The Art of the Kenyan Political Wife Part 1

Last time I wrote I talked about finding my happy place, My Idea of a happy place is accepting life as it is and learning to live with my pain. It was all about recreating a happier mental picture and finding the everyday beauty. Well my days are better, I laugh more, I have travelled and I have been reading more. I still have my bad days but honestly, I am happier. It is always nice to sometimes stop and try to live in the moment; a wise lady recently told me that I should not deny myself the low moments, I should accept them, ride the wave and they soon pass away. When we fight the low moments to force ourselves to be okay we tend to get frustrated. Treat the low moments like a visitor, with acceptance knowing soon they will be gone.

Well, for the longest time people have asked me how it feels to be married to a politician, I feel the like political wives are the most misunderstood people around. Disclaimer though, am not an expert. well it’s been about 4 years now. Any political spouses out there who feel they have an addition or feel some certain way about the topic please do write to me. we can keep it anonymous.

When I met my husband, he was already in politics working as an advisor in the office of the prime Minister. I could tell he was going to be active in national politics but I could never have guessed it would be that soon. We took a break shortly after that and life continued for both of us. By then Working at transparency international for the Governance and Policy Programme meant that politics was part of our core business and parliament was one of the institutions we worked with for institutional strengthening and legislative development.

Fast forward to 2014 when we rekindled our romance he was already very active in national politics and I became a political wife. What I never expected was the attention we got around the engagement, wedding and other activities we did that a normal couple does. However, the worst part was being trolled on social media, the snide comments I got from my friends and even family and of course the uncertainty in people’s faces. Of course, there was the obvious issue of the fact that my husband has albinism. To be honest that was never an issue for me so it is not something I would discuss or explain. I was of course afraid of the expectations that came with being a political spouse, expectations that I was not ready to live with and still working on.

My Oxford Dictionary defines a politician as “person engaged or interested in politics” and politics as “science and art of government; political affairs or life or principles etc.” Politics consists of “social relations involving authority and power”. A politician is defined as one who is actively involved in politics or one who holds or seeks a political office. A politician is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making in government. Politicians are ideally the voices of the people who work hard to improve the people’s welfare. Since politicians play a major role in our everyday affairs it therefore explains the interest in their lives beyond their offices and this includes their families and of course the person they have for a life partner.

We live in a patriarchal society and unfortunately the rules of patriarchy dominate the family; political couples are not an exception. Based on this a political wife is expected to take the back banner and play the role, of a supportive role. I am happy to know numerous wives of politicians who are winning in different spheres of life; I know auditors, magistrates, awesome lawyers (hi Clare), awesome business people just to mention a few. The expectations that political wives face is an impossible set, be pretty but no too pretty, be stylish but not uppity, quit your job, be a people person but not controversial, support your husband regardless. Sometimes people may associate being a political wife with glamour and wealth, others associate them with living in the shadows of your husband well others associate being a political wife with the scandalous side of life, mistresses and various disgraces. Well some of this is true, most of it is wrong.

One thing I know about political wives is that they are women with inner strength, courage and determination that makes then an awesome partner to a politician. However, there is always the reservation on the uncertainty of a politician’s life and career. The hardest thing about being a political spouse is being aware of the fact the politicians calling of service to humanity will always come first. Something that I have slowly learnt and am trying to accept; being married to my husband; that life with a great man is sometimes life without him. And sometimes most times they never really pretend that you will have special claim to his time and attention but this is not say you are unwanted NO. The greatest thing is that when he turns his attention on you, you will have no doubt in his intentions.

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Finding My Happy Place

Hallo,

To my awesome readers,

I have to begin by appreciating your wonderful messages of condolences, comfort and love. Many times when I have a bad day I come back to this blog to read all your encouraging words. 2017 was not a very good year, I went in and out of depression a couple of times but I thank God for a supportive husband, family and friends that helped me through those trying times. I had to come to terms with child loss which is not easy.

