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A lesson on TRUST

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I have always been fascinated by children’s unquestionable belief in their parents, especially their mothers, and in the people they trust. With them, they can be anything, do anything, go anywhere as long as the have a nook to lay their heads and sleep when they tire…

Recently, I have been privileged to spend a lot of time with my child. Not in those happy lovey dovey days but through tough times. I wont say toughest times, because I know deep in my heart that it could be worse, and God said in all things we should praise Him. In my son’s eyes, I have learned to trust God. Child like trust…

It is easy to trust God and to love Him when things are easy. Sometimes when it is so tough, we start questioning Him. His intentions, His logic, His blessings, His wisdom, His power, His everything. When a child is unwell, that is when they are most comfortable with those whom they cherish the most. In their eyes, as long as they are with you, they are okay. When they wake up at night and the fever is so high, the only name on their lips is ‘mom’. When they have lost meaning in food and play and sleep, where they find most comfort is in their loved ones arms. When you pick them up and you have to travel, as long as they are with you, they have no worry in the whole world. Whether its a tuk tuk, motor bike, ricketty wickety old car or musso… Where they sleep, or wake, what they eat or drink, all the worries, if they have any, are a shadow as long as they are with you.

Can we put the same trust on our God who loves us the most? Can we believe deep in our hearts that even when we are in rock bottom, we are okay in His fold? Can we trust Him to always be there the way children trust their mothers? Can we have even a fraction of that trust? If we can get that trust, just a fraction, then all the worries that we have would fade into oblivion. This way we would live in divine joy and happiness in our life here on earth. When a child is with its mother, no worries are on its face, no matter how rocky the path is. Can we feel this secure in our Heavenly father’s love?

I hope, I pray, I wish for that peace that is found in trusting God, the way a child trusts its mom…

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Article 44:- The gift of Sex…

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I have always wanted to write about this. I do believe that sex is indeed beautiful, in the context of marriage, otherwise it is profaned. I also believe that there are two functions of sex that are not mutually exclusive, that is the unitive, and the pro-creative. I also know that in our selfish motives, humanity has magnified the unitive aspects and struggled a lot to frustrate the pro creative aspects. However, I recently read this post from Pastor Antonio Vance and I don’t think I could have brought it out better than he expressed.

So I will share the read here.

Most times when sex is mentioned among believers, what you normally hear is what singles should not do until marriage or what husbands and wives should not do outside of marriage. You rarely ever hear that sex is a beautiful gift that God created to be fully enjoyed. Now it’s true this is only to be done within the confinements of marriage between husband and wife, but the point is too many talk about the perversion of sex while very little address the beautiful gift of sex.

Sex is a gift from God and according to the word, any gift from God is good. So sex is good. Can you even fix your mouth to say that? “Sex is good”! And not only is sex good but sex is a blessing! Yes we know fornication is bad because fornication is sin. And we also know that adultery is bad because adultery is sin. But sex, (making love, being intimate with each other, whichever you like to call it), is good because it is holy, intimate, an act of worship and a gift from God.

God is the one who made us and He made us to be attracted to the opposite sex. He didn’t make several different types of sex’s as the word says, “He made them (us) “male and female” (Gen 2:6) and He made male to be attracted to female and female to be attracted to male. What kind of attraction? SEXUAL attraction.

Contrary to popular beliefs and teachings in the Christian community, it is not a sin for a man to be sexually attracted to a woman nor is it a sin for a woman to be sexually attracted to a man. God Himself gave us these desires and He gave us these desires so that we could enjoy His gift of sex to us. The only requirement to operate in this beautiful gift is that a man takes a woman to be his wife, FOR LIFE! That’s it! This gift is so intimate that it’s actually a part of what joins man and wife as one. So it’s time for believers to stop downplaying sex and see it for the beautiful gift that it really is.

And that means you cannot separate marriage from sex nor sex from marriage. You can’t talk honorably about marriage yet talk down about sex. Why? Because God made sex and gifted it to every man and woman who marries. So if sex is only for a man and woman who’s married, and marriage is honorable, and sex comes only with what’s honorable (marriage), then it is safe to say that marriage which includes sex is honorable.

