By Asma Naim
My Dear Maha,
My little gorgeous princess, you should know that Daddy and I were beyond thrilled when we knew you were coming to join our lovely life. We were counting days and hours to meet you.
When you were born, I was overcome with beautiful and perfect love that I had never felt before. You filled a hole in my heart I never knew existed. When they placed you in my arms, my euphoria intensified. I looked down at your hair, so thick and dark at birth. I stared into your bright eyes, wondering at the thoughts forming behind them, still a mystery. To this day, I still can’t articulate how deeply and fiercely I love you. You were mine. I didn’t want them to take you away. I wanted to hug you forever. You were this perfect, amazing, little angel. You are loved. Soooo loved! By everyone in your family and so many others.
I remember your little hand holding me for the first time, the palm of a tiny hand on my collarbone. Your first smile up at me. The smell of your soft baby skin. The soft sighs and giggles. Then watching you grow. Watching you spin and jump and play, a broad grin splitting your face. Reading you books and skipping parts. Teaching how to wear your shoes. Brushing your hair. Going to bed exhausted. Waking tired. Loving when I don’t even know how.
I just loved every detail of being your mom. The memory of those moments is, for all time to come, etched on my heart.
So many sweet moments!
And yet… lately the sweetness feels sometimes like a burden. The tether of love heavy and tight. My nights seem to have grown shorter, sleep interrupted by your cries. Despite best preparation, parenting you hit me like the gale of a hurricane, sweeping me right up into it. Stigma said that my life was over; I knew something significant had just begun. Society demanded sacrifice and selflessness but parenting you; my little butterfly, never felt passive or transactional; it was always more rich and complex than giving something up in exchange for something else.
My love for you became the fuel for my ambition. You make me want to become stronger, kinder, wiser so I can show you what it looks like when life is done well. I decided that I was going to be a role model for you and lead by example. Because of you, I was determined that being a young parent wasn’t going to limit me. You gave my life focus and kicked my spirit into gear. I’d always dreamed of completing my postgraduate studies and becoming a respected person in the society. Now I’m not only doing it for me anymore, but for you and our happy little family.
Immediately after your birth, I had to continue my master study, the new semester started. I could have asked for a postponement, but at that moment in which my life had changed so profoundly and so permanently I needed to prove to myself, if not to you and everyone else, that I was still a serious studying-working-caring wife and mom. Afterwards, I was poured out. Not simply tired or busy, but completely poured out. But even then, you with your bright smile, lighted up my heart.
I wanted you to learn that hurdles are there to jump over; hurdles can teach you how to fly. I cannot promise that things will be exactly as you want, but I can promise that nothing can stop you from achieving your aims. Life is uncertain. Sometimes you have it all planned out, and it goes just as you expected. Other times, it goes in a totally different direction… for better or for worse. But NEVER give up. Look for the miracles. I promise they are there, YOU are one.
I will be always there for you. My biggest job is to care for your heart, and prepare you for this world that can be exhilarating, terrifying, wonderful and shattering, all at once.
I love you, Maha. I’m proud of you. And I ultimately believe in you.
PS: My overall biggest dream nowadays is a night with less waking, a morning that comes a little later or a few more hours stretch of a nap perhaps. 😀
“ Challenge to Change, is an initiative aimed at raising awareness about mental health for women from the Middle East. It is a platform for dialogue and support, enabling women to share their experiences, strengths and hope while being supported by mental health professionals. Through raising awareness and taking on the stigma, Challenge to Change has created safe communication channels and support groups with the objective of providing effective and lasting solutions.
Challenge to Change is THE voice for mental wellness for women from the Middle East.”
Article source: https://challengetochange.me/little-princess-maha/