Photography By: Michelle Morgan – http://www.michellemorgan.co.ke/
Location: Kitengela Glass, Kenya – http://www.kitengela.com/
Makeup By: Kayte Macharia – firstname.lastname@example.org
Clothes Provided By: Kache By Angie, Junction Mall, Nairobi.
I am up at 3.21 am, staring into darkness, a beautiful soul, my husband, lying next to me. I reach for him with one arm and, as if automatically, still in his sleep-induced state, he reaches back, and my heart warms. These are the moments that keep me sane.
My unborn child kicks inside me, gently, sporadically, and I smile because this is my favourite part of my pregnancy journey knowing that my child is growing. I use my free hand to reach down and rub my stomach gently, taking a minute to savour the beauty all around the bedroom in the still of the night.
At the back of my mind, despite all these blessings, a loving husband, a child soon to be born to us, I am worried, anxious, almost jaded. I stroke my husband's face, thankful that he is trying all he can to support us.
But now I am feeling a sense of guilt; I am not as active and on my feet as I once was (granted, the pregnancy has a lot to do with it, and I have been unwell many times during this period) but I have also lost morale for the path my life is taking.
I feel like I should be doing more yet my body and mind are at a standstill. I am frozen in my path, standing in my own way, unable to move forward, having lost sense of who I am and where I am going.
I started the year by hitting the gym, changing my diet, in talks to endorse a sports brand…then suddenly I was expecting a child and moving my wedding day closer. It was all so exciting but I had to postpone a lot of the projects I was working on. When the fuss of the wedding was over and my pregnancy sickness had subsided, I found myself a bit frazzled. What now? Yes, I am expecting a child, but…I am just going to wait it out?
I was used to being on my feet for hours in a day, now I was on bed rest most of the day. The transition confused me, and now had me thinking about…my life! Taking stock, reflecting…and I was not sure I liked what I found.
I have hidden behind my job and its supposed success for so many years that I have lost touch with what I really want to be doing and all I can achieve. I have worn an ‘I’m okay, doing just great’ mask for so many years that I have gotten lost in that façade. I have hidden my high highs and low lows from everyone, adopting a safe response to any news.
Now those walls are tumbling down. The real me, whoever she is, is beginning to surface and break through those walls and its frightening, even though I know it is the fright before becoming liberated.
I cannot stand banal political diatribe, cliché materialistic chatter, and dishonest religious talk. It has been too many years of being okay with it, participating in it. I have now chosen to keep my opinion muted, feeling, instead, constant irritation and lack of interest in almost everything.
My passion to empower vulnerable communities is being distracted by the long road to resource mobilization so that I often feel helpless. The drive I once felt for work is all but gone, so that getting ready for work, wearing my ‘superwoman cape’ to wear in front of the world, has lost its meaning to me. I want to break free. I need to break free, but I do not know where to start.Actually I have a few ideas of where I should start but those avenues are also unpredictable, leaving me back at square one.
My husband turns to his side and my arm slides from his shoulder down to his waist. He is clutching my arm. I move into him, my baby bump gently touching his back. I suddenly have the urge to wake him and kiss him and tell him how much I love him but I return, instead, to my boundless thoughts. He should not be the only one worrying about how to secure our future, that’s not the kind of woman I am.
My fear is that my stonewalling will lead me down a dark road and make it difficult for us to be a healthy, happy family. A family’s state of wellbeing starts with the woman, her state of mind and her ability to make a house a home.
I had just gotten married and I was already feeling the pressure to become a Martha Steward-esque cook, Coretta Scott-King support system and Stepford wife homemaker all at once. No matter how many times people have told me that these transitions take time, I still feel the need to. No one, least of all my husband, expects it of me, but I am so good at being hard on myself that I am nagging myself into it.
The combination of this imaginary pressure, my need to change course in my career and the two major transitions in my life that happened in one year (marriage, pregnancy) have left me feeling overwhelmed, but here I am still trying to save face, afraid to admit that I can also lose sight of my vision.
I think a lot of us go through this, particularly a go-getter woman who suddenly finds herself immersed in numerous new roles. I also think that the only way to navigate this transition is to be present, no matter how difficult that may be, and weather the storm, all the while believing that the end result will be a stronger, more aware you.
It’s now 5 am and my husband’s alarm goes off. He groggily turns it off and then turns to me, startled that I’m awake. ‘Babe, why aren’t you asleep?’ he whispers coarsely. ‘You know, just thinking, hun’, I reply, hoping he won’t pick up on my ‘Stop thinking, love. Sleep. My husband says, "whatever it is you’re worried about, it’ll be okay. You know that right?’ I do. But it doesn’t stop that nagging feeling; that I am headed somewhere, for something, but I just do not know what, or where.
I need to be easy on myself though and just trust my journey. I am working on it…let’s see where this goes…