I’ve been surprised by how many women have found my blog by searching “ambivalent about motherhood” or “ambivalent about pregnancy” into a search engine.

I’ve been overwhelmed by how many women are going through the ambivalence I felt when I first got pregnant. And how many of us are curious about how we’ve all moved forward since we first posted.

So here is my update:

My son turned 4 this year. He’s a happy healthy thriving little boy who looks like my father and like Mzee’s mother. He’s got a lot of my strong willed personality.  I like him. As a person. I find him a fascinating little person in his own right. I find his likes interesting and his dislikes fascinating. He asks for what he wants and speaks truths as he sees them.

Its been a challenge to balance my growing career with being a wife and mother.

But as Sheryl Sandberg says, the most important career decision a woman makes is in the choice of her life partner.  I’ve got an amazingly supportive husband who agreed to leave his well paying corporate job and move to a different country with me so I could focus on growing my work. Its been a year since the international move and all is well.

But we’ve also had to have serious negotiations about our roles in the family.

I think our marriage is very gender unconventional but thats because of our personalities.

I’m impatient and brash, he’s patient and very nurturing.  So he does the things about parenting that need the patience and I do the things about parenting that need mixing up. I take our son out and about into the world with me when we’re running errands. When he’s with his Dad they stay home. Dad is the one to read him a story and put him to bed.

The price I pay for that is when he’s got a boo boo, he runs to Dad first.  Its hard sometimes but I also know that Dad has put in the work and I don’t begrudge him.  We play different roles in our son’s life.

But I’ve also had to learn to balance my career zeal with my time with family. One of my resolutions for this year is to be at home and present more. I won’t work from home. I leave work at work and I don’t work the insane hours I enjoyed working before having my son.  I’m enjoying it actually. But I know i’m enjoying it because its a decision I’ve made and not one forced on my by society’s conventions.

We’ve also had a challenge getting other people to accept the roles we’ve built in our marriage.  Women especially are the meanest. Women are the most staunch defenders of conventional gender roles. It blows my mind.

I’m still a work in progress. My family is still a work in progress.

And in the last few months my hubby and I have been debating whether to try and have another child!



honestly, I have no good reason for not having have kept this blog up. I love my community here.
Its just that life has been taking over.

I now have two full time jobs and a baby and a hubby. I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, overstretched.

And I keep running into people asking ‘how do you do it all?’

Can I scream that out loud to everyone. To all those women out there who might be tempted to take on the madness of what i’m doing. DON’T!

Its not sustainable in the long run.
The problem is that I don’t know what to drop.

I can’t quit being a mom, though I feel constantly guilty for not spending enough time with baby Barak.
I can’t quit my day job. It pays the bills and honestly, I love it.
And I can’t quit project A after spending the last five years getting it off the ground and on the verge of going big.  And it feeds my soul with joy and wonder.

I feel stuck.
very very stuck.

And I’m not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel which is more scary.

Thats my honest authentic truth at the moment.
i’m still waiting to exhale.

I’ve taken a long time away from blogging as life has been happening. Its been a crazy tough balance once I got back to work from maternity leave and had to balance full time work, project A, baby, and a marriage.

I’m taking a break from taking a break about blogging to post an email I thought was so incredibly important about the ongoing constitutional debate in Kenya.

It was written by Ngunjiri Wambugu of Kikuyus for Change and I think the point he makes are incredibly relevant at this important moment for Kenya.

I am at Adis Ababa with some colleagues, and we have just been reminded how it feels to be in a ‘controlled’ environment. It also reminded me of a comment I heard that was once made by President Museveni to some Kenyan journalists; he told them that Kenyans have too much democracy.

As we were standing at Adis International Airport waiting for our transportation, we watched the local population milling around & one could feel that ‘feeling’ that you cannot explain; the feeling that tells you someone is watching you on behalf of the state. It is something similar to what Maina & I felt in Nyeri over the weekend when we were showing the ICC movie-and police officers showed up to ask what we were doing, as a guy who claimed to be an AP Officer hovered around Maina with a notebook & pen.

A group of us started reminiscing about where we have come from as a country; & being younger than most of them, I was reminded of stuff that happened before I knew what civil society is.

