Category Archives: Uncategorized

A reflection on celebrating Newroz while away from my beloved Kurdistan

Piremerd

 

Newroz is a new year celebration which welcomes spring and new life. It is celebrated across faiths and borders in the middle east. As a Kurd growing up in the UK, Newroz was always a very special time in our family. In preparation for this special day we would spring clean, decorate our home, we had new clothes and special food prepared. The smell of kulicha would fill our home the night before Newroz! We would call all our family and friends around the world and wish each other Newroz Piroz. Music and good food were always a vital part of our celebrations, followed by lots of family visits and attending a Newroz party within the Kurdish community!

But, these celebrations are nothing compared to how we celebrate in Kurdistan. I miss the smell of nergis flowers in the air, I miss seeing everyone in colourful Kurdish attire on Newroz day. Even strangers wish you a happy Newroz as they walk past. I miss kissing my grandparents hands and wishing them a happy Newroz.

It is now more important than ever to emphasise the importance of Newroz within our families and especially for our children. Living in diaspora, we are exposed to festivities from various cultures and religion. However, Newroz isn’t celebrated by the general public as it is in Kurdistan, so this celebration should have a big presence in our lives and our children’s memories. I have learnt Newroz traditions from my parents which I must carry forward even though I live away from my beloved Kurdistan.  My children are from a mixed heritage, and this makes it even more important that they recognise Newroz and feel excited as it approaches every year. I want them to practice, understand and share the celebration of Newroz proudly!

This year we started to speak about Newroz a few weeks in advance and the children started to ask questions and asked for a bunch of nergis flowers. Just that request made me feel emotional; they already associate nergis flowers with Newroz!

This year; the week before Newroz, the bedtime stories for them were about the history of Newroz and my memories of Newroz in Kurdistan. When the special day finally arrived; unfortunately, it is not a public holiday for us, so before school and work, we all woke to a decorated home, presents and a special breakfast! I made a ‘Newroz Piroz’ cake for my eldest daughter to share with her classmates, and her class spent the day learning about Newroz! As a Kurdish Mother, the recognition her teachers gave to this festivity was a relief and important. In the evening, we all enjoyed our family favourite cake, some dancing and music and sharing of presents.

As I watched my children’s joy when saying newroz piroz on the phone to family members, I felt deeply nostalgic. I missed my childhood when I didn’t have to plan and worry about how to celebrate this festivity. I wished my children could be amongst the mountains in Kurdistan dancing hand in hand with their friends and dressed in beautiful sparkly Krasi Kurdi. But I was also relieved and comforted from seeing them so happy and excited! They told me to keep up the decorations, and we are due to attend a Newroz party on Mother’s day, so what better way for me as a Kurdish mother to celebrate mother’s day, than to go and enjoy myself surrounded by other Kurds!

The 5 things we do every Newroz, which begin to excite our children for the arrival of Newroz:

1)            Decorate our home, wear new clothes and share presents

2)            Bake special sweet treats with my children

3)            Henna designs and face paint for myself and daughters

4)            Kurdish food and Kurdish music within our home

5)            Retell the history and meaning of Newroz

Regardless of the distance from Kurdistan and from Kurdish family and friends, I will always carry forward our Newroz traditions and customs. It tells the story of our ancient rooted history; it enables my children to know where they come from and how we got here, and to embed these roots into their lives and hearts. I hope they will continue to appreciate, celebrate and share the celebration of Newroz in their lives and future homes.

I hope you enjoyed celebrating Newroz this year. I wish for you a prosperous, joyful and beautiful new year surrounded by your loved ones to take you into next Newroz!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Kurdistan, Uncategorized

As the dreaded day approaches…

16472896_1227276784027271_8106875518981280567_n

Last year, I struggled a lot as my firstborn child, my 4 year old daughter, ran into her classroom on her first day of school. I knew I wouldn’t cope well, but my younger daughter helped. She was with me, to hold my hand with her little fingers, she was there to make me laugh endlessly and she was there for all the extra cuddles and kisses I needed. At the end of this week, it will be her turn to attend nursery for the first time.

