Wait Your Turn

At church, my babies (I love to call them that because for me, there is no greater delight in serving those little minds at Sunday School, and finding God’s love with them, complete with their brute honesty and candid innocence), a bunch of just about 30 kids, often get to enjoy playing around in the vast outdoors. On select Sundays, there are a couple of bouncing castles for the children to expend their energy, and boy oh boy, those little kids have so much energy, it amazes me.

What gave the impetus for this particular post was a lesson my son taught me while at the bouncing castle. It is interesting to know that previously, my son had avoided the bouncy contraption like a plague, and it would puzzle me because, ‘Son, I thought you’d love this’. This specific Sunday, he decided he would give it a try.

So, there he stood in line, his clean-shaven head shining in the midday sun, his excitement palpable. His gleeful shrieks rent the air, coupled with the laughter of the other kids as we set up the bouncing castle. Once it was up and running, the kids in queue would jump in turns, for a couple of minutes. The joy on the faces of these kids was contagious. It was marvelous to see how they live in the present, how they enjoy each moment, certainly a lesson for many of us whose thumbprints area permanent feature on our encased smart phones.

My son waited till his turn came. When he jumped in, the expression on his face was priceless: a mixture of ecstatic discovery and utter disbelief at this thing that has you bopping up and down like a yo-yo. For a split second, the typical mum I am ran into panic mode: Will he get hurt? Is he okay? Will he enjoy it? Clearly, my frenzied thoughts were of no use since the little boy was having the time of his life.

When his turn was over, he got off and went to the back of the queue, to do it all over again. I thought to myself, ‘this is cool’. But cool didn’t last a few more minutes because my son came to me, head hung low, asking that he be allowed on the bouncing castle one more time. I was tasked with explaining to his 3-year old mind that he’d have to wait his turn. Typical of 3-year olds, my answer was met with incoherent whining, but you know what they say, mommy gotta stay firm. When he realized I would not budge, he left to join the queue, albeit grudgingly.

As I stood there looking at the energetic lot of kids, I couldn’t help but reflect on the lessons learnt in that brief dialogue. ‘Wait your turn’ could not get out of my mind. In this day and age where we breathe and live on social media, it is not difficult to get a glimpse into other people’s lives. Not a week passes by without seeing pictures of graduation parties, engagement photo-shoots, new-born status updates, weddings, awards… the list is endless. Granted, social media is an amazing place to share great news. If we are not careful however, it will be the one place that we use as a yardstick for all of our life’s achievements and accomplishments (even when we know we shouldn’t).

Sometimes (and these are many times) it is easy to wallow in self-pity, thinking everyone else has their life figured out but me. Thinking everyone is having an amazing stress-free life, but me. And while this is not true, it does have the capacity to lead us to an unwarranted pity party. This cascade of events will often (almost always) leave us feeling drained, empty.

Telling my son to ‘wait your turn’ reminded me of the importance of this principle in daily life. Celebrate with others in their achievements, knowing well that your turn will come. Life, and this goes for all of us, is characterized with seasons. Seasons come and go, so you will not last in that dreary lonely spot forever. Wait your turn.

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Photo credits: Kiarii Kimani

Symptoms of Post-Partum Depression

Post-Partum Depression (PPD) refers to depression that occurs after pregnancy, a common condition and one that happens more often than many people would realize. According to Postpartum Support International, about 15% of women will experience profound depression after birth. So, what are the symptoms associated with PPD?

The symptoms of PPD will usually differ from one mom to another, but there are basic red flags to look out for. Moms suffering from PPD/ people around them may notice the following:

