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My baby has Laryngomalacia.

Lockdown walks.

My daughter has Laryngomalacia and I wanted to bring some awareness to the condition. Me and my partner were both very unfamiliar as we haven’t experienced this in our families. There was also no indication of her having this in the scans.

It has taken me almost three months to come to terms with this and even then I haven’t fully accepted it. I feel scared for her at times and all I want to do is shout from the rooftops in anger because she has it. I haven’t really openly or publicly spoken about it, until now. I have tried to make my peace with it by sharing it with family and friends that are close to me, but I haven’t quite got the right words to express how it makes me feel knowing that my three month old daughter has moments where she struggles to breathe. She will grow out of it, but it can take up to two years. I find it frustrating because we don’t know when it will strengthen; it’s a waiting game. However, if her larynx doesn’t strengthen on its own she may need it operated on. As I sit here and try to write down how it makes me feel I know there is sadness, anger and frustration. I feel that its important to acknowledge all feelings because ignoring the unsavoury feelings leads to invalidation.

With her comforter.

Laryngomalacia is a congenital condition where the laryngeal structure is floppy, which causes the vocal cords to fall in towards the airway causing an obstruction. In our case it wasn’t hereditary and from the vocal cords doing this it creates stridor (noisy breathing which in our case has been mistaken for whooping cough by medical staff). The noise itself can vary from baby to baby and can also sound similar to a trumpet noise. Alongside this, babies with Laryngomalacia are more likely to get develop reflux (GERD) which can cause further discomfort and in some cases they would need to be medicated.

I suppose a major positive in this situation was that we were still in hospital when she was diagnosed with Laryngomalacia. During our hospital stay, we stayed in three different wards as we both had contracted an infection and were put on antibiotics. I had sepsis and my baby had GBS. (That’s a story for another post, comment below if you interested in reading about my birth story).

Since our baby was born my husband had been taking baby to neonatal every day at 12pm and 12am for antibiotics. It when she was five days old during his 12am trip that a nurse mentioned to him that ‘it sounds like she has a chest infection’ or ‘that her airways could be blocked’ and how we should have it checked by a paediatrician. Before this incident we had noticed she made a noise whilst sleeping which I described as being a low moan but we thought it was normal. The midwives had been monitoring her every four hours and hadn’t mentioned that this was abnormal either.

Day 8: During her hospital visit with a cannula, which was put in both hands during her stay.

We spent the next day waiting for a visit from the paediatrician. He didn’t arrive until a midwife panicked at the distress our baby was in. It was around 11pm as I was walking to the toilet that I noticed that her breathing and sounds were unusual. I was trying to be calm even though inside, I was afraid. I didn’t know what was going on with her. It seemed as though she was struggling to breathe due to the loudness of her stridor (at the time I didn’t know it was this). Her stridor was incredibly loud. Crying seemed to make it worse. My husband ran out of the room, and got a midwife who came in looking very concerned. She checked over our baby and decided to get an oxygen machine to check her oxygen levels. We stood helplessly, hearts racing as she put the strap on her foot. She told us to ignore the numbers, but how could we? I was alarmed. My body was in fight and flight mode, I was trying to hold back my tears. I couldn’t let myself collapse because I had to stay strong and get through this. It felt so surreal, my mind went to upsetting stories I’ve heard and seen. Our midwife was very young and you could see the sheer panic in her eyes, even whilst she was trying to reassure us.

She called for a paediatrician, who arrived promptly. He checked her over and told us that she had a mild form Laryngomalacia. He was very professional, calm and reassuring. As he was talking, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed at her having Laryngomalacia. I was already angry and upset that she had contracted GBS streptococcus. I was angry, that she had to have a lumbar puncture – meningitis check via injection in her spine. I was sad, that my tiny little baby was only a few days old and had to go through this. I just wanted to take her home. He informed both my hubby and I that we would need to monitor her for blue lips, apnea and retractions and would need to call an ambulance. My mind clung onto the possibility of having to worry about this for potentially the next two years. The thought of having to be on alert was daunting. I was exhausted at the thought of it, as all I wanted was for her to be okay and not worry about her. His diagnosis gave me some comfort in knowing what it was; my next thought process was to find out how we could manage it. She had already endured so much and she had only been on earth for five days. I was angry, upset and confused as to why she had a floppy larynx. The doctor was from East Surrey hospital and was incredibly sensitive as he was informing us of this condition and answered all our questions. I struggle with knowing that I can’t do anything to help her, her body has to work extra hard whilst she feeds and breathes.

In order to make sure she has the best care we were advised to keep her sitting upright during her feed, give her smaller feeds more frequently and keep her up for 20 minutes after every feed. Surprisingly, before the Dr had informed us of these adjustments, we had already been doing this.

Her Laryngomalacia also impacted my feeding plans. Whilst I was pregnant I was adamant that I would give breastfeeding a try. She was both breast and bottle fed for around 6 weeks, until I decided that formula was best for my baby. I myself noticed that she was struggling with breastfeeding, which normally requires babies to work extra hard. However because of Laryngomalacia I had to sit her up, it just wasn’t practical. My milk supply was already reduced from giving birth where I had lost 750ml blood from birth. Ultimately my main concern was for her well being and doing what’s best for her. So making feeding as easiest and simple for her became our main priority. It also meant that my hubby could be more involved with feeds allowing me time to recover from my vaginal delivery.

1st April: Feeding during our first journey out as a family of three.

Flash forward to three months, and her stridor is quite prominent. It’s a whole new world immersed in COVID-19, face masks and politics. I am also really concerned about the implications COVID-19 could have on her as it can impact breathing and my baby already has a floppy larynx which interferes with her breathing. My baby has had trouble with silent reflux, which we discovered when she was a month old. The hospital had told us that alongside Laryngomalacia babies tend to get reflux. She was prescribed with Gaviscon, which we gave with every feed. She spent many nights unsettled and screaming in pain. Gaviscon made a slight improvement. However, she ended up dropping a feed and was still in pain at least twice a day for around 30 minutes. Nothing would soothe her. I ended up spending the entire time, holding her, rocking her and soothing her. The doctors had mentioned that if this isn’t effective they would prescribe her something stronger. I hoped that we could avoid this as the medication would be much stronger and there could be other side effects.

Gaviscon and Colief to bring her some relief.

I continued to research and we decided to try anti-reflux milk. Before changing her milk we sought advice and support from the health visitor and the GP – who both agreed that this would be a sensible choice. Thankfully, since we have changed her milk, she has no more reflux. We have noticed an increase in appetite and are thankful that she didn’t need further intervention. In order to make sure she is receiving the best care and support she will be visiting ENT in the upcoming weeks.

