I recently came across a new blog written by the author ‘Education Enriched.’ It attained my attention because of it’s title ‘Dear Muslim Mother.’ It really was a reassuring and encouraging post that I think ALL mothers would benefit from irrespective of beliefs. The reason why it made an impression on me was because it integrated those aspects that are not often discussed or addressed in mother toddler groups or amongst Muslim Mothers. Before you have a child nobody really tells you of the ups and downs of parenting or how you can feel alone even if your surrounded.
It is almost as if those emotions are locked away. My experience with my eldest daughter was initially of guilt. It upsets me when I say it but it is true. I felt guilty if she cried at night, I felt guilty she was not active, I felt guilty that she was cautious, I felt guilty when I took her for a nap, I felt guilty I could not help with the housework. I felt guilty if we had guests and I could not be of assistance. I felt guilty I was not doing more with her. I felt guilty that I was not feeling guilty enough. My self esteem was really low. I blamed myself. This was not how I was feeling constantly and I overcame it finding solace in spirituality and physical activity. But I would go back and forth between the ‘guilt.’
When I was expecting my second child the emotions amplified. As is normal. You are tired and having another child (or maybe more) can mean that your resting. Some women maybe at work, some maybe in ill health anyway (both physically and mentally.) I wanted to enjoy things but I could not. Believe me Allah (God) has blessed me with resilience but it was difficult-especially as we were moving home. Writing it now it brings tears to my eyes. At this time my father-in law had passed away and I was grieving because he was an amazing, benevolent person. I actually did not know who to speak to and dismissed things thinking it was unimportant feeling like I had to. It is strange the coping mechanisms we build to protect those things we care about.
It has taken me time to regain confidence and I am still getting there. It was actually going through this transition of emotional upheaval that put me on the path to seek that which is important. It is only in the recent months I have felt the voices in my head subside. It is in the last year that I no longer feel the guilt (as much as I used to.) It was not just associated with parenting. It had permeated into my other relationships. Now I savour those moments with my children. One thing to remember is that everybody has opinions (including myself.) Everybody can give advice. You and Allah know what is happening in YOUR life.
Reading the post ‘Dear Muslim Mother,’ gave me reassurance that there are other women who also feel like this and it is ok. Especially when I read the following which I have directly quoted;
“When you feel guilty about missing fajr prayer because you finally fell asleep at 5am and woke up when the sun was rising.
When you feel relief at having completed ‘ishaa prayer just so that you can sit down and rest your aching body for a few minutes (or even an hour, if you’re lucky).
When you feel angry at your husband for just asking if there is anything he can have for dinner.
When you feel like a terrible mother for losing it with your children, over and over again.
When you feel like just running away from it all (just so that you can sleep).
When you feel like your imaan has all but disappeared.
You are not alone.”
I just wanted to commend and respond to the mother (I Know it is a mother) for aptly putting feelings into words.