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I’m a mom. Let that little tidbit sink in a bit. Yep. A month ago today, I birthed a tiny human being in the early lights of dawn and since than, my life has never been the same.
A short month ago, I was preparing to bring life into this world , not really realizing how this choice I had made a year ago, would leave me so incredibly altered.
Baby Azan, born 6.6 lb with a full head of shiny black hair and the most beautiful set of eyes I have ever seen was put into my lap at the crack of dawn. He came into the world with a bang, given my very short, albeit excruciatingly painful unmedicated labour. Azan had no idea but from the moment the nurse put his tiny body on my chest, I felt a brand new emotion that was never part of my spectrum of feeling before.
This seam-bursting, overflowing, heart swelling kind of love that cannot be described as anything other than the love that Allah put into a mother for the sake of an innocent soul that was once a part of your body and now is practically your whole entire world.
My days are long, they consist of only focusing on two things; my baby and myself. Being fortunate enough to have my parents so close to me, the latter has been easy. My meals are made for me, and my sleep is aided by a group of over eager grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends who are only ever a hallway away. The former – my baby, has left me feeling capable, yet clueless; strong yet emotional; patient yet fretful; the roller coaster that is motherhood.
Never in my life have I felt such a dicotamy of emotions and realized how normal it can be. I have no idea what I am doing when I feed him, but I am sure, more than anything that he is full. My surety in the way I want to raise my son is often punctuated with bouts of emotional breakdowns where all I want to do is cry. I want everything to come naturally, and when it doesn’t, it’s frustratingly obvious how open to interpretation motherhood really is. Every mother is doing it right and not right at the same time. The shear patience that I have seemed to develop overnight is incredible. A girl who thrived on doing everything on a whim, short notice and quickly, I now wake up planning how I am going to tackle simple tasks in just my daily life. It’s just not about me anymore. And I am okay with it.
Since baby Azan has entered our lives, the outpouring of love and support from those around us has left me speechless. So many people are visiting, bringing essentials and just being wonderfully present in my baby’s life. I can’t believe the smiles his little face brings to people. I knew I would love my own child, but when you see others feeling that love for a kid that’s not their own, it’s crazy amazing.
In a month Baby Azan has changed physically the most. He has gone from bluish tinted newborn (they don’t tell you they come out blue) to a rosy cheeked, bright eyed, calm as a cucumber little man, mashAllah. He can tell me when he is hungry to when he has a poopie diaper just by the difference in his cries. He is a good sleeper and does not cry unnecessarily. He is an amazing eater and completely a party goer.
I thank Allah for giving me the most perfect child for me Alhumduillah. With the right amount of ease at times and challenge as well, I couldn’t be more humbled that I am blessed enough to be a mother. In a short month, I have realized that it’s not going to be easy. Not one bit, but it will be worth more than anything I could ever do with my life.
Today I want to go back to 22 weeks pregnant.
When I first got knocked up, I had no doubt that I wanted to know the gender of my baby. I HATE surprises to the very core of my being.
I am just one of those people that prefer to be excited about whatever that is impending. It is hard enough to hide details of a birthday party, what you bought me for Eid, even what restaurant you are going to take me to for dinner… And you expect me to wait 40 weeks to find out whether I’m having a girl or a boy???
Um. Not happening. Thank you very much.
The Hubz was less than enthusiastic given that he wanted to be surprised. I am a planner by nature and this is one of those things that I feel is such a huge change in life that I don’t think I could just go on for nine months! I mean if curiosity kills the cat, I’d be dead before long.
The planner in me wanted to get things ready. I’m not one of those parents that wanted gender neutral everything, I’m not saying I wanted to dip dye everything pink or blue, but I’m okay with buying a little pink or a bow tie ahead of time. What with the way my pregnancy was panning out, I didn’t know how much effort I could put into putting together the final touches in the nursery, the baby’s clothes or other essentials. So it was imperative that I know. After much coaxing, the Hubz came around.
By now you know that I don’t lose an opportunity to celebrate life small joys, this was no different. Let me tell you how it went.
I had a ultrasound appointment booked for the 22nd week of my pregnancy. It was supposed to be an anatomy scan at which point the ultrasound technician would be able to determine what the gender of the baby was going to be. However I didn’t want to find out without having my family and friends there. Now this is a little bit of a tricky situation because how many people can you fit into an ultrasound exam room? So this is how I decided to do my gender reveal.