Now it’s true that you can be married and not have sex for whatever reason and your marriage would still be honorable, but the gift of sex is still available to you whether you use it or not. I remember once a single Christian man asked us, “What’s sex other than sweating, grunting and climaxing”? It was actually somewhat sad that a single believing man had such a distorted view of a gift created by our Heavenly Father. Who knows how many other singles view sex in this same way? If more believers had balance in this area where they would learn not only about the sin of sex but the blessing of sex as well, then maybe there would be less fornication among single believers, less sexual problems in marriage among newlyweds, less adultery among confessing believers and more sex between husbands and wives.

But instead, the sin is talked about more than the blessing, so what most believers know is what not to do instead of what they can do. And then couples are too embarrassed to ask anything about the gift of sex because it’s been made to be shameful not realizing that sex is also apart of love…in marriage.

Too many married couples struggle with sex because all they ever heard when it came to sex while they were single was how sex before marriage was a sin. But what about what’s not sin? Is sin all there is? Scripture says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom/liberty” (2 Cor 3:17 ), so in this case and for this situation that means that believing married couples should be able to freely learn about this this gift from other believing married couples without restraint, embarrassment or condemnation. When the brethren truly come together to learn in the freedom of Christ about whatever the topic is, you won’t have so many of God’s people in bondage in their marriages. There are actually many believing newlyweds who know so much about marriage but don’t know much about sex. So they struggle because all they know is what not to do and since talking about sex is so taboo, they are afraid to ask older couples in the Lord for fear of embarrassment. So now wives aren’t being pleased and are hurting, husbands don’t know their wives aren’t being pleased or hurting and in the end couples do this for years and miss the fullness of this beautiful gift. Yet the scriptures say that the younger should teach the older and Titus 2 even goes so far as to say the older wives should teach the younger wives “…how to love their husbands…” Well, did you know in marriage loving your spouse includes sex?

The gift of sex in marriage is to please each other sexually while worshiping God spiritually. Yes sex is an act of worship and God is pleased when husband and wife come together sexually. He doesn’t leave the room when married couples make love to each other. He doesn’t turn His back when husbands and wives are sexually intimate. In fact God approves of couples engaging in the very gift that He created just for them! When a Father gives a gift to his children, he wants his children to enjoy that gift and take pleasure in it. And one of the amazing things about this gift of sex is, it has wonderful benefits for both husband and wife. What benefits? Glad you asked!

Some of the benefits of sex in marriage are, it relieves stress which has been medically proven, it brings forth children which are blessings and a heritage of the Lord. It brings couples closer together and causes them to become one. It’s one way husband and wife can express their true love for each other. Yes sex shows TRUE LOVE which is rarely ever talked about. How so? Because this deeply intimate gift is to be shared with husband and wife only and when couples partake in this blessing with each other only, it displays that, “No one else can partake in this gift with me but YOU”. Don’t you see? It’s just that private and just that personal that no one can share in this gift with a husband but his wife and no one can share in this gift with a wife but her husband.

It is very rare if ever that you find a believing married couple who understand the gift of sex, involved in any sexual activities outside of their marriage or even divorcing. When believing couples understand this gift, they won’t have to be told that adultery is sin because they will understand just how sacred this gift from God is.

So let’s stop talking bad about something that is good and is from God. Marriage is honorable and marriage includes sex. Let us who are married partake in this beautiful gift as often as we agree to and let those of us who are single look forward to this gift in the sanctity of marriage. Let us no longer be afraid to talk about this blessing as long as it is for edification and and education among the brethren and let us also understand that sex is a beautiful gift from God to husbands and wives.

1 Cor 7:3 (GWT), “Husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s [sexual] needs”.

The scripture shows that both husband and wife have sexual needs that must be fulfilled by each other. Sex in marriage is a need and that is the way God made it.

1 Cor 7:4 (NIV), “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife”.

Another way to say yield is ‘to give’. So in other words, the wife gives her body to her husband for his sexual pleasure and to be pleased in return just as the husband gives his body to his wife for her sexual pleasure and to be pleased in return. No one else can have each other’s bodies but one another.