I was reminded of the mwakenya years when university students and scholars could get thrown out of campus (and that was the easy option), for being friends with ‘undesirable’ elements. I was reminded of Rev Njoya being caned like a child, on a street, with police watching; I was reminded of Kepta and Rev Njoya being followed into All Saints Cathedral by armed police officers, teargased in there & beaten to near death, for daring to demonstrate before Moi; I was reminded of Prof Wangari Maathai standing up to Moi’s plan to build a multi-storey bulding at Uhuru Park, and what she went through: I was reminded of Muite, Orengo et al, being arrested in the middle of the night & airlifted to police cells in their home towns, to be charged there; I was reminded of Saba Saba; of the mothers keeping vigil at Freedom Corner & stripping naked, for their illegally detained sons; I was reminded of KBC; I was reminded of roadside firing & hiring; I was reminded of Saitoti’s humiliation, & the fiasco that was our elections; I was reminded of Moi saying how ‘hawa watu wataokotwa mmoja kwa mmoja, mpaka watetemeke’, and how some of our current leadership clapped at his words: I was reminded of Moi saying ‘kutoka leo sitaki kusikia mambo ya human rights tena’, and people clapping.

Then I was reminded of the optimism of 2002; how we screamt saying Moi has gone, Kenya is saved; I was reminded of Kenyans taking responsibility of their areas of residence, volunteering for community policing: I was reminded of citizens arresting corrupt police officers and taking them to police station; I was reminded of Kenyans travelling from upcountry to bring their taxes to KRA to help the new government; I was reminded of Kenyans walking so that the PSV industry could get streamlined: I was reminded of how we all believed that we now had an opportunity to right old wrongs & that there was nothing that would stop us from rebuilding our country.

Then I was reminded of the Standard raid; I was reminded of the First Lady’s visit to Nation; I was reminded of Michuki saying if you rattle a snake, you should not be surprised if you are bitten; & saying that the last constitution was bad because we had a good president, and how we did not need to change it because we had a good president now; I was reminded of Anglo Leasing: I was reminded of unknown MOUs made & broken; I was reminded of 2005 firings of the whole cabinet; I was reminded of the 2007/2008 PEV violence; and I was reminded of how helpless I felt then.

Then I started asking myself whether Kibaki’s laidback gentleman mien had lulled us to sleep; whether we realized that there was nothing to stop him doing all the things that Moi had done: I wondered whether we appreciated that part of the reason why we were having the open conversations on Kibaki, his government, the constitution, etc was because people had lost their liberty, limbs and lifes so that we could have this space; i wondered whether we realized that what we were enjoying was actually a temporary repreive, that was based on the operating structure of our current president; I wondered whether we realized that were it not for this particular president’s disdain for political posturing, he could do everything Moi had done; I wondered whether we had envisioned Kenya under a new president but this constitution after NO had won; maybe someone as energetic as Raila-active and focused, & who does not take criticism as well as Kibaki.

I pictured Martha Karua as president under this constitution; or Raila Odinga; or Gideon Moi; or, Uhuru Kenyatta; or Peter Kenneth: or Kalonzo Musyoka; or William Ruto, or Paul Muite, or Maina Kiai,….or even myself. Then I asked myself whether we as a country should first sort out issues of kadhi’s courts, abortion, etc, or put in place a structure that ensures that the law, not a person’s personality, is what determines how we are ruled.

That is when I realized that the YES vote is first & foremost all about managing our executive leadership to safeguard our current space. I realized that we were choosing between allowing the state to beat clergy like children on the street walk, & having them hold press conferences to take on the government; I realized that it was about ensuring no single person had the right to tell me I could be his friend & vice president, but not the next president: It was about ensuring appointments were open & transparent; It dawned on me that the new constitution had one primary and overriding benefit;-to expand & permanently secure the democratic space that Kenya was enjoying, and allow us to elect anyone president, without fearing whether he would turn into another Moi.

Folks, we must let the NO campaign run on single issues as it is doing-it is a hard-earned democratic right, and it was earned in ways that some of us cannot even fathom. However, let us also realize that the YES campaign is also single issue-it is about ensuring no-one else can ever do a ‘Moi’ in this country.

At that point I realized that the concerns on the Kadhi courts; was an issues I could deal with latter; I realized that I can afford to not understand the land clause; that I can live with the abortion clause as it is & work to have it worded different latter. I realized that alot that could be improved; but I also realized how dangerous the option we are not talking about was. The current constitution allows Nyayo Dungeons to come back into existence. It allows police to raid media houses; it allows universities to throw out students on political reasons; it allows clergy to be bludgeoned by shadowy security agents; it allows another Moi to exist.

Guys, the YES campaign is actually a single issue campaign;

Everything else can wait, everything else can be sorted out later; but if we do get the benefits in the draft constitution, we wouldnt even have the space to re-discuss the constitutional process again after Kibaki/The Coalition government are no longer at the helm. Without the 90% good we will not even be able to fix the 10% Bad

If we do not say YES this year, we will not even have the space to say NO in future


Had no time to make baby Barak a costume for halloween but this bat costume purchased from another mom for a measly $5 was a hit!

