Brief ReadsQI Personals

On Motherhood I

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I sent the photo above to my family and captioned it: “Enjoying his first snowfall.” It was cute. The good lighting. The toothless smile. A perfectly posed photo masking the twenty-minutes of solid baby crying that followed. Nonetheless, I sat back and waited as the heartwarming compliments from siblings and in-laws rolled in. It later occurred to me that this photo exchange symbolizes a common paradigm of our time. We share our spontaneous snippets of bliss with loved ones and dismiss the dismal behind-the-scenes. You’ll rarely find motherhood accounts (or any niche social media account, for that matter) capturing and sharing the difficult moments that overshadow the pleasant ones-—the tearful breakdowns, the 2 a.m. marital bickering about “unequal workload,” the rueful realization that showering is routinely an unchecked item on your to-do list, and that you may never again get a good night’s sleep. Like, ever. We are much too proud, or private, to be vulnerable. But it is those moments-—the unflattering footage that doesn’t win the cut-—that are most worthy of sharing. So I’ll lay it flat: parenthood is no joke. I’ve shed old skin, neglected goals, allowed previous passions to fizzle and die, all in service of a little human that just takes, takes, and takes. It’s a parasitic dynamic, and I often find myself wondering, “Is it worth it?” Really, is it? A twenty-four-hour work day, paid only in fleeting smiles and brief morning cuddles. Is it worth it? Whatever the answer, something about this little helpless human keeps me coming back, sacrificing, awestruck by the truth in this Qur`ānic message: “And Allah brought you out of your mothers’ bellies not knowing anything; and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that perhaps you may give thanks.” (an-Naḥl)⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
والله أخرجكم من بُطُون أمهاتكم لا تعلمون شيئا وجعل لكم السمع والبصر والأفئدة لعلكم تشكرون
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Anyway, I’m not sure where I’m heading with this post… A reflection on being genuine and forthcoming about the perils of parenthood, or something like that.

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