The day before my ultrasound, I called my favorite Bakery and asked if they could prebake a simple cake and not ice it. The idea was that I would get the ultrasound technician to write down the gender of the baby on a card and seal the envelope. Then I would take the envelope and give it to the Baker who would ice the inside of the cake either pink or blue depending on what the card revealed. Then I would take the cake home and cut it in the presence of close friends and family.
I know I didn’t have to do it this way, however I am the type of person that likes to make memories whenever possible. When I got home that night after the appointment with cake in hand, our close friends and family were already at my moms house waiting for us to make the big reveal.
The first thought when I cut the cake, I was extremely surprised! I was actually on team girl. It was just that girls are all I knew. Not that I was unhappy, having a boy was going to be the most amazing ride of my life. Something that the planner in me was going to find really challenging as I had no prior knowledge of how to raise a boy, given the overwhelming majority of girls in my family. Either way, I was happy, the Hubz was happy. And we all got some really yummy cake out of it! Not to mention some tasty biryani by my mom!
Any excuse to celebrate the little joys in life!
Often times the arrival of a baby means that essentially, you cease to exsist. Your birthdays become another opportunity for family to spoil your child rather than what would normally be your day. This is just the way of the world. Nothing is about you anymore. This is something I have to come to terms with. All my life, I have enjoyed being the centre of attention. So as I progressed in my pregnancy, and people began to drop hints that I best prepare myself to become second fiddle to my baby; I became a little “self-aware” read – sad.
The theme was a sunshine theme, the rhyme a very special one for my husband and I. Accented with fresh sunflowers and bright punches of yellow, orange, and teal, my sister worked tirelessly to bring the theme to life! She added lots of dimension by doing a clothes line of baby items, a balloon installation that looked like showers, various framed prints at the food station and game station to pull the theme together. For games, we played baby jeopardy, and baby price is right with game printables matching the colour theme of the party. We sent friends home with homemade citrus and lavender scented bath salts. It was absolutely perfect!
The food was nothing short of amazing! My sister, my amazing hubster and my friend put together the mouth watering feast that was really never ending! Chicken wings, beef sliders, three kinds of salads, mini shepherds pies, devilled eggs, fritters, veggie skewers… Oh this preggo went to heaven!
And while in food heaven, this preggo met the dessert table. My friends are amazingly talented when it comes to sugar. They made me a red velvet cake, two kinds of French macarons – earl grey tea and saffron, lemon cranberry scones, lemon bars and a preggo request of mini Krispy Kreame doughnuts. What else could you want?
It was a blissfully sunny day that June day. I was surrounded by my closest family and friends. There is absolutely no replacement for the joy that comes from celebrating milestones with those that you love.
In all of this, I realized just how loved I am. My friends are always around to lend a hand and work tirelessly into the night to help set up decor, my family so ready to jump in and fully emerge themselves in any task to make the day a smashing success!
Thank you Nikita, Nawal and Rifat for a day I will never forget. ❤️
Food & Decor by Jumana Nikita Nuri, Nawal Obaid & Kazi Faisal Hossain
It’s been a long 37 weeks but we’ve hit it! Woot! I honestly didn’t think we would get here. I had a pretty crazy pregnancy.
In the first trimester I was really ill all the time, couldn’t keep food down, couldn’t keep hydrated, had to get a home care nurse to come and administer IV hydration to me so that I could continue a healthy pregnancy.
The second trimester seemed to start off well and I was able to enjoy the perks of being preggo, but let me tell you, that didn’t last too long. I was having too much fun dressing my bump and attending social events and weddings… And this baby just wouldn’t have it! GO FIGURE. Apparently I had to be slowed down… If I didn’t, I was at risk of preterm labour. That’s when I was ordered to go on bedrest. At the hospital. Those five days were the longest five days I have ever experienced. It didn’t end there… After I was released, I was reduced to another three weeks of bedrest at home… Even if I wanted to do things on my own, I couldn’t!
The third trimester came and it seemed to move the slowest. Each day began to feel longer than the last, my body surrendering to the constant discomfort of my altered physical state. It was definitely an uphill climb, a test of my patience and the resilience of my family for sure. But we got through it.