This year am trying to find my happy place, I use the term ‘trying’ because am not even sure what that really means. I am trying to find my smile again; I am trying to get to a place where I can be my best. I am trying to learn to accept my grief and to live with it.  I am learning to wear my pain and work with it. I am trying to work on me, being better person, a better wife, daughter sister and friend; being an awesome mum to my wonderful son so look out for my motherhood adventures. 2018 is dedicated to following my dreams unapologetically. Learning new things, finding new passions and travelling more 🙂 ….

For the longest time I wanted to do a blog, even before 2017 but I was always afraid of failure. As Paulo Coelho writes fear of defeats is one of the greatest obstacles to pursuing our dreams. He further writes that when we begin to pursue our dreams, it’s difficult because we have no experience so we end up making many mistakes but patience is key. This year am taking that leap of faith to pursue my dreams and hoping I get better while finding my happy place.

Last but not least is send lots of love to everyone who has read this blog, shared it on any platform and for your loving and encouraging messages. Thank you so much. It is my hope and prayer that you will continue to find the blog as informative and as interesting as ever.

Join me for this crazy ride… Finding my happy place…

Baby Mwaura Jr. ; Remembering my brave Fighter

As I approach my son’s birthday my heart is very conflicted. It should be a day of thanksgiving, I ought to look forward to the day my baby turns 1 but I have a lot of mixed emotions. I am so proud of Njiru, for the far he has come and for the way he makes us happy; for all the joy he has brought to our lives. I can never imagine life without my precious little miracle but at the same time I am filled with sadness. Remembering that I delivered 3 children on 19th January 2017. My baby girl and baby boy are already gone. They were too special for earth. Today I choose to talk about my first born son Mwaura Maigua Mwaura Jr. He arrived at 10.10am weighing 1.2 kg. He was the eldest and the biggest in weight. At that time we thought he had the best chances of survival compared to the others. Mwaura Jr lived with us for 76 days; when Njeri passed on the second day we were beyond ourselves with grief…. For the longest time I did not think it was true. I knew people who had lost children but I never thought it would happen to me . Even today having taken a few months off from writing this blog I am still overcome by emotion and my eyes fill with tears as I write.

When my daughter left the doctor who was hoping to get some milk from me decided to put my babies  on a little formula and glucose to give me time to overcome the stress but I knew I had to pull myself together . I had the Cs wound which was super painful; For some reason none of the painkillers seemed to be working for me including the injections; I had just lost a baby and I had two precious boys in the NICU who really needed me. I decided to put all my attention on my two boys … I decided to pull myself together try and get some milk for  them and most importantly have hope .They needed hope and faith from me . One of the things that really help babies in the Nicu is a positive attitude from their parents and faith in them …faith that they will fight and hope that they will leave the NICU.

I eventually got some milk for them and I tried to focus on them. It was very difficult walking through the NICU daily, several times a day and seeing the little children come in …Some who only stayed for a few hours  and watching some graduating from NICU to the main nursery . I honestly feel like NICU nurses have seen a lot. The little babies do not look pretty, they are tiny, veins are visible and they look pale. Sometimes it’s hard to explain what they even look like…

Mwaura Jr lived with us for 76 days; these are days I hate to think about. Baby Njiru was doing well … he was steadily making his steps…. not to say he did not struggle but he seemed to be having an easier time. He was successfully removed from the ventilator with no issues …he moved on quickly to using oxygen and slowly went on from oxygen to just being a cartoon in the incubator. Making funny poses and being in a relaxed mood all the time. At some point he was the fattest in the NICU weighing 1350g …trust me in the NICU this is a big baby….

