Tales from a New Mom | The Story of … Rachael and Allen

                                         RACHAEL NDERU, 28

An Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, practicing at a law firm in Nairobi shares her story on being mom to Allen…


Q. I’m mom to…

Allen, my son is 1 year 5 months. I am a mother to a fur baby as well by the name Makodofia, a cat that is two and a half years old. We adopted him in May 2015. Haha, yes, I included my cat. He is awesome!

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Q. We call Allen …

“Baba” if it counts as a pet name, but his name is pretty simple, we are yet to find a pet name that fits so sadly Allen doesn’t really have a pet name.

Q. How we picked baby’s name…

Allen is named after his paternal grandfather save for his first name. I’ve always loved simple English names, as does my partner, so it was easy to agree on the name after I suggested it.

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Q. It used to drive me mad when people said…

I’m refusing to breastfeed Allen; these comments were especially made by older women. My son stopped breastfeeding around 10 months and people would insinuate that I’m one of those “modern girls” who didn’t want to breastfeed not knowing how upset I was by him having stopped breastfeeding earlier than I had planned.

Q. The most memorable present we received was ….

We received so many wonderful gifts, but one that stands out was his day bed, it’s one gift we made full use of especially since we loved having Allen near us when he’d take an afternoon nap.

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Q. They should have warned me that ….

I’d never sleep again!

Q. My hospital bag contained…

Apples! My water broke in the middle of the night and I was famished, so I packed apples. I had pre-packed socks, slippers, clothes and supplies for the baby, a lesso, toiletries and hand sanitizer.

Q. One of the old wives tales I was told during my pregnancy was…

That I was too small (skinny) to deliver normally. Thankfully my labour lasted all of 40 minutes or so. I didn’t know I was in labor for the better part of the time.


Q. My pregnancy style was…

Smart casual, I retained my every day style. My belly was small for the better part of my pregnancy so my skater dresses came in handy. I loved it! I did try to shop for maternity clothes but there was very limited variety in my size.

Q. I couldn’t have survived the first few months without…

Fruits – for the first three months of pregnancy I would eat a lot of fruits, in fact it was one of the signs that I was pregnant.

My sister Joan – she was on call at all hours, she’s such an amazing mother so I automatically turned to her for advice.

My partner – he’s a great hands on dad, he was on Diaper duty and would bathe baby when I was too tired.


Q. The best thing I bought…

Was a book titled “What to Expect in the First Year” such a handy guide for first time mums.


Q. My most challenging time as a new mom…

Was when Allen was about to turn six months. I was busy thinking of his weaning journey when I discovered a lump in my right breast. At first I ignored it, I thought it was clogged milk and that it would disappear on its own, but it didn’t. Two weeks later it had grown harder and more tender. I went to the hospital for tests and all my results were bad, I remember sitting with a doctor as she reviewed my results and it was horrible and the “C” word was thrown out there. I remember at some point in between hospital visits, tests and reviews things were not working out and the results were still negative. I had a really hard conversation with my partner regarding what I wanted to happen to our baby in the event something happened to me and I wasn’t around to take care of him. After my biopsy I remember getting home and washing my baby like I would on a normal day yet I was still bleeding and leaking milk from the puncture wound. All I wanted was to spend as much quality time with him as I could, no matter how I was feeling. Fortunately, the results turned out clear of cancer and I’m here, I’m well, I’m grateful for a chance to watch my baby grow. I don’t take it for granted.


Q. I wish I’d known that…

I can only control so much and every attempt to try and structure everything would fail miserably e.g. In my grand plan, baby was to breastfeed till he was at least two years old. Shock on me! I had to learn to let go of my need to control everything. Once I learnt to roll with the punches I balanced all my hats better.

Q.  I wish …

I had flexible hours at work. I love my job but at the same time I wish I had more time with my baby. In an ideal world I’d work from home on days I don’t have Court or scheduled meetings, after all I can draft pleadings and submissions from anywhere at any hour. No? Alternatively I come in early and leave by 3pm.

Q. Being a mom is…

A beautifully challenging journey that I am adequately equipped for.


Q. I’d like my baby to know …

A life worth living is a life of purpose. Find God for yourself, there are many versions out there but find him and create a relationship with him. He loves you just as you are, He always has. I love you, with every fiber of my being and I always will.

Q. The best advice I received …

I am equipped for motherhood. I was worried about labor, all the horror stories didn’t help. However, during my baby shower my sister brought in an amazing doula who told me that my body was created for childbirth and therefore I shouldn’t walk into the labor room in fear. She drummed it into me that I could handle motherhood and that I was equipped for it all. I’ve carried this advice throughout my journey.

Q. What they don’t tell you is …

How much you bleed after you deliver. I was sent home with a huge packet of maternity pads and boy did I bleed. In my head, the only thing I was to leave the hospital with was my baby not pads the size of an adult diaper!

Q. How I spend my “free time” …

I do quite a lot of QT (quiet time), I read the Bible, listen to a sermon or some uplifting music. I read as much as possible and whenever I can I hangout with my girls. My partner and I love watching videos on home improvement and décor, so we do that together as well. Have I mentioned sleep? I love to sneak in a nap when I can.

Q. The cutest thing my baby does …

Haha, where do I even start? Everything he does is cute, no? The most recent thing is he meows at the cat. Part of growing up with a pet, I guess. Plus he’s very empathetic and will try soothe you if he sees you’re distressed. I love this about him, I pray he remains as compassionate as he is now. The world needs a little bit more love and compassion.


Q. What I know now and would like other mom’s to know to …

Is that each child is different, there’s no template for a perfect family, a perfect child or even a perfect mother. It is important to be open and discover what works for you and your family as opposed to trying to do what everyone else does/did.

Q. I’ve come to realize that …

My capacity to love is greater than I ever thought. One small human being has shown me a love so pure and so unconditional.

There is such delight in stolen naps. I can catch a nap anywhere if I’m sufficiently sleepy.

Q. The most important lesson that I’ve learnt is…

To pray through it all, both the good and the bad. There were times I’d feel helpless, Allen would cry and I wouldn’t know what to do. When I’d start getting anxious I’d pray, over time I learnt that it would centre me. Apart from that I’ve learnt to enjoy each season, time flies by so fast that it’s easy to miss out on important moments that you can’t get back.

Q. My advice for future moms ?

Raising a child takes a village, don’t be afraid of asking questions and asking for help when you’re in over your head. Take care of your house help/nanny, treat them with a lot of courtesy and take into consideration their needs. They are eventually the ones you entrust with your kids when you’re away. It’s possible to live with one peacefully and with respect as long as you establish clear boundaries from the onset and affirm them whenever necessary.

Share your story with us… fill in the details below and we will get back to you.


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