I got through it. And I cannot even believe that I am at term now.
Now it’s just a matter of waiting… ❤️
I don’t know about you, but when you spend nine months incubating life in your womb, you begin to reflect on your own childhood. You ask your parents to share stories of their experiencesraising you. You are shown photographs and documents and if you are lucky, an actual momento, maybe the first outfit you wore, or your ID bracelet from the hospital, or maybe even a well worn out toy that you carried everywhere with you.
I have loads of photos [perks of being the first born], but as a result of moving as a child, many of my physical momentos were lost in translation. I desperately wanted to have something of mine to pass down to my future child. But reality is… I don’t really have that…
In my search to find something meaningful to pass down, I realized I wanted it to have a sentimental value far beyond anything that could be recreated. I wanted it to infuse in itself the generations of the past and weave a story for my child and any future child of this family. I wanted the love I have always felt from my family to radiate from this *thing* I was in search for… Except, it didn’t exist.
Then one day, I got it. I knew what I wanted for my baby. I wanted an hairloom katha [blanket]. In Bangladesh, everyone had one or a hundred growing up. A tradition that grew in the villages out of necessity, but a staple in the linen closets or rather alnas [clothing rack] of every home in villages and cities alike.
Created by cutting a well worn cotton sharee and layering those pieces together and painstakingly straight stitching the entire area of the blanket.
These tiny stitches that encompass the entire blanket are what makes the fabric incredibly soft to the touch and surprising warm. Usually they are made by the women of the village who are very resourceful in nature and have an indescribable amount of patience to sew in such great detail.
I went to my mom’s linen closet to scour through our collection of katha and even though I was impressed, there just wasn’t one that I burried my nose into and felt connected to my childhood. I couldn’t really see why I would pass them on to my baby.
I was sad.
But not for long! I scoured some more and came upon an old cotton Sharee my Nani had left behind when she had left for Bangladesh. When I opened up the nine yards of soft well worn fabric, I smelled my Nani. The scent of her when I used to lay my head in her lap to listen to the stories she would tell my sister and I. As I examined the piece of fabric I could even see a turmeric stain left on it from her cooking for us. That’s it! This is it! I grabbed this Sharee and practically ran to my mom and requested that a katha be crafted from it as soon as possible. The problem was, who the heck did I know who could make a katha!?
I was sad. Again.
But not for long! Because guess who loves a challenge? My mother! Heh.
Also the idea of my mother sewing a katha out of her own mother’s Sharee has a very transcendent quality to it. It was already part of a story. I liked that. Not surprisingly, when I brought it up with my mother, she was completely on board. She had no idea what she was doing, but she knew she wanted to do it!
Over the next few weeks, she washed, cut and layered the old fabric… and began the process of straight stitching small stitches through the entire fabric till it was complete.
Two generations of love weaved together that will belong to my baby. And when he asks about his childhood, I’ll tell him the Blankie story.
I see you, your eyes lighting up as you are told that you are going to be a daddy. I also see that nervousness flash through your face as it all too quickly changes… It changes to a new expression that I’ve never seen before… Because it is the look of a different man.
I see you, hustling through the aisles of the grocery store, every day, making sure your baby-mama eats healthy and fresh and avoiding the poultry section like the plague because I just “can’t stand it’s God forsaken smell”. You don’t argue when I don’t want to eat what you’ve cooked, and get up in the middle of your meal to fix me something else. And when I breakdown because the shawarma place ran out of beef shawarma, you dutifully drive to another shawarma joint without making me feel like a crazy lady.
I see you, exhausted after a long day’s work… ready to drop on the couch for a night of relaxation. Instead, you wipe the tiredness from your eyes and you cook for us, clean and do the million little tasks that make our little household function. Every night you say, let’s go to bed a little early… And I do, but you finally drag yourself to bed at one in the morning…
I see you, even when you go stone faced because you are worrying and struggling when you see me in pain that you are not able to make go away. You hold my hand, offer me your shoulder, or sit in silence, holding me as I go through whatever it is that I need to go through.
I see you, looking at the swell in my belly and I see you whispering little messages to your child. You have hopes, you have dreams, and I know you want to give this baby the best possible life.
I see you, and I thank you for shattering every expectation of what I wanted you to be as a partner in this chapter of my life; and exceeding them a million times over for me, for the baby and for us.