My age mates are wedding, having babies, moving in, being gifted bimas during proposals, others are at divorce stage, and the rest of us are on the queue preaching about God’s timing. !Amen! We show up for each other to support and have a chance of saying `all my friends are ballers’ (what am I saying?).

Saturday afternoon. I’m at a baby shower. It’s in Ukambani. In this land, `if there is no colour, Kaos are not boarding’.  

Look at mangoes, and melons.  

So Yellow and blue as dress code, relieved someone did not suggest red and purple. Venue is at one of our friends’ house. We have organized this shower for 2months. It’s a surprise. The mother to be will be coming to visit our friend with the hubs, and on arrival:

The door will be opened,

We shall have hidden somewhere,

She will enter first and

we shall all unhide

and shout surpriseEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

She will start saying `you guys should have given me a clue,’

and the party will officially start when she cries.

The photographer will be instructed to capture every drop of tear.

Ladies narrate birth stories in baby showers. They say that we people with small shoe sizes will not give birth normally; that it has to be CS. (shoe size shoe size why do you keep coming up? see http://shoutmate.co.ke/the-vow/ ). Shall we continue? It makes me freak out. No one really explains very well the correlation between shoe size and normal delivery. It’s confusing but I think it’s a myth si even as kids we were told that if you crossed someone and failed to do it again you would give birth to a cat? (Okay, this would have sounded better in Gikuyu allow me `wagarara mundu wage gucokerera, agaciara kanyau’). Have you ever seen someone who has given birth to a cat?

Ladies talk. We even enter into her (mother to be) bedroom and ask deep questions like what style it was when she got pregnant, if they had planned, how she discovered about the pregnancy and even deeper questions. We talk about how to get a girl or boy. We play games that require a pen and paper. We clap hard for those who win and finish vocally with

ingweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

ingweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

ingweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

We don’t give a certificate thanks to the `it’s never that serious squad’ but the way we praise the winners makes them believe they won lottery except their bank account confirms it’s a scam. Winners are gifted a plate of popcorns; I would hate to win in such a competition.


We suggest names for the upcoming new born. Lots of them like Bernetto, Chuck, Astiano, Mbappe, Alejandro,  Aymar, it’s usually a formality and a test on how much you know soap operas. Deep down the mother knows the name.

I imagine if during my mother’s baby shower they had this session and people suggested Mary or Hannah or Ann or Irene (I don’t know people my age who have these fancy names. What are we? Fossils?). She then goes home with the list to my dad excited that they will pick Irene or Winfred maybe Gladys like my grandmother and then he looks at the list and continues eating his `mukimo’.

No word yet. He gets the newspaper that had folded meat, plays code word and then he speaks out.

He tells mum of how we have been diluted by the western culture, of how we forget our roots, of how we have beautiful Gikuyu names that we don’t see. Of how a name is a sense of identity. And just like that she is bought and they decide no English name. They settle on Wairimu, a name that made me feel like a villager from the deepest village, a name that I came to accept 19years later after realizing it’s never gonna change, a name that Mpesa keeps reminding me about. Dear shoutmates, my siblings and I don’t know how it feels to have an English name. Wairimu Mumbi Karugu.

Done with the naming session. We go to giving birth and ladies give stories. Those who have been there explain enthusiastically how they walked around the labor wards in pain and shouted and cried and cursed the baby daddy. Many scary stories, some happy and others sad. What is common in them all is the joy that comes with seeing and holding the new born.

We then discuss about post-natal depression. How mothers after birth feel lonely. Everyone continues with their lives as you baby sit, and nurse wounds, deal with baby fat and a big stomach, have sleepless nights, and have no time to keep up with Kilimani mums. We prepare the mum for this period and tell her to be calm, not to feel out of place; and not to give room for depression. There is always a lady who knows it all. She talks the most, gives advice for everything as she has passed through every single thing. If it’s not her, her friend or cousin.



Then we go to gifting; time to separate ripe and raw. Those with expensive things want to be first or last, some attention is not bad. The mother appreciates the gifts and then we cut the cake. Deciding on which cake to buy took us 4days in the whatsapp group. The arguments were very many; flavour, shape, size, colour, baker, packaging. Some people lost their cool, became emotional leading to 12 leftings. Goodness just for food and sugars and wheat. Some of us who understand nothing about this followed silently until we were cut in the group and told `those who are not talking say something’. And then we say vanilla is okay. Vanilla because we take yoghurt and know it’s a good flavour. Of course no one cares about our useless opinion so we sleep at 9pm just to wake up to 1080 messages and no decision on which cake. I would have read them if the discussion was about boiro but cake?


We then walk out for a photo session. We have to make noise on social media with matching clothes and heels and baby bump. We sing a few songs for the unborn kid and then leave one by one after a vote of thanks. Some of us remain behind bitterly discussing the story of Ivy Wangechi (May her soul rest in peace. May justice be found. May we never think of taking somebody else’s life).

We talk about killing and anger and money, one lady who has been quiet all along gets a voice. You listen keenly to such people because when they talk, it is sense. Her point is, that as we talk about lives, and taking them, we should also remember how thousands, millions of ladies take lives through abortion. She goes ahead and gives her story. This is the point I disconnect with everything else and focus to get every word, sentence and of course vocabulary.

She was tapped in this sponsorship business for 1clean year. Met the old man where she interned, he was a client. He loved the way she served her so he tipped and took her number so she sorts her in case of further queries. He drives a prado TX. Two days later he calls her for coffee after work, he hardly text so he calls on Wednesday 11.43 am.

Can I give a girl a proper thank you?

Mmmmmh

Coffee at Laico Regency?

