I sat there, staring into space as silence filled the room. My swollen belly was exposed and three nurses were trying to figure out what could be the cause of this silence. You see, when you’re pregnant and the Doppler test cannot detect a heartbeat, your own heart sinks. I knew all was not well but I still had a glimmer of hope.
It was one week past my delivery date and my daughter was still in my womb. But she was awkwardly quiet. I went into a trance – I saw people move me from one machine to the next; one nurse even asked me if I pray. There was clearly nothing they could do.
She was gone.
It was painful. Very painful. No words can ever describe this kind of pain. It has taken me more than three months to write this story. Each time I felt that something was missing. I couldn’t quite place a finger on what it was. Something is still missing as I write this final version but now I know what it is; more accurately, now I know who it is. It is my daughter. She left a huge gap in my heart. She is my first-born child.
I buried my daughter a few hours after she came into the world. No one should ever have to do this. Not even my worst enemy.
So after the burial life had to go on, right? Well no, not for me. I went into a trance. I wasn’t speaking to people. I blamed God, I questioned Him, I needed Him to explain to me how He allowed this to happen. “I did everything the right way,” I told Him, referring to getting pregnant within the bounds of marriage. So why punish me for being a good girl? I wondered if my daughter even knew that she had a mother on earth who loved her deeply. Does she, though? I will never know. I leave that to God.
So I slowly sank into depression. I longed to die and join her. So many times I walked onto my balcony to see how far the ground below was from my third-floor apartment. The distance was too short, I thought. I didn’t want to fall and get injured. I wanted to hit the ground and end it right there.
I cried a lot. I avoided people. I judged others. I was hurting.
Thankfully, my husband was my pillar through all this. He helped me pick up my pieces, reminding me that I was slipping away. He did it with so much love. I would find poems in my email inbox, or text messages on my phone, all trying to remind me that he knew I had been through a lot and that he remembered the person I used to be. This gave me hope… or was it a sense of duty? I wanted to prove to myself and him that I could go back to being that person.
One day, as I was going about my business, I saw a post on Facebook by someone who began by saying that they belonged to the Protestant denomination but had found a special place where they had experienced the real presence of God.
“You go to this place and you do not come back the same person,” he wrote.
I researched the place. It is called Vincentian Retreat Centre and is located in Thika. There is a similar ministry in Lavington Estate in Nairobi called Vincentian Prayer House (VPH Lavington).
At this point, I was going for counselling at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi. There I met yet another Protestant who was also coming for counselling on family matters. She told me that she had been to Vincentian and that she had never experienced the presence of God the way she did there. She didn’t need to say more. I was sold.
One day, as I was coming from a meeting in Thika at midday, I saw a big sign reading “Vincentian Retreat Centre”. That is the day I first set foot in the place. I felt a presence I had never experienced before.
We praised and worshipped God.
But this wa not the normal worship. We were taught how to forgive and let go. We were also taught how to be right with God and how to prepare our hearts before we could invite the Holy Spirit to saturate us and take full control of our being. Then we worshipped and praised, and worshipped some more.
They taught people how to unlock their blessings just through forgiveness. Once you forgive, you unlock God’s blessings into your life and the blessings overflow. Holding grudges like I did against the doctors and nurses who attended to me was only making me more bitter. I therefore chose to let go and let God. That is how I have come to experience a string of blessings in my life. I am a different person now.
I also now understand the importance of praising God and worshipping Him fully. That is when you experience the real presence of God. It is a very uplifting moment. You are at that moment in oneness with your Maker. Nothing beats that feeling, ever. That is the day I vowed to return to Vincentian and experience the full fellowship. I went for a five-day retreat and it was a life-changing experience for me.
I slowly started to see life in a different light. I became hopeful once again. I even looked forward to holding a baby in my arms. I forgave and let go.
Three years later, I am the mother of a handsome boy who fills my heart with so much joy. I am no longer angry with God. I am no longer bitter. I am a happy person.