  • Intense anger (sometimes directed at the baby) and persistent irritability. You tend to feel angry, rage, at anything, everything, anyone, everyone, and that precious baby is no exception. It is feeling an uncontrollable resentment, especially at the people that matter.
  • Crying, often accompanied by overwhelming sadness. The period after delivery, for most moms, will be characterized by lots of tears, usually tears of joy. For a good number however, PPD shows up with tears of anguish, tears of trouble and sadness that sinks to the pits of your soul.
  • Emptiness, Numbness. There is nothing to look forward to, not your life’s, not your baby’s. You feel like a leaf, drifting in the afternoon breeze to the land of nothingness. Simply going through the motions, dreading the thought of another dark day.
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, hopeless and helpless. Guilty because moms are not supposed to feel this way, they are meant to bond with their babies. Those toothless smiles of you and baby on Instagram? Those snuggly cute feet you posted on Facebook? Forget about that, Just a mask to hide the longing persistent pain of PPD. Ashamed because, I don’t know if this happens to other moms, plus, doesn’t my baby deserve better? Hopeless, what is there to hope for in this endless rabbit hole? Helpless, no one seems to understand what I am going through. No one seems to understand why I can’t bond with my baby. No one seems to understand why, and neither do I, I hate my baby so much.
  • A lack of interest in the baby’s welfare. You’d care less about baby, or his/her future…
  • You feel overwhelmed: ‘I can’t do this, I never get it right, I am poor at motherhood, I shouldn’t have chosen the ‘family way’… And you are petrified. Scared at the thought of been unable to pull it together and be a good mom. And confused about this thing that just hangs over your head… for days on end, this thing that you can’t comprehend.
  • Thoughts of self-injury and/or injuring the baby. You feel like self-injury will justify the pain, the pangs of a condition best described as a dark phase. It is not uncommon to feel suicidal, thinking it is a solution. The better if you can eliminate both you and baby. Or take a random drive, baby strapped in his seat, over the cliff and into the azure ocean waters. Or perhaps that’s too harsh, how about running away and leaving no forwarding address? Leaving everything that has been associated with ‘normal’ behind… and go to the unknown…


  • You know, deep down, that this is not normal, that something is amiss, that something doesn’t feel right. Afraid that this is the new harsh reality before you, that this is the new normal, and worst of all, the old, boisterous person you were is gone forever.
  • You are scared that if you ask for help, you will be met by a judgmental lot, because good moms don’t live like that, good moms don’t feel that way, good moms don’t hate their babies… the list is endless.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help, immediately. Take note, however, that experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms for a day or two should not cause alarm. We all have those blue days. PPD is not just ‘having a bad day’; it is a persistent thing, a dark stage, one that makes it almost impossible to carry on with daily life. This is why it is very important to get help. Feel free to share this information with friends and loved ones. It helps to be on the lookout too for that new mom who is still finding their footing with the extra little person they have to take care of. Always go beyond the casual ‘Hi’, Be patient to really ask ‘How are you doing?’ and to wait for the truth, that things are not always fine. Sometimes all a mommy with PPD needs is a listening ear. There is hope.

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PS: PPDIsland is not managed by medical professionals, and therefore does not avail medical diagnosis or recommend any treatment regimen. This blog was birthed out of the need to create awareness about Post-Partum Depression, and especially in Kenya, as well as to give insight into what precedes this condition, from the eyes of a PPD Survivor. The blog is run out of the desire to help other moms know that they are not alone in this journey. For moms to know that there is hope even when, many times, PPD has you frazzled, and you are fraught with incessant fear, worry and doubt.

Any pertinent information found on this blogpost must be used in consultation with a professional medical practitioner. In the same breath, highlighting any specific medical website is not an endorsement or assurance of the quality of the said website. It is important to ascertain the authenticity of such information on the web.


Featured Image: photo credits Tintseh Photography


Love Is …

The past few days have been rough for me, rough for my son, thanks to an ear infection and an itchy skin rash that gave way to sleepless nights. The last I experienced such nights was smirk in the middle of Post-Partum Depression (PPD), nights when solace was found in tear-drenched pillows and burp-filled baby feeders, soiled diapers and chilling baby cries, nest-like hair and frumpy bra-less tees.  This week, I got to reflect on the essence of what love means in this context. I realized, many times, we have pre-conceived notions of what love is, a bouquet of (over-priced) red roses on Valentines, gifts on our birthdays, love proclaimed from lofty Facebook status updates, complete with swanky photos and a barrage of ‘likes’ and comments… the list is endless.

