Our family just celebrated my oldest son’s 7th birthday and I find my heart in the deepest praise for how the story of my pregnancy with him in Africa continues to gift us with its teachings. His tender questioning spewed out one after the next: “Mom, did you walk among lions and elephants while you were pregnant with me; and since you were with African warriors does that mean I am one too? Am I African or American? When can I see the places you traveled with me in your belly?”
This sweet place of recollection reminiscing the details with him has led me to share with you this African Series about how the beautiful women and my pregnancy spent among the Ngong Hills, Kenya continues to speak its wisdom into my motherhood journey.
I immensely value having a deep knowledge of some strong, African women who taught my heart thru a lifestyle of faithfulness to their position the PRESENCE OF ADAPTABILITY.
My first pregnancy was ushered in by an environment of simplicity as we did not own a car or a refrigerator and clocked miles and miles of journeying the open road with a swiftness of foot.
- Instead of spending hours on Pinterest designing a dream baby room or investing in online shopping to organize a baby shower wish list, my preparation consisted of learning from women who took their resources provided in their environment and creatively made them work for their little one’s arrival. I value this experience because it kept my heart centered on needs vs. wants & on necessities vs. preferences. When I struggle now with that visual I can always go back to them and be reminded that resources are all around. Preparation can be a place of comfort for many, but this visual taught my spirit the importance of adapting to living within one’s means.
- Instead of attending a breastfeeding or birthing class, I gathered around Mamas who knew all the ebbs and flows of that journey and freely fed their children no matter the location with acceptance to that provision. I learned so much by standing witness to their comfortability with tending to their babies. I listened to women who were forced to deliver their own babies within their home because the hospital was too far and they simply would not make it in time. Their brave disposition propelled my desire to experience a natural birth and know what they meant by, “You are going to feel pain from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.” Every mother has a right to her desired experience, but these testimonials taught my heart the importance of adapting to circumstances that just go a different way than expected.
- Instead of taking on a mindset of certain expectations of my mothering role, I learned very quickly that responsibilities often times supersede luxury. It can be easy to project a certain expectation of working vs not working outside of the home, yet I witnessed the most hard working women I have ever encountered with babies strapped upon their backs, with hand deep in plow working for their family’s daily bread. There are reasons for certain mothers who desire staying home, yet these women showed me that presence is found from adapting to the askings of her in a family’s needs for that time.
We moved back stateside at 34 weeks pregnant and our son arrived at 36 weeks. At the moment when he came into this world with an unexpected force, I began the journey of truly learning how to apply the teachings of adaptation we lived out in Africa and trudging through the strains of it on this side of the globe.
Culture brings a different way of life and certain expectations for a person to live out their roles. This pregnancy fueled my following two pregnancies with a visual of grace and of acceptance to things that I could not change.
I tell my son that he may have been born in America, but that Africa runs thru this heart with a teaching force because it raised him up in the womb. And I hope that my love for the strong, African women and my presence spent among them has built up my mothering as well.
What are some ways that you have had to adapt your mothering?