Stories about motherhood

Motherhood may be great, but pregnancy is more pain than pleasure

“Don’t take any stress when you’re expecting!” — a stressful comment every pregnant woman has to hear at some point — because everybody knows pregnancy is a low stress endeavour. On the contrary, the question we should be asking is; do pregnant women have any reason not to take stress? A lack of emotional support or being surrounded by negativity during one’s pregnancy will always be accompanied by high levels of stress, which directly affects the woman’s health and through her, the baby’s health as well. These stress levels automatically increase if you are pregnant and if you are a working woman as well. In such ...

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An open letter to the man I birthed

Last year, I entered the world’s finest and most respected club – motherhood. From then till now, my life has been a real rollercoaster ride. I never imagined my life as a nappy-changing, breastfeeding mother, but doing all this just made me more complete than ever. People had warned me that raising a boy was a different job and it truly is. Giving birth to a boy in a society like ours is a victory itself. The first words you hear after your delivery are,  “Mubarak ho, beta hua hai!” (Congratulations, it’s a son!) Every face around you, from the Dadi to the Nani, glows with the reassurance that ...

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Parenting in Pakistan: An unhealthy mix of care and competition

Having lived abroad for nearly five years, I have become a keen observer of certain behavioural differences between Pakistani children, and those raised in the US or the UK. I firmly believe that cultural differences in early childhood decide who we become in our adulthood. A lot is determined by how parents and family members react to a child’s behaviour in his initial years of life, thereby instilling in him either a rightful or an inappropriate sense of what is correct or wrong. Each year during my annual trip to Pakistan, I noticed aggressive behaviour in Pakistani children which people in our country conveniently term as ...

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I learned true parenting from a foster mother

I first saw her at my kid’s school; she stood out in the crowd, a beautiful brunette with hazel eyes, radiant smile and … a stroller full of babies. There were three kids; a boy and two girls. I asked her if the girls were twins. She said no; they were 11 months apart. She wasn’t their birth mum – she was fostering-to-adopt them. Being from a country where foster parenting is not a widely acclaimed subject, fostering-to-adopt piqued my interest. I wanted to get acquainted with her, and over the following months we did. We often met on school runs, while picking and dropping ...

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To the teen moms of rural Punjab

 A teenager’s angst at not being able to conceive is not something many of us are familiar with. “Why should it surprise me, though?” I thought to myself, as I overheard the conversation between my mother and this teenager. We were in our village home where she had come to pay my mother a visit. Her pale skin, devoid of any youthful glow, was sticking tightly to her small bone structure, making her look malnourished. She must be around 16 or 17-years-old, but she’s been married for a couple of years. “I have been to the gynaecologist, and I’m not sure what kind of problem ...

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Does having a career mean I’m going to be a bad mother?

I was having a chat with a newly married friend when she suddenly stopped and said, “I want to start a family, but I’m not too sure.” Relieved that it wasn’t some troubling marital revelation, I assured her that her confusion was natural and that time would probably grant her more clarity. However, her predicament didn’t end there. She had always envisioned herself to be a home-maker, but now when it was actually time to start a family, she wasn’t too sure if she wanted to compromise on her promising career. To top it all off, she was not only confused, but rather, was ashamed ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 8 In trying to forget, we remember instead

How could that possibly be? Why was Usman Khan’s name written in the father’s slot? Shamim Aunty’s husband’s name was Tanveer Ahmed, not Usman Khan. As I read on, the shock turned to nightmare; Abba jee’s name was written in the slot of wali (guardian). Tanveer Ahmed was one of the two required witnesses. Annie’s father, or the father I knew, was not listed as her father or her wali on her nikkahnama (marriage document) but a ‘witness’?? I read the document again, my mind in utter denial. Was Annie Usman Khan’s daughter? There were probably countless Usman Khans in the world, but it had to be ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 6 Shhh… No one needs to know anything

It wasn’t long before we got serious enough to talk about getting engaged. We planned on going to the same college and then getting married after four years of undergraduate studies. We didn’t tell anyone and continued spending a lot of time together; more than we should have. Then Usman started hearing back from the colleges to which he had applied. As expected, he had been accepted into some of the very good ones like the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) in California, New York University (NYU) in New York, and Brown University ...

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Murphy’s Law for parents of three-year-olds

I am going to take my parenting “expert” hat off and put my mom-of-a-three-year-old hat on. I’ve been feeling under the weather, and although I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal, I started to write these to make myself laugh. I hope you have some chuckles too. And yes, these did actually happen. You will cut the wrong end of the freezie, stir the yogurt the wrong way, break the banana or use the wrong-coloured cup. The day you are late for an important appointment is the day you will unbuckle the car seat, as you always do, and your three-year-old will shriek like s/he ...

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