And while there is nothing wrong with this (when the motives is pure, to appreciate and love), it got me thinking just how many love actions we miss on a daily basis. In the heat of the midday sun, when at work, typing away furiously; at home, when the crazy schedule of dinner preparations, crying toddlers, a tired partner and the oh-not-so-positive prime time news converge in your house; on the roads when the cloud of dust left behind by a kanju (City Council) lorry does not do much to lift your moods… Just how many love actions do we miss in these seemingly mundane moments? It got me thinking, and spurred this blog post. Love is,

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Love is that quiet glow of the morning sun that reminds me I am taken care of by THE one, that I am alive for a day such as this, and that it is a new slate to live victoriously.

Love is when momma wakes up early to prepare her signature pancakes, not to mention that she wasn’t feeling well the previous day, yet she does it lovingly, tirelessly.

Love is waking up a groggy child to go to school, and after 10 minutes of gently getting the kid to wake up, I am met with the warmest, fuzziest most loving hug to start my day.

Love is when, the said child gets unwell at school, and his teacher calls me up to pick him and take him to hospital, having first attended to him.

Love is when such hospital visits are fraught with the fear of the unknown, the fallibility of the future, and ultimately, incessant worry, yet my sister lovingly takes my attention off this.

Love is when my sister knows I am too fatigued and sleep-deprived, and attends to my son, helps with his homework, fixes his dinner, and gives him his medication.

Love is when a dear friend notices something is amiss from those ‘masked’ Whatsapp chats, and rings me up to ask how we are faring. Then in a flood of tears, I let them know that we (my son and I) are not fine, and friend listens, and friend is there to give virtual hugs, and pray for me.

Love is when friend follows the call up with mobile money transfer to cater for my son’s hospital visit and medication.

Love is when I can meet up with friends who, in my imperfection, allow me to be myself, to laugh without a care in the world, to smile without worrying about where my small eyes disappear to (look at my photos, you will see the disappearance:D), to eat all the cake in the world without worrying about calories and waist lines (or the lack of them).

Love is that colleague at work who knows the month has assumed a parallelogram, and has so many corners, and they choose to drop a meat pie for lunch, or chapatti.

Love is that relative who I can call and just pour out my sorrows, my frustrations, my anger… and they listen, and admonish where necessary.

Love is getting home to the partner who makes early dinner just so you can curl up like a ball, and snuggle, and have your feet meet under the Masai blanket, watching comedy together.

Love is reading Bible Stories to my son and watching him drift to lala-land, and saying a prayer over his beautiful soul.

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Love is in the vulnerability of sharing my deepest struggles with PPD, opening up a dark phase to the scrutiny of the rest of the world, yet choosing to do so if only to help one momma out there know they are never alone, even in their imperfections and less-than-perfect mommy moments.

Love is knowing that all these simple acts in the humdrum of life are perfectly orchestrated by The One, and that it is up to me to see it that way. Not to wait for the grandiose display of love when I cannot enjoy and appreciate the simplicity of love in its most basic, unfiltered form. Love is.

PPD- What is that again?

Post-Partum Depression  – PPD, what is that again? I have gotten quite a few questions from the people around me, on exactly what this is, and why I am so vocal about it. Thought to give some insight into this, Think of it as a basic introduction.

So, the past 9 months have been filled with highs and lows, moments of ecstatic joy and (seemingly) endless days of waiting, days when you smiled and days when you cried as much (sometimes for no reason, comes with the pregnancy) and all these experiences were crowned with the birth of your precious baby. Everyone is happy for you, everyone is excited you made it safely, and you cannot help but marvel at the thought of carrying and giving life.

The hospital visits warm your heart, the congratulatory texts and messages on social media make you all fuzzy, and sometimes you cannot wait to post a picture of the love of your life. Two days later, you head home, your baby swaddled up in the warmest of shawls. As you open the door to your home, you walk into a new season of your life. This is like flipping a new chapter of your favorite read, where new characters emerge and the plot takes a sudden drastic change, one which you are only too enthralled to take on.

You sit and hold your baby, looking into their eyes, and wonder why you feel so low, so drained, so angry. But this is supposed to be such an amazing experience? Why do you feel down? Granted, the change of emotions is attributed to the experience of child birth. Many new moms will feel anxious after birth, and a good number will experience baby blues. This, however, lasts a fortnight at most. Mothers suffering from the blues will often cry, experience anxiety, become irritable and find it hard to catch a few hours’ quality sleep.

