Everything hurt: Story of woman trying to overcome miscarriage, family loss and loneliness
Jessie Akoth was brought up by a struggling mother and had a rough childhood. Just when she thought things were looking better, the worst happened.
When did your troubles start?
I was born in Butula Constituency and brought up in Eldoret by my mother. At the time, my mother had parted ways with my father. I was an only child. Mother was not working and we were dirt poor. Their separation left me in limbo, but I had no choice but to cope with the challenges that came our way.
How was your experience growing up in a single-parent home?
It was rocky and bumpy. Since mother did not have anywhere to go, she decided to return to her home. Unfortunately her family did not welcome her. They labelled her a failure because of the failed marriage. After this public rejection, we packed our bags and moved to Eldoret.
How did you survive in a new place?
Since we did not know anyone in Eldoret, mother started selling chang’aa so that she could get money to pay rent and buy food. The worst part was when she couldn’t come home after she had been arrested by police officers for selling illicit brew. On such days I would go to bed hungry because I was too young to cook for myself.
Did you go to school?
I did, but very late. I remember joining class one, five years late, because my mother couldn’t afford the fees. I joined Kapkenduyo Primary school and later transferred to Langas Primary School, where I sat my final primary examinations.
Was there no one you could turn to for support?
We had a neighbour who would occasionally let me stay at her place, especially when my mother was at work. She took care of me as if I was her child and for once, I felt some motherly love.
What happened after completing primary school?
I could not proceed to secondary school for lack of fees, so I started working as a house help in Eldoret. After a while, I moved to Mombasa where I got a job as a waitress in a pub. During my stint there, I fell in love with a man who later married me.
Is this where your life changed for the better?
After we got married, I was happy because I thought that my life would finally become comfortable. Unfortunately for me, things took a turn for the worst.
I got pregnant twice, and both times I lost the pregnancies. Each miscarriage left me devastated and hopeless. I was all alone and went through the tragedy all by myself.
Where was your husband?
He was an entertainer and he used to travel to different towns to perform. He had wanted me to be a housewife, so I stayed at home while he went to work. But I was always very lonely.
How did the tragic events affect you?
I became traumatised and our home became unlivable because it triggered painful memories. I did not understand why I was facing one misfortune after the next, it seemed like there was a bad omen hanging over my head. At my lowest point, I even questioned the existence of God.
What did you do next?
After my second miscarriage, I decided to keep myself busy so as to keep bad thoughts away. I resolved to motivate other women in Mombasa who had gone through a similar experience to live positively. It was not easy, especially the sad memories. But I kept my hopes high and learnt to accept my reality.
Have you ever reconnected with your father?
Yes, we reconnected and we have a good relationship. I forgave him for all the troubles I went through as a fatherless child. What happened between my parents remains confidential to date, and I have never known the reason behind their divorce.
What was your turning point?
After I began working, my life changed for the better. Through my experience, I have learnt that we should always reach out to support those among us who may be suffering from one reason or another. I have also learnt that women should always work and fend for their families.