No one chooses where to be born... or the parents to have, all anyone can hope for is that they will have the best that life can offer. 27-year-old Juliet Kinya shares her story saying that she has never experienced the love of a parent.
“I still cry when I remember the day I learnt that my mum left me when I was a tiny, helpless baby. I was born of a woman who has never accepted me as her child -- her own flesh and blood. She hates me to death. I don’t know why.
From what I was told by my grandmother, who has been my guardian all through, my mother gave birth to me and left me under her care when I was only three weeks old. My mother was a high school student then. She was in Form Three when she gave birth to me.
Later in school, I isolated myself because I felt different. I would get lost in my thoughts and would pity myself so much. Sometimes, I would sit alone and cry my heart out. When I became a teenager and could understand issues more clearly, I hated myself so much and would always question God. Why didn’t He give me loving parents to raise and care for me?
When I joined high school, visiting days were my worst. I would watch my school mates hugging their dads and moms. It was a difficult thing to see. Life was hell. I battled low self-esteem and depression and even had suicidal thoughts and plans but didn’t go through with them.
As the years went by, I was diagnosed with chronic ulcers. I couldn’t stay in school anymore due to my health condition. I left school in 2008, in my second term of Form Three and stayed home for the rest of the year being treated for ulcers. When my mother learnt that I was sick, she seemed to rejoice in my suffering as she would utter words such as, ‘this one will just die’.
During this period I enrolled myself for counselling sessions at Meru General Hospital. One doctor there, a Dr Mate, took me through the healing and acceptance process. From then on, I could handle life’s circumstances a little better.
The following year, I had to search for another school and I was lucky to get one in Kitui but I had to repeat Form Three. Unfortunately, during the second term, I was diagnosed with tuberculosis. It took more than three months for it to be diagnosed hence I lost a lot of weight. All along, I went in and out of hospital.
When I went home, my grandmother was astonished and worried about my looks. My health had greatly been affected. This time too, my mother seemed happy, claiming I had HIV/Aids as she had ‘predicted’ when I was in primary school.
I am grateful that, during my treatment, my grandmother was fully there for me and understood my condition.
One day in 2009 when I was in Form Three, my mother arrived at my grandmother’s house with a group of elders saying she wanted me to live with her. I told her I would gladly go with her if she compensated my grandmother for all the time and resources she spent on me. She accepted but, later on, I started to wonder if she only did this to get close to me so that she could hurt me.
Living with my mother and step siblings was difficult. When my mother treated me badly, it was the worst feeling ever. It felt like she was more of a stranger than a mother or relative. I felt bitter, rejected and alone.
As my mother, I expected her to protect and love me. Yet what I got was the opposite. I kept on wondering why it was me going through that. I would hate myself every time I felt mistreated. Any harsh treatment crushed my spirit and self-esteem.
By the grace of God, I finished high school and joined Bugema University in Uganda in 2011. I started off with a Diploma in Education and in 2013 started studies towards a Bachelor of Arts degree.
After graduating from university in 2016, I went on to teach in several schools under B.O.M (Boards of Management) until I resigned due to health complications. I have now concentrated on my studies towards a Master of Arts degree from Kenyatta University.
For the years I worked in various schools, I was so open with my students and would share my story as a way of encouraging those going through difficult periods with their families.
I forgave my mother a long time ago, even though she has never asked for my forgiveness. I pray daily that she would change. I hope she will allow me to help my step-siblings who are in Form Four and will be sitting exams this year.
As I journey through life, I still have my own dreams — the biggest being that one day my father will appear in my life. When I think about this, so many questions abound in my mind. My mother promised that I would die without knowing him.
On the other hand, I am afraid that my future children will never get along with their grandmother. I have been postponing having children for fear that I might treat them the way I was treated.
I have been praying to God, telling Him that if I am not destined to love my children, then He shouldn’t bless me with any. Despite all this, I am now prepared to become a mother.
I promised myself that I would raise my children in a well-balanced and structured environment where they would be loved and respected. I will never let any of them go through what I went through.
I still hope that one day things will change, that maybe my relationship with my mum will change. But one thing I know is that she will never have the position she deserved. I doubt I will ever be able to love her like a mother deserves to be loved by her daughter.
My grandmother is the best gift ever that God gave to me. Were it not for her, I would be long dead. My message to her on this Mother’s Day is: Granny, you are my guardian angel, my friend and more so the mother that I never had. May God keep you long to enjoy the fruits of your labour in me. I will always treasure you both in life and in death. Thank you for believing and investing in me. I love you grandma and long live thee.”
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