn’t capture is the fact that I was feeling lost – jobless and with bills to pay. I contemplated shutting down PPDKenya altogether and going to a far far place where no one knows me.

Glamorous dinner wear and a dose of anxiety

I am smiling in this picture, with my fierce ladies. But what I did not post on IG is that I had a panic attack on that evening. My anxiety was spiralling out of control and I was struggling with intrusive thoughts (what if the car crashes? what if I get kidnapped? What if I never see my family again?) Forever grateful for Christine who came to pick me up from the house that day. <3


Birthday cupcakes and a meltdown

My aunt delivered these cupcakes for my son’s 7th birthday. What I did not post is that he had the mother of all meltdowns on this day, and we only got to blow his candles two days after. He was frustrated and angry (he is transitioning to a new school), and I was because I felt like the meltdown was an attack on my capacity as ‘good mom’.

The #WhatIDidn’tPostOnInstagram means a lot to me, because it is always a reminder that the camera does not capture everything. That we all love to show the strong kickass side, but this does not take away from the fact that we all have hard days.

Do you relate to this post? Check out #WhatIDidn’tPostOnInstagram on Social Media too.

Featured Image: Photo by Ogo from Pexels







7 lessons I learned in 7 years of Motherhood

Mother and son

On this day, 7 years ago, at this time, I was celebrating the birth of my son. He came in at 7:34, head full of hair and with the sweetest eyes I have ever seen. I will never forget the emotions that I felt when he was placed on my chest for skin-to-skin care. I was grateful that the delivery process went well, albeit with a couple of stitches. Hello episiotomy! His birth made me feel a sense of relief because it was finally over – where it is the experience of labour and delivery.

But I will also admit I felt somewhat unprepared for my new role as a mom. Here’s this tiny babe who would be looking up to me for literally EVERYTHING. The uncertainty of life and parenting alone cast a dark shadow on what was a beautiful series of moments with his arrival. As I was wheeled to the maternity wing to get him to nurse, I did not imagine the journey as it would unfold, and my experience with Postpartum Depression.

7 lessons in 7 years of motherhood

7 lessons in 7 years

Today as I journaled and reflected on this past 7 years, my heart is filled with awe and pride, mostly awe. Here are 7 lessons learned in 7 years of my motherhood journey. They are by no means exhaustive, but they represent some of my most defining moments.

  1. There is no shame ought not be shame with the process of child birth

I will be honest and say that childbirth is downright raw, and messy, and beautiful. Before becoming a mom, I was mostly acquainted with the beautiful  – photos of the newborn snuggled in a cozy blanket and mommy tired but smiling, sometimes with makeup. Not that there is a problem with this, but the truth is that it doesn’t represent all that there is to the birth process. There is fluids and blood, lots of it. And poop, and sore tissues, and stitches and salt baths just to name a few.

It is raw, it is messy and it is beautiful.

Read More: 8 things no one tells you about pregnancy

  1. I learned that I did not have control over everything

One of my earliest motherhood lessons was that I did not have control over everything. Right from how my birth experience would look like to adjusting to breastfeeding and taking care of myself. I quickly learnt that whilst I could not control these aspects of my life’s new chapter, my response to them mattered a great deal. And the most important part of my response was directly related to how I was doing mentally. Which brings me to my third lesson.

  1. Postpartum Depression (PPD) is real and can affect anyone.

I remember vividly the expectations I had of motherhood. The thought that it would be a magical and blissful experience, buoyed by the beautiful pictures I had seen from some of my friends. But as it turns out, I was the 1 out of 7 new moms who got Postpartum Depression.

A number of risk factors accelerated my depression. Looking back however, what stood out the most was that I had pregnancy depression. Pregnancy depression, also known as antenatal depression, is a maternal mental illness that affects expectant women. If it is not diagnosed early, it typically leads to PPD, as was the case for me.

Mental illness does not care, and can affect any mom regardless of their social status, religion, education level or marital status. You could be married or in a stable relationship and still get PPD. You could be Christian, Muslim , Hindu or atheist and still get PPD. We have also had celebrities sharing openly about their experiences. So if you are a new mom with PPD, please remember you are not alone.

Read More: 5 Celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with Postpartum Depression

  1. Motherhood is a lifetime journey.

A friend recently asked me if, looking back, there was anything I would tell the 21-year old I was before becoming a mom. I thought about it, and what stood out was the need to go into motherhood whilst prepared. And that’s because it is a lifetime journey. Unless you would love to give up the baby for adoption, motherhood is a life journey. There is no trial period, there is no opting out – you are simply in it. And while you cannot be 100% prepared, it helps a great deal when one is in a good place mentally, emotionally and financially.

  1. Every child is unique

Right from the onset, it was clear that my son would be a loud, lively and energetic kid. It was evident, at least to me and those around me, where he got these traits from. It was easy to notice his unique personality. He was, and still is growing to be his own person. He easily articulates his thoughts, he is firm with what he wants (or doesn’t want) and has his own opinion. As a mom, it is easy to want to change certain aspects of his personality to meet my unspoken expectations, but I am learning to let him be his own person. This video explains it best in ways I never could.

  1. Selfcare is important

I cannot overemphasize the importance of selfcare. I got around to learn this, albeit the hard way as a Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM). In his early days, I poured all of me into taking care of his needs round the clock – making sure he was fed, changed, vaccinated, bathed and getting him to sleep. Over the days, doing that without taking care of myself only led to burnout and I started to resent the whole idea of motherhood. It made bonding with him difficult, and my Postpartum Depression did not help. Going for therapy, however, helped me find selfcare tools that I could use to ensure my mental wellness, and ultimately improve my ability to care for him.

Selfcare is NOT selfish. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Read More: Here’s what is in my selfcare toolbox

  1. Motherhood is an evolving journey

As he grows up, I am also realizing I am changing. As I enter my thirties this year, I realize I have grown in tremendous ways in the past 7 years. I am not the mom I was in 2012. It has been an amazing journey, one that has had its own challenges. But today, I sit here, grateful. For these seven years, for my son and for the opportunity to help other moms with PPD through PPDKenya.

What would you say are the most defining lessons of your motherhood journey? Share in the comment box below and let us encourage each other. 

Featured Photo by nappy from Pexels


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