Saturday, November 15, 2014

10 telltale signs you’re most probably a Muslim mother

1. You have a book of foolproof baby names.
The Qur’an contains about 30 names for boys, suitable for any parents or in-laws from an Abrahamic faith. There’s only one ready name for a girl, though, so maybe you can consult a book on Islamic history for more ideas.

2. Your healthcare professional is wondering why you’re whispering into your newborn’s ear.
It’s called the adhan, and if you’re lucky you’ll get to hold your newborn babe as soon as he/she is born and let your voice be the first thing he/she hears.

3. You say “alhamdulilah” probably 50 times a day.
If this comes involuntarily out of your mouth every time someone burps, farts or sneezes, then you’ll be doing a lot of this with a baby or several children around.

4. You are expected to put something sweet on your baby’s mouth, make them bald, and sacrifice an animal.
One tradition called tahnik involves placing dates or honey on the lips of a baby within the first seven days of life. Another tradition involves shaving hair of a baby (or the alternative: snip off just seven hairs) after 40 days, weigh it and donate an equivalent amount of gold to charity. Yet another called aqiqa calls for the slaughter of a goat or cow to express gratitude for the birth.

5. Piggy plush toys are a source of discussion.
Imagine this: a well-meaning non-Muslim colleague gives a friendly, furry, stuffed toy pig as a present. You actually have a conversation (with yourself or someone else) about whether it’s okay for your kid to play with it. If you decide it’s okay, you might still have to deal with other Muslims telling you that your child shouldn’t put the toy in his mouth.

6. A discussion about whether it’s okay to let your children see you naked must include fiqh and not just revolve around issues of body-image and self-esteem.
One mother wrote on the internet about how she lets her sons see her real post-baby body so that they grow up with realistic images about women’s bodies, instead of thinking that the airbrushed photos in magazines are real women. I figure that someone that has seen your insides can probably see your outsides without being too shocked. Besides, a discussion about which parts of the mother’s body is visually off limits to her son is way too Oedipal for me.

7. “It’s sunnah” becomes your stock answer for extended breastfeeding.
Even though a minimum of two years of breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health organisation, many in our parents’ generation who were influenced by the aggressive marketing of infant formula companies may try to stop you from breastfeeding your child beyond six months, or up to several years. Luckily if you’re Muslim, you can always say the Qur’an indicates 30 months for pregnancy and breastfeeding (46:15).

8. You have to deal with equal numbers of people telling you that you can or cannot fast while breastfeeding.
Opinions are pretty divided about whether a pregnant and/or breastfeeding mother should or shouldn’t be breastfeeding in Ramadan. Luckily, whether you fast or not is only up to you and your baby. Just listen to your body.

9. You worry that your kid gets ham sandwiches at the day care.
If you live in a non-predominantly Muslim community or country, a ham and cheese sandwich is a totally normal snack. Be sure you let your caregivers know what your child should eat – or pack it along when you drop her off.

10. You feel simultaneously terrified and hopeful about Islamophobia.
Parenting can be the most joyful and the most scary experience of your life. From the moment your children are born, your greatest fear will be losing them. While being Muslim after 9/11 has not been easy, you’re hopeful that your children will be the ones to change the world for the better.

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This article was originally published on Aquila Style

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