Oh my my my my.

I’m breathless.

I got sucked in hard!

I just got to the office at 1.30 in the afternoon after spending what was only supposed to be five minutes reading while on my morning loo visit.  Four hours later I had a serious cramp in my legs so I just crawled back in bed and continued reading.  I can’t stop.  I can’t help myself.  Yesterday I went to the library and checked the book and its sequel out.  I thought there is no way I’m going to plough through these in the time I have before they are due.  Well, I’m almost done with the first tome and salivating at the sequel.  I didn’t get to sleep until 4am this morning.

The culprit: Twilight


I first saw the movie on a flight to Kenya this summer and I was completely drawn in.  With reading the book now, I’m officially a Twihard.  Yep, a Twilight diehard

O.k. hurriedly catching up with work thats urgently due so i can run home and read some more.

Whats come over me?!!

Any other fans out there?

I”m so sick and tired of everyone finding mud to fling at Obama.  At once he is doing too much and changing everything too fast, and for others he is not doing enough to undo Bush damage.  And about all those saying the Nobel Prize is premature: WTF?!!

1. There have been other sitting presidents to be awarded the prize

2. Start your own prize so you can give it to who you see fit

3. Obama has already accomplished much in terms of changing the general direction of U.S.policy!

Heck, at this rate i might even consider taking on U.S. citizenship for how much I love the man.

O.k. so its been forever since i’ve blogged. I’ve been debating whether to abandon the venture alltogether or keep going. You can see the decision i’ve made🙂
I love my blogthren and its a good release.

what have i been up to?
Peanut is now almost 9 months old!

I’m back at work this semester and paying the unspoken price of going on maternity leave for 8 months.  Project A is going fantastically and Mzee still comes home to me at night

I’ve also developed a healthy addiction to harlequin romance novels!
These things are porn for girls.  The well sculpted male specimen, the lusty protagonist, the romance, the sex…..

Its all contributing to a happy Mzee is all I can say🙂

Being a mother is hard. and actually sometimes it sucks.

This afternoon I spent two hours trying to get baby Barack to take his nap only for him to scream his lungs out.  I tried leaving him to cry it out and he wouldn’t stop. I went in and rocked him. nothing. fed him. nothing. burped him. nothing.

This is such a mind fcuk!   Its the most frustrating experience of my life.   Sometimes he’s been crying for almost an hour and I really don’t want to be around him.  Mzee is at work and won’t make it home for another hour and honestly all I want is a stiff cocktail, for my ear to stop ringing, and to not smell like a combination of poop, pee, and bad milk.

I finally gave up and now he’s quite happily kicking his legs and playing by himself.  He really just did not feel like sleeping.  What kind of three month old only takes one nap a day?!!

oh crap. there goes the crying again…..

So i’ve been facing a quandry that leaves me wondering how other mothers manage.

We’ll have guests at home and its time to feed baby Barack.  I sit there trying to figure out if to just whip out a boob and feed the squirming screeming baby to quiet him so I can follow the conversation, or if I should leave the room and go feed him in a private room to avoid embarassing whatever male visitors.

For a while I had decided to follow the Muslim rule whereby I would whip out a boob if the male present was related to me and go into a separate room if they were not related.  I think that doing this made my dad and father in law uncomfortable at first but they soon seemed to get over it.

For Easter we had close family friends over who also have a baby and I decided to just go ahead and feed in front of them.  That seemed to make the other mother comfortable enough so she went about pumping right there.  Both our hubbies didn’t seem to mind.  What a relief!

As I get ready to go home for a few weeks I’m wondering how to navigate this one.  I know that being gone for a while has left me a little hazy on how things are done.  Plus i’ve never had a baby in Kenya before.  So, whom to nurse in front of?

How do you mommies out there deal with this one?

boobs at work: lifted from Arnie Becker photography

boobs at work: lifted from Arnie Becker photograpy

So mzee takes baby Barack for a diaper change and a cool half an hour later he re-emerges singing and dancing with the baby singing “If you liked it you should have put a bib on it” to the tune of Beyonce’s “if you liked it you should have put a ring on it”.

Now mzee is not the singing type at all so I fall over laughing.  Why is he singing this?  Turns out that a diaper change that normally takes 5 minutes took so long because the baby kept spitting up on every outfit he was put in and there was a total of three outfits involved.  So Mzee concluded to himself that if he liked the outfit, he should have put a bib on the baby to prevent the clotted milk that soon coated every new outfit.