If, however, this blues last more than a fortnight, there is need to be concerned. Post-Partum Depression begins after delivery, and is characterized by the same traits of baby blues, only they are heightened. In addition to mood swings and anxiety, PPD symptoms include anger, bitterness, drastic changes in appetite, lack of interest in activities that one previously enjoyed as well as extreme negative emotions. The latter range from regret, to guilt to hopelessness, and worst of all, helplessness.

This begs the question, what exactly causes moms to plunge into depression following childbirth? Scientists agree that there is no specific reason, but PPD is often a lethal cocktail of hormonal changes, biochemical factors, the surrounding environment, psychological changes, and for some moms, genetic factors.

Present research points out that one of the most reliable indicators of PPD is depression during pregnancy (especially in the last trimester). Other indicators include:

  • Prior episodes of depression.
  • Family history of depression.
  • Marital conflicts/ relationship conflicts
  • Stressful life events such as the loss of a spouse, loss of a job or lack of a support network.
  • Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
  • Previous addictions.

While risk factors predispose new moms to PPD, they do not necessarily cause the condition. As with any other medical condition (and especially because this one directly affects you and baby), it is imperative that you get medical attention immediately. Call up a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, and are going through major life changes. You may also get to talk to a counsellor to walk you through this.

NB: This blog is not managed by medical professionals. As such, it does not offer any diagnosis or treatment regimens. This blogpost serves to give incisive insight into Post-Partum Depression with the hope that other mums suffering the same will know that they are not alone. Consequently, information shared on this platform should not be used to self-diagnose, and must always be checked with a professional medical practitioner.

Photo credits: Tintseh Photography

Finding The Perfect Balance

I am starting to think I have a knack for speed. Yes, beneath the surface of my driving skills, beyond the slow careful driving and the improvements in reversing (this is a big deal J), perhaps therein lies a speed monster. One thing I am sure, it will not be with dad’s truck. Anyhow, that’s beside the point. I prefer manual cars to automatic cars, simply because I find the former more engaging, more invigorating, more riveting. The whole change of gears, ‘listening’ to the car’s engine, and zooming along on gear 5 on long clear stretches (hello road trip to Narok), it’s just, fascinating.

This is not a tutorial about driving so hold on, I am going somewhere with this analogy. The basics of driving a manual car require that you know how to balance the clutch pedal and the gas pedal if you are to make any progress. This is not the hard part. The hard part (at least for many learners) is doing so, on a hill, commonly referred to as a hill start. Dreaded this damn part during my driving test.

Ideally, to do a hill start, you’d have to find the select gear one and step on the gas pedal to rev the engines, after which you slowly release the clutch to the biting point. This is the point at which the engine connects with the wheels, and the engine sound changes. This delicate balancing act determines whether or not you do the hill start well. Failure to balance it out will result in the momentary panic attack of rolling backwards.

I still haven’t perfected the hill start thing, and today’s failure to pull this off got me thinking about the same approach in parenting. Parenting is about getting the perfect delicate balance. As mom to a 3-year old who has the energy of combined nuclear plants, this balance comes into play daily, in more ways than I can count.

My son, active as he is, is bound to make mummy angry. Granted, I am tasked with the responsibility of raising up a godly man who will influence his generation. Admittedly, this does not come easy. It calls for discipline. Doesn’t the Bible say in Proverbs 13:24 that he who withholds the rod hates his own child? So discipline is paramount.

The second part of that verse says ‘‘… but he who loves him (his son) is careful to discipline him’’. Other versions say ‘’… he who loves him disciplines him diligently’’. Perhaps that is the part a number of us miss, careful, diligent disciplining. During the first two years I experienced Post-Partum Depression, I might as well have not had this verse in my Bible.

I beat my son, the first time at three weeks after birth, and many times after that. Beating, in every sense of the word. The frustrations of PPD, the sad sunken feeling, the loneliness… yet to the outside world, and my FB friends, I was enjoying motherhood. I’d beat him so bad. The terrified screams of an infant who could barely speak haunt me sometimes. The long hours of nothing but crying amid shortness of breath, that would eventually give way to labored sobs. And this would launch my own torrents of tears, guilty, angry at myself but most of all, the fact that I felt like I was never the best mom for him.

