10 Things they don’t tell you about motherhood

As most women do, the moment I knew I was pregnant, I started my research about everything I can know about this new phase of life. Starting from books, websites, videos, articles,,,, etc everything. Yet despite all of this, I was still surprised with some stuff that no one warned me about. And I assure you that even after reading this, you will face something different that you didn’t hear about from the doctor or your research.

1- The Standard Inconveniences 

Anything you feel out of the ordinary, it’s because of preganancy. Pain in weird places, nasal congestion, sleeplessness, tiredeness, hemorrhoid, ear humming, breathlessness, weird dreams, you name it. After knowing the symptoms and checking out what it is, you will find pregnancy as one of the symptoms. It messes the balance of your whole body. So don’t worry, and look for how to deal with these inconveniences.

2- Saving up some zzz,,, HA!

People told me to sleep as much as I can in the last phase of pregnancy to “save up hours of sleep for later on”. It’s true that you won’t have a deep enjoyable 8 hours of sleep as you used to (for me I can count the number of 8-hours of sleep nights on one hand and I gave birth in January!). BUT no matter how much rest you had in the last phase of pregnancy, these hours of extra dozing won’t do a thing and you will be dead tired in the first few months. Motherhood tax.

3- Paiiiiiiiiiiin ? or pain pain pain?

Choosing whether you want a natural birth or C-section  ultimately ends with just one question. Are you capable of withholding one extremely intense pain for one day, or would you prefer milder pain for several days. Your pain, your choice.

4- Goodbye old me

The moment you know you are pregnant, your whole life has changed. Your relationship with your parents, in-laws, family friends will be different. You will appreciate more the challenges your mum endured to raise you and you will feel sorry for every time you had a fight, cause at the end of the day you won’t be able to imagine that your baby, for whom you have suffered so much, will get angry on you for an extra hour to sit with friends. You will feel the importance of family ties and extended family meanings. Your discussions will ultimately resolve around child care, which is not very interesting to your single friends.

5- Can I offer you some Tea?

The second & third months of pregnancy, and the first two months after giving birth are the hardest. God be with you. And be a sweetheart and don’t impose your visits on new mothers during this critical period, unless you are close friends and you’ll be able to offer help, cause new mums won’t have the mind or the energy to play host.

6- Humm Num

This is a repeated advice, but here it goes. During pregnancy, if you can make food & preserve it in the freezer, do so. Or else collect all home delivery menus you can, make a mental list on where you can get fast, yummy lunch. You won’t be able to step in the kitchen for a long time, and thinking where to eat will be an added nuisance. Plus, eating the same take out food over and over again will be boooring. So prepare ahead.

7- Doc Talks

Your doctors will be provide you with all the details you need to know to go through pregnancy. Talking with family & friends might give you further information, but your research is indispensable. On my first doctor visits (& I have tried more than one), I expected him/ her to go through pregnancy step by step, with all what I needed to know on what to eat, what to expect, what to fear, what not to fear, but even the most experienced doctor can’t possibly give you all that you need to know. There are lots of resources on this subject, and elhamdlelah God provided with the tools to understand more and face less surprises, so why not use it.

8- S, for Surgery

During the C section, my body was shivering, I felt extremely annoyed, I wanted to throw up, and ill at ease in general. And for a few days afterwards, my neck and back were killing me. NORMAL.

9- Scale issues

I was very concerned about pregnancy as I am already overweight. But I discovered that it is not necessarily that pregnancy will make you fatter. I kept track of my weight, and surprisingly I didn’t gain that much after I gave birth. But the doctor mentioned it with a certain tone a couple of time, namely while looking on the sonar screen, after the surgery, looking after the stitches. So fat is not really helpful during pregnancy, but it is not to be feared.

10- It’s all worth it

Finally, and this is something all books, and advice columns mention, despite all the hardships, pain, nuisance, sleepless nights (and days), frustration, headache and general exhaustion , you will feel the true sense of happiness and peace.

Welcome to motherhood. Enjoy the ride!


