|Why African Babies Don’t Cry:
An African Perspective
|by Claire Niala|
I was born and grew up in Kenya & Cote d’Ivoire. Then from the age of fifteen I lived in the UK. However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman with two university degrees and I am a fourth generation working woman – but when it comes to children, I am typically African. The assumption remains that you are not complete without them; children are a blessing it would be crazy to avoid. Actually the question does not even arise.
I started my pregnancy in the UK. The urge to deliver at home was so strong that I sold my practice, setup a new business and moved house / country within five months of finding out I was pregnant. I did what most expectant mothers in the UK do – I read voraciously: Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, anything by the Searses – the list goes on. (My grandmother later commented that babies don’t read books – and really all I needed to do was “read” my baby). Everything I read said that African babies cried less than European babies. I was intrigued as to why.
I (Angie) read very little while pregnant, mostly because I would simply fall asleep. However, I share this woman’s thought pattern. All the books, information, science in the world can only help you to understand your little one better, and make better decisions for her growth IF, and ONLY IF, you understand her in the first place. To do this, you must slow down, get out of the way, and listen. Observe, pay attention to everything, it will connect itself if you do. She will tell you exactly what she needs, how to help, how to nurture, and how to grow her into the strongest, most intelligent and capable woman she can be, if you’ll just listen. See the world through her eyes, come along side her, be the wind, let her open her sail as she sees fit.
Educating oneself is crucial, but if the subject matter for which all the education is obtained is unknown and not understood, it is all for nothing but to create aggravation and dissatisfaction.
See her world as she sees it. Listen. She’ll tell you, and your job is to make sense of it for her until she can do it for herself.