I wanted to write about this and raise some awareness as I had not heard of this before. A lot of research online is not specific enough for babies with Laryngomalacia. We are just thankful that she is hitting all her milestones and developing well. We will overcome this blip together as a family.

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Black, British and a Woman

My experience of racism in the UK is being called a n*gger.
My experience of racism in the UK is having white men throw their rubbish at me from their van whilst laughing at the thought of hitting me with it.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told my kind are up for anything whilst trying to touch my leg.
My experience of racism in the UK is bosses taking issues with the hair that grows out of my head as not being corporate enough! 
My experience of racism in the UK is being told I’m very aggressive when I’m trying to get my point across.
My white counterpart however, is ‘passionate’ when she voices her concerns.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told I speak English so well.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told to go back to where I came from. (Apparently Lambeth isn’t what they mean).
My experience of racism in the UK is having my hair touched without my permission.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told I don’t sound like a black person when they meet me for the first time.
My experience of racism in the UK is being referred to ‘as you people’.
My experience of racism in the UK is being passed over for service when I am at the bar.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told that people like me should be able to handle the hot weather.
My experience of racism in the UK is being that it might not be what they do in your country but in this country we line up.
My experience of racism in the UK is having people cross the road to avoid me.
My experience of racism in the UK is having old women clutch their bags closer to their chest as I walk by.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told by a homeless man he doesn’t need charity from people like me.
My experience of racism in the UK is being asked if my son is mine, ‘I mean did you adopt him’.
My experience of racism in the UK is being told that we do things differently in this country.

This isn’t a list of all of my experiences, nor have the above only happened once. These are just some of the things that I have experienced and continue to have to negotiate, whilst trying to live an ordinary and normal life.
– Anon.

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Sufism, Rumi and the ‘Modern’ Muslim.

 

To be a Sufi, one must love all.
One must conquer ego,
before conquering the hearts of others.
Only once,
we have removed the devil
from inside,
can we truly be pure.
-mairask.

Time for another post, and this time on two things which are close to my heart – Sufism and Rumi. Disclaimer: I’m not an expert on Islam or Sufism – these are merely some of my personal views. In order for you to grasp the mysticism and spirituality of Islam, I will be referring to the basic requirements of Islam. I am also going to attempt to briefly explore the relationship between physical movements and verbal recitation in Islam and its significance in relation to Sufism. Lastly, I will be reflecting on the ‘Modern’ Muslim.

Before you start reading, I thought it would be best to introduce the five pillars of Islam as I will be commenting on these later on in the post. The five pillars of Islam are: the Shahada (verbal recitiation), Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Salat (praying five times a day), Zakat (contributing a percentage of your wealth to the poor) and lastly Sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan). These pillars have been enforced for a variety of different reasons which benefit both the individual and society. For instance, the purpose of Zakat is to cleanse our souls of greed and to ensure we help the less fortunate. The key ethos in Islam is that we are all responsible for one another regardless of their religious views.

One of the five
Our daily routine should include Salat where we must pray five times a day. These prayers are Fajr (dawn, before sunrise), Zuhr (midday, after the sun passes its highest), Asr (the late part of the afternoon, Maghrib (just after sunset) and Isha (between sunset and midnight). Men and women are both encouraged to perform Salat in a mosque (place of worship). This is to ensure we all connect with God on a regular basis and our community.

There is a significant relationship between physical acts and verbal recitation in Islam. In Salat (prayers) we recite Quranic verses in a particular order with a certain movements. The combination of both is believed to build and strengthen our bond with God. These movements are also a form of exercise and meditation which promote relaxation and a healthier body and mind. You could say that another purpose of Salat is to give our lives structure. We are required to leave what we are doing and give our full attention to God. These constant interruptions are intentional and we should be able to confidently detach ourselves from worldly pursuits. It’s a constant reminder of how this life is temporary and that we should focus on becoming good people. For example, the first prayer (Salat) of the day is Fajr, which is at dawn. This is one of the hardest prayer times but religiously the most rewarding as we are sacrificing our sleep to remember God. To summarise, in order to achieve spiritual growth we must be sincere and consistent. Sufism suggests that there is a significant connection between physical movements and verbal recitation which increase religiosity. Islams very practical method of worship, is also prevalent in other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism.

I was born into a moderately practising family where we were taught the fundamentals, however ultimately it was our choice to practice. I sadly lack routine and structure in my life which is why I find it difficult to include Salat (I know that this is just an excuse due to my laziness). But, I am currently working on incorporating Salat into my daily routine. It’s mind over matter.

Sufism – Yes, we also have ism’s

FullSizeRender (8)

Now, for the complex Sufi part of the post. Sufism is a branch of Sunnism which has been around for many years. To be Sufi, one would have to be a lover of truth and spend their lives on a spiritual path towards God. It’s not something physical, but something which cannot be verbalised, as it involves the inner being. It focuses on the spiritual cleansing and growth of an individual. Generally speaking, most of us grow up fearing God because everyone always focuses on preventing sin and what happens if you disobey Allah. But, surely if we are taught to love God, rather than fear him we will want to obey his rules?  Surely that would make it more genuine and authentic? After all he is the Al-Hakeem (the All-Wise), Al-Ghafoor (the All-Forgiving), Al-Azeez (the Almighty) and the Al-Fat-Taah (the opener, remover of difficulties).

My Sufi discovery so far:

  • We should love God and not fear him.
  • Our biggest enemy is within ourselves – our nafs (ego).
  • Never judge another human being.
  • We should spend our lives building and strengthening our relationship with God.
  • Attempt to forgive others in the way in which we would like God to forgive our sins.

I wanted to give a brief introduction to the various groups within Islam. Islam is made up of many different branches e.g. Sufism is a branch of Sunnism. Regardless of which group we belong to we all classify ourselves as Muslims. According to Muslim scriptures (hadith) there will be 73 sects of Islam and only one will be on the right path. I’m sure some of you may have heard of Sunni, Shia, Wahabbi and Salafi? (If not, then enjoy this is a relatively brief introduction). Each of these groups have their own perspectives and thoughts on how Islam should be practised. These disagreements have sadly led to millions of deaths over the centuries. Although we belong to different groups we are still Muslims and we do have a similar beliefs, for example we all believe in the Oneness of God and his mercy. Regardless of our differences, I believe that all human beings should learn to respect one another and concentrate on building relationships. Our beliefs are our choice, and we should learn to respect others for their choices.

