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Happy hour

BY BETT KINYATTI

I’m broody again.

Last time I was this broody was in the Easter of 2017. Muna was a year and a half old. Nanny Viv was a few months into her new gig at my place. I was no longer hangover with hormonal, which means my mind wasn’t chugging like an old diesel engine. I wasn’t on birth control either. And I had unsexy post-birth flab I hadn’t addressed, especially around my waist; I had a mommy pouch – it’s what remains after you’ve birthed and your skin has stretched and your abdomen muscles are loose; so what used to be the baby bump now sits like a waist bag above your crotch.

Well, GB and I got pregnant. I stopped Muna breastfeeding cold turkey (the poor thing, she couldn’t stop crying ‘nyonyo’ for weeks). We lost the baby at nine weeks. It was a phantom pregnancy, to tell you the truth. I wanted a baby so bad that I fed my mind the symptoms.

I got on birth control a few weeks after the miscarriage – I slammed the window shut. Months after I began drinking green smoothies and running for an hour around my hood in the mornings. I tried gym but I failed miserably.

Now here I am, more than a year later looking at babies and wondering why I can’t deliver one tomorrow.

I don’t like to question these things but I suppose I’m broody because Muna joined preschool last January and has new pals. The other weekend she went for a sleepover at my sister’s place; she was there all day Saturday and all day Sunday, not once did she stop her cousins to ask, “Wait, where’s Mummy? When do I go back home? Why am I having more fun here?” I was gutted. Last Saturday she was at Karura with Nanny Viv and my sister-in-law for some neighbour’s kid birthday party. They had a blast, all of them, with her bike and those colour blast games and whatever. No one called in to check on what I was doing. I’d wanted to go to Adams for some loose shopping but I ended up staying in and raiding GB’s liquor cabinet. I caught Netflix tipsy, reruns of ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

Then there’s GB. GB doesn’t want to make out anymore, he wants to spend his weekends in Nanyuki looking at more plots. This kuyo man of mine, he chats more on WhatsApp with his broker, Towett, than he does flirting and talking dirty with me.

I’m wondering, as a couple, surely how many acres do we really need?

I want a new person. Someone who’ll make me feel needed again. Someone who won’t squirm or say no when I ask to cuddle. I don’t want a puppy or a kitten. I want a baby, preferably a boy. If I can get twin boys or boy-girl twins, it’ll even be better. Two for the effort of one. A buy-one-get-one-free. Like it’s happy hour in the uterus. Dear God, I know you invented happy hour – give me twins.

This broodiness makes everything about newborns so tenderly appealing. Their onesies and little socks. That jumbo head, the way you lay them down and the only thing they can move is their hands and legs. Eyes that float like marbles. That tiny wrinkled greenish bum. A neck as strong as spaghetti. Toes that are all the same length. Gosh, those toes have to be the most adorable thing on Earth. And the smell in their neck – the smell of milk, newness and unreserved trust. You can tell how much they trust you from how they let their bodies loose in the bath. And don’t even get me started on that thing they do with their tongues and nostrils.

Broodiness has me forget being woken at 3 a.m. to breastfeed and rock him back to sleep. Or dealing with colic and post-partum depression. Or expressing to build a stockpile in the deep freezer. When I had Muna, me and my breasts were in competition to outdo each other. I had a breast pump – first electric, then manual. I ditched both pumps at some point and took to hand expressing. I learned it from my colleague, met her in the mother’s room at work. Yeah, I was the cow and the milker. It was crazy. GB once walked in on me hand expressing, he didn’t touch my breasts for more than a year.

Speaking of being awoken at 3 a.m., last week I met a sleep trainer called Kitt, Kitt Nyang’aya-Kiarie. (She really insists on that hyphen in her name. Much later into the interview, when she’d loosened up and was now sharing personal details about her life, she said she loves her husband too much. Her exact words were, “I’m obsessively in love with my husband.” She also said that she speaks to her kids in only “Dholuo.” I loved that. And I loved her the more. I asked her where she got her all-roundedness from and she said from her mother, Apondo. “I really admire my Mum.”)

Right, what was I saying? Yes, Kitt, I met her at Java Sarit last Friday for a SatMag interview.

Kitt’s trains parents on how to teach their children to put themselves to sleep. That make sense? She said, “Babies are born already knowing how to put themselves to sleep, I mean, it’s all they do when they come home from the hospital. It’s parents who start these habits that get in the way of this sleep.”

“Habits like what?”

“Like, they over dress or over feed the baby. Or they feed the baby at the wrong time, like too close to bedtime. Other parents sooth the baby back to sleep with, I don’t know, a white nose machine. Sometimes they rock or pat the baby to sleep, or they hold the baby when he’s napping. Others don’t have a regular bath time routine…it’s a long list of habits.”

I chuckle. “I think I was guilty of most of those things. I used to let my baby fall asleep on the boob, then moving her from my boob to her basket was like trying to detonate a bomb.” We laugh out aloud. I continue, “She only learned how to sleep when I got my new nanny [Nanny Viv]. My old nanny ran away, so when this new nanny came, I put up a strict schedule on the fridge and told her that Muna strictly follows this schedule: breakfast at 8.30, play til 10.30, snack, nap at 11, lunch at 1, play til 4, snack, bath, nap til 6, dinner at 7, bedtime at 9. Which she followed. She’s actually the one who sleep trained Muna. And I always thank her for it.