1 Cor 7:5 (NLT), “Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

Because sex is a need of both husband and wife, God has made it clear in His word that both have to agree to refrain from sexual intimacy to pray (or fast) and that it be only for a limited time. Then after that time, God instructs husband and wife to come together again so that Satan won’t tempt either of them. Satan does not always tempt husband or wife with another man or woman, but often times he tempts them with obscene pictures and videos, masturbation which is self-pleasure/self-gratification without your spouse and/or lusting after the same sex. In other words, God gave instructions along with the gift of sex to both husband and wife and when those instructions (His word) are applied correctly, there is pleasure for both husband and wife, less temptation, closeness experienced, an act of worship before the Lord, conception of children, healing from past sexual hurts and more!

Prov 5:15-19, “Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don’t share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love”.

Food for ingestion and digestion…

Article 43:- Is there a formula for coping with labor pains?…

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labor_pains

On the 2nd of September 2015, was my fourth time in the labor ward. No, I don’t have four children of my own, not yet, maybe someday, by the Grace of God. Twice, I have been there on other people’s account. One thing that has always brought joy and a tear to my face on all the four occasions is the first cry of a new born child. Doctors will tell you that a baby must cry when they land in this world. I guess it is a magical cry born of this fact, but it is a moment out of this world. That is not the intent of this article.

Being in that labor ward reminded me of my own moments.  After a preterm labor at 35 weeks scare and a highly monitored delicate 4-week bed rest, I was finally induced at week 39. I remember my doctor’s talk before the induction process. He told me that there was 50% chance I would end up in a theatre. He told me to expect pain, and being induced the scale of pain goes up, say in a scale of one to ten, from 4 to 8. He told me to cooperate with the hospital staff. And the scary part, he told me in active labor, the cervix opens at the rate of 1cm every 1.5 hours, you can extrapolate how long that is going to be. I can recall the first quarter of Misoprostol tablet being inserted at 11am, then the next being put under my tongue at 5Pm. Then the cramps beginning, the water breaking, being rushed from the ward to the labor ward, the puking all through my labor (I must confess it helped with coping with the pain though), the periodic excruciating moments and the in-betweens where I could doze off (unimaginable-right), the helpful nurses who kept rubbing my back. Then walking into the delivery room, and the nurses urging me to push, and then he was out. Then they held him and asked me, “boy or girl?” and in my daze I answer, boy. He did not cry, so he was slapped a bit. Then he did. A small voice, but a cry alright. And everything was alright, we had pulled through. God had made the moment count. They cleaned him up, and brought him to me and the first words I ever said to him, God bless you my boy, and I put a sign of the cross on his forehead with my thumb. I remember every moment. Most people don’t . But I remember because one other thing my doctor told me was, regardless of the pain, stay sane. And sane I tried to stay. 9 hours later, I got the privilege of listening to my boy’s first cry. It is the best sound any mother will ever hear. Through the whole process I learnt to appreciate that birth is a Godly process. I have always known that, I have told my friends that, but mostly, I have believed it. Labor is different for every woman, and birth process as different as the number of children in this world. Tutorials have been developed on how to manage labor, classes of the same are taught, but when all is done, when you enter into that labor ward, it is you, your child and God. The rest of the people, even the doctors are spectators. I include the child because; even that child is in labor with you, literally. The child must bear the stress of the contractions for as long as the labor lasts. Some don’t and get distressed and they must be removed from the womb in the fastest way possible. Some mothers don’t either, they get fatigued and the mother and child must be separated and each attended to differently to ensure their safety. Others, in the process, either or both mother and child go to be with the lord.

I know many myths that have been said about labor, for instance, if your shoe size is less than five, your child is too big, you are short, and then you will end up in CS. I remember the labor stories that have lasted 30 minutes, others 36 hours.  I remember my niece being told she has a condition called Cephalo-pelvic Disproportion (CPD) and CS was inevitable. I remember reading somewhere that a woman who has brought forth a child into this world has been close to death. I remember the helplessness of the moment when you can call all the ancestors, angel’s saints, bash the walls, push beds scream abuses and anything crazier than crazy that you will never know you did, because in that moment, you are in your own world. I remember all this and my conclusion is one, it is a Godly process, just like conception is. He decides which sperm and which ovum becomes that baby, He defines when that baby graces this world, and no matter how much we want to convince ourselves of how much control we have over our life, He determines how they come.  He decides whether both mother and child lives. Not because He is a mean God, but because all of us are in this world for a purpose, and if our purpose is accomplished when we bring forth that child into this world, then we go back and be with Him who loves us most.