Mystic vs Scholar
The Sufi says, ‘I should mind my inner encounter with God rather than judging other people.’ An orthodox scholar, is always on the lookout for the mistakes of others. But don’t forget, students, most of the time he who complains about others is himself at fault.”(Shafak 2010, p59) The centuries old debate, which exists in all faiths – between the mystic and scholar- the heart and the mind. In my mind I picture this as a conflict between a literal orthodox scholar and the liberal open minded mystic.

The conflict between the mystic and scholar is a metaphorical representation of the relationship between the heart and mind. This predicament is prevalent in our own society, on many different levels, whether it’s externally or internally. Muslims face this inner battle both physically and spiritually. I believe that certain Muslim groups have very narrow and literal minds, which have enabled them to commit disastrous and inhumane acts. Sufism can be difficult to comprehend and apply, as it requires you to think about things from an alternative perspective – something more spiritual. In all truth, I believe that we should use both our hearts and minds to reach our goals, however we must not allow either to individually dominate our thinking. Yes, I’ve attempted to simplify a hugely complex matter, but one, which I’m continuously attempting to understand, adapt and develop.  However, this does raise the question of how do we differentiate between the two and how can we apply this in our thinking and in our lives?

We all seem to think we are scholars and that we’ve mastered the art of being Muslim. But sadly, we haven’t, we are instead feeding our nafs (ego). Social media has become a platform where people are able to attack others through ‘virtual’ public humiliation. This has become a common trend due to arrogance. I could go online and find some examples, but I’m sure you are all familiar and there’s no point in me sharing such negativity on my page. Shafak (2010) highlights Sufi ideology quite successfully ‘inner encounter with God rather than judging other people’ which is something that I’ve tried to implement into my own life and would like to encourage others to do the same. The question is, are we the mystic or the scholar?

As I’ve grown older I’ve realised we are human, therefore we are flawed and we will never be perfect. Even though we will never be perfect, we should aim for perfection in all that we do. We are human and that’s why we make mistakes, but it’s what we do with our mistakes, that defines us. Our inner battles with our nafs (ego) should be one of our main battles. We shouldn’t dictate to others how they should dress or live their lives – after all it’s their choice – we all have freewill.

Rumi
My mum introduced Rumi to me in 2012, through Elif Shafak’s ‘Forty Rules of Love’  and I was hypnotised, mesmerised and hooked. Rumi (1207-1273) is a famous Sunni-Sufi Muslim poet. His work has been translated into many languages and is available on Amazon and eBay.  His writing has attracted spiritual seekers from around the world, regardless of their religious background. If you haven’t heard of him before, it’s probably because he isn’t British – but let’s not go into that! His ideals are universal regardless of his religion, race or background. He is known to be one of the greats like Shakespeare.

Through this discovery, I feel as though Islam was reintroduced and it became more mystical. I saw God, the world and people differently – I become more open minded and accepting. ‘Forty Rules of love‘ is about the friendship between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and it because of Shams – Rumi became a poet.

“I love my friends neither with my heart, 
nor with my mind. 
Just in case my heart might stop, 
mind can forget. 
I love them from my soul”
– Rumi.

The ‘Modern’ Muslim
I wanted to talk about Sufism and its relevance to the Muslim identity and its role in today’s society.  We all have inner battles and struggles we try to overcome on a daily basis regardless of how wealthy, famous or popular we are. Our spirituality is somewhat supernatural – I know, a strange choice of word, but I am merely playing on the idea that it is beyond scientific or rational understanding. We are all on our own individual paths of self-discovery and rather than be critical of other people’s lives, we should aim to be supportive. Religious conflicts and disagreements have always existed and sadly will always exist – unless we all come to a mutual understanding. It is a personal choice, which in its purest form cannot be extinguished. The Ummah, our Ummah (the Muslim nation) is in tatters, if we look at the Middle East all we see is anarchy, division, hatred and blood lust. Our family is hurting and broken- when we learn to rise above? The majority of us living peaceful lives – lets promote this face of Islam.

Being a practising Muslim in recent years has been incredibly challenging. We are a widely feared group and are often demonised because of a small group of fanatics. The way we dress and practice our faiths has isolated us. When we practice our faith people begin to fear us and think we have been radicalised. They’ve begun to stereotype us – they’re connecting us to who they see on the news. It’s becoming one big blur. Who are we? What have we become? Why has the media distorted our image? After all, we are your neighbours, teachers, doctors and cleaners – we are just like you.

The way, in which some groups have enforced Islam on others, is not Islam. It’s their mutilated version of Islam which they have interpreted based on their own personal beliefs (e.g. if they have sexist views, they will interpret Islam to support these views). I honestly can’t understand why they do, what they do and I doubt I will ever understand. But, as Muslims it’s our duty to respect and love others regardless of their faith. We shouldn’t attempt to control or dictate to others because of our own individual beliefs. We should respect them and their decisions and accept that we are all different. God is the ultimate judge of our actions, as he knows what’s in our hearts. If we have hate in our hearts and use it, to hurt others, he knows. If we have love in our hearts and base our actions according to that, then we should be at peace with the idea that he knows and he will serve justice to those who have been wronged.

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?”
-Rumi

Shafak, E (2010) Forty Rules of Love Penguin.

Everything Happens For a Reason

Charlotte’s Story

“When I had baby Ezra six months ago on 7th December 2019, me and my husband were ready for our exciting new chapter of life to begin with our gorgeous baby boy. We couldn’t wait for all the family gatherings, going to the swimming pool, trips to the zoo, strolls on the beach, and picnics at the park and parent and baby groups. We had it all planned out, and we couldn’t wait! Skip to the 21st March when Ezra was just three and a half months old and all of this was taken away from us when lockdown began. 

I am so disappointed that we’re unable to do any of the things that we had planned, but honestly the main reason I am so extremely sad is that our parents and brothers can no longer see our beautiful boy grow, as he is changing daily! They have missed a lot of firsts – him trying solid foods, being able to munch on his toes, taking a dip in the paddling pool, rolling over (and now rolling from one side of the room to the other every time we look away), becoming a little chatterbox and his laughing fits. I expected to do all of these things and to be able to share with those I love around me, but no, these firsts were just for my husband’s eyes and mine. Our families are all just as devastated as I am.