Mwaura Jr seemed to be having a harder time. All this time he kept developing complication after complication. His lungs were not strong and after some point we were introduced to a condition called the chronic lung Disease. My baby Mwaura Jr was resuscitated over 20 times … by the time all this was happening, he had obtained severe brain damage. Later, after a CT scan at around day 70, we came to realise he had also been born with a brain condition which needed urgent surgery. At this point due to his chronic lung disease, the neurosurgeon and other doctors advised that an surgery could not be done at the moment since his lungs were too weak to hold general anaesthesia. He had been on and off life support for too long …he was not growing … he kept being suctioned several times a day to clear the blockage in his lungs. Mwaura Jr rarely smiled, the few times he did it was just heavenly. I watched him cry a lot…..Struggling with the pipes ….fighting the many tubes and even fighting the doctors and the nurses. Mwaura Jr was a fighter .When Baby Njiru cries…. he reminds me a lot of Mwaura Jr …so I sometimes I just let him cry for a minute longer, maybe two minutes longer for me to see Mwaura Jr ; that his memory is not lost to me.

Waking up on 5th April morning I received a call that I had seen coming …I had expected the call for a while based on Mwaura Jrs’  condition but I could never be ready for it . It was a call asking me to go to hospital ,they could not tell me what was wrong on phone …they were not ethically allowed to …but I knew …I knew my baby had gone to be with the Lord .By now Njiru had come home… so I quickly dressed and started driving towards the hospital but I couldn’t . My mum called me and asked me to stop. My husband also asked me to park by the road side. The 5 minutes I waited seemed to be an eternity but eventually my husband arrived and we went to hospital.

My heart was broken; my baby’s incubator was covered with a white cloth; as we got into the NICU, all the nurses were hugging me and telling sorry. My baby was gone. My little fighter was gone. He had fought really long and tough fights. The only thing I regret was not being with him on his last day…. but I know we gave him our best. All I want is to celebrate the little champion ….he left a big mark in all our hearts….. Most importantly he taught us that sometimes it’s not about finishing first …it’s about giving the race your best.

My baby girl was too Beautiful for Earth

My Dear Readers ,

I am back, sorry for being away for a while; I have been dealing with several issues. See grieving is very personal; there is no formula for how one should grieve. For me coming to terms with reality has been very difficult. Some days I wake up full of energy, full of gratitude for seeing another and full of joy in my heart. On these days I will go out , play with my son , I will meet with my clients ( I am currently running my fashion house) and I will make time to go for a cup of coffee with a friend  or two . Other days I will wake up with a heavy heart, I am sad and overwhelmed with sorrow, on these days I will hardly leave my bed or eat anything. On these days I will hardly have the energy to even have a phone conversation. On these days I will terribly miss my babies , I will remember the doctor trying to resuscitate my beautiful baby girl , I will remember the days I spent on the bed side of my handsome baby boy . I will ask myself if I should have done more for my children , I will wonder if I am doing enough for my baby Njiru ; I will feel guilty for not being able to carry my babies to term . These gloomy days have been more than my happy days of late and that is why I have been away. In the beginning I told you that this blog meant for me heal as well as to encourage somebody else going through a similar situation, I may not write a post every week but I promise to write whenever I have the strength to do so.

I could not sit down to edit this post because it bears very painful memories. There are memories about my time in hospital and the whole experience that I have purposely chosen not to revisit because they are too agonizing. Every time I remember the 21st of January my heart breaks into a thousand pieces. Saying goodbye to my baby girl who I had only met for a few hours crushes me .I remember her beautiful lifeless body on my hands .Even then I knew she would have been a very beautiful baby lady.

Last week I celebrated my birthday , on this day my son decided to be very clingy and at the same time bubbly and I thought to myself it’s not all bad . I have a wonderful miracle who reminds me every day that GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE.

Having met my children on Thursday night … I was totally distraught. We prayed at the bedside of each baby with my husband before I went off to bed. At this point I just looked forward to taking them home, that is the only thought I could have. They were hooked to so many machines it was hard to see them. I went back to my bed and I was given a sedative to help me sleep. My sister and mum were still at the hospital even at this time My mum was tired but seeing me in tears from the NICU broke her. I could tell she wanted to look strong for me. The following weeks my mother would come the hospital everyday looking tired, confused and helpless. I now feel her pain because it truly hurts to see your child suffering and there is nothing you can do or say to make it better.