In honor of 30 minute diaper changes I leave you with Beyonce:

So I never have time to do anything nowadays.  showers are a rare luxury even.

But today was special.  Today baby Barack took a long nap enough to allow me to indulge in one of my favorite things; making ice cream.  Mzee and I bonded over the project.  He cut and quartered the fresh strawberries and we chatted as I made up the recipe from thin air.

The final product was absolutely fantastic!  I ended up using very simple ingridients. Fresh strawberries, grated ginger and a dash of apple juice in the blender.  Whipping cream and sugar mixed together and slightly whipped to fold in air.  Combine  the two batches and put them in an ice cream maker for about 25 minutes and presto, fresh, homemade ice cream thats better than anything you could ever buy.  I made three batches so I can take over to people’s houses when we’re invited for meals or to serve as dessert when we have people over.  All that is assuming I don’t eat it all next week.

This new re-discovery of the ice cream machine is going to have me concocting new mixtures all summer long.  I can’t wait till all the fresh fruits come out. I saw somewhere that you can use coconut cream to make a vegan sorbet thats still creamy.  Thats my next experiment.

In the meanwhile, I’ve got containers full of strawberry ice cream to polish off. lets hear it for spring and summer!

the ice cream machine at work this afternoon

the ice cream machine at work this afternoon

I swear I don’t know where my days are going!!

I  had all these brilliant ideas about all these things I would be able to accomplish once I was home on maternity leave.  Well, projects are still on the shelf waiting for me.  Ati I even thought i’d have time to put together some scrap books.  Yeah right!

I can’t figure out where all my time is going.  I had no idea taking care of a baby took this much time.  I barely have time to check email let alone write people back.  And blogging is such an indulgence nowadays!!

oh and lets talk about showers…. I used to think its a joke those women who would complain about not having time to take a shower.  Kumbe its true!  As soon as I put baby Obama to nap and step into the shower he wakes up and start wailing.  There I am, all soaped up and debating to let him keep screaming and rinse off, or create a sudzy puddle all the way to his crib and try and calm him down.  It was funny the first two times.  After the third time it gets old.

Much as i’m miffed at how little time I have for myself I have to admit i’m quite proud of myself and the little guy for how much he’s grown.  He’s put on close to 4lbs in 9 weeks and has those chubby cheeks babies get.  I marvel that all this is from drinking my milk and my milk only!

And as i’m typing this he’s swaddled in bed right next to me completely refusing to take his nap and just smiling and cooing at me instead. It warms my heart.  What a cutie…….I”m smitten

Seriously, WT?!!!!

While I admire people who act out of moral or religious conviction, I’m dumbfounded by the Pope flying all the way to Africa to tell us to stop using condoms!!

I wonder if we’re going to see a spike in HIV rates as a result of his urging.


Mzee and I are holding up but I must admit that the addition of this little munchkin had changed the game.

Its amazing to me that such a little thing can have such a big impact.

Not being able to make him stop crying is the hardest. When he’s crying I feel like my heart is being ripped into pieces.  When Mzee is not able to get him to stop crying in 2 mintues I feel like i’m dying.  At the same time I know that its  important to let Mzee take care of him and not be hovering all the time.  Stepping in every time does communicate to Mzee that I don’t trust his ability to handle the baby.  In my mind I know that.

But boy am I failing the test big time!  I hear the baby crying, vumilia for about 2 minutes, then I can’t take it any more and I have to come in and intervene.

I’m worried that i’m contributing to a dynamic that is going to come back and bite me in the butt again latter where Mzee doesn’t know how or is not willing to deal with the crying baby anymore or the baby doesn’t know how to be comforted by his Dad.

Moms out there, was this ever an issue for you guys?

Also, in celebration of babies here is Nyota Ndogo and my next cd purchase as soon as I hit home.

I remember growing up watching this movie about animals that get drunk off marula fruit.

KBC played it again in December during PEV.  There we were, Mzee and I in our little studio apartment watching elephants falling over drunk as the country fell apart outside.

Quick post while baby naps…

My brain is barely functioning!

I keep forgeting stuff and can barely retain new info. I’d heard about this phenomenon but its really trippy when it happens to you!

So much for trying to work on my book while baby Barack is napping.  All i can muster is folding laundry and ironing.

Hopefully things get better in some weeks here because this really is not sustainable.