{Of course she wants to. She has never been to Laico and has nothing planned for the evening. Quick mathematics, go to my humble single room, fill mitungi with water, sit on my mattress which lays on the floor and chat away the night with an age mate who wants me to `visit’ him at his bedsitter or go to Laico for coffee with a client who drives a TX?}

Well, if you insist; I will come

Good girl. I’ll have my driver pick you from work at 5.

Alright.

She has never been on a TX before; this one must go to record in her diary. They have coffee at Laico, a classy hotel she had only heard in Haiwi Haiwi. She finds him seated on a corner reading a business daily newspaper, his glasses on and two phones on the table; a big Samsung phone and a kabambe techno on top. He sees her and stands for a handshake.

They talk. Not about work or appreciation or school; social things. He asks her what she does for fun.

 Movies, hanging out, hiking and those activities people write on Cvs.

She doesn’t mention drinking yet all clubs in tao know her. They talk and talk and in between she receives a call; a friend is asking for directions; the best way she describes places in tao is opposite mojos or next to rumours . She is caught; red handed; this one parties. He suggests they go have a drink, `wine or something’. I should mention this before they leave Laico; she had her first espresso here, got very confused on the role of the cookies brought, and left them untouched. She has that on her diary too.

They leave for a place in Hurlingham, a posh club where one is sanitized at the entrance. Very many new things for one night. She had never heard/seen a sanitizer before. Food is served; he had ordered earlier; ugali, kienyeji and shoma. She is told to order a drink. TX guy is taking summit lager; he doesn’t do sugars. Health. She is a heavy weight who doesn’t mind blue moon (this is what she was used) but first impression. She orders kingfisher. His friends come and they are doing Glenfiddich which she sees for the first time. Later in the night, kingfishers are not getting her high; she starts taking Glen. They party until it’s home o’clock. Into the TX and she is high as f(oh No). He suggests they get a venue, they do and that’s how the relationship began. That very night she opened the shop.

They see each other, party, get venue and he gets tired of venues. He rents her a good house. 3bedroom in Lavington and turns around her lifestyle into that of a princess. Internship ends and she doesn’t care about getting a job; he is sustaining him.

Did you like it? The sex

Not for a minute. I did most of the work up there for those 3minutes and when I thought about how big or old he was, I painted a picture of the money in the mind and rode faster up to the finishing line.

I had a boyfriend who did the digging well so that wasn’t a bother.

With Mr. TX, all I had to do was look beautiful; he paid my gym, driving, house, clothes, swimming, everything, and my everyday job was looking good. I used expensive imported make up, designer clothes, and forgot trips to Ngara. There were rules to this relationship; no calling, he should call; only text when he texts, no photos with him, I should be available when he needs me and one last thing, get the most expensive family planning because no rubber and no kids.

She followed the rules religiously until one day she tested positive for pregnancy. He told him and hell broke loose.

Get rid of it. How much do you need?

A few calls and she got someone to execute. They had to do a test in his presence just to make sure she didn’t keep the baby. That act opened a human side of her that she didn’t think existed. She began regretting wondering if this whole lifestyle was worth anything. No job experience; the only one she had was looking beautiful. If this man walked out, she would be helpless. He did. After the abortion; she became big and developed acne and the man paid her rent for the whole year and left her. She went for a younger good looking girl.

Her peace of mind disappeared. Every time she saw a kid she kept thinking; mine should be this size. 4months later, a scholarship she had applied in Canada was confirmed. She was glad and ready to start a new life. In Canada, she met a Kenyan man and they fell in love. When she noticed it was getting serious, she let the cat out of her past life. How mad the man was, especially because she had not opened the shop; they were to wait till marriage. They broke up for a while but she kept praying; it was her only hope. One day the pastor is preaching about forgiveness. Story of Peter who asked Jesus how many times he should forgive others. Up to seven times?

Jesus says that church members should forgive each other “seventy times seven times” ( Mathew 18:22) which means infinite times. That in order to be forgiven by God, you need to forgive others including yourself.

She called herself a meeting and pondered upon that word and realized how much she needs to forgive herself. That no sin is big enough not to be forgiven. That maybe his fiancée will get back and forgive her if she forgives herself and Mr. TX who she was very bitter about. She prayed about it and things turned around after 8months. They came back to Kenya a year later and started their family life; blessed with 2kids, twins.

She wanted me to pass this to those people who have aborted and have no peace of mind. That what they did was not right; that they can advocate against it including getting to the causes of abortion and dealing with them. That we can reduce cases of abortion by reducing unwanted pregnancies. That we should be ambassadors of no abortion silently or loudly.

That the act happened and cannot be reversed; that one should not feel useless or less human. That it’s okay to hold bitterness towards the man responsible but not for long because life has to move on. That we need to pray for forgiveness but God shall only grant it when we forgive others and ourselves from deep down. That there is no sin that God cannot forgive. That you deserve to get married and have babies. Live; the world will judge you anyway.

I regret with every fibre in my body what I did. Especially because I would have avoided it; but no lessons were given on sex or relationships. Talking about sex was a taboo and our parents looked at us and thought `this one is still a virgin’. I will teach my daughter that sex is special; very special; it shouldn’t be with anyone. That protection is good if she decided to fornicate. That a baby is a blessing and shouldn’t be killed prematurely. That it is okay to have that kid and be judged. That abortion is wrong.

The Unique Mumbi

About The Unique Mumbi

I smile a lot; let’s just say I am a smiling machine. I have never felt how it feels to have an English name; in that case, you can call me unique. Writing became part of me after my first and best heartbreak ever. Wasn’t this man an angel? Slow internet makes me want to scream, and cashew nuts love me too.

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