There are no best words that Carolyne Maina can use to describe that very first moment when
she saw her son in the theatre room. What she felt was something out of this world, a feeling
she had never felt before. The glow on her face, the broad smile and the deep sigh she takes
tells it all. For a few seconds, she relives that moment then asks this writer, “have you ever
heard of love at first sight? The moment I got a hold of him, I just wanted to hug him and protect
Since that day, two years ago, Carol has done nothing but protect her son with all she has. Theirs is a strong mother and son relationship. Not even sickness or hard times that will bring them apart.
Struggling with eczema
At the age of three months, Carol’s son was diagnosed with eczema, a skin condition that saw her hop from one hospital to another looking for help.
“He used to itch a lot and it used to bother us. He couldn’t be at peace because he was always itching and it became a concern.” Carol remembers her son’s struggles.
The expensive visits to the doctors, the creams and the special diet that was prescribed was overwhelming for the mom of one. All she knew was that she had to fight and do all she could for her son’s well being.
“He cannot eat red meat, ndengu, and njahi. He is only restricted to certain foods. If it’s meat, it has to be fish or chicken. For plant protein, he takes a small portion of beans or lentils.” She narrates.
Special type of milk to manage eczema
Since her son cannot take dairy products, she has to give him plant-based milk. She uses almond milk which is not only hard to come by but also quite expensive compared to cow milk.
“When I was told about the almond milk, I was thinking it’s milk for the rich people. How am I supposed to manage it? I went looking for it, I went to the normal supermarkets and it wasn’t there. I later found it at Healthy U at Garden city. To be honest, the price and the conditions shocked me. Can you imagine that small packet that you would get for 50 bob in the shop, you get it for Ksh 350. This milk is not supposed to go for more than three days.”
Although Carol’s son was initially supposed to take the almond milk every day, she admits that there are days it wasn’t possible due to finances.
After a long time, she finally found a cream that helps control the condition at the Casino hospital in Nairobi. But she still has to stick to a specific diet to prevent the condition from flaring up.
Managing finances as a single mom
Once in a while, Carol also gets unwelcome remarks and opinions from people who have no clue about eczema.
“You get all these opinions from people. Some say ‘ameangaliwa vibaya’(being bewitched), others say it’s ‘chira’(some sort of curse) and others say I am messing up around and that’s why my son is sick. The impact is more on my social life than his since he is still little,” she tells this writer.
As a single mom who is not getting any financial support from the baby’s father, Carol has learned to budget and manage her finances.
“I would not say I get any financial support from the baby’s father. When it hits him that he has a baby somewhere, that’s when he sends a small amount of money. That can come after five or six months. It’s not something constant and it’s not something you can depend on. There was a time I tried getting him to help but there are always these excuses. So, I decided to just do it on my own. After all, God always comes through”
Message to fathers who abandon their pregnant girlfriends
Carol’s parting short is a simple and precise message to all the fathers to be and those that abandon their babies.
“It’s just wrong. Be there for that baby. You may not have money but that emotional support goes a long way not just for the mother but also for the baby” she urges.