In the UK, there is a home visit and settling in period when children start school or nursery. This puts both children and parents at ease, it helps to know each child better and to create an understanding, comforting and strong relationship between staff, parents and children. It also enables staff members to see the environment in which a child lives, which certainly affects their well-being. I believe everyone would benefit immensely if we had this practice in Kurdistan too. As a nation we deeply love and cherish children, especially in modern days, we encourage education and equality for both girls and boys. Therefore, processes like settling in periods and home visits should be emulated in order for a smooth transition and communication.

Although I now also have a 3 month old baby, I feel as though I am losing a huge part of the laughter and joy in my days. I have known this day will come for a while now, but I feel mentally and emotionally unprepared.

As a baby, she went through major separation anxiety for a few months; I couldn’t even leave a room without her crying her heart out. On her first day at nursery, I will be the one to experience that separation anxiety; I might even take a comforter with me, in the form of a piece of cake and packet of tissues haha! For she lights up my days, my sleepy mornings and my tired evenings. She has flourished into a superb, hilarious, considerate and adventurous awesome individual!

Although she still seems to be stuck by my side all the time, and she will argue with everyone in the family who dares to sit closer to me than she may be, I’m certain she will love and light up the nursery with her presence and her wonderful character. While I lose a great friend for some hours every day, the nursery staff and her peers will gain the most incredible, funny and affectionate little friend they could ever have!

Some days, she pushes me to the very edge when she refuses to acknowledge me as I talk to her, when she knowingly does something she isn’t allowed to whilst laughing to herself and when she eats my food every time I dare to leave the room. Yet, I will miss it all, I will miss her sweet little face, that spark in her eyes, her rosy cheeks, her warm and soft little hands that always slip into mine as we walk, her proud stompy walk and the sweet yet demanding voice she uses to ask for treats!

I know she will always be there to comfort her friends, I know she will be singing throughout every activity and I know she will probably come home muddy and messy. But what I know most of all, is that I am already missing her and I envision her running into my arms when I pick her up, wrapping her little arms around me, pouting and saying ‘I mishhhed [miss] you mummy’.

I always use my father’s wisdom to get through challenging stages such as this one. He always tells me, “There is goodness in every phase of life. When your days are busy and loud, enjoy it. When they are quiet, enjoy it also. When you work enjoy being productive, when you don’t work, enjoy all you do in your time.”

So I will enjoy some of the silence, warm cups of tea and cosy cuddles with my newborn baby, before everyone is home again; bombarding me with all their news of the day and all the glorious art work/ notes they will bring me home. That’s when I know I did cross their minds, they actually missed me too, and all will be well in the world again.

I wish everyone smooth transitions as your children settle into nursery. We are sending incredible little human beings out to discover and put their marks on the world, so congratulations to us all in this new phase in our lives!

Leave a comment

Filed under Childcare, Newborn, Uncategorized

The culture of sons vs daughters

sons vs daughters

Kurds are hailed for supporting women’s liberation and their rights to have leading roles in different aspects of society. There is a common Kurdish saying:

“Şêr şêre çi jine, çi mêre”

(A lion is a lion; whether female or male)

Common perceptions

It’s common knowledge that for one reason or another; some parents, regardless of culture or religion, favour sons over daughters. This practice has been prevailing since forever! I have heard my friends without any children say I want a son first so he can look after my daughters. Others say that a father carrying a gene which makes a son, makes him a real MAN! There’s also the view that a son is needed to carry forward the family name as daughters grow up, get married and may take on another family’s name, sentencing the father’s family name to inevitable extinction.

Another common reason is that having a girl usually means that she will incur many expenses as she grows up and will also need large dowries or wedding bills from her parents. In certain parts of the world; even till today, generation after generation, there has been a practice of female infanticide where daughters have been smothered to death as soon as they were born. On the other hand, sons are preferred because of their larger earning potential -the gender pay gap debate already feels like such a great injustice for my daughters who are far from even thinking about the career ladder.

My story

In the Kurdish community, this idea of favouring sons over daughters is prevalent. I have two daughters and I am expecting my third daughter soon, I have been told endlessly “I will pray for you to have a son, so you can stop trying”, or “I hope this time you finally have a son” and even “I’m sorry you are having another girl, you can always try again”. Each and every time, I politely replied we are happy, and blessed that we can even have children, gender doesn’t matter and thanks to God, baby girl and I are healthy and that’s our only wish – Alhamdulillah.