Now, with all of this in mind, I am a strong believer in everything happening for a reason. God doesn’t make mistakes, whether we understand it or not, and so even though there has been a lot of disappointment and fear for our families (and all families) during this time, there are positives to be taken from the situation and I need to keep reminding myself of this. I am so lucky that my husband is able to work from home for the time being, and this is a massive help for me, as Ezra is a boy who needs constant stimulation and never sits still (something to look forward to when he’s a toddler!). And so my husband is able to spend so much more time with Ezra than he would of if not for lockdown. If he was still at work, he would have probably missed most of Ezra’s firsts too! I definitely do not take for granted how lucky I am. 

During almost three months of quarantine, not being able to do the simple things like popping to my parent’s house, to get out if Ezra is having a grizzly day has been very challenging. But on the other hand it has given me the opportunity to bond with my baby without any distractions. It’s just our little family, day in and day out, and I’ve grown to truly love it. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait for our whole family to come together again regularly like we used to, but at the same time, I have learnt to soak in all of the one to one time I am currently getting and making the most of being able to selfishly keep him all to myself. I don’t have to share, and its great.

When all of this is over I will be so glad, but until then I am refusing to waste this time that we have been given and use it to strengthen the love between me and my son and reassure him every day that my love for him is beyond measure and that all he needs is me and his Daddy, everything and everyone else is just a lovely bonus. After all, once this is all over and his grandparents, aunts and uncles can see him again, I’m not going to get a look in, so I had better squeeze him extra hard now before he gets passed around!”

Called for an ambulance because my baby’s breathing changed.

Last night felt like a nightmare. I have decided to not include my baby’s name as it feels strange sharing it on public blogging space. For now I will just refer to her as baby. We had just returned home after isolating at my mums and I was in the process of settling in again, organising our clothes and thinking about the ways in which I can establish a routine for my baby. We returned from my mums because Azar was due to go back to work after being furloughed for three months. He began to get organised for work and started trimming his beard in our en-suite, it was around 11.30pm when I went into the bedroom with baby. I was ready for her to be unsettled as she’s at the 4 month mark of regression and has been unsettled from 11.30pm-1.30am for the last few nights.

After extensively researching co-sleeping we decided that it was the right decision for us. We also had other factors to consider as the first 2-3 months of her life were spent with her being in constant pain from silent reflux. She suffered, every-singe-day – twice a day! This also meant that she was often very unsettled, clingy and didn’t want to sleep in her Mose’s basket or Cozee. We resolved this issue without the need for medication from researching how to prevent reflux, we came across Aptamil Anti Reflux milk. We immediately saw a huge change in our baby and were relieved she was no longer in pain.

Anyways I went slightly off topic, but it’s necessary information. But back to last night. I have a few tactics which I use to put her to sleep, their effectiveness however is totally dependent on her mood – so I started with patting her gently, which didn’t work. I lay next to her and put her on my arm, holding her in an embrace and patted her on her back, whilst I rocking her. This is one is more strenuous and sometimes effective – as I write this it also sounds quite comical. This began to settle her and she fell asleep. So, my next mission was to get her off my arm and into a safe sleeping position. Just as I relaxed my hold, she started to cry. This cycle continued of putting her to sleep, moving her safely and then her waking up for about an hour or so. My partner came out of the bathroom looking concerned, as it was unusual for this to happen for this long, so we began to go through this list, of what could be wrong with her – nappy change, hunger, sore bum, teething, reflux and then we realised it was trapped wind! We began to remedy her discomfort with tummy massages and bicycles – which brought us a few minutes of peace and her some comfort. In the end, nothing we did helped and she was crying from being in pain and we decided to give her Calpol with the support and advice from my mum.

She finally fell asleep, this time she was knocked out. I walked back to the bedroom and crept into bed, trying to not to disturb her. She was utterly exhausted and so was I. I lay with her on my side, and she was on my right arm. I was preparing to move her into a safe sleeping position, when I noticed her breathing had changed, she seemed distressed at first and was whimpering. But then she began to hold her breath, I monitored it for a few more minutes and mentioned it to Azar. He grew extremely concerned. I suggested we call my mum, so that she could hear her breathing. Upon hearing her, mum said call an ambulance.

So we did just that.

I felt so scared and confused, I tried to stay calm. Azar called the ambulance, who asked him a variety of questions about her colour, breath and movement. We were told to keep her awake.They sent an ambulance. Whilst the ambulance was on its way the lady on the phone said she would stay with us, until she arrived. I think it was 2am by this point, I’m not sure. Time became unimportant. Questions and fears filled my head as to why she had done this. We felt scared as her Laryngomalacia impacts her breathing, so we speculated as to whether that was the cause?

The next few minutes dragged on for what felt like hours. Azar began to get things ready, whilst I was with baby – monitoring her and keeping her awake. She was alert and didn’t seem to bothered. At this point I began to think, am I wasting time by calling the Ambulance? I didn’t want to waste their time, when there could be more serious cases. But then, I began to focus on prioritising her health and making sure she got checked over, because if it was life threatening and we left it – what if it lead to something worse?!

Azar had to go collect the paramedics from the floor door – which can only be accessed by a fob. Two ladies came into our bedroom with very caring demeanours, I felt at ease. I knew then, that baby was in safe hands. They were both wearing emerald green trousers/top, black boots and light blue masks covering their mouths and nose. When we had called for an ambulance I had completely forgotten about COVID-19 risks and changes. This made me feel uneasy. We told them what had happened, one of the paramedics was typing information on an electronic device and the other began to unpack equipment. They checked her oxygen saturation levels and took a sample of her blood. Everything was coming back as being okay. I was still calmly panicking whilst trying to keep composed. It just felt as though, so much needed to be said and done. They recommended that because she’s under 1, she should be seen by a paediatrician at the hospital. Azar had already packed her bag. I was dazed and didn’t comprehend how we would get to the hospital, the paramedic told us me and baby would need to go via Ambulance and Azar would follow in his car. I got the carseat and the paramedic volunteered to carry her changing bag.

The whole situation was just surreal. I wanted to find out why she did what she did, but I was also petrified and hoped it wasn’t anything serious. In our COVID-19 world, hospitals only allow one person to go in with baby – so it was just me. The paramedic helped me strap in baby’s car seat and the ambulance reminded me about the concussion I had when I was 10 or 11 at school, which was the last time I had been in an ambulance . But, I didn’t remember what it looked like or what it had inside. I definelty won’t forget it this time.

