Stories about mothers

Whitewashing

Our names will never roll around their tongues, With the delicacy and finesse, Of the mothers who named us. After 14 hours of birth, Sweaty, sticky, spicy, sweet, tangy names with stories and secrets. Our names in foreign mouths Are like spices with unexpected Sharp thorny flavours, Spat out in discomfort, Pronounced with pain, And anglicised quickly like a cool drink of water.   So that Dureshawar becomes Rey, And my own name In my mouth Feels like a dry, flavourless biscuit. And they laugh when I can’t recognise Myself being announced at banquets. When I cannot recognise my placard On the table; When they demand I leave by the backdoor. It is always by my father’s name.   Our names will ...

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Working women do not make better moms

“Working women do not make better moms,” I told an audience comprising of my teachers and fellow students in my primary school where my own mother was working as a teacher. I had the audacity to look her in the eye as I completed my argument in the speech competition. She looked back with a smile and I looked away. I had a good reason for the argument. Ever since my mother started working I saw a change in my family life. She often brought work home and then struggled with house chores. I got lesser treats at home. There were no more homemade doughnuts ...

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Pakistan, a nation raised by ‘maids’ and ‘aayas’

During my last visit to Pakistan, I happened to attend a three-year-old’s birthday party. As the birthday boy belonged to the elite class of a capital city, the extravagance that met my eyes as I walked through the magnificent rust and copper gates, did not dazzle me at all. I was, however,  surprised to see a group of young girls, aged 10 to 15, dressed in obvious hand-me-downs standing near a bunch of little kids playing pat-a-cake. These girls matched the kids around them, both in number and jocundity. My host told me that the girls were the ‘maids’ of the invited ...

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Why do some mothers want to hurt their newborns?

New motherhood is no picnic. The indignity of childbirth, stitches in unmentionable places, the physical marathon of labour, the month-long bleeding and more. It doesn’t matter how easy your pregnancy was or how much you wanted a baby, the reality of motherhood usually comes as a bit of a shock. It’s impossible to overstate the major lack of sleep and the sheer exhaustion of looking after a newborn. Struggling to feed a newborn every two hours, cleaning sticky newborn poop and worrying as they inevitably get jaundice is all part and parcel of the deal. Add major hormone fluctuations as your body ...

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Breastfeeding: Taboo or must-do?

“Sorry, what?” I asked, absolutely shocked. “Yes, madam, my doctor told me that my breast milk is poisonous and not suitable for the baby, and that is the reason she is sick all the time. I even got my milk tested as per my doctor’s instructions and it was indeed poisonous,” said the mother of a six-month-old, shrunken-eyed Maryam. The child was diagnosed as a classic case of third degree malnutrition and marasmus. I was taken by surprise. I had never ever heard of a healthy, physically fit woman like her producing poisonous milk; needless to say, I was extremely curious to ...

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School,college,marriage,kids – is there more to being a woman?

From a very early age, girls are taught to be responsible, politically correct and open to compromise, with a greater emphasis on conformity for societal appreciation. There is just one problem, most of these lessons are bequeathed with the view of a woman’s future home, future in-laws, hypothetical husband and even more hypothetical children. Lessons that bring forth a form of “automatic decision- making” that is of the “school-college-marriage-kids” variety. It is almost as though a majority of women conclude that the ultimate result of any pursuit prior to their mid 20s will be matrimony and anything different would be rather ...

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Food for thought for new mothers

Motherhood is one of the most sacred blessings for women, yet it can be a challenging phase of their lives. It is not uncommon to hear new mothers say, “I am so depressed; I can’t seem to lose weight!” However, a well-planned and balanced intake of the right nutrition can provide one with stamina and can help ward off the baby blues. New mothers should focus on food and eating habits that can help them: 1. Ensure that their child is nutritiously nursed 2. Fight depression 3. Lose weight 4. Fight fatigue Energy boosters:  Our mood is regulated by a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is known to increase happiness and make one’s ...

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Miscarriage: Who I tried to forgive, what I tried to forget

I slip the white satin sheet off me; the light from the sun encases me in a newer, warmer sheet. Curtains are drawn and the window beams at me, 12pm signalling a wakeup call. Late mornings have been the norm for nine odd months. But neither I, nor the sun, complain we are happy to rise at a later time. He has woken up already. He has left for work already. The maid has been let in; she is dusting the sofas in the next room. My feet touch the marble and I sit up. Like a reflex, my hand comes to ...

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My baby, your milestones are precious to me

Recently I noticed my son diligently putting a diaper on his favorite stuffed dog and kissing it good night. I am told that this is an important milestone in his 23-month-old life since it shows that he has the ability to be caring and nurturing. For someone who never fully understood all the baby milestones hoopla, when it came time for my own son to reach them, I unabashedly turned into a bundle of emotions more clichéd than an aisle full of Hallmark cards. For it was not that he walked or talked or smiled for the first time, but ...

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Hats off to mothers

Have you ever met someone who makes others feel special just by their mere presence? Someone who’d make you chicken soup when you were sick, be the first one to wish you happy birthday, be the one who tucked you in at night? Have you ever met someone who let you lick the frosting from the spoon while baking a cake, promised not to tell your dad when you got in trouble and snuck a meal to you when you were grounded? Of course you have— your mother. Mothers make a deal with God during pregnancy that if they can have ...

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