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Motherhood in Kenya: “It was Necessary for me to Take a Career Break to Raise my Children” – Lucy Karanja

Lucy Karanja with two of her children.

41 year-old Lucy Wangui Karanja works as a Librarian in a local media house. She has three children: a daughter aged 15 years and two sons aged 13 and 9 years. She had a chat with Mummy Tales writer SYLVIA WAKHISI about some of her experiences as a mom, and the most important tips she’d like to share with fellow moms.

Sylvia: As a mom, were you curious to find out the baby’s sex beforehand or did you wait until they were born?

Lucy: With my first pregnancy, I was very curious to know, and so I did the scan. It was a girl. I also checked with my second pregnancy (a boy), but for the third pregnancy, I wasn’t as curious because I already had a boy and girl, and so I didn’t mind either gender, and for that reason I didn’t check.


Sylvia: How was the breastfeeding experience with your kids?

Lucy:  I must say that I got the breastfeeding support I needed with my kids, thankfully. The nurses at Mater Hospital in Nairobi were very supportive and always guided me on what to do (I delivered all my babies at Mater). I also had a very close friend who was my neighbor and a mom too, and she’d come to my house and show me what I needed to do, as well as offer me advice on diet, hygiene and proper breastfeeding positions, and other general information on raising a child. I exclusively breastfed my children for the first six months.

Sylvia: What did you wish you’d known about having a newborn?

Lucy: That newborns don’t require a lot of outdoors since they pick diseases easily, and this affects their immunity.

Sylvia: What is the one baby/child product you find hard to live without?

Lucy: Cussons baby oil! I use it till today.

Sylvia: What snacks do you pack for your kids when they go to school?

Lucy: I pack snacks such as mandazi, sausages, crisps and a fruit depending on availability. I alternate the variety of snacks each day.


Sylvia: What is your favorite family activity to do on weekends?

Lucy: We prefer doing lunch together especially on a Sunday afternoons after church. We get to bond as a family. The kids also get time to have fun outdoors as their dad and I catch up.

Sylvia: How has your experience with house girls been?

Lucy: It was particularly difficult during my children’s formative years, but it kept getting better as they grew. From my experience, I noticed that many house girls don’t like being with kids who tie them up in the house all day long, or they can’t cope with babies’ cries, having to change soiled diapers etc. Actually, after the birth of my first child, I had to resign from work when she was 1-year-old to take care of her. I went on to be a stay-at-home mom until when my last born was 3 years old. I went back to work after I had all my babies.

Sylvia: What is your biggest fear as a mother?

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


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