In truth I needed Azar’s support and help, and he wanted to be with us. I understand all the precautions and the reasons for them, but they made everything more stressful. I just wanted him with me. Whilst leaving my flat with urgency, I forgot I needed to pee or I deprioritised it as my baby came first. So on my way to the hospital I became focused on me needing a wee. We arrived and I was given a mask. We were greeted by a nurse, and the paramedic handed us over to her. I noticed the nurse had to sign the paramedics notes as a handover procedure. I couldn’t help but notice the nurses stiff approach towards me and warm towards baby. She showed me no warmth, potentially because of COVID-19 stresses. As the paramedics left I thanked them for their help and support. The nurse checked over her oxygen saturation levels and everything looked good. I was relieved, but now we had to wait to be seen by a paediatrician.

We were then moved to a single room with a hospital chair and bed. We had to wait. In the meantime I comforted and fed baby. It must have been around 4am at this point, she was exhausted. I focused on keeping my eyelids open and was fighting off sleep, baby was fortunate enough to drift into the deepest sleep. The paediatrician came and assessed her, she checked her chest and oxygen levels again. She was all okay. I communicated my concerns about the Laryngomalacia, her history and her upcoming appointments. She said that babies can hold their breath and its a concern if they do it for longer than 20s. If it becomes a regular occurrence there could be an underlying issue. I informed her of baby’s upcoming appointment with the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist).

I still don’t understand why baby did it, but I am glad we took the measures and precaution that we had because our baby’s health is important and matters. As first time parents we had to make sure we do right by our baby especially with her the added pressure of Laryngomalacia, which we have very little experience with. In reflection, she is doing well. These pivotal moments are testing as parents. Whilst growing up and even now I look to my parents for comfort and reassurance. And now, whilst we have our own child – who wants our support, comfort and reassurance – I see myself turning to my parents. I am fortunate enough to have a great support system and I intend to utilise it, to make life easier and better for me and my family. More often than not, we try to conquer life alone – but this is unrealistic. You can be the most independent person in the world but you will still need support from your parents.

Fortunately baby is all okay and I pray she doesn’t hold her breath again, but if she were to do it again – we know what to do.

Growing up being called a ‘terrorist’ and ‘Taliban’ all because I am a Brown Muslim man.

“Slurs such as P*ki were used as well as terrorist and name calling such Osama bin Laden or Taliban.

My earliest memory of facing any form of racism or discrimination was as a 12 year old in secondary school. This occurred after the 7/7 bombings, I was asked randomly by a white student “Why did you bomb us?” Now at that age it was quite confusing as to why I’m being questioned about something like this, but now reflecting on it in 2020, it makes ‘sense’. It’s largely due to the way the media has presented Muslims etc. Throughout secondary school white kids sporadically racially abused me in my school (funnily enough they all turned out to be EDL supporters and Tommy Robinson fan boys; not surprised to be frank). Slurs such as P*ki were used as well as ‘terrorist’ and name calling such Osama bin Laden or Taliban.

Second form of discrimination I experienced was mostly by people of the Asian community. As a young Asian Muslim man born and raised in South East London, I grew up away from the Asian community (blessing in disguise). As an 18-year-old going to a University in East London, I met a lot of Asian people and made several friends for life. However, during my 3 years in University both in the environment and out of the environment, I’ve frequently been questioned as to why I speak English a certain way. In my eyes, I’ve grown up being able to be well spoken in English (which is normal), but I was often told I speak like a white man, as if only white people are allowed to be well-spoken. I was often told I ‘sound posh like the queen’ (queue the impersonations LOL) or a being a coconut, brown on the outside and white in the inside. These may not seem that harsh, but for me to hear these for quite a few years was extremely frustrating. I was always mentally strong enough to not give a shit, but it made me seriously grateful to God for keeping me away from such a community. This was often said to me my by Asian people of all backgrounds from East London.

The banter between my friends and myself, however was never an issue regarding this. It was people I didn’t know and that didn’t know me who said these ludicrous thing’s that surprised me the most. It’s as if I’m supposed to speak a specific way in East London. I have since often-faced Islamophobic slurs during my early 20s. I believe this is largely due to how often Islam is vilified in the media. White drunk people off and on the train at the O2 would tell me how much they hate me because I’m Muslim, etc.

However, the more became closer to my religion, the more I was able to easily just let go and not hold onto these things. The most important part of my identity for me is my faith. For me, no other aspects matter.

ALLHAMDULLILAH for the good and bad always! 

– Anon.

A Pandemic, Pregnancy and Diabetes.

Robyn’s Story

“Well this pregnancy and birth was completely different compared to my first. As I am a type 1 diabetic we have a higher risk of stillbirths/miscarriages/pre-eclampsia and all round bigger babies. We also have to have our eyes screened every trimester as it can cause complications because of the extra pressure and how quickly our blood sugar levels can change. During my first pregnancy I was being seen every two weeks in the first and second trimester, and then every week in the third. However, at 36 weeks I was rushed into having an emergency C-section at 36 weeks because I ended up getting pre-eclampsia. Even though my son was premature he weighed a whopping 8lbs 2oz.

However, my second pregnancy was extremely different due to COVID-19.

Firstly, this time around I had issues with both my eyes, which needed laser treatment to stop the bleeds at the back of the eyes. My left eye however had further complications and I ended up getting PVD (posterior vitreous detachment), which is also known to cause blindness. This led to me having to get an elected C-section (which I found okay as I had one with my first baby). It was arranged for me at 38 weeks. However, in comparison to my first baby I have had less frequent appointments with all my checks. For instance I had a phone consultation for 45 seconds about my eyes which made me feel very annoyed as I still had no idea what was happening to the back of my eyes. I was also annoyed about the lack of support with my eyes because I’ve had issues with them, and I had already put in a complaint about them before COVID-19 (as they kept cancelling my appointments). They needed to be checked, as I’ve had diabetes for 25 years, they are more at risk – so I wasn’t happy. All my eye checks were done in Harlow but because they were inconsistent my diabetics team based in Rosie Hospital at Addenbrookes, Cambridge said I needed to go to PALS and put in a complaint.

