Thinking About A Midwife

Eryn seconds old

I’ve been thinking about getting pregnant.

Pregnant bellies have started looking really good to me and I’ve actually felt some jealousy when shopping for baby items and bumping into random bumps. I loved being pregnant and alhamdulilah I had a great birth experience. And of course it’s something that I’d like to experience again.

Naturally, there were definitely some things about my birth experience that I’d like done differently a second time around.

The hospital we chose was AMAZING. Apparently the labour help is top-notch, allowing labouring mothers to walk around and not to be tied down to an IV; no invasive baby monitoring; a low use of invasive delivery techniques such as forceps or episiotomies; and a dedicated nurse to coach you through labour (I wouldn’t really know first hand though, since we essentially walked in and delivered on the spot).

They don’t routinely suction newborns and will hold off administering any injections or clean-up if you request it. And the first place baby goes after being born is directly onto mama’s chest. There baby is left to calm down, breathe, and get some help latching on from lactation consultants if necessary. The aftercare is also brilliant — with daily group breastfeeding help sessions with one-on-one help available. I ended up using their breastfeeding clinic’s helpline almost weekly until Eryn was about 2 months old. They’ve also gone through extensive renovations and now have birthing units so that you deliver and recover in the same room. Each birthing unit is also equipped with a specially designed tub for water birth — which would be really neat in my mind.

Now, there were some things that I could have gone without. Read on »

Relying On The Kindness Of Strangers

“So, as I flew towards the Middle East, my mind was full of the usual 10pm buzz­words: radical extremists, fanatics, forced marriages, suicide bombers and jihad. Not much of a travel brochure.

My very first experience, though, could hardly have been more positive. I had arrived on the West Bank without a coat, as the Israeli airport authorities had kept my suitcase.

Walking around the centre of Ramallah, I was shivering, whereupon an old lady grabbed my hand.

Talking rapidly in Arabic, she took me into a house on a side street. Was I being kidnapped by a rather elderly terrorist? For several confusing minutes I watched her going through her daughter’s wardrobe until she pulled out a coat, a hat and a scarf.

I was then taken back to the street where I had been walking, given a kiss and sent warmly on my way. There had been not a single comprehensible word exchanged between us.” – Tony Blair’s Sister In Law

Yesterday I had an “uh-oh” moment. But a serious, “What am I doing?!” uh-oh moment.
Read on »

Women In Mosques: Barriers To Participation

sign for the women's section: Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Note: This post is part of a continuing theme here at HijabMan.Com. For an earlier post on the subject, check out: Women In Mosques.

There’s a barrier in front of me and it’s covered in orange felt. An unknown brown stain sits right in front of my face. Coffee? The imam is talking about supporting our community — I think. I can barely hear him over the din of women gossiping about their children or that new muslim who wears her hijab in a bun. I wonder if it’s me they’re talking about. What is that, coke? When I put my forehead against the carpet in prostration I can smell feet. The men are just on the other side of the barrier, and no one bothered to use odor eaters. Seriously, is it a dirty water stain? That’s disgusting.

Partitions dividing the women’s and men’s sections are just one of many contemporary additions to our North American mosques. But unlike water fountains and basketball courts aimed at providing needed services, the barrier aims to silence and shut women out of the community under the guise of sacred personal space.
Read on »

Muslim-y Links Roundup: Shiny Happy People Version

It’s the shiny happy people version of Muslim round-up!

Again, if you come across anything of interest regarding Islam, muslim women or muslims in general and would like me to review it, answer questions, or just comment on it here, flip it to me via: w00dturtl3 {at} gmail {dot} com.

1. Calgary has just elected the city’s first visible minority for mayor. Naheed Nenshi is also the first Muslim to head a major Canadian city.

2. Here are some great, kick-ass photos of Malaysian Women’s Shooting champions Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi and Nur Ayuni Halim. They were awarded silver and bronze at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Read on »

LGBTQ Muslims Are Our Brothers and Sisters

A gay Muslim’s acceptance by the community or family is dependent upon many factors outside of religion. On the one hand, it may be easier to come out in North America, Europe or Australia, where there is a larger gay support network as well as a secular culture pushing for gay acceptance. While in many Muslim countries, the practice of sex segregation has given rise to a kind of “homo-culture” — where one’s first sexual experience is with a person of the same sex, simply because the opposite is unreachable.
Read on »

That’s an Arabic Name. Are You The Babysitter?

philly mural

On Friday my mom took care of Eryn while I took some sorely needed “me” time to run some errands.

When she gets fussy, one of my mom’s tried and tested ways of getting Eryn to calm down is to take rides in the elevator. Up and down they go, pushing buttons, making faces in the mirrored walls, and more importantly, giving smiles and waves to the strangers they meet.

Recently my mom has been trying to befriend Muslims in her neighbourhood as well as mine, specifically so that Eryn can have some Muslim playmates on the days my mom will care for her once I return to work (and generally, because my mom is just friendly). So when a Muslim woman with her 15 month old took a long ride down from the penthouse to ground, my mom naturally stuck up a conversation.

After chatting about ages and the cuteness of babies, the woman asked, “So what’s her name?”

“*Eryn.”

“That’s an Arabic name. Are you the babysitter?”
Read on »

Sex And Muslims

Well now that you know what’s been on my mind lately… here’s a little something on Sex in Islam and Sex with Muslims.

You don’t often hear about Muslims and sex. Maybe that’s because we always seem to be having babies — and you all know how much sex a couple with a baby (or two, or three…) is having.

But in the Media, the topic of sex in Islam is second only to niqaab and terrorism. Primarily because hetero sex, sexual expression, sexual freedom, sexual exploitation, and sexual stereotypes at times deals with female liberation VS male dominance, and the Western Media really, really wants to liberate Muslim women. How on earth can a woman who’s covered from head to toe in that black thing be having sex? Good sex? Enjoying sex? Selling sex? Kinky sex? How on earth indeed. How on a bed, in a car, on a train, in a shower, with herself, with more than one partner, with a same sex partner? Muslims? No way.
Read on »