The Bastard of Istanbul

This book was recommended to me by inji, and as I trust her book judgement, I did my best to find that book , and finally made the order from Amazon.it to deliver it to me in Albania in 3 weeks.

I was encouraged by the front page review, comparing it to Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, which I enjoyed tremendously (novel and movie). So It became my companion after finishing Dune. 

It’s true that there are some resemblance between the two books. Both of them focus on women, immigrants, taking the views of different personalities, going from the past to the present swiftly. But they are also very different in their mood and style. For example, the Bastard of Istanbul also included the stories of some of the men, though they are few. Plus, it aimed at highlighting some aspects of the Armenian tragedy in the beginnings of the 20th century, and the sensitive relations between Turks and Armenian.

The story is about 2 intertwining families, one is Turkish living in Istanbul, and the other is Armenian living in the US. A girl of the Turkish family is a nihilist and doesn’t know who her father is, she is rebelious against lots of things, on top of them is her family (mother, aunts, grandmother and great-grandmother). The other girl from the Armenian American family, wants to know more about her “Armenian-ness”, so she embarks on a secret mission to discover her grand mother’s roots in Istanbul.

As for myself, I am feeling guilty that I didn’t know much about the Armenian tragedy, though I know some Armenian friends, and I know that there are lots of Armenians who live in Egypt, and they are famous for their delicate work, especially in jewelry making.

Because of this novel, Elif Shafak was put on trial in 2006 for “denigrating Turksihness”, due to some of the Armenian rhetoric some of the characters express in the novel! But eventually, the charges were dropped.. Elhamdlelah, it would be a shame to go to prison for such a novel.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“It is so demanding to be born into a house full of women, where everyone loves you so overwhelmingly that they end up suffocating with their love; a house where you, as the only child, have to be more mature than all the adults around….
But the problem is that they want me to become everything they themselves couldn’t accomplish in life…..
As a result, I had to work my butt off to fulfill all their dreams at the same time.” 

I totally understand what she means, and I try (will try) not to impose on my daughter paths in her life she doesn’t necessary like, but she might push herself to do just to please me, because I would not have accomplished them myself… Complicated, hein? That’s why I will do my best not to dwell too much into the role of the all-sacrificing-mother, partly to feel accomplishment myself, and partly because it’s not fair for a generation to work hard only to accomplish what the previous one didn’t.

“The Iron Rule of prudence for an Istanbulite Woman: If you are as fragile as a tea glass, either find a way to never encounter burning water and hope to marry an ideal husband or get yourself laid and broken as soon as possible. Alternatively, stop being a tea-glass woman!” 
“You see, unlike in the movies, there is no THE END sign flashing at the end of books. When I’ve read a book, I don’t feel like I’ve finished anything. So I start a new one.” 

A bit bibliomania?? 😉

A weight issue

Since I was a little kid, weight is a huge issue for me. It culminated when I was in my last year of Thanaweya Amman. I weighed back then more than when I was 9 months pregnant! After leaving school, I started shedding some wight, maybe because of the new daily schedule, but I was still way over wight. Then I started working, and I got busier by day, and seeing friends by night, plus following the activities I was immersed in. At that period, I was just too busy to think about food, and bit by bit I became more confident in my body. Plus, at that period I started avoiding junk food with all my strength, though it was hard considering the Egyptian standard work environment and socializing.

This was the best period of my weight problem, and for a short period of time,  I was finally able to buy clothes that looked good on me and actually fit.

Then I got to know my husband, and as we were working together, during the dating period we went out nearly every day, and in less than a year I gained -gulp- more than 10 kilos!

That’s why I was very conscious about my weight during pregnancy, I couldn’t afford gaining a lot of weight. Not just it didn’t look good, or that it will affect my self confidence negatively, it could have had physical complications I really didn’t want to get involved in. It’s enough that my OB referred to weight every time he had troubles viewing the baby by the ultrasound, and he also said that the fat affected the healing process of the stitches.

And now, thank God I lost the kilos I gained during pregnancy, BUT I am still suffering from obesity. And I really want to lose these extra kilos, and feel better about my body and myself. Talking about it on my blog may encourage me to stick to my plan and eventually reach my goal. Hopefully!