But at 34 weeks my blood sugars started to get out of control. Normally during pregnancy in every trimester my sugar levels should have been getting higher and higher because of insulin resistance, but mine were going lower and lower and the doctors had no idea why which became very dangerous for both me and my baby. This led me to being admitted into hospital until they were back under control. Sadly, because of COVID-19 I wasn’t allowed visitors and wasn’t allowed out of my room on the ward. I was told I had to stay in hospital until I had the baby. I was very upset and depressed as they said that they couldn’t move my C-section! This meant that I was to be away from my first born for a whole month! This put a huge stress on myself, my first and second baby. From the stress my firstborn son started playing up and my baby’s movements became restricted. After feeling frustrated and having lots of arguments with the doctors  (someone who wasn’t actually my doctor) they agreed that the best thing was to move my C-section forward to 36 weeks and three days. This meant that my husband was allowed to come into surgery and was then only to be allowed in with me on the recovery ward for two hours. This again stressed me out, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk or move properly for at least six hours, so how would I look after my baby. Luckily the midwives were very helpful, even in their masks and gowns.

I have not been able to have any of the midwife checks, get my daughter registered, or even have her weighed since birth. The first time will be at eight weeks old when she has her jabs at the doctors. I feel very bad for all the new/expecting mums who are in lockdown with no real support or idea what to expect. I am lucky that I had my first child and that I knew about the sleepless nights and things like colic or winding. I also know the signs of my daughter losing weight etc. Some people don’t know what to expect. I am lucky that my mum self-isolated for two weeks to come and help me out, now that my husband is back at work. As having a newborn and a 21-month year old is a handful to do alone whilst recovering from surgery. I am very gutted that my friends and family haven’t been able to meet my daughter yet and have only been able to see her over the phone. It a very odd feeling not being able to share her with them, and when they are feeling upset they can’t meet her or give her a cuddle.”

Newborn Bubble

Emily’s Story

“My wonderful son Oliver was born 7 weeks ago… during a viral pandemic and complete lockdown. It’s not exactly how I imagined having my first baby! I went into hospital alone to be induced, my husband joined me for the birth and was asked to leave the hospital an hour after his son was born. We just about had enough time to enjoy the infamous tea and toast post labour (which really is the best thing I’ve ever had to taste!). It was 2 days until he saw him again and got to hold him. At the time it felt like forever and in my hormonal haze I sulked about how unfair it was, but the rational me knows that we were very lucky that it was only two days until we were back home as a family, for many others that isn’t the case, killer virus or not.

We’ve spent the last 7 weeks overcome with emotion, from utter joy at watching our little boy grow so much already to deep sadness that none of our family or friends has had the chance to hold him yet. For us, COVID-19 has meant video calls with family, a million pictures shared on social media and learning to ignore the state of the house – so not much different to new parents in the ‘normal’ world! As much as I would have loved everyone to be coming over to meet him and for us to be able to go out and visit clinics and baby classes, a part of me has enjoyed not having any pressure to get up, get dressed and get outside! We’ve had the chance to enjoy the newborn bubble and get creative with how we share him with our loved ones. We’ve posted photographs and footprints to great grandparents, shared videos and pictures over Whatsapp every day and spoken to friends near and far using Zoom. Our daily exercise has included standing at the end of the garden gate of a family that lives nearby whilst holding Oliver up Lion King style, to meet them.

Honestly, the virus hasn’t massively affected our day-to-day life; our world would have been turned upside down with our newborn, anyway. My husband went back to work after 3 weeks as he is a key worker and although it has been difficult being without him with no other visitors. We are lucky enough to say that our families are safe. From a practical point of view it would have been great to have relatives look after him for an hour or two, while I went to the Drs or to be with him so I could enjoy an extended nap, but we’ve got by just fine. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until they can hold our boy, they may have missed the real newborn stage but they can meet our smiling, interactive little chunk instead! For me, I’m looking forward to a big family get together with Oliver watching his cousins run around and us all chatting away about how mad 2020 has been, hopefully there will be a bit of summer left to enjoy!”

Experiencing Racism.


EMPOWER, was inspired by my other project ‘Pandemic Mamas’ where I wanted to give other women the opportunity to share their experience of motherhood in a COVID-19 world. EMPOWER – however, is more about using our words to share the realities we have experienced in a country where the PM tries to convince us that the UK isn’t racist. I do not believe that the entire country is racist, however a lot of our institutions are reeking of systemic racism. People’s treatment of the ‘other’ is more often than not based on stereotypes – even though each person is an individual not a reflection of an entire group. This is about writing down our words, without anyone invalidating them – which often happens a lot in conversations about race. No direct or indirect gaslighting will be tolerated in this safe space. This is a chance for Black people and PoC to have their say. I have decided to separate Black people from PoC based on current research and changes within the use of key terminology as their experience, discrimination and history is not the same as someone who is of South Asian descent, it is an entirely separate issue – we cannot put everyone under one umbrella. We often choose to stay silent in society from the fear of being victimised for defending ourselves. When we confront racism, we are often victimised and put in difficult situations that affect our livelihoods and mental health. Writing this isn’t to portray us as victims. If anything, it’s incredible how much we have overcome to get where we are now.

My own identity is complex and has a few layers. I am born in Britain and I am a Muslim woman whose family is originally from Kashmir (another area of conflict). In the UK I am classed as a working class brown woman. All of these aspects are intersectional – my experience is based on the combination of these factors. Identity is often made up of different categories, which impact the quality of life, they are either advantageous or disadvantageous for the individual. As I am second generation born in this country my challenges with assimilation are different to those of first generation. (That in itself deserves it’s own post).

(9 months old,1993)

As I am writing this, I am honestly debating on which stories I should share, as there are far too many. I wish this wasn’t the case. There have been a lot traumatic incidents both in my professional and personal life. There have been numerous times growing up where I would be walking from school or out with family, both adults and children would often shout out ‘P*ki’ from their car windows or as we walked by. This became the norm. People who aren’t accustomed to being referred to as a ‘P*ki’ are more often than not aware of its history. For instance there is literally a bloody history of ‘P*ki-Bashing’ in the UK during the 60s, 70s and 80s where far-right groups had begun to attack/assault people of South Asian descent. This was majorly fuelled by Conservative party member Enoch Powell’s River of blood speech and the British Media’s anti-immigration rhetoric. This is why the term connotes such fear as there is a history of violence, which even my family experienced growing up, which contributed to our generational trauma. Members of my family also felt that they couldn’t go to the authorities as there was a lot of hostility, racial biases which meant that their pleas were also often ignored. This powerlessness resulted in them often using self-defence to protect themselves especially because the system let them down. I grew up hearing these stories and my upbringing was majorly influenced by their experiences and anxieties. I often felt fearful of going out, as I never knew what to expect? What if someone decided to attack me because of the colour of my skin?

