Childbirth in my life and in Kenya

I remember going out for dinner the day of my son’s birth. After dinner as my husband and I were getting into the car, my water broke. We drove straight to the hospital and the nurses told me that even though my water had broken, I had not dilated enough to have the baby yet so they would to induce me. The doctor came and told my husband that he could go home as he thought I would have the baby in 5 hours. My husband drove home and as soon as he got into his pajamas the doctor called him to come right back because i was ready. Unfortunately by the time he got back I had just given birth to our son so he missed the birth by  ten minutes.This also happened to be my first year in the U.S so I was very impressed with the nurses and how one stayed with me the entire time and was really nice to me. I remember the birth of my son(my only child) because I kept thinking of the excellent health facilities and how both mother and child get great care both before and after birth but I missed my family and the support that I would have had if I has delivered my child in Kenya. The prenatal care and definitely ensures that both the mother and child are healthy and developing well.

Childbirth in Kenya

I chose Kenya because I am Kenyan and I wanted to compare it to the  U.S.

Your birthing experience in Kenya depends on your socio-economic status. If you are rich or middle class you will have access to the best medical care and nutrition on the other hand if you are poor you will probably have poor nutrition and will end up in a poorly equipped government hospital which offers free medical care but is overcrowded and in some extreme instances women end up sharing beds. If you are poor and live in the rural areas, you will have no access to a hospital and will probably give birth at home with a traditional midwife or a neighbor or the women in the family. In all cases traditionally men were not expected to be in the delivery rooms. This has since changed and we find a lot of men especially in the cities being present for the births of their children. Most women do not use any pain reducers and are expected to go through the delivery with the least possible verbal expressions of pain.The support system for all mothers after the birth of their children is still great. Mothers are not expected to work after the babies are born. They have food cooked for them, the baby taken care of and they are expected to rest for a minimum of at least 2 weeks before they can do any household chores. The Kenyan law provides 3 months of paid maternity leave for all mothers.

I feel that I was lucky to have had top notch care when I gave birth to my son in Washington DC but I missed the support system that exists in Kenya and lasts for as long as you need it. The effect of the family on the child in Kenya is really great because most children grow up to be confident and secure emotionally because they know that they belong to community. We visit Kenya every summer and my son always asks me why everyone is in everyone’s business! I always tell him that that’s the way families are there. I find that the system in the U.S encourages children to be more independent and individualistic, most people are more concerned with their immediate family and people value privacy more here.


3 thoughts on “Childbirth in my life and in Kenya

  1. Pleshette Watson says:

    Hello Fidelis,
    What a great story and very similar to one of my childbirth experiences. I enjoyed reading about Kenya’s way of life. Great comparisons to the United States traditions. I am too, glad you were able to have great medical help and support during your delivery.


  2. Great story! You said that although you were grateful for the medical care in the U.S. you missed the support system that Kenya offers. If you could have chosen to have either one, which one would it be?


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