Our “Safari” to Parenthood

The Swahili word “safari” is translated to “journey” in English.

If you haven’t heard,  we are happy to announce to you that we are embarking on a new “safari” together this year…Baby Mast is due in September!

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We are so excited about becoming parents and have already begun praying for our little one. We are also praying for ourselves…that God would prepare us for the many responsibilities, sleepless nights, caregiving and joys of parenthood!

Our “official” due date is September 15, so mark your calendars 😉

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Having a baby in Africa can be both an exciting and scary thought to many. So, we thought of some questions you may have, and went ahead and answered them. (However, we would be happy to share more with you…feel free to comment below or e-mail us at shannamast@gmail.com)

Are you going to have your baby in Kenya? Yes, we are! We are so excited about it too…we’ve heard wonderful stories from international moms who have had their children here. (We have even heard many moms PREFER their Kenya births over their U.S. births…wow!) We have everything we need for a safe and healthy delivery. Also, a side perk: it’s waaaayyyyyyyy cheaper to have a baby here!

Were you planning on having a baby? Yes. That was a thought and prayer of ours before we committed to the mission field. We knew we wanted to become parents in the near future, and we didn’t want that to stop us from being called overseas. It is totally possible to do both! However, it wasn’t until a few months after moving here that we decided we were ready to grow our family.

Do you have a good hospital and doctor? Absolutely. Aga Khan University Hospital, a nearby private teaching hospital, is known for its quality healthcare and high-tech equipment and services. Anything your local hospital has, Aga Khan also has. Ex-patriot women travel from many surrounding countries to give birth at Aga Khan…which happens to be only 20 minutes from our house. We also have a wonderfully skilled OBGYN and Pediatrician.

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Our first “picture” of our baby! This was at our 8 week ultrasound appointment on Valentine’s Day… we heard the heartbeat and saw his/her little feet kicking! 

What is your birth plan? Ha. We are still figuring it out. From epidurals, midwives, to water birth…  we have a variety of choices! We do plan on hiring a doula, who is both a friend of ours and a parent within our youth ministry. The reason we chose to work with a doula was two-fold: it’s our first birth, and we have NO IDEA what we are doing. We will value having someone there to coach us through. Secondly, the doctors and nurses at the hospital are from different cultural backgrounds. We know they will do a wonderful job of delivering our baby, but they may not understand how to best comfort and care (emotionally) for us.   Having someone there who understands how to best provide comfort and care is so valuable… especially when our families cannot be here with us.

How far along are you? Seventeen weeks, or around 4 months. (It’s easy to keep track… since September is the 9th month, whatever month we are in is how many months along we are) Currently, Baby is the size of a pomegranate!

(Left: 13 weeks, Baby was the size of a passion fruit. Right: 16 weeks, baby was the size of an avocado…also, Willow thinks the fruits are toys!)

How are you feeling? First trimester was a ROUGH one… for both of us. Shanna has had morning sickness for the past 12 weeks. …Bleh. However, Nate has done a great job of serving Shanna through it all. We hear that the first trimester is the hardest….and we are praying there is truth to that! (Also, we are praying that the morning sickness goes away FOR GOOD soon!)

When do you find out the gender? We find out if we are having a boy or a girl in TWO WEEKS! Our BlueSky co-workers and friends, Alexia and Tessa, are planning a gender reveal party for us!

Are you hoping for a boy or a girl? We both will be SO happy with either one! For some reason, we both have always had a feeling it is a girl. However, Shanna recently had a dream it was a boy and Nate recently started using the pronoun, “he.”

How will you balance ministry and parenthood? We are still working out the details and will need to communicate well with both ICF and Bluesky about expectations. By law, Kenya mandates a three month maternity leave, along with a two week paternity leave. (Anyone want to move to Kenya yet?)  Things will look different with a new baby, especially for Shanna, but we both still hope to be actively involved in student ministry as much as possible!

Can I send you a baby gift? Sure! However, sending a physical gift across Africa has its problems. Instead, the best way you can help us prepare for Baby Mast is by giving a one-time donation to our support account by clicking here and typing “Baby Mast” in the “comments and questions” section. That way, we will be able to purchase diapers, wipes and any other items our baby will need!

How can I pray for you? We appreciate your prayers so much! Please pray for a healthy baby and for the morning sickness to go away. Pray that we would feel loved and connected with the community here, as we are far from our family and friends in the States. Pray that as God is forming our little baby, He prepares his/her heart to know Him and that we would be equipped to share Jesus through our parenting.

4 thoughts on “Our “Safari” to Parenthood

  1. Wow. This is so exciting and we are happy for you!! Thanks for all the information. Great job answering questions –some I didn’t think about! 😊 Hope and pray you start to feel better soon , Shana! Love and prayers! Dave & Marcia

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  2. Wow!! I am over the moon for you guys! This will be the best experience you will ever go thorough. I do pray that the morning sickness goes away. I know that feeling too well. As usual, you seem very prepared. Can’t wait to find out what you are having! Love y’all!

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  3. So very happy and excited for you both. I know firsthand what you have been experiencing with morning sickness, Shanna, and its no fun! Will continue to pray that subsides soon. Can’t wait for another g.grandbaby to arrive and be a part of our family! Much love and many, many blessings on you both. Much love and prayers, G. Reid

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  4. Congratulations! Kenya would be a better place to have a baby….. we interfere with the process way too much in our country! A doula will be great for you. We are now praying fir this precious creation. In Christ, Beth Tharp

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