Many first time mothers, well even fifth time ones will have anxiety especially as the d-day approaches. This is because all of us have an intrinsic fear of imminent pain. Some women, out of the fear of the same opt for elective CS, or epidurals. Other developments have also come up in a bid to make the process as painless as possible. Many women will ask how to cope with the pain and there are enough videos online on how to make things easier. I do not have a formula for coping, or even a guide on how someone should cope with pain. I do not have a how to for my next birth. All I know is, birth process is a miracle. Whichever way the child lands into this world, it is a miracle. Holding that little person in your arms for the first time is magical. And a privilege we should forever thank God for. I can equate it to walking into a path you know not how long it is, or where it leads, but knowing that it is a path you must walk. You must walk it because you must. You can only imagine, pray and hop for an outcome that seems obvious. Whatever happens in between, only God knows. Does it mean that you should not prepare for labor, no. Go for Lamaze if you believe it will help, practice breathing, get a birth partner, do everything that you believe will help it be smoother for you. Walk, exercise your pelvic floor muscles, watch the videos, talk to your doctor, involve your spouse, do everything humanly possible, but most of all pray, surrender it all to God, because it is God who orders life. And He decided that children should land into this world as they do, well maybe humanity played a role, but it was His verdict. Pray for the safety of both of you.

Article 42:- Breastfeeding/Nursing – What to wear…

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Nursing mum in a nursing top

Ya mama, ya bamba…

One of the very fascinating things we women love to do is look in our wardrobes, choose a set what to wear; wear it; look at ourselves in the mirror then decide; Nooo! I don’t look great enough for the day ahead; so we goes back into the wardrobe, chooses another set, and the cycle goes on until we can find something perfect for that day. Frustration comes when what your choices are limited, because you are a few days post partum and in your new baby-fat weight you can only fit in 2% of what is in your wardrobe and hey, you are breastfeeding, so whatever you wear must be able to accommodate that. Most of us end up in wearing old oversize tees and buggy trousers most probably belonging to our spouses (if they are bigger than you).

Anyhow, when I started breastfeeding getting what to wear was really frustrating. It always got more complicated when going to church. I used to look at my dresses and wonder, why oh why can’t I wear any of them. Well it’s because at some point in the middle of mass, your baby will cry needing a feed. And there begins the struggle of boob extraction, trying to cover your back so that you are not exposed, trying to calm the baby with the boob and not choke them in the rush, then try and cover your boob too. Drama! Oh what goes first! By the time you are done, you have a minimum of ten pairs of eyes staring at you because you and baby just disrupted the juiciest part of the sermon. All I ended up wearing was two skirts I could still fit in and a few blouses and always a sweater on top, irregardless of the weather (so u ensure your back is sorted). Few churches provide for a baby place where mothers can go and nurse, once its done you can go back to church. Its sad because, maybe that which you  miss in the process is what was meant to be food for your soul that week.

When I could extract myself from 100% baby bonding and could do something else, I went on-line searching for options that would allow me to do this noble responsibility comfortably and still look good while at it. I developed my own solutions and I hope a mama can be helped out there.

First of all when I got expectant, I custom made my own pregnancy skirts. I knew that growing was inevitable, so I designed something with a stretchy fabric at the waist line and straight all the way down. I wore my skirts all through my pregnancy. I also designed them in a way that I could dart them and wear them post pregnancy. I was a perfect solution for the time when weight gain is overnight-literally and weight loss is drastic.  Also had one dress I designed when I was around 2 months pregnant. It could take in my weight all through. I still wear it, 1.5 years post partum.

