Tag Archives: Family

It is not witchcraft!

30 Aug

If you’ve read the About page on this blog, then you know that I am African. My son’s name should help to demonstrate just how much of a connection I have with home. This open acknowledgement and awareness that I have about who I am and where I come from doesn’t always allow the decisions I make comfortable to contend with. I have to consider my family, both immediate and extended. How do my decisions affect others’ views of me and my family? Really, I’d be ok if the backlash was only toward me but, in most cases its not. Every Mugala or DaCosta out there might be looked at differently all because of my decision. It’s a heavy load and one that is sometimes hard to juxtapose between two very different worlds.

Luckily, I was raised in the Western world and therefore, a product of two distinct cultures. I have the liberty to take from each one the best practices and customs. Some actions that are not understood by my own or other Africans can just be chucked up to my Americanness. I’m fine with that.

I am sure sharing something so personal on such a public forum is one of those things that has left some of my family scratching their heads. But it’s not just for me, it’s for you.

The decision to start this blog weighed on my mind for a few months before I finally decided to get on with it. The main impetus being how many women from my own community I could reach and make aware of this thing called Preeclampsia. I have heard so many stories from women in this community about their hypertensive problems during pregnancy that I am convinced (like many other illnesses) we are disproportionately more affected than our counterparts belonging to other races. Of course, there can be many explanations (social economic status, access, education and awareness, racism, etc.) for this but without any references; it is hard to say for sure.

I work in public health so this seems like a natural course of events for me. Something happened; I wasn’t aware; now that I know; I want to share and make others aware. When one is aware, she can make better decisions about her health.

I find it stunting that African women do not share such vital information as what could happen to complicate a pregnancy and, in some cases may result in death. We are raised to keep matters of the family to ourselves and not call attention to ourselves by highlighting our misfortunes. But what about when these misfortunes could mean a cousin, sister or another family, doesn’t have to suffer your same fate. What do I gain by keeping the cause of the loss of my son to myself?

It isn’t witchcraft. I know there are many who probably think this but, it isn’t. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. At least I think I’m a good person. The tens of thousands I have read about since losing my son, they couldn’t all have been bad people could they? The unthinkable happened to them too. And you know what? They aren’t all African, so can we stop with the taboo over sharing vital information?

No matter which of your enemies you don’t let see you pregnant or see you happy, it is no indication that your pregnancy will not end in tragedy. Far more likely, is the fact that in spite of your enemy seeing you happy, good things still continue to happen to you. So live your life without fearing the ill intentions of another human being. They are just human! The best thing you can do for yourself is be as aware as possible and take your health and the health of your unborn child into your own hands because doctors are not foolproof.

We are doing a much bigger disservice to our daughters, nieces, cousins, etc., when we shield them for these lifesaving experiences which should help shape their futures as pregnant women and then mothers. After all, we are always supposed to learn from our experiences. What good is the lesson if you cannot/will not pass it on?

We are in the year 2013. There has been much advancement in medicine and still some being researched now. We do not have to suffer from the same infirmities our sisters suffered 100 years ago. We should be building upon all these experiences and lessons so that our daughters know how to respond. So they don’t suffer the same traumatic experiences.

I cannot just be silent. I must share. My experience touches on a wide range of subjects related to pregnancy and postpartum that I know we African women don’t and won’t talk about but, someone has to start. It is for the good of our community.

 

If you have questions about what preeclampsia is, visit the Preeclampsia Foundation for more information.

Mother’s Day Sweetness

1 Jul

I have the best family and friends!

I was extremely nervous about my first Mother’s Day because well, I don’t physically have a child. Its hard for those of us who’ve had children but no evidence of them, to really feel like we are a part of this holiday. I thought about how I would react if I was wished a Happy Mother’s day from others. I knew everyone around me had no idea how to approach this. I didn’t either. It was very sad but, I managed to smile a few times thanks to my parents, sisters and husband who made it a special one anyway.

My sister and her husband took my husband and me out to brunch. A tradition around these parts it seems. I never noticed this until, of course, I too became a mother. All the children and grandchildren dressed in their Sunday-best to treat Mom to a day off her feet. The first time Moms being appreciated by their husbands while both are in awe of their child.  No cooking for Moms on this day. She is truly queen for the day.

I was reminded by my parents when they wished me a happy Mother’s Day, that I really am still a mother. Childless and all. I can’t thank my family enough for the love poured over me. The icing on the cake? My twin sister bringing me a blue orchid. Blue for Demilade. Little did she know that I had just thrown out all of the flowers from friends and family that had finally died. Something that made me very sad; and there she was with new flowers!

Still more, before I could lie down to sleep for the night, my 16 year old sister sends me this poem she wrote:

Our Precious Time”

By: Auntie Kambuza

I love the precious time we had

I love your gracious body that held

My whole being – an eight month term –

A miracle of life, a wonderful sum.

I loved the rubs, feels, and warmth.

I felt your laugh, tenderness, and joy,

The care that mommy and daddy bestowed

Maybe not face to face,

But a deep connection felt,

That’ our case.

Oh, how I miss the compassion that flowed, but

Please know I’m in glory with the Lord.

So please don’t cry, don’t be sad

Because I’m grateful for the time we had.

Forever and always – our unbreakable bond

Will overlap into the Great Beyond!

So to my lovely mama and dada too

Have a Blessed Mother’s Day.

I LOVE YOU!!

– Demilade Christian

Our Precious Time

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