I’d like to introduce you to a Mummy Tales reader who will be regularly contributing posts here. She is Nabubwaya Chambers, a Kenyan married to an American. Together, the couple has an adorable eight-month old son called Lema. The Chambers family is based in Texas, USA.
Nabubwaya moved to the US three years ago, and she will be giving us a glimpse of how life is raising a child in the US with her Kenyan background. Nabubwaya and I grew up in the same estate (BuruBuru) and so I’m especially keen to see if she’ll pass on any related influences to her son I shall be anxiously looking forward to her posts. I hope you will too.
Here is her first post:
“My husband and I have been blessed to have a beautiful baby boy whom we love to call Lema. He was born eight months ago in the US. Pregnancy for me was a world of firsts. Never been pregnant before, I never knew how things would progress, what to expect or what to do in the event I needed to do anything out of the ordinary.
Everything was all brand new and exciting. Thankfully, I was able to work a full time job at a specialty hospital that required me to juggle 12-16 hour shifts per week, which mostly meant I was on my feet a lot. It was a great challenge but I managed to pull through well. With the many bills that need to be paid in the 21st Century, we just can’t afford to saunter through life without working!
You bet I would put on my baggy scrubs and dash off to work to earn a living despite the back and leg pains associated with pregnancy. I must admit I was scared to face the isolated rooms that required me to suit up. This helped me protect myself and my unborn baby from any lingering infections that existed in that room. Well, if you have never believed in the power of prayer, please entertain the thought that it does work. I would literally say a prayer before the start of my shifts and the end of my shifts. Thankfully, I managed to work right up to the last day of the week before Lema was due.
Shangwe na vigelegele!!!!! accompanied Lema’s birth at the hospital. We imagined a whole gang of Maasai warriors and isikuti dancers performing an unmatched ensemble to welcome our little warrior. Lema was born on 16 November 2013. His was a natural birth after I labored for about 20 hours at the hospital. Though I remember out of great anticipation and excitement, we had tried to make him arrive earlier than he wanted to come…we had tried the reasonable and safe things you have heard works wonders, read the celebrated ‘What to Expect While you are Expecting’ book, listened to wise stories from our mamas, experienced friends, and relatives, and tasted all things nice that may speed up the labor process.
Alas, our timing was not baby Lema’s timing. Mama and Baba just had to wait for Lema to jipanga nicely and make his debut when he was ready. You should have seen us perambulating along the hallways of the hospital for hours during the labor.
The numerous lunges and sitting on the birth ball for hours were part of the 20 hours before our ululation moment. We were fortunate to have a doula that gave us her undivided attention and ensured we were well taken care of. I appreciate American healthcare for providing free doulas even weeks before labor officially kicks in. They can be reached at any time and are always willing to help with advice and exercises to help welcome the baby.
After two good days of thorough tests and round the clock visits by our medical team, lactation specialists and friends, we were discharged to go home and start raising Lema the best way we could.
We can say it has been one adventure after the other. Now here in America, we can’t easily afford to hire help or randomly approach a neighbor to come into our home to help us watch over Lema as we catch up with the one million things new parents need to catch up on (cue sleep as number one requirement on this list).
Baba Lema and I took turns sleeping/napping, doing chores, keeping the house afloat, waking up to soothe Lema when he cried, and I woke up every time to breast feed Lema during the wee and normal day time hours. Baba Lema would then proceed to work all day and part of the night long, then head back home to help take care of his pride and joy. I would be left alone at home to take care of our baby with one eye open and the other closed on some occasions. Ah, the good ol’ early days of new parenting.
There really is no excuse out there in the universe that prohibits men from helping raise their own babies. Baba Lema has done it wholeheartedly and continues to do it while we both juggle jobs in this fast paced culture. He holds back complaints and negativity as he continues to help us face everyday life. Thank you, Baba Lema for being a wonderful father and husband time and time again.