HOME
When we were younger, we had a family move in a few doors down. One afternoon the children and teenagers decided to sit outside and sing a racist song which started off with ‘bud bud’. This resulted in my mum coming out and telling them to stop singing the racist song. We all came back inside and my family grew concerned of the repercussions of them defending themselves. A while later there was a knock on the door and my dad and uncle answered. It was the girl’s granddad coming to their defence. Defence – even though they were the ones being racist.

He came looking for a fight, whilst being cheered on by our other neighbour’s. There was a scuffle at the front door which resulted in my dad being strangled. My uncle and dad managed to fight him off and he fell back onto the floor. They slammed the door shut. It was literally us vs. all of them, even though we had been racially attacked and then physically assaulted on our own doorstep. Our parents managed the situation by stopping us from playing out, not that it mattered anymore as many of the children didn’t want to play with us – we became pariahs. My family did involve the police, because it had escalated so quickly. In the end the police felt sympathetic towards the racist man because of his age, and said they weren’t going to press charges. So we lost even more faith in the system. He committed a crime yet the police showed him sympathy. I don’t even know what to say. The police then gave us a panic button and for the following few years we lived in fight and flight mode. We were all very traumatised. Even now, this experience has manifested within all of us. As I reflect back to this moment, I think about how scary it must have been for my parents to raise four children in such a dangerous environment. Their anxieties must have been horrendous. But, I have to be honest that these attacks similar to this were a common occurrence in my town.

(Year 4, 2001)

PRIMARY SCHOOL
Primary school experiences ranged from being sent out of class by the teacher for chatting and being called a ‘P*ki’ by fellow students. There were a few other micro aggressions such as teachers not even bothering to learn how to pronounce my name and never being considered for lead parts in school plays. I just remember never fitting in, in Essex. Friendships with white people were tough and tricky, for some reason they never lasted and I was more often than not invited to birthday parties, sleepovers or any other social event. I did tend to have more friendships with other more minority groups.

Body hair became a major issue as I was hitting puberty, my leg hair grew slightly darker and students begun questioning and mocking me for my arm and leg hair. In a majority white school I often stuck out like a sore thumb, so even the little bit of hair meant that I had begun to stand out. The kids became quite relentless in their teasing and bullying. All I wanted to do was blend in and to not be noticed the colour of my skin or body hair. In order to blend in, I began to remove my arm and leg hair, I remember thinking that this would be enough to be accepted? Yet it never was.  

SECONDARY SCHOOL
Then secondary school started. Five years filled with hormones, growth and the constant pressure to fit in. Once again, I was one of the very few ethnic minorities within my year and school. I think there was a maximum of maybe ten of us, if not less in my year. The racial abuse continued and I was often told to ‘go back to my country’ which confused me because I was born and raised in England, this was my country as much as it was there’s. Throughout my five years the racial slur ‘P*ki’ continued to be used to torment me.

Out of all the teachers, my favourite had to be our Spanish teacher. She was bubbly, warm and welcoming. She made me feel safe – something which I had never experienced with other teachers. She made a genuine conscious effort to be inclusive of students from diverse backgrounds – a skill which some of the other teachers lacked! As the years went by, I became friends with girls from other minority groups, I think we found comfort and solace in having shared experiences – whether we knew it or not. It was just the other day, when I was trying to recall my memories that I remembered how some of us would also spend our lunch breaks in our Spanish teachers classroom. A safe haven for PoC and Black students.

(Year 10, 2008)

It’s now evident to me that she created a safe space for us – the ethnically diverse group. But what does this imply about the rest of our experiences at school with other teachers? Other teachers who happened to only notice the brown kid talking. What about the impact on BAME students who aren’t stretched and given further opportunities to progress, solely because of unconscious racial bias? In all honesty I had to work extra hard to be noticed and acknowledged. The teachers had boxed me in with my predicted grades – in the end I achieved 1-2 grades higher in all my GCSE’s – I left with 12 A*-C’s.

EMPLOYMENT
I have a few examples of discrimination in the workplace, particularly in Essex. But for now I want to focus on more micro aggressions, not on bullies. Anyways, I worked in Pizza Hut part-time on weekends whilst studying my A’levels and degree from 17 till 19. It was here when I noticed the shocked expressions on customer’s faces, when I would begin to speak. On seeing me, they had already made an assumption of me based on stereotypes, because I was brown and wore a hijab they assumed that I would have an accent. So when I began to speak, I remember how customers facial expressions would change to being surprised, shocked and startled. I began to enjoy the shocked expressions and hoped it would dismantle their stereotypes. In hindsight, what else could I have done? I made the most of the situation.

There is still so much work to be done, to help BAME children fit in with their peers. Parents often hold racist views themselves and pass them onto their children. The system is at fault and in order to fix the problem, we first need to admit that there is one. We need to work towards dismantling institutional racism in the UK. We should be actively teaching and educating children, not only to be tolerant of others but to accept others regardless of their differences. As a society we need to do more, to be inclusive and embrace the diversity around us. The media often uses tactics to cause division and fuel stereotypes, which means that we need to constantly educate ourselves. We have shared history and heritage – we cannot ignore the past and the implications it had on society today. We all need to work together collectively, by making small changes, to make the UK a safer place for all.

Anti-blackness in South Asian cultures.

South Asian culture reeks of anti-blackness. From the language we use to our beauty standards. For instance, our curse words connote anti-blackness, such as kala dil (black heart), kala kutta (black dog) and various others. And even the disgraceful stereotypes we harbour towards black people, such as them being chor (thieves). It is just not okay. It’s our duty to unpick and unlearn the racist and anti-black attitudes that exist within our communities.

Racial stereotypes are particularly apparent in our beauty standards – being light and fair skinned is seen as the epitome of beauty. Being dark is viewed as ugly. Some of us are even discouraged from wearing white, as it can make us look ‘shah kalli’ (super black), ‘kali masali’ (black low caste) and kali churri (black rat). All emphasis is placed on us wearing colours which make us look gorey (white). Just writing this, makes me feel uneasy, uncomfortable and ashamed of the racist undertone our insults have, but I will continue to speak about this, because right now my discomfort isn’t important. There is sadly also a power dynamic and history behind this, whereby whiteness also implies wealth/status as traditionally people doing labour work would be seen as poorer/darker. These beliefs shouldn’t have existed in the first place and are evidently, still so problematic. The question then is, how do we dismantle these attitudes?