Second,  I also discovered that alternatives design for clothes exist for breastfeeding women, both dresses and tops. I currently have stocked a couple and are available for sale. They allow you to nurse comfortably without having to expose your boob or back. They can also be worn to work as part of that suit and allow you to express comfortably. You can custom make your own dress that you will wear during your pregnancy, breastfeed in it, go to work in it and express and wear them to those casual outings and be comfortable and look good. The beauty of it is, you can dress your bump in the same wear, and wear it post partum.

simple_pregancy_women_wear_nursing_clothing_cheap  simple_pregancy_women_wear_nursing_clothing_cheap 1

long_sleeve_pregnant_dress_nursing_formal_dresses (1) long_sleeve_pregnant_dress_nursing_formal_dresses

Dress your bump, breastfeed with it later ( The beauty of elasthane)

I will attach a few sample photos and allow you to look at the beautiful side of breastfeeding where you can look fabulous and breastfeed. The trick is getting the right fabric. (Photos courtesy of Angel Solutions)

Casual outfit for nursing mum

Casual, ready for outdoor activity with baby

Nursing top, casual setting

Casual

Official in nursing top ready t express

Official and ready to express, hurray working mum!

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Lets get some work done…

Cheers mums to wonderful moments with your child.

It shall come to pass…

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An inspired spiritual writer once wrote in the bible that all is vanity.

There is nothing permanent on the face of this earth,

All comes to pass at some point,

The sun rises, but it eventually sets,

The rains come and go,

Floods are seasonal,

And so is the drought causing blazing sun…

The winds too change direction,

Once blowing from the east and some from the North,

The Ocean swells, The Ocean recedes,

Rivers dry, and sometimes break their banks,

The harvest is rich, it is scarce sometimes none,

It snows, it flowers, it rains and washes away the dust accumulated from the sun,

It changes and changes and keeps changing…

And so are the days of our lives,

They are forever changing,

In a turmoilous tide of happenings,

Today we cry, tomorrow we laugh,

We make friends, we make enemies,

We grow, we stagnate we retard,

We love each other, we hurt each other, we amend we let go,

We carry on the burden of unforgiveness

We bleed, we plead, we mend that whish bleeds,

We carry the burdens of yesterday and forget to live today,

We get weary from tomorrows worries and let go of that which we have,

We live, we die, we leave this world for others so go through the same journeys we made.

Sometimes they make it better,

They may be happier or sadder,

Sometimes they smile more or live frowned lives,

Whatever we choose to do in the temporary situation we find ourselves in,

Is a choice we make,

To make or break,

To make it count or to make it lost,

I couldn’t agree more with Ecclesiastes,

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,

Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What does man gain by all the toil

At which he toils under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

But the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down,

And hastens[c] to the place where it rises.

The wind blows to the south

And goes around to the north;

Around and around goes the wind,

And on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea,

But the sea is not full;

To the place where the streams flow,

There they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;

A man cannot utter it;

The eye is not satisfied with seeing,

Nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,

And what has been done is what will be done,

And there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,

“See, this is new”?

It has been already

In the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,

Nor will there be any remembrance

Of later things yet to be

Among those who come after.

There is a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to kill and a time to heal,

A time to tear down and a time to build,

 A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.

What is my message? Whatever you are going through is not permanent. No one should not take advantage of ssuch situations. If you are hurting, persevere; If you are lost, try find your way out; If its hard,smile while at it; If the winds blow strong, find a shoot to hang on to; if it threatens to drown you, find a way to keep your head up; if its shaky, stabilize your heart… If someone is there with you, thank God, if you are alone, you are never really alone, God is with u, so hang in there and find Him amidst all that is happening .

A Kiswahili saying goes ‘mpanda ngazi hushuka’ ; he who ascends a ladder must descend. Assist when you can and go your way. You won’t lose your light if you shine the candles of others, and if they shine brighter the better. You do not become less by making someone more.  Cry with those that weep, shine the path bright to a lost soul, hug true and tight to the heart broken, stop and smile at that sad person, drop a coin on a beggars tin, it doesn’t matter whose castle they are going to bring with it, whether their own or someone taking advantage of them, bring sunshine to a rainy day, make life count, for you and for someone else, but more so for someone else because in making theirs count yours too does count. Live a life that is worth. … Because all is not permanent, you never know when the shoe will be on your own foot!

