Monday 14 April 2008

Mother, Ummi, Induk, Maman, Mummy, Maa, Matka, Majka...

I was feeling a little bit whimsical and self-indulgent (not to mention broody) this morning so decided to put this post to celebrate motherhood. This is dedicated to all my expectant sisters (pregnant women make me feel all tearful) especially Hijabi Apprentice, iMuslimah, Jilbabble and hopefully soon Big Sis.

I found this article and it sums up motherhood so elegantly:

What Motherhood Really Means:

We are sitting at lunch when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of starting a family. 'We're taking a survey,' she says, half-joking. 'Do you think I should have a baby?' 'It will change your life,' I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. 'I know,' she says, 'no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous holidays...'
But that's not what I mean, at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be vulnerable forever.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without thinking: 'What if that had been MY child?' That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die. I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. Her own life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. She would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to yearn for more years - not to accomplish her own dreams - but to watch her children accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that her relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future.

I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy's desire to go to the gents rather than the ladies at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That, right there amidst the clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the faint possibility of a child molester lurking under the urinal.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or a cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.
'You'll never regret it,' I finally say.
Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter's hand and offer a silent prayer for her, for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this calling.

"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth" (Al-Quran 46:15).

The Prophet Muhammad said, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him: Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother (Ahmad, Nasai).

"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."-- William Ross Wallace

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
~ Elizabeth Stone


  1. Now you've made me tearful! Beautiful post sis! Thank you for the blog-love :).

    ma'a salaamah,


  2. Assalamu alaykum sis,
    jazak'Allahu kheir for sharing this. You made me so emotional Just few days ago I was thinking about my mum, the way she cuddle me, she talks gently and with her I always feel so secure. Subhan'Allah!
    BTW can I add 'mum' in another language? Mamma.
    Wa alaykum assalam

  3. Assalamu alaykum sister! Wow what a beautiful and truthful article! Thank you so much for remembering us!!!

    As prepared as I *think* I might be, the only thing Im sure of is that there is going to be a boatload of emotions folowing the birth of my son, that I never thought possible. We've got a little less than two weeks left, and while Ive got all the basic supplies: diapers, wipes, clothing etc... I am so curious to know what it will feel like to be someone's Mom. Yep. Me, a mom, inshaallah. Cant wait. Nervous, Anxious. Excited. Happy.

    I havent been blogging much at ALL, since Im just feeling fatigued and run down at this point, but I promise will keep you posted :)

    Jazzakullah for your thoughtfulness!


  4. Assalam-alikam Sisters,
    thank you for your comments.

    It's defo baby season, there's the sisters I mention, my cousin and two sisters-in-law. Can't wait.

    Sister Ha
    You're as bad as me at getting all weepy.

    Sister Muslimah
    I'm sure Mamma must mean Mother in every language.

    Sister iMuslimah
    Not long to go!! I'm glad you're well prepared. Plus if you go through your nesting phase you stock up big-time on everyhting anyway.
    You really feel like a mom the first time you get called mamma - so blows your mind.

  5. Mashallah what wonderful encouragement for my umm salihah's blog! A fantastic blog and I so can't wait to get PREGNANT!