However, I wish I could turn around and say to them I pity them all. Any neighbour, friend or family, who feels like giving birth to a son is more important than a daughter; I am sorry for you, I am sorry you do not view your daughters, sisters, mothers, nieces, future daughters and granddaughters as you view the male members of your family. I am sorry you think that anyone who tries for a child automatically wants a son. I am sorry your daughters may not receive an equal amount of love or encouragement from you throughout her life, all because of the limitations you apply to her due to your own narrow mindedness and preconceptions.

Open your mind

No fully functioning parent favours a child over another. Treating our children equally; regardless of their gender, is essential. We hand them emotional stability and support to see them face life with confidence once they know we love and believe in them. Please do not carry out the injustice of feeling disappointed towards your baby from the moment you find out that it is a girl.

If the mother of your child or whoever you know is pregnant with a baby girl, fill her with confidence and love. They will undoubtedly pass on all that positivity to their baby. They are nurturing and raising strong young ladies, women and mothers. Our daughters are not commodities to be owned, labelled, belittled and limited in life.

Do not instill in your daughter that she needs a brother to take care of her and protect her, that she has to become a stereotypical housewife, that a man has more to give than a woman, that being a woman is somewhat a support role for the man, that men are the superheroes, that a woman needs a man to save her, that all a woman is limited to is her outer physical appearance and that her only/main goal is marriage and becoming a baby making machine.

girl-boxing-2

My approach

I will advocate social change so that my daughters will not face the injustice of one day entering a workplace where they are rewarded less than their male colleagues. I will raise them to challenge and question such discrimination. I will raise them to pursue and treasure education/ career and not limit themselves to just falling in love and ‘settling down’. In my experience, a man who respects and treasures your career aspirations and achievements, is the one worthy of your love and I hope our daughters see this reflected in how their fathers and mothers met and treat each other. We must readdress the balance of everything we provide to our daughters. Who knows, if we educate ourselves firstly, then our family members and their thought processes may change and they may treat equally daughters and sons. We praise female figures such as Malala Yousafzai, so let’s try to raise the next generation of awesome and strong women starting with our own daughters who are yet to be born.

Leave a comment

Filed under Kurdistan, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

The day my little daughter left me

The build up to my four year old daughter; Ashti, starting school was immensely difficult for me! We did our research and chose the school which suited her best. We attended the summer fayre and open evening and had the home visit, which all went smoothly. I hope parents in Kurdistan benefit from similar stepping stones provided by schools to make families more comfortable and welcomed during these transitions.

Whilst buying her uniform, I showed how proud and happy I was, she looked so smart and perfect in her uniform. But the side of me which was breaking down, I kept that hidden for most of the summer holidays. I left purchasing her school shoes until the last few weeks before she started school. It felt like once the shoes were bought, it confirmed that she will finally be leaving me. I used the summer holidays to do many activities and days out with her. I just wanted to get the most quality time and memories with her. 

The start date approached, and the night before she started school; as we put her to bed, I couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her. I found myself staring at her while she slept. I found my voice shaky as my husband was having a normal conversation with me. He asked me “What’s wrong? Are you OK?” The more I was adamant that I was alright, the shakier my voice got. As he hugged me, I burst out crying uncontrollably in his arms and couldn’t get my words out. All I wanted was to have my Ashti small forever. For she was perfect, fun, kind, cheeky, considerate, sensitive, strong, inquisitive, sharp, wise and loving. She had the deepest conversations with me and always wanted to do everything with me.

I ironed her clothes to perfection, triple checked everything and went to bed. I woke up countless times worrying and praying to God to keep Ashti as lovely as she is, to protect her, keep her safe and happy. In the night, I heard little footsteps running down the corridor and into my bed. Ashti’s little sister; Arianne, had woken up. She wanted to lay in my arms, she planted a kiss on my face and a little hand on my cheek as she fell back asleep. This was just what I needed. It felt like a gift from God to help me relax. I then had the most comforting dream that she was so happy at school and my heart was at ease.

