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What do you adore about being a mother?

I love this new version of me. She is patient, she is kinder, she is stronger. I just don't have the time, energy, or care to please others like I have in the past. My child is pleased with me and loves me and that is all the affirmation I need. 

What's something you want to do differently than the generations of mothers before you? 

I really really want to make sure my child feels that they can come to me for any reason. That they can come to me with their mistakes. I really hope my child doesn't center his goals and happiness around what would please me or make me happy. 

What is one tiny victory you’ve had recently? 

I was able to get a promotion at work after working 3 years at my company. Of the 3 years working there, at almost one year, I was pregnant and after 18 months of work, I had my child at home with me. Trying to balance work and breastfeeding and my house duties and everything with my husband and minimal help from others was a big challenge but knowing I got a promotion lets me know hey, you are doing it.

Where is somewhere you've never been that you'd like to go with your kids? 

I was born in Damascus, Syria, and my husband was born in Florida but is of Palestinian descent. I would really like to go take my child to Palestine, and show him the land of his ancestors. I would really enjoy this for my family. I have never been and would really like to go visit Jerusalem. 

Where is somewhere you’ve never been that you'd like to go without your kids?

South Africa! I really want to do a real safari, play with the tigers and cheetahs that are part of the nonprofit conservation initiatives and donate my time there.

What do you dream of for yourself? For your children?

My dream for myself is to use my success as a means to help my family and to help others in need or organizations that mean the most to me. I really hope to instill that in my family. We will work hard to build ourselves by doing what we love and what we are passionate about, and that will provide a means for us to use what we have earned and built to help others that haven't had the opportunities that we have. I hope to set a good example for my child in this 'me me me' individualistic society to care about other people, to care about the environment, to care about animals and care about his history and culture. I hope that he will become bilingual like I am and preserve my first language, Arabic, and teach it to his children. I hope he can do as I did, take the good and beneficial from our culture in the Middle East, and merge it with the good and beneficial from the American culture.

How did you feel about being pregnant? What do you remember most about pregnancy?

Thankfully my pregnancy was not extremely difficult. But I do remember I just wanted it to be over. Really bad sciatica pain, trouble being comfortable sleeping. Gaining weight and looking and feeling a lot different than before. Lots of swelling and water retention. Craving salty things for the first time in my life. Really really bothered by the increased size of my chest. The largest it has ever been. It caused me so much back pain. I remember the kicks and thinking please God let him be good and do good in the world. Let me always be close to him, someone he can confide in and seek peace and solace in. 

What, if anything, do you want to remember about your birth story? Early motherhood?

I remember while I was prepping for pregnancy I was sending articles to my husband. I believe he was reading them from the point of view of the mother because the second the baby came out, he ripped his shirt off in front of all the nurses and my mom and insisted on immediate skin-to-skin with the baby. An older nurse said, "And I thought I had seen it all..." It was very embarrassing at the time because he kept insisting and I thought he was crazy but now we laugh at that memory.

I remember the nurses asked me right after I gave birth that I needed to go to the bathroom before they could move me to the room I would be staying in for the next two days. I tried so very hard but it was just impossible for me to just pee. I remember I kept pushing and bleeding and it just wasn't happening. The nurse turned the bathroom sink on to let me hear the water and help me get in the mood. It just wasn't happening. I stood up to go to the sink and take some water and thankfully the nurse was in there with me. The blood had rushed when I stood up and I ended up collapsing and passing out. When I was finally transferred I was so exhausted and so gross-feeling. They rolled me in a wheelchair into the shower and after feeling the warm water on my body I was finally able to relax and use the restroom. 

Anything else under the sun you’d like to share?

Before I became a mom I really didn't understand a lot of things about motherhood. I didn't understand the tragedy of daycare and how it was so difficult for parents to leave their kids there. I went to daycare and my mom worked in a daycare as a teacher when I was growing up. I didn't see anything wrong with it. I didn't understand the incredibly dramatic stories moms and dads would talk about with their first days of daycare. Now as a mother, I am humbled and I know. I understand. It was the hardest, most painful thing i have experienced in my whole life, dropping my kid and watching him reach and cry for me as I left him. 

I would see some of my colleagues not return to work because they had a baby. This was mind blowing to me before I became a mom. I was thinking, you're going to leave your job, after all the schooling you did and all the hustling and climbing the corporate ladder...for what? to change diapers and sing baby songs? Just ruin your career just like that? I didn't get it. Not only did I not get it, I totally judged these women and I thought they were making poor choices. Boy was I humbled. Deeply humbled. I totally understand. Having a child is something I take extremely seriously. Being the primary caretaker of your child is 10000% a luxury. LUXURY in the times we are living in. All my choices are now taken with my child at the forefront. I wouldn't just leave my job, I would light the whole world on fire and not think twice. I get it. I finally get it. It just goes to show me I have so much to learn and so much to grow into. We are forever evolving works of progress. 


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