In other news, today is my first day alone with the bambino.  He was born exactly a month ago (January 16th) and since then I’ve either had Mzee or his parents or my parents around.  So far its going swimmingly. I even figured out how to go to the bathroom while holding him because he was screaming his head off and I really had to go.  about those Kegels……

I keep thinking that if I knew six months ago what I know now I would have had so much more fun with my pregnancy.

I spent so much time and energy flipping out and fearing the labour and delivery that it seriously cut into my enjoyment of pregnancy.  Turns out I had nothing to worry about and I should have just chilled out.

1. Yes labour and delivery are painful but its doable and bearable with the right kind of pain medication.  I went into the process thinking that it was either an epidural or nothing.  Kumbe there are IV medication options which is what I took and it worked perfectly for me.  Every hour the nurse would load me up with a dose and I would continue labouring. I could still feel the contractions and the pushing but the meds just took the edge off.  Halfway through the nurse looked at me and told me that I was well on my way to doing this without an epidural and for the first time I believed that i was capable.  That nurse was awesome!

2. My body is capable of a lot more than I’ve ever given it credit for.  I’ve had a really rough relationship with my body for years now.  Coming to America as a teenage girl to a family where the women had serious body image issues themselves was horrible for my self image.  Consequently i’ve wasted the last decade in conflict with my body.  I feel like labour and delivery have ended a long civil war.  My body has won.   I love it, I respect it, and I am in awed amazement at what it can do.  For example, I’m already weighing less than I did on the day that I found out I was pregnant!!  This is not because I went on some extreme diet during the pregnancy.  I just decided that I wasn’t going to care about dieting and that I was just going to focus on eating healthy but eating what I fancied.  Nausea took care of my tendancy to overeat and the rest is history.  I’m hoping to parlay my newfound respect for my body into a new healthy lifestyle.  wish me luck!!

Announcing the arrival of one baby Barak born on Friday January 16th at 4.30pm and weighing in at a hefty 3.8 kgs or 8lbs and 8oz and 21 inches long.  Labour was 13 hours and nowhere near as bad as I feared!!

He was born vaginally with no epidural!!!

He’s doing well and despite some worries about bruising on his head and some hearing tests, he’s doing very well and is perfectly healthy.

I’m doing well too.  Its been an amazing experience and I have so much to process about the whole experience.

In short, his birth was the most incredible experience of my life and I wish I had not spent so much of my pregnancy freaking out about labour and delivery because not only was it not that bad, it was in itself a transformative experience.  I am in awe of my body and what it can accomplish!!

Will try to post more in the coming days but as you can imagine my schedule is not mine anymore!

Thanks to you all for the warm wishes! Can’t wait to share tales from my journey into  motherhood with you!

yep. No baby Barack yet.  I’m due in less than four days now but it sounded from my last visit to the doc like the dilating had slowed down.  I have another appointment on Thursday and will know if I’ll have gotten any more extra centimeters.

I’ve been having tons of braxton hicks contractions though.  Thankfully they don’t hurt.

In the meanwhile i’m pleased because I’ve had the free time I needed to complete some projects around the house and especially do some work on project A which I had not been able to focus on as much as I would have liked.

I’m begining to feel ready to meet the little guy actually.  The room is stocked and decorated, his clothes are washed and folded and his crib is assembled.

It also feels like Mzee and I have been doing a lot of work getting ready for him emotionally.  Perhaps blame it on hormones but we’ve been having some really intense conversations and I feel like we’ve been reconnecting a lot recently.  All goes towards making me feel more comfortable about bringing this baby into the world, into our home, and into our marriage.

Now back to twiddlig my thumbs and waiting……

wow, life is moving along at a fast pace.

Just came back from the doc and found out that I’m already 2cm dilated and 70% effaced.  Its amazing to me but the doc could actually feel the little guy’s head right there!  Thankfully I’m not having painful contractions so i’m counting the progress thus far as ‘free’ centimeters in terms of dilation.  And I’m hoping for even more ‘free’ ones before the painful contractions come🙂

I’m thinking there is no way we’re doing to make it to the due date on the 17th or even my hope of giving birth on Obama’s inauguration day on the 20th.

My students’  grades  are turned in and the semester wrapped up at work, my hospital bag is packed, the baby’s room is in decent shape (even though we’re still waiting for the mattress and mattress pad to arrive), but I still don’t feel ‘ready’.  I don’t know if I ever will actually.

I’ve had horrible sleep for the last two nights.  I’ve woken up in anxiety attacks worried about the baby and unable to sleep again. Its wierd because until now i’ve been pretty possitive and able to sleep quite well through the night.  I don’t know where this fear is coming from as it seeming to hit me from nowhere.