Girls in particularly are often told to stay in the shade to prevent them from darkening. Boys are raised and encouraged to marry fairer girls and are often criticised for marrying darker skinned girls. This is anti-blackness. These social pressures often mean that girls/boys end up hating themselves and others who have dark complexions. Our daughters are raised to believe that the darker their skin is, the less likely they will get married. But honestly if a guy and his family deem you unattractive and not marriage material, purely because your skin colour, you deserve better. You are worth so much more than those shallow people. You should be encouraged to select partners not based on superficial reasons such as race and skin tone, but those who are pious and have a good character. Even in Islam we are encouraged to firstly, respect people from other races and secondly, are encouraged to marry into other races – God has created us all differently in order for us mix with one another and to co-exist as a community. However, cultural attitudes towards interracial marriages towards black people are despicable and children are often disowned because of their choice of spouse. But that conversation is for another time as it deserves its own post. Ultimately, God does not encourage segregation, anti-blackness and racism.

Another common acceptable cultural custom is to encourage girls and boys to use skin-bleaching products. Families put their children under pressure to live up to unrealistic Eurocentric beauty standards, which often result in skin damage and skin cancer. Not forgetting the damage to their self-esteem and confidence. It’s a vicious cycle – each generation passes it onto the next. We are all different and should embrace our individuality.

These views on light/dark skin are dangerous and have a huge correlation to our community’s racist attitudes towards black people. Some South Asians stay quiet during black lives matter movements, because of the racist beliefs instilled in them. This needs to change. I am so sick of hearing people saying black people deserve it, they shouldn’t be rioting and are all criminals. We have not lived their lives nor do we have their years of history with slavery, segregation, institutional racism etc – we cannot comment on a ‘correct’ response to current events.

The question remains, as to how South Asians can be progressive and learn how to remove the toxic anti-blackness from our communities, which is RIFE. We can first begin to question and actively unlearn the attitudes we have learnt, stop using racial slurs in our mother tongue and in English. We should have more conversations in our families about the injustices black people face and ultimately be accepting of interracial relationships. We can begin to breakdown these attitudes by questioning our family members, listening to black experiences and researching ways to unlearn learnt behaviours. The cycle needs to stop. We need to show them our solidarity and support, as they embark on this journey against their oppressors.The time is now; to rise up and stand with the oppressed, not the oppressor. Please feel free to comment below on other ways in which we can remove that stain of anti-blackness and racism in our communities.

I feel that this post is necessary in the current climate. This isn’t about us, but we contribute to the problem by having our own anti-blackness. With America currently up in flames because of their atrocious policing and killings of innocent black people – I feel that we all have a responsibility in dissolving anti-blackness in our communities. America is like that aunty who has SO many opinions about everyone else’s children and how bad they are. Whilst she involves herself in their lives, her own kids are involved in all sorts of drama. Sometimes you need to focus on yourself, and fix your own problems before you criticise others. A system built on oppression, genocide and racism is eventually going to crumble.

I want to end on this note:

‘All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action’ – Prophet Muhammad.

Postpartum + lockdown thoughts.

Suffice to say that no one could have prepared expectant mothers of birthing their babies and becoming mothers with an invisible killer floating around. I am currently 12 weeks postpartum, I feel as though time is trickling by slowly, each day feels as though it is the same as yesterday. Other times a wave of sadness hits me and I am reminded of how quickly my baby is growing and we still haven’t met most of my family and friends. It is actually silly how quickly they grow out of their clothes. All I can say is that it’s such a bittersweet experience. Motherhood for me has been a complete juxtaposition of emotions and experiences. Alongside dealing with postpartum life, coronavirus, death of a friend – I have been coming to terms with my daughter’s Laryngomalacia. A comforting poem for me has always been Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ who comments on the value of having both joy and sorrow as they come hand in hand. Check out the poem and see what it means to you.

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During my nine months I regularly researched and prepared for life after birth such as the; physical recovery, hair loss, lack of sleep and the effects of decreased hormones increasing chances of postpartum depression etc (even all the gory stuff). The fourth trimester is indeed the most interesting phase. It’s when reality hits. You know you need to rest and recover, but you realise there just isn’t any time. Traditionally, most Asian women spend a few weeks or 40 days at their parent’s home for support which allows them post-birth recovery. It’s an effective support system, if you are fortunate enough to be in a situation where your family can support you. I am very aware that there are many women who do not have this opportunity due to distance, family breakdowns and various other reasons. The journey is tricky enough as it is with all the physical, emotional and life changing aspects that come alongside a newborn. Sadly, because of coronavirus I didn’t get the opportunity to stay at my parents house. Maybe I’ll be able to do it in the future with baby no.2. But I just want to say, that I am sorry to all new mothers’ who have no support as they embark on this journey especially during lockdown where support is even more limited. I know it’s a struggle as we are living under lockdown, but I take comfort in knowing that in some ways, we are all in this together. I pray that we acquire the strength to get through this.

Throughout these last few weeks I have had moments of utter despair due to the sleepless nights, hormones, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. A huge contributing factor to my experience and stress levels has been the effects of COVID-19 and I am just trying getting through life one day at a time. It’s during these moments that I have realised that I want my own mum – as she is experienced and someone I trust. I keep thinking that if this was a pre-COVID-19 world I would have had so much more support and my baby would have been able to meet more family and friends. Sadly, I feel as though myself and other mothers’ have been robbed of these key memories and moments. I’ll be frank though nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the complications COVID-19 has caused. I completely understand that there was a high chance I wouldn’t have done much postpartum as I would have been adjusting to my new life – but I still had plans and essentially I would have liked to have a choice. 

These last few weeks feel kind of hazy, blurry and I keep forgetting I am a mother. I understand the literal definition but it is so much more than that – it’s physical, it’s spiritual and it’s emotional. I am with her all the time and I adore her, but there’s a whole other conservation going on in my mind as to who I am now. I am sure many other mothers can relate, alongside the physical changes, it also feels as though my mind has/is going through a process of evolving and growing. I suppose it’s inevitable to feel like this during a life changing moment. I am still processing what it all means and how it defines me – it’s a journey within itself. But being a mama is just something else. It’s demanding, the stakes are high and alongside looking after a baby you realise it is a juggling act with all your other responsibilities such as your own well-being, partner, family, cooking and general domesticity.

Things will get better, they always do.

I am trying to cope with this all by taking each day as it comes and allowing myself to feel what I am feeling. Let the emotions flow through, it’s the only way to heal and deal with it. All we can do is work with what we have been given right now. Lastly I just want to highlight the importance of gratitude and holding onto hope. Things will get better, they always do.

p.s 
Feel free to leave a comment below about your postpartum thoughts and experiences.