Article 41 :- Exclusive Breastfeeding…

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Ya-mama-ta-bamba-image-1

One time you are walking like a duck because your tummy is quite big, you can never imagine you will ever touch your toes again; next moment, you have this little, most beautiful littlest human being in your arms and somewhere in your subconscious, you hear a nurse tell you, “mama, you need to breastfeed your baby”. And breastfeed you must, not because there is a manual on how to breastfeed, but because somehow, deep in your soul, you know how it is done, and you bring your baby to your breast, and they begin to nurse, and there begins your six month journey of you and baby and being the only sole provider of its first fastest food.

Deep in my heart, I knew I always wanted to be someone’s mum. Deep in my heart, I always knew, I would exclusively breastfeed, not because I knew the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding but because I knew it’s one of the best bonding moments between a mother and child. It was a special thing that only my child and I could experience. When you look into those innocent eyes and discover the true meaning of ultimate trust. When you know that, when they sit on your lap and lay their head in the crook of your arms, it’s the most comfortable position they know and in their minds they can stay there forever, and the clingy ones actually do try that forever, when the only world they know is the brightness in your eyes and the smell of your clothing, and for them that is enough. That is the magic of breastfeeding!

WHO and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months (26 weeks) to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.

Breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness. Numerous studies from around the world have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal infection and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies and are less severe when they do happen. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food, formula, or water) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection). According to Baby Center the main immune factor at work here is a substance called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) that’s present in large amounts in colostrum, the first milk your body produces for your baby. (Secretory IgA is present in lower concentrations in mature breast milk.) The substance guards against invading germs by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes in your baby’s intestines, nose, and throat. Breastfeeding our little ones also allows for development of a protective layer along their intestinal tract preventing food allergies caused by inflammations. This layer’s growth cannot be facilitated by even formula; the substance, whatever scientists call it is only found in colostrums. Breastfeeding protects a child from obesity. This can be attributed to the following; Breastfed babies have more leptin in their system, a hormone that researchers believe plays a role in regulating appetite and fat; Breast milk contains less insulin than formula. (Insulin stimulates the creation of fat.) Breastfed babies are better at eating until their hunger is satisfied, leading to healthier eating patterns as they grow; and finally, just like breast milk of a specific mother is specific to their child in terms of nutrient constitution, they say a mother’s body can respond to its child when it is full (debatable), so it stops producing more milk . It implies that, a child can latch for an hour but breast milk stops flowing when the child is satisfied, the other part of latching is solely for bonding.

For mothers, breastfeeding leads more rapid maternal weight loss after birth, lowers stress levels hence lower risks of post partum depression (many women report feeling relaxed while breastfeeding. That’s because nursing triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin. Numerous studies in animals and humans have found that oxytocin promotes nurturing and relaxation), reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, and delayed return of menstrual periods. Other obvious benefits are It’s free; It’s available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed; It’s the right temperature; It builds a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby. Finally, Breast milk adapts as your baby grows to meet your baby’s changing needs.

Breastfeeding is natural – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. In fact, most mothers will tell you it is not easy. From little or no milk, to sore breasts, to outright fatigue for those whose babies are great feeders like my boy.  Being a working mother doubles the challenge. Complications at birth that make it hard for a mother to breastfeed the first few hours post partum which contributes immensely to breast milk flow messes things up further, making mothers have little milk, hence opting for formula or early weaning.  However, amidst all these challenges, many women have risen to the challenge and managed to feed their children for six months exclusively on breast milk and avoid giving their babies packet/cow milk for up to one year. Mad respect to women ha! Yes, mad respect to the women who have to content with expressing, stocking, pouring out when power fails and milk thaws, rushing home at much to just do this noble curse, eat very funny tasting foods and drinks in the name of boosting this one substance very necessary for their babies, the wars they will fight for privacy in the office to express, and even amid all the hustles is the realization that stored milk cannot equal the directly suckled milk, there is loss of nutrients in freezing, thawing and of course in warming; a toast to all of us for the selflessness.

For those who did not make it, and will not make it, due to factors beyond their control, well, children are beyond us. They have a creator who watches over them. We are just His custodians. They are with us on a temporary custody, before they go to fulfill the mission they were created to; all we can ever do is our best for them. And one thing I am sure is, we do our best as mothers, always…

In as much as there is no manual on how to breastfeed, when that child land on our hands, lets breastfeed breastfeed, breastfeed. I remember the nurses who kept telling me to keep breastfeeding a few minutes after delivery, yes, a few minutes, and I thank them because my flow, in as much as it was not “fresian”, it was sufficient for my boy for those first crucial months.