For the past few months, I abstained from unhealthy food, and tried to maintain a healthy menu. But still, I go down 2 kilos, then up again, and I really hate this yo-yo effect.

Recently I started a food diary, by just putting down what I consumed, no matter how guilty I feel about it, made me reconsider my diet. I discovered that I consumed way too much fruit than I needed to compensate on the no-sugar rule I started following few weeks ago. So my first idea was to cut on fruits to one or two a day.

I also found that my idea of having 5 small meals, was transformed to having 2 big snacks between normal 3 meals, and this obviously didn’t have the results I was hoping for..

So now I was to keep up my food diary, continue on abstaining from white sugar, and limiting my fat intake and I plan to choose whole wheat instead of the refined grain.

My target is to lose 5 kilo in order for my BMI to go lower than 30 (to be removed from the Obese category), and then I will start to gradually lose another 10 kilos and try to maintain it.

Posted in Diary, Women | Comments Off on A weight issue

From the World Digital Library

Layla Magazine:

the first women’s magazine to be published in Iraq. Launched in 1923, the magazine dealt with new and useful matters related to science, art, literature, sociology, and in particular to child-rearing and the education of girls, family health, and other matters pertaining to home economics.

Description of Egypt:

You can even download the whole book (Volume 1 is 288 MB) !

Photo of a young Albanian (1923):

They look so cute!

A Merchant from Samarkand (around 1905):

I really love the photos of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. He was a pioneer in the development of color photography, and went for a photography journey across the Russian empire in the early 1900s.

The original La Fontaine Stories (1888):

Special Bride (1870):

a Chinese bride in Batavia (present-day Jakarta) in her wedding dress.

An Amazing race

I am currently reading Nadia El Awady‘s blog posts on her experience in getting out of UK despite the flights cancellations, and improvising as she goes a plan to cross Europe, then take a flight from Rome to Amman then to Cairo.

I saw Nadia’s email posted on SS mailing list, and I was intrigued with her courageous steps. I don’t know her personally, but I followed some of her previous posts of her climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (which is the highest mountain in Africa!). She is indeed a very exceptional woman, and way different from any Egyptian women I know. Oh, and did I mention that she is a mom and wears a veil? Both of these things may have hindered any woman’s aspirations for adventure, but not for her it seems.

Nadia, I salute you!

El Khan

Yesterday I went to Khan El Kahlili with my grandmother, something we’ve been talking about for a very long time but didn’t have the chance to do. It’s always nice to go there, if you want to see something that hasn’t been changed for decades, or perhaps centuries. These are the same buildings, those are the same people, only dressed slightly different. The same tea with mint, the same kabab. Everything.

However, the sweet is never complete (الحلو ما يكملش). I was on my nerves 70% of the time, thanks to those ******** who kept starring at me or throwing flirtatious words, with absolute no regard to me or my old grandmother. And even though I was concerned with my dress code, and kept it in mind to wear something long  and comfortable, but to no avail. More than once, I was dying to go to this ******* , grab him and maybe try kotegaeshi or iriminage, but didn’t want to make a scene.

Harassment is becoming a disease in our society which won’t  be redeemed.

She’s not just a pretty face

True or False?

  • A girl who knits doesn’t read.
  • Knowing how to cook should be the top priority on every bride-to-be list in order to get married.
  • A working woman won’t be able to balance her life.
  • A girl practicing martial arts is diminishing her feminine side.
  • Cover girl looks are what matters most for self esteem.

Fortunately I discovered that all of these statements are false.

I must admit that being an ignorant cook before getting married, practicing martial arts, wearing size 48, and many other things, made me feel self conscious from time to time. But thank God I am over that now.

I love my husband, am interested in building a nice career, I love to read and have recently rediscovered a fondness for knitting, discovered a cooking passion (after a handful of burnt rice pots), appreciate aikido and its beautiful techniques, try to have a balanced view regarding my looks, and do my best to fulfill my purpose in life.

This is by far a small contribution in Kolena Laila,  but these thoughts are what I consider important to me as a 26 year old woman 🙂