 

On 21st January was a Saturday the doctor came to inform me that triplet 2(Njiru) and triplet 3 (Njeri) needed blood transfusion. This was a bit scary though he told me it usually happens for preemies. I went into the NICU to greet my babies and to give a blood sample for the cross matching. I was still in a lot of pain so I did not stay for long. I went into the breastfeeding room to try n express some milk for the babies. The room was full of ladies who were also going through the same; their children were in the NICU. It was encouraging to hear that their babies were improving. Later the breastfeeding room would become my safe haven .A room where we would find so much comfort, where we would cry together and laugh together. A room where I found friends who have become sisters to me .

Like I mentioned earlier Memories of the first days in hospital are a bit lost to me. I was in a state of confusion and disarray. I did not understand what was happening …I would stare blankly for hours without movement sometimes I would walk the hospital halls up and down without being aware I was doing this. At around 4pm my friends came over to visit together with my sister. Then a NICU nurse came in at around 5 to tell me that triplet 3 (Njeri) was not doing well. At this point I asked my sister to ask my friends to give me a minute as I talked to the nurse. My husband was on his way to hospital by then…. I was scared and I began to say a little prayer only for the nurse to come back shortly and ask me to go to NICU. The doctor had asked to see me. At this point I panicked. Now the NICU is not a good place but another scary thing about NICU is having a nurse come to pick you up from your  bed or the breastfeeding room. Usually it meant something is happening, and that something is most likely not good.

So the nurse helped  me to the NICU where I found the neonatologist and a paediatrician attending to my baby. She was so tiny and the machines around her were too many. I can’t explain exactly what was going on but it was a horrific sight. The doctors were trying to stabilise her. At this point they explained that she had bled from the lungs _the doctor gave some other details but up to this day I do not remember what he said. All I know is at 6pm her heart stopped beating. My baby girl had gotten her angel wings. I watched her inhale her last breathe. I never got the opportunity to hold her when she was alive  … or to tell her how much I loved her. I never got the opportunity to tell my baby girl that she was the most beautiful girl in the world. I never got to see my baby gal smile. By now my husband had arrived. We were now holding each other crying. How do you say goodbye to your own child? How do you say goodbye to a baby that you only met a few hours ago. A dark cloud covered the earth to mourn my baby girl. My baby girl was gone. My Baby Girl had gone to meet the Lord. My baby girl was too beautiful for earth.

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen 

by Erma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? .

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.

As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. “Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.
Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie. ”

The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God.

“Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect She has just the right amount of selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?” God nods.

“If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see– ignorance, cruelty, prejudice– and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

The Tiny fighters

I am humbled by the warm reception my first post received, thank you for the wonderful messages; please continue subscribing and I pray that my story will encourage somebody out there.

As I stated before my babies were born on 19th Jan 2017 at roughly 10am, this was on a Thursday. I woke up a few hours later to find a lot of happiness in the room from my mum, my sister, my mother in law and a few friends. My husband seemed to be in a state of shock and abit of sadness. I just thought it was the shock of the whole incident but I would later discover the reason of his sadness was because he had seen the children as they were being rushed to NICU. I was not able to see my babies until later in the evening as I was transferred to the main maternity ward which was next to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I was helped out of my bed at around 8pm .The Cs wound was super PAINFUL, I never imagined such pain existed. So we walked slowly into the NICU. It had a sign board written “staff only”, parents to the babies were the only ones allowed inside apart from staff so my husband led the way.