PPD took a good two years of my life, and my involvement in my sons. It’s been a long journey, one whose first step was to accept that I was depressed. I cried out to God on many nights. When David says in Psalms 42:3, My tears have been my food day and night, I can (almost) relate. On many days I’d cry, right beside my wailing son, swaddled in his cozy baby shawl… wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Finding grace in this fight against PPDemons (as one of my favorite bloggers Yael, the brains behind PPD to Joy ) has been a long journey.

God was present, even when I didn’t feel like it. He carried me, us through it all. He came in the form of family and supportive friends, friends who stuck when I was nothing but a mess, and loathed the very thought of motherhood. It is this experience that birthed the idea of a blog to help other moms who may be going through this anguish of PPD.

Back to the disciplining, I am learning to find that all so elusive balance. I am learning to create new bonds with my son, learning to become involved, actively present in his life. I am learning that with parenting, the trick lies in maintaining the bonds as well as keeping tabs on parental authority and respect. It means I will make time for my son, I will enjoy wrestling him (sometimes), I will enjoy competing with him to see who finishes brushing their teeth first. But anytime he calls another child ‘pumpkin head’ in Swahili, I will have to discipline him, carefully, diligently.

It is the perfect delicate balance required of me, and just like the clutch/gas balance scenario, it takes time, effort, practice and prayer. When I experience the hill-starts in parenting, may I remember to find a balance, may I be reminded that even in my imperfect balancing, God’s grace will meet me there. Finding balance.

Photo credits: Gravity Glue

Welcome Page

My parents christened me Samoina, a name which has seen me get many more (nick)names, but one which stuck (and which I loved) was C-mone, more palatable for the many tongues if you asked me. Mummy tells me my name was the result of a cultural fusion, English and Maasai. Why the latter you ask? Because I have Maasai roots, paternal ones.

For the most part, my life has been a wild ride, with its ups and downs as is the case for all of us. Years before my son was born, post-campus, I was the typical party animal, hopping from one place to another, basically ‘turning it up’ like they call it nowadays. I turned up till I could turn up no more, well, I just lied. I turnt up until 3 weeks into my pregnancy, and the realization that I was carrying life within me altered my life’s trajectory (for the better).

My pregnancy was fluid for the most part, save for a threatened miscarriage 8 weeks into my pregnancy, on my 24th birthday. Looking back, this has got to be the most precious birthday present, that God would preserve the life of my unborn child and keep him to term. Needless to say, this was, in retrospect, the turning point of my life, a crucial point. In hindsight, this is where my PPD stemmed from.

In January of 2012, my son Jayden was born. His name means ‘grateful to God’, and that is what I was, continue to be: grateful for the blessing and miracle that my son is. His biological father has not played any major role in my life, or my son’s for that matter. Over the years, I am beginning to understand that a father need not be the man who sired the child; rather, a real father is one who guides, disciplines, admonishes and celebrates the child. One who makes a conscious deliberate effort to be present for the child through the different stages of their lives. And there are many dads out there living it up, amazing job y’all doing.

My son’s birth, while bringing lots of joy and the new lease of life in motherhood, brought with it a dark cloud that would continue to loom over my head for a couple more years. The dreaded Post-Partum Depression (PPD). At the time, I did not know what it was, but what I knew is that I was almost always angry, depressed, disappointed, feeling like a failure, and subconsciously feeling like motherhood was to blame. At some point I was suicidal, figured it was better to just, exit to the left, upwards, wherever, it didn’t matter.

I’d wish to say it is easy to just ‘snap out of it’, but it is not. It is the pain, and subsequent triumph over PPD that birthed the idea of a blog, as far back as 2013, but I held back. What do I have to share? What do I have to say? What will they say? That will be sharing too much. All these frenzied thoughts joined my mental panic train, and remained operational for a long while.

The lingering desire to share my story, share my journey, persisted. And here I am today. I pray, hope, trust, that this blog will encourage someone, that this blog will inspire another mother, that in these words, we will find God’s abundant grace. Welcome to my blog.