Friday, July 29, 2005

UmmZaynab Rocks!

UmmZaynab has written a really great post about Sexuality and Breastfeeding and Sexuality After Motherhood once again proving that any subject can be approached and discussed with the proper adhab.

I think there are