“He pushed Angel away. He then asked me what was wrong with her head as he looked at her with disdain.”
He then said he would have to consult with his family first before giving her any feedback on accepting responsibility for Angel. Then he walked away.
The next time Winfred heard from him was a few weeks later, through an SMS which read: “Sometimes nurses exchange babies in hospital. Before I accept any responsibility, we must do a DNA test. That’s not my child.”
Winfred was crushed.
“I was dealing with so many issues and at that time I just didn’t have the energy to fight with a man over accepting his own child,” Winfred says. She sought comfort from her family, and in particular her dad, who told her:
““Don’t ever force a man who doesn’t love you to be with you just because of a child”.
Sadly, her father passed away in October 2013, when Angel was 10 months old.
“My father loved Angel dearly. He especially loved singing to her. There was lots of village talk regarding Angel’s Cerebral Palsy, with people gossiping about our family. But my father would always rebuke their talk, proudly proclaiming that Angel was the family’s child, and that she was very much loved by all. I miss my dad very much. He was such a great man,” an emotional Winfred tells me.
Today, four years later, Angel’s father has never acknowledged her nor supported her in any way.
Angel falls sick from time to time, and often requires specialized medical attention. Winfred says she has learnt to handle one day at a time. Her family members have stood by her with their unwavering support, something she is most grateful for.
Winfred joined the University of Nairobi to undertake a BSc in Medical Laboratory Science and Technology in January 2014, having delayed her entry into campus to take care of Angel. While she’s at school in Nairobi, her mother back at home in Machakos takes care of Angel. To raise her own school fees and raise funds for supporting her mother and Angel, Winfred teaches in schools back home in Machakos when she’s not in session. She is also a recipient of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) grant.
I live one day at a time. Balancing studies, work and taking care of my daughter is not easy, but I don’t have an option other than to be strong for my daughter.”
Message to Other Parents with Special Needs Children
“I would like all other parents and guardians with special needs children to know that our kids are a gift from God. Don’t hide them, but instead be very proud of them. Take them out with you; to the shops, to malls, to church, to hotels… and when people stare at you, give them a smile. Also, don’t use them to beg on the streets. I love my princess very much, she is my strength and I am so proud of her. I am honored to be her mom. She is my blessing.
I also know that sometimes, it is inevitable that we will need help with hospital bills because they fall sick often or because their specialized medical needs are expensive. However, I would like to encourage you to work hard to fend for them. Do your best.”
She offers advice to fellow parents and pregnant women:
- Any pregnancy complication must be treated like an emergency, to avoid negative outcomes for the mother and/or baby.
- Book a gynaecologist early before your due date, or take time to know the health facility you will deliver your baby in. Ensure it’s a good health facility that has qualified doctors who can handle any complications for both you and your baby.
- Try as much as possible to have a medical insurance cover… even NHIF will do.
- More importantly, pray, because our lives are ultimately in God’s hands. My daughter is alive today because my family and I have been very prayerful.
Today, Winfred is a Cerebral Palsy advocate, and uses her own experiences to raise awareness on children with Cerebral Palsy as well as other special needs children. Winfred can be reached on 0707430740 or email@example.com
So that was my coffee chat with Winfred. I hope you have learnt something from her experience. Share this article with someone who you know will benefit from it. If you, just like Winfred have an inspiring story that you believe could help another woman or mom, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mummy Tales is a blog dedicated to empowering its readers on different aspects of maternal and newborn health, as well as various issues surrounding motherhood and women. Read more motherhood experiences of Kenyan moms here. Follow Mummy Tales on: FACEBOOK l INSTAGRAM l TWITTER
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