August 22, 2013

What Having a Baby Truly Taught Me -- I want "153 MILLION" Children

So there I was-- actually sticking with my daunting decision to have this baby drug-free, aware of every pain, pinch, pull and pang in my body. I wanted to feel everything, and shockingly to feel alive, I had to feel like I was dying. I wanted to get through it to prove to myself how strong I was, share with other women the amazing experience and feel this unbelievable rush, and moment in time that changed me forever.

But did this make me a "strong woman?" I thought so at the time, but strength of a human/woman/protector was more important in a very different way.

It is true that the experience was eye-opening. It is also true that holding him in my arms, feeling his heartbeats, and seeing his smile first thing in the morning like I just made his world a better one... all changed me.

But what have I truly learned from having my baby? That this world I was so excited to bring him into will fail us. I read about Syrian babies being called to heaven too early because a leader gassed them. What were there last words? They must have been calling their mothers... And this call needs to be heard by mothers of the world.

 How could we have let this happen?

"How grim, Nadia.... How depressing must you be?"

I needed to share this post so that we can all make change in our world of so much passion and love, sadness and death. 

To recognize it all is to really understand life. 

The day after he was born, the hospital TVs were looking for the Boston bomb suspects (something about Russian, depressed, Muslim and terrorist). The following week we read about another attack in Syria... the next month, we received news in my living room, consistently, of bombings near shrines, masjids, towns and shopping markets in Pakistan. This past month, as I rejoiced in his ability to roll, I saw the TV turn gruesome learning about deaths of men and women who were protesting in Egypt. The very thing that gave them freedom, gave them death--- how ironic. How our world just laughs at us.

I have been so pleased with having Zakariya in my life, yet so displeased with bringing him into this crazy world... feeling pangs to change this world somehow. Weren't we taught that we could?

"Be the change you want to see in this world."- Ghandi

But how has Zakariya, my four-month-old taught me all this? 

Because his little world is so perfect still, and mine, as a "grown-up" is so tainted. I contemplate this as I finish up reviewing the last Ramadan FOR Relief Iftar we had to benefit orphans. I remember publicizing the number of orphans to advertise the event so that enough people would come and donate. But, this time, I looked at that number deeply---- there are an estimated ONE HUNDRED & FIFTY THREE MILLION orphans. 

This meant more than ticket sales this time. I felt it. I cry as I feel it.
Mine is SO loved. I can barely hear him cry for 5 minutes before my heart melts and I realize I would do anything to make him smile again. But, what about the rest? What about the world? 

The words of MJ (cheesy, I know) was one of pop culture's very few message of peace in this world. It wasn't about love, obsession, "lyin', cheatin' son-uv-a-gun" and hundreds of other trivial things of life that rhymed (absent of reason).

"What have we’ve done to the world
Look what we've done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son...
What about flowering fields
Is there a time
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine...
Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth this weeping shores."
-- Earth Song

I actually remembered attending the rally for Bosnia during Clinton's administration, around 1993-1994. My cousins and uncles all went to Washington, D.C. and held signs that I didn't understand surround me, with the swarm of people chanting something, and my curious pre-teen eyes soaking this exhilaration in. Where were we? I was so excited to be part of something, but I didn't even know what I was fighting for. I didn't know that we were requesting Clinton to enter Bosnia and save young girls from being raped, babies from being thrown into the dirt and fathers from being murdered in front of their families. What a cruel world. But I will remember that my father took me to this rally for a reason at such a young age, and again to protest Palestinian plight in middle school, and Iraqi war when I was in high school. 

But, what will I teach Zakariya? What will he learn on his own? I vow today to make him a leader. We all mothers and fathers should. We failed to produce a Sallahuddin, or a true follower of Prophet Isa (Jesus) who called to care for the sick and poor, or a true follower of Prophet Muhammad who called for us to protect the orphans and the lawless lands. Where is this NEEDED leader we to send consistent messages to the Muslims of this world to END the madness, call for peace and come together. It cannot be that idealistic, can it? There were times in history when it was done. So many imams and spiritual leaders-- meetings in beautiful conventions of the world (Doha, Shanghai, Istanbul)-- stop meeting, and take action-- let us follow you and change this dirty image of 1.7 Billion of us that WE ourselves create and perpetuate.

Surely, Allah (God) is all knowing and these are all tests for those who are murdered, injured or orphaned. 

And so, surely it must be a test for all of us then. A test to take action, to see what we can do with our "perfect" lives. 

So here I am, contemplating my world with the real world. What does this have to do with my birth story and my perfect baby?

How entitled I must feel so awarding myself for this natural birth of mine, drug-free and walking out of my Princeton Hospital, past the tree-lined roads and white picket fences to my own suburban home-- to take in Baby Zakariya to the arms of a loving family and a decorated bassinet for him to peacefully nap and awake searching for someone frantically to smile at and to be held. I want to always be there when he wakes up. 

But I also want to be there for all the other children.

What world am I living in? ... what world will I let him live in? 

I vow to remain as passionate as I can be to make this world a better one from what has now made my life "perfect." Perfection was not attained and achieved, it was GIVEN to all of us reading this post today. It was given so that we can twist, turn and reach the very veins that pump our blood to make sure that the world (Syria, Myanmar, Palestine/Israel, Egypt, etc. etc.) stops spilling their own blood.

In Syria, I just watched a video that motivated me to write this post. I witnessed young babies gasping for air, unresponsive and on their death beds. I am so hurt. Yet we make few moves and take little action.


So, let's take action EVERY PLACE we find an opportunity. Donate to causes (sadly, so many to choose from). Start and Circulate petitions (so many situations must be publicized). Attend rallies (make the dozens turn into thousands). Help create movements, and social media attention to atrocities.

Let us not neglect our duties and forget that we were put on this Earth as worshipers & followers of ONE God that taught us: "if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." (Quran 5:32).

Bring back 153 Million smiles to the orphans of the world. It starts with a mother to realize that after looking at her son/daughter the very moment they enter this world, to now hope that EVERY child feels the indescribable promise of love and protection that mother has in those first seconds that she holds her own baby.

This is my true birth story. Thank you for making me realize it Zakariya.

Let's change the world my precious Z. I will raise you to lead. That is my vow as your mother and a mother of 153 million others.

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