Finally, there is a difference between exclusive breastfeeding, and exclusive feeding on breast milk. When I started out, I wanted to achieve the former but then again, I am a working mom so, most of us end up doing the latter. Meaning, we express, then feed from a bottle, or cup and spoon. I pen off…

Article 40 :- The things my mother teaches me…

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I have not put up anything for a while. It’s been a hectic several months. I changed jobs and for some time I was working for two employers; not easy at all. Then I went home, to the village. My rural home is very refreshing, so you don’t what to go there and carry technology with you. There you go to rejuvenate yourself and refill that which was draining empty. Other than the lush green and fresh air, I always learn something new from my mother. So, this break is also a learning experience from this very wise woman. Today I just want to share few things among the many I have learnt from her, in the hope that I may inspire someone somehow. That’s the whole reason behind sharing knowledge, right?

The importance of discipline: – According to Miriam Webster On-line Dictionary, Discipline is among other things, training that corrects, molds or perfects moral character; self control or suppression of base desires. It is a way of life that is molded by continuous control gained by requiring that rules and orders be obeyed and bad behavior is punished. Sometimes the training may not be by instruction; that is being sat down and given a lecture on how to behave. Many are the times this instruction is by example, though once in a while words are inevitable. As long as I can remember, my mother has always gone to church every Sunday, no matter how early the mass is; she will always rise a few minutes past 6 am, she will do her chores- her house has always been sparkling clean and clothes, to date, are washed daily in her house-, she will go to work (informal kind of work), cook family meals, ensure everyone has had a bath, whichever way one likes it, warm-u get warm and otherwise. She will go for small Christian community. Whatever she puts her heart to achieve, she goes for it; she dedicates her mind and energy to accomplishing that task and rests when it’s done. She gives herself deadlines. She beats them. Her rules are reasonable and when you break them, you really feel guilty for doing it, because she gives you freedom to do the right thing. She is a woman of few words, so her training has been mostly by actions. Discipline. With the example she has set in molding herself, adhering to her own rules, I have learned to make my own rules too; rules to live by. The rules are not cast in stone, they are flexible but I have learnt the importance of setting standards of your own life and living by them. For her, most of the standards are guided by the teachings of her faith in God; for instance, if you don’t work you should not eat. For that, she works hard and enjoys the fruit of her labor. Adhering to your own rules make you principled. It means you cannot be easily swayed to do things just because people are doing them. It means you have a stand on many issues because if you don’t then you can fall for anything. It means you have standards that you are not willing to have compromised unless those standards go against the will of God. It means you have a voice of your own whether anyone ever hears it or not. It means you are your own person. She taught me to become my own person; exhibiting my own uniqueness, whether in strength or weakness. She taught me the importance of character. She taught me to be self guided, self motivated, self reliant, innovative and identify my own paths in life and diligently follow them and actualize myself in those dreams that I seek to pursue.

Commitment to prayer for our children: – My mother is a very prayerful person and most of the time I tell her I accord where I am to the many prayers she has said for me and all of us. I know I have gotten into trouble (I have a knack for that) and gotten out mysteriously/miraculously. I know I have been to through hard times that only she as a mother understands, and come through. I have seen God in my life in so many ways. I wouldn’t say am a prayerful person, but I know my mother prays for me. I thanked her on this last visit and I told her, I honestly believe that I am where I am because God favored her and answered her prayers and she told me that when we were young she would kneel before God and tell Him to hold our hands and guide us to live good lives. I thank God for the people we have become. I pray to God to grant me the same energy, strength and resilience to always remember my children in my prayers. I hope I can pray for them with the same zeal. But more so I hope I can teach them how to pray for themselves just like she taught me in the foot of her bed as a young girl.

