Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Feeling Positive!

Like I mentioned in  my previous blog, I had just come out of a really difficult time which was not related to any particular reasons but just as part of things you come across in life.
One thing I have realised, it really does matter who you hang out with for your mental and emotional well-being. As compassionate human beings, we often take on other people’s problems and make it ours, and by doing so sometime we absorb the negative energy around such problems.
I happened to give a shoulder to people at the time when I should have been given one. The best help, is self-help and thereby I dragged myself further down, sometimes in order to help others you must make sure that you are well in yourself first. It’s not being self-centred but precaution is better than cure. Once you are more positive about life and can release some positive energy to the people around you, it will make things easier for yourself and others; you will see through that thick mist around you , and it will gradually clear.
We sometimes find it hard to say No, when people call us fro one thing or the other, but we need to know our limitations at time. 
I have learnt that in order to help others, I need to come to my own help first, if I am not positive and I hang round people who have negative thoughts, it is not going to do me any good or to the people who I need to care and look after more.
Once you overcome that negativity, you will see that whatever looked like a mountain before, doesn’t anymore, you don’t care about the future or what will happen, the worry is gone,and you live every moment as it comes and put your trust in Allah and His wisdom, that there must be something good in what is happening to you.
Since overcoming this negativity, I have been able to enjoin a more healthy relationship with my Lord, myself, my family & friends and also those people whose negativity was previously helping me to drown.

One of my favourite verses in the Qur’an is from Surah Al-Baqarah and I shall end with it:

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. - Qur’an (2,216)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Amazing Mums- You are worth it!

The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche once eloquently said: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” 
As a matter of fact this has proven to be so true on many occasion on a personal level and from observing people around me.

I remember as a 15 year old when my Mum came into my room to talk to me privately and break the news that my father has been diagnosed with last stage cancer and the doctors didn’t know how long he had left. I remember the shock I had, but I also remember looking at my Mum, thinking how fragile she looks and how now I have to be the stronger one, and instead of breaking down in tears, I told her have faith, everything will be all right inshallah.

There are many times in life where Allah tests you, and sometimes you yourself you feel like this is your breaking point, this is the last straw and you cannot go further anymore. One day, one of teachers who used to just offer free counselling called me out of the classroom. My Mum had secretly told him that my Dad was dying and she is not quite sure how I was reacting to it and to keep an eye on me. He called me outside and started to talk to me and then stopped in the middle of the conversation and said to me; he was by the way an agnostic, he said: ‘ You are strong and the thing that makes you strong is your faith in God.’ This is something I still remember and reminds myself whenever I am feeling down. I never knew I was religious or even that religion had a major part to play in my life then, yes, I did know I made personal choices based on my religion, but I never actually thought Faith played such a central role in my life, and indeed it does.

Many a times, when there was no doors to knock on, no gates were opened except His, I would turn to Him, my Creator, and tell him about all my sorrow and how despair I feel, and Subhanallah He would always reach out to me. I remember a very special incident, after I left my husband with my then 5 months old daughter and a new bump, I had no money and was down to my last £5 note. My daughter needed milk and I couldn’t breastfeed as she didn’t know how to be breastfed( even though I tried for 4 months), I was about to be thrown out of the house with the baby and bump as I had no money to pay the rent and bill, and couldn’t find a job due to my situation. I was very upset and there was a river behind me house, I remember walking to it and thinking, would it not have been better for my kids If I were dead, at least then somebody might step up and take care of them. Then for some reason after crying my eyes out, I decided to go and sit in the mosque, I was looking to find some peace there. I knelt down and prayed and cried to Allah, not asking anything but just relieving my sorrow, and when I lift my head up, a lady and her little girl were leaving the mosque and there next to my head was £60. 