I wonder if you all felt this too: although Ashti had gone to nursery for a year before and to countless toddler groups; when it came to the morning of attending reception, I just wanted the ground to swallow me up. I wanted to cry like a baby. But I showed a happy, excited and positive mummy. As I got her ready, watched her eat breakfast and fixed her hairstyle; I could see and hear the excitement in her voice, eyes and smile. Just once she got emotional and hugged me tight, saying she will miss me too much. I reassured her she will be just fine and I will be there to pick her up soon.

As we walked to school, I took countless photos of her, I held back tears but had that lump in my throat. I watched her embrace this change so smoothly and beautifully that I became ashamed of myself for not coping. I wondered if this was normal. Why weren’t the other parents showing their sadness? Was everyone trying to be brave too? I saw her best friend and her mum hugged me, then I burst out crying. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. She cried along and we both comforted each other. All the while, our daughters were chatting and playing away. It was time to leave, but I delayed my exit. Subconsciously, I was trying to just hold onto my baby girl a bit longer. Finally, I kissed her and told her to have an amazing time. I told Arianne we have to leave now, she ran away and said “No, no, me play Ashti! Me stay!”

I convinced her to come with me, we were going to music class to keep busy. I couldn’t go back home without Ashti around. There would be too many memories of her surrounding me. Arianne came to me, but as we left I held her so tight and cried. She hugged me and said “Mummy, you ok? Ashti come on, come on! Or Ashti big girl?” All I could say was “Yes, Arianne, Ashti is a big girl now.”

As we walked away, with mixed emotions, I felt proud of her for settling in so well, for looking so smart, for being so positive and awesome on her first day at big girl’s school. I also felt like I have never missed her so much. I wondered if her perfection, innocence, curious mind, kindness and wisdom will be preserved whilst at school. I wondered if she will miss me. At the same time I didn’t want her to as it would make her sad. I was basically still a wreck, but I showed Arianne my happy side so she doesn’t catch onto my sadness. 

We went to a toddler music group, and as soon as we entered, the teacher, assistant and a few other parents all asked where was Ashti. And so it began again, the tears filled my eyes and fell uncontrollably down my cheeks. All the women who I thought were tough started crying too. It was such a scene! It was reassuring that they had all felt this too, and they still do, even though some of their children are my age now! A few new parents came into the room, and when they saw us all teary and hugging, they wondered if they had walked into the wrong group, ha!! It was hilarious!

As we sang, I watched little Arianne being so happy, clever, funny and full of life. She sat close to me, and reminded me of the days when I used to bring Ashti to this group, we always sat in the same spot back then too. I reminded myself this is Arianne, this is my time with her now. Soon, the group was over, usually we would leave last as Arianne loves saying bye to everyone. But as soon as the clock hit 11am, we were out of that door like lightning, making our way to pick up Ashti. We arrived early. The 15 minute wait felt like forever. But as I spoke to other parents, I heard myself in their voices. We all felt the same. 

As the classroom door opened, my Ashti was the first one out. She gave me a beautiful piece of artwork she had made! She looked ever so beautiful, still so clean and smart but just a bit grown up now. She then said to me “Why are you here mummy? I want to stay!” I knew from that, she had a fantastic time. She showed us her favourite spots of the day. So far, she had wanted to be a princess dentist when she grows up, but today she decided she was going to be a vet from now on. She told me she had known the date and day of the week and had stood up and recognised it on the board in front of her whole class. She told me she had made new friends and that she even loved her new head teacher.

We spoke all the way home about her day. She hugged Arianne and said she missed her soft cheeks. And me, well I was so happy to have her next to me again, we held hands all the way home. Daddy came home with a present; her first big girl book, The BFG by Roald Dahl. When I saw it, guess what? I did it again, I started crying. It hit me again, our little girl is not so little anymore.

A few days into her going to school, I have accepted it gradually, the best gift I can give her right now, is the gift of letting her be independent. As my first born, it was never going to be easy to let her go, but it’s for everyone’s benefit. The gift of education, a good school and a child who is curious; are all priceless. I was told that only a good mum cares so much and crying is my way of showing my strong bond with Ashti. This is definitely true, and I am also pregnant with our third child, so I guess hormones are playing a part in this too.

