Motherhood is new to me, and I’m still learning to juggle it with work, but I’m getting there. My girl, Halima, was born in June. She’s named after her grandmother. She’s beautiful, and I love being a mum, but it’s a challenge combining it with my job.
I returned to work two months after giving birth, which proved difficult, because Halima still needed breastfeeding. While I’m at work, she spends her days at my parents’ house, with my parents and my sister, who had a baby two weeks after me.
My family has helped me a lot. They make me feel more relaxed about everything, and to me, they’re the only ones who understand Halima’s attitude and schedule while I’m at work. Unfortunately, my husband was doing his military service leading up to the birth and for five months afterwards, so I stayed with my family, and I couldn’t have survived without them.
I miss Halima so much while I’m working that every day I ask my parents to take a photograph of her and send it to me, just so I can see her little face.
The hardest thing, apart from being separated from Halima, has been coordinating the feeding schedule. I live in Mohammed bin Zayed City, which is 25 minutes from work, so getting away to go and feed her is hard. I did try other options, but I couldn’t continue, so after three months, I stopped breastfeeding.
The other challenge is sleep, as any new parents know. Halima wakes three to five times per night, so getting myself up in the morning to go to work is hard, but my colleagues have been helpful and kind, and flexible working hours also help a lot.
If there’s any advice I could pass on to other young mums, it would be to consider all the options before quitting your job to be a stay-at-home mum. The first six months are the hardest, but after that, everything falls into place. By then, the baby can stay in the family house with your parents or at a nursery for a few hours while you’re working.
Since having Halima, I have learnt to multitask – I’m now a wife, a mother, a daughter and a friend on a daily basis. Family comes first, and everything else seems to go on the back burner. But I’m trying to be more organised and schedule some free time to help me refresh my mind, and I’m focusing on being more active, going to the gym when I can, and I’m attempting to make time for my friends, too.
Despite all the stress and tiredness I have experienced in the past seven months, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All of the difficulty fades away each day when I see Halima’s smile first thing in the morning.
Fatima Al Marzooqi is a photo researcher for The National.
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Source: art & life