This was just one incident but such incidents happened many a times in my life, especially during the first 1.5 year after my divorce, as a mother to 2 children under 2, i couldn’t find a job to provide for them, neither was I eligible for any benefits. But , Alhumdulillah the ball kept rolling as He was in charge. On one occasion, after finding out I was pregnant, I told my ex-husband this is going to be hard, we can barely provide for ourselves, he said to me ‘Remember, Allah says he will provide.’ Indeed provide He did. When my kids and I were left fending for ourselves only did He come to our help, when my children’s own father refused to financially support them, only He supported them. My life was a due to Him but more than ever, Allah has reminded me that All comes from Him. He says ‘ after hardship comes ease, but does he not keep testing the ones he loves most to keep us in his remembrance?

Being a single mother can be stressful, especially as you have to play Mummy and Daddy all the time but on top of that if like ‘daddy’ you have to provide as well then that makes 3 full-time jobs. I remember reading about depression in single parents, and it was suggested that it’s a very common problem single parents face due to the increase in work load and no relaxation time. 

A few months back, I called in to see my GP. I had to take the step, I saw it coming, I felt it but I had no time to sort it out, I was too busy filling in all the different roles. When I walked in, I didn’t know what really I was expecting, I just knew it was time to seek help, not only for my sake but mainly for the sake of my kids. I walked in not knowing what I will exactly say to Him, but as soon as I was in I said to him, ‘I’m exhausted.’ And nothing, complete silence. This is what I needed space and time. I was tired of running and dealing with things, I just didn’t have the energy to do it anymore. Both my children came to my appointment, just like they have to go to everything else I have to attend. He looked at me, it was 6 p.m appointment, he asked , ‘are you a single Mum to 2 toddlers?’

Yes! Somebody finally got it! I am not the superhuman sometimes people make out, I am just human, and I get tired too, and frustrated. Maybe he read on my file about the precious domestic violence issue as well, but I don’t know I felt this person knew what I was talking about. 

He just said, ‘do you want time off work?’

I said, ‘ I can’t afford it, I teach Special Education Needs and challenging behaviours.’

‘That adds to it, doesn’t it?’


‘It’s normal to feel like that, you are mentally and physically exhausted and your body and mind is not having the time to rest and get some energy back and with your kids being so young and you working and doing it all on your own, it was bound to happen at some point.’

For the first time, it made sense, it’s normal, a person can’t do that many things at a time, and on top of that trying to be perfect in each and every role, no wonder I was feeling constantly lethargic and I had back pain and all kicking in.’

So, once more I was referred to counselling. I am not quite sure how counselling help really, but for me it just gives me the space and time I need for myself. I can finally muster the courage to ask someone to babysit for me for an hour without feeling guilty as it is for medical reasons. 

Whenever I had a discussion with single mothers, we all seem to have the same issue, we all need that time and space yet none of us will ask anyone to look after our kids for us to have that. And many a times, this is a direct result of how our responsibilities have been passed on to us. In such a situation, the other parent normally decided to have no or minimal role to play i the children’s lives, leaving the mother to take on board all the responsibilities, as such we understand what it feels like when somebody throw their responsibility onto you and feel guilty when we have to pass on our responsibility to somebody else. We tend to forget its only for a matter of a couple of hours and that doesn’t mean we have failed our children or ourselves if we had to take some time out.

I have just finished my last counselling sessions, had to cancel my last 2 sessions due to babysitting issues, now is it over? Yes, for the time being, will it come back? Most likely. But the main thing is, I reached out for help, and it came on time, it has re-stored my faith yet again not only in God but in myself.

There’s nothing shameful about seeking medical attention when you feel you need it, or therapy as I prefer calling it, prevention is better than cure and there’s nothing better than self-help but remember nothing happens without his will. Each time you overcome an obstacle, you realise you come back stronger. Remember the little things He gives you to be grateful for, and remember your achievements.

You mothers are amazing and doing an amazing job, often not recognised, whether you are single, divorced, married or widowed, you are all awesome even though many times you don’t feel like it, remember no man can walk  in your shoes and many choose to not even attempt, and give credit where it’s due cos you are creditworthy, you are selfless and you are the backbone of those kids you are raising!

Please note, this has been written for the August "Grow' theme by Muslimah Bloggers.