Let me start by saying that the NICU is the worst place for any child to begin their life. I salute the staff who work there because it’s not a pretty sight. For the longest time I have blocked the memories of this first night because it was horrible. Seeing your child/children for the first time should be a joyous occasion but for me it was one night that I hope to forget. Every time I look back at this night I feel so helpless and disappointed and I can’t help but break down in tears. I never want to go through this again. It was a feeling of shock, disbelief coupled by feelings of failure, failure as a mother. I had failed my children, my body had failed me, so many questions ran through my mind when I remember this night. We began with triplet number one (Mwaura Jr) who was at the furthest corner of the first room   , then triplet 2 (Njiru) and 3 (Njeri) who were together on neighboring incubators. Small is an understatement , my babies were tiny ,a bit wrinkled and covered in cotton wool wrapped in polythene bags to keep them extra warm . They were all intubated and on life support. I was sure this were not my children, they were white with a lot of black hair. They did not look like babies. I immediately felt like running away. Why was I here? These are not my children.

I asked my husband if he was sure they did not confuse them with somebody else’s children. These are not my children…. by now tears were flowing freely …one of the NICU nurses who was on duty that night came and held our hands to comfort us . She told us that the one single thing our babies needed was our strength. They needed to know that we believe they will be better .We asked her if they will be better .She told us that the doctors and nurses will do the best but God does the healing.  My head was spinning at this point. These are not my babies, at some point I really wanted to wake up from this bad dream.  I looked around and I noticed for the first time other children in the room, some were small while others were bigger than my babies but they all seemed to be fighting.  NICU is an awful place but it’s also a place where you learn a lot, NICU is a room filled with the smallest fighters. There is a lot of defeat and winning. For the 11 weeks my babies stayed in the NICU, I watched the tiniest people fight harder than I have ever seen. They fought to breath and to live, it was a fight against death. Some won the fight while others lost the fight but we still celebrate them because in the short or long time they lived, they left a great impact in our lives.

I will be sharing about my NICU journey. A journey of strength and courage but not from me, strength from the tiny little miracles that gave us a reason to live,

My NICU journey gave me a new outlook in life,
My NICU journey gave me purpose,
My NICU journey gave me wonderful friends,

MY NICU journey has given me the courage to speak out,
My NICU journey taught me how to be still,

My NICU journey renewed my relationship with God

The beginning

My husband Isaac Mwaura and I were happily expecting Triplets due in April 2017 , on 19th January 2017 at 10.10am , 10.11am and 10.12am we delivered our 3 beautiful babies ; 2 boys  and one gal . 11 weeks later we left the hospital with one baby boy and a hospital bill of Ksh11.2m.

Sometimes in life, something happens and shakes up your life in ways that you never imagined. Until this actually happens you never know your limit, you never know how much you can take, how much you can fight and how much you can pray. This is a period where our faith was tried and tested; over and over again. We saw that tiny ray of hope so many times never actually reaching the end of the tunnel ,and when we finally did the trauma was so much we did not know whether to celebrate or to expect more trials .

At 28weeks pregnant the last thing I expected was to deliver my babies, so when I got strange cramp pains at around 9pm on Wednesday 18th January,  labour was the last thing on my mind. I called my doctor who told me to head to the labour ward ,this was not strange as I had been admitted to the labour ward several times before in the course of the pregnancy . So once we got to the labour ward they started giving me meds to hold or reverse the labour. By 3am that night I was in full blown labour, at around 7am the doctor checked in and said we would be going into the delivery room for an emergency CS. The theatre was fully booked but they managed to get space; actually a friend of mine who later lost her baby in the delivery room allowed me to go in before her (I will share her story soon )

On 19th January 2017  at 10.10 baby Mwaura Maigua Mwaura Jr arrived at 1.2 kg, a minute later Baby Njiru Maigua Mwaura arrived weighing 1.12kg and a minute later beautiful Njeri Maigua Mwaura made her majestic entrance at 1.02kg . Babies were rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)- a place I would call home for the next 3 months . And that began a difficult journey …a journey of tears, joy , Doubt, Hope, prayer, joy, questions, repentance but mostly experiencing God .

To be continued ……………………………………