Do good for goodness sake: – A famous Kiswahili saying “tenda wema nenda zako”- Do good and go your way. Most of us perform acts of charity so that we may be recognized, or praised by those who see us or so that those who we are kind to can be indebted to us and when they do not return the favor we get angry and throw tantrums. There is no God’s teaching that says love so that you are loved. Christ commands us to love-period. Whether the love is reciprocated or not should never determine our acts of love. I have witnessed so many kind deeds from her I am astounded. The Kenya Post Election Violence was hard on us (disregard the myths of who suffered most) and especially on me. But picture this woman returning from an IDP camp, someone who lost everything, passes by this house of one regarded as an enemy, finds some Irish potato seeds this lady wants to go plant on her farm, but in her kindness, this frenemy gives the seeds to her, I don’t even know if she left some for herself. For her it is the only hope she can give this hopeless person who is returning to rebuild her life that, if you plant this seed, at some time-T you will harvest and have some livelihood for you and your children. It may not be much, but it was a beginning. Case 2:- you have a relative who lives a hopeless life somewhere, but you go your way to till their land, plant, weed, and do all appertains to crop maintenance, just to make sure this family has a livelihood. I have seen the selfless acts she does and every time I tell myself, if I ever become a fraction of the woman she is, then I will not have lived in vain. Well, may God bless her kind soul, and may she never tire doing good deeds.

Blessed is he who finds a good wife: – When we think of a good wife, we think of proverbs 31. I remember being told to read it by very good small Christian community members that it be my guide in my married life. It’s a small caption from a father to a son on what the father’s mother taught him on character of a good wife. I can summarize thus:-

A good wife brings good to her man, nurturing confidence in him, earning him respect among his peers; She works hard to provide for her family and all those who depend on her; She is an innovative entrepreneur; She is kind, giving to the poor; She is a good planner, ensuring her family is provided for in all seasons, all basic needs; She has dignity, self respect and is disciplined; She is wise; Most importantly; a good wife she fears the Lord.

My mother may not be all these things, literally, but she has taught me to try and be there for my family in my own little ways. My dad has been unwell in the recent past and the dedication I have seen as she takes care of him is humbling. She has slept in hospital chairs just to be at his side in those lonely nights he is in a lot of pain. In his weakest moment, she has been his strength, in his desperate moments she has been his hope, in those moments when he cannot pray, she has been that prayer he most needed. When work took him away from his family, she stood firm and ensured the family run well, she was the father and mother to her children. I can go on and on. I have listened to many men rant on radio shows of how women are bad, gold diggers, crazy, and how they only deserve so little worth; on the other hand I have listened to women who have been mistreated by the same people who have loved them for the better and the worst times of their lives. All I can say to all that is, blessed is he who finds a good wife, a Proverbs 31 wife. Surprisingly, it was lessons from a mother too.

Love your children unconditionally: – Children are a blessing from God, regardless of their capacities, character and abilities. A long time ago, when I was 8 years old or thereabouts, my younger brother passed on. He was physically challenged. His doctors never expected him to get to 5 years, but he died a month to his 6th birthday. Every time I listen to my mother talk about him, I cannot help but cry. She talks very fondly about him. I may not remember much about him, but I know he was an ever smiling boy. Making him happy was very easy. He could laugh a hearty laughter. He was very smart for his age. He was friendly to all. He had a knack for getting injuries but hat never made him grumpy at all. And he died in her arms. At our time and age, when technology can allow us to predict whether our children are “normal” or not, most women opt to terminate little lives just because they do not fit our definition of a “perfect child”. We all grow up and become different people, sometimes not what our parents envisioned we will become. My brothers, sister and I have different characters and all of us have given her enough bile juice at some point in time. We have made our mistakes, we have fallen, and we have done crazy things that have made her hair stand. We will still drive her crazy. That has and I believe will never make her love us less. May we celebrate our children with the same zeal, love and dedication to their lives regardless of who they become.

Irrespective of my age, I am still a young person. I am still learning especially from the people I encounter every day. I have picked a lot from this woman who God graced to be my mother, some I can never get to finish writing about. I pray for blessings upon her for the life she has lived, for the examples she has set but more so I forever thank her for the prayers she has prayed for me. I hope that someday when my children look back, they will find fond things to say about the woman who was their mother. I don’t live for that though, I live for the love I can give them and the values I can teach them, but more so I live in hope that I can teach them to know the precepts f the lord in those precepts they can find their way in life and become the very best of themselves. 

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