“It had gotten to a frustrating point where we were all sleeping in the same bed, me, Muna and my hubs. Hahha. And Muna would be on my boob all night. My hubs would be on the edge of his side clawing his fingers and toes into the mattress so that he doesn’t fall off.”

We guffaw. I add, “And how bad are Kenyan mums with overdressing babies? And over-feeding them?”

“I knowww,” Kitt says. “Babies cry to communicate but parents think it’s because the baby is hungry. He’s crying because his socks are tight? Nyonyesha. Or there’s an ant biting his finger? Nyonyesha. He wants to chill and play instead of being held? Nyonyesha. Or he just feeling really hot in all those layers of clothes? Nyonyesha. Or he’s really exhausted and really just wants to sleep? Nyonyesha. Can you imagine how full and uncomfortable that baby gets?”

I laugh again. Gosh.

That was a fun interview. We chatted for about two hours.

Look out for the story soon in the SatMag.

Anyway, I’m prepping my body for pregnancy. I’m gradually cutting out the rubbish from my diet – unhealthy takeout, whiskey, our office tea. I’ll start yoga and swimming soon. Would I be pushing it if I got a new Dr. Mattress and down pillows? One of those pricey fluffy ones with foam memory? I want my eggs to rest comfortably.

I got this cocktail of pro-vitality nutritional supplements from NeoLife: omega-3, essential vitamins and the promise of a baby with great hair. Next month I’ll take calcium and folic acid. Then iron. My pal, Vicky, advised me to try some dandelion and raspberry leaf tea, to tone my uterus. I will. I also asked GB to take zinc and folate supplements, for healthier and more robust, uhm, swimmers. He looked at me as if I’d asked him to pierce his belly button and wear a tank top.

And yet, babies aren’t made like this. You prep and plan conception dates around your career and work projects, school dates and horoscopes. And you pray for a baby of the opposite sex to what you already have, so that your little family can be perfectly balanced.

Then your baby ends up being made when you’re wasted on the couch or having a quickie in the shower. Other times, when you’re certain you’ve closed that chapter, it’s an unexpected and – Lord, forgive us – unwanted oops. For others, it’s months of pregnancy before you ask yourself, “Hang on, wasn’t I to get my period in Jan, six months ago? Maybe I should see a gynae?”

Making babies is not a beautiful and surreal pre-planned process. It’s messy and rough, riddled with anxiety as you wait for a period not to show when it’s supposed to show. Impatiently pausing your entire life to look out for the two lines on the pee test. Telling yourself to hold off on getting some essential wardrobe items because the next time you want to shop is for sexy maternity dresses.

The self-doubt of your uterus to do what it’s supposed to when you want it to, you lying in bed as you desperately tell your man, “Haiya, me and my egg are ready now. Hit it! Release your canon ball. And you’d better not stop until you’ve given me a baby.”

Hahha. Point me to an urban woman who got knocked up with such lousy passive-aggressive lines.

Making babies is as unpredictable as childbirth – and motherhood – is.

But I’ll try anyway. And I’ll ask you to pray with me.

Remind God about happy hour.

19
Our beautiful vaginas
The Dapper Gentleman

Comments (8)

  1. Nyako

    But why are you talking about me in this post? And my omega 3 rejecting hubs?

    • Bett

      Hahhha. Masculinity getting in the way of fertility.

      It’s futile, Nyako, it’s like running from your own shadow. SMH.

  2. K

    Read up on seed cycling…also try Jane Mukami’s detox. You don’t have to do the full thing. There’s a reason why there’s a group for detox babies :-)

    • Bett

      Seed cycling sounds like something I’d ask about over an agrovet counter. Hahha. I’ll look it up, though. Thanks, K.

      Actually, my smoothie detox recipe is based on Jane Mukami’s. I remixed it to make my own. I took out the pricey stuff (the grapes and apples), replaced them with bananas and mangoes, threw in more greens (cucumber and mint leaves), and more crunches (carrots and beetroots), and more water melon than water. Then I super charged it with chia seeds, flax seeds, apple cider vinegar and spirulina.

      Now it’s a fun, colourful, reasonably priced smoothie I can drink daily.

      I’ll find the group, though. Are there really babies in there, hahha, as members?

      xoxo

  3. Hellen Pelion

    I enjoyed the read.

    • Bett

      Glad to hear that, Pelion.

      (I love that name, by the way, Pelion. Sits up there next to Buses. Hang on, even she was a Hellen. Hahha.)

  4. Sophia Ngugi

    Bett you write beautifully!!! May baby come, triplets should be enough.

    • Bett

      Hahha, thanks, Sophie. May my own surprise surprise me the more.

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@_craftit
Florence Bett-Kinyatti

@_craftit

Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,
Me

#craftit
  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Anyway.

To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 

Ha-ha.

No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.

Ha!

It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)

(Ahem.)

The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker
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