I want to wish every parent, carer, guardian, and every little child who is now just a teeny weeny bit bigger, all the very best in their new stages in life. If your child has started nursery, reception, college or university, let it all out, all the emotions and tears. But please don’t feel helpless. Use this free time productively. Whether we work, volunteer or your work is raising a family, we need to maintain a healthy mind and body so we are ready for every day and for our children and husbands to enjoy life with us.

My 5 tips to help cope with our children starting nursery or school: 

  1. Confide in family and friends. They may have faced this transition before and can listen and comfort you. 
  2. Spend the less one to one time you have with your child productively. Suddenly, this daily limited time feels very special! 
  3. Participate and engage in conversations, online groups and days out with parents of other children in your child’s class. This helps you to feel more involved and you can share your feelings and ideas regarding this new phase in your lives. 
  4. Try to keep yourself busy whilst they are at school. Spend more one to one time with your other children, go to work, start voluntary positions, study or get involved in your community. It will contribute to your own growth and social life which is essential. 
  5. Plan and organise great weekend days out (or in) that you can spend with your child. These create lifelong memories for you all and strengthen parent to child, and sibling relationships.

I am still learning to embrace this change. When I kiss her in the mornings and wish her the best day ever, I see an independent child who is ready to face her day with excitement and happiness. For me, that is all I need to feel comforted. I hope such changes are smooth and easy going for you and your children. Don’t hesitate to speak to the teacher if your child is struggling with this transition, and share your techniques and ideas of how to make them more comfortable whilst at school. At the end of the day, the best feeling for us as parents is knowing that our babies are comfortable, happy, safe and thriving at school. And let’s be honest, a few more hours to ourselves each day is not too bad anyway!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pre-term Labour. — farzanamuacom

This is a very personal blog, but l would love to share my life experience with you all. While writing this blog l’am entering a very dark and depressing place. I couldn’t believe it, looking at that pregnancy test, with all the bones in my body shaking. I was in shock and it was […]

via Pre-term Labour. — farzanamuacom

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sleepless Nights.

Sleep is what keeps us going, and when we don’t get much sleep, we are grumpy. Now the question is how do you try to get much sleep when you have a newborn. Some people are blessed with newborns who will sleep through the night and the parents wake up fresh in the morning, where as some other parents won’t be as lucky as they may have had a very tiring night. Everyone talks of putting a routine into place but routines don’t usually work as newborns are on demand feeding which is difficult.

I just gave birth in March 2016 to Noah, l’m always tired because I have a toddler to keep up with during the day making almost difficult to nap while the baby does. I have tons of laundry and not to mention all the other domestic chores. When your discharged from hospital thats when the real work kicks in. Its ok if the house is messy or you don’t look the greatest, it’s because you’ve just given birth and thats a big thing, that little person changes your whole life. It’s a life long responsibility, and it is indeed a very long journey. Colic is such an issue when they are newborns and the first couple of months can be so tiring excessive crying from the baby, difficulty winding the baby. I found that using fresh dill seeds in boiling water helped Noah, as remedies didn’t help, like infacol, gripe water helped slightly. But I wanted to use something more natural, if you are breastfeeding then it’s also a good idea for the mother to consume the dill seed water and that helps through to the baby.

A routine eventually comes into place naturally, and those sleepless nights are soon forgotten. The key is to try to nap where possible putting everything to the side, because remember those chores can be done later, and asking for help where possible. There is nothing wrong in asking for help, it is good as everyone needs that power nap just to feel human again not in zombie mode. You are not alone and this phase shall pass. zzzzzzzzz!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Introduction to my life.

Hi everyone, my names Farzana, I’am 26 years of age and i currently, live in London. I’am originally from Birmingham. I’am British Pakistani. I’am a mother of two beautiful children named Amelia, and Noah. I just gave birth in March 2016 my baby boy Noah. This is one of the reasons why I haven’t done any blogging. I’am a makeup artist who is self-taught, and I enjoy it very much. I purchase a lot of beauty products from high-end to drug store makeup. I will be reviewing products and sharing it with you all. My blogging topics will vary from beauty, to mummy blogs, cooking, sharing recipes, as well as sharing my life experiences and much more. So please like, comment and share, and join me through this journey of mine. I need all the support l can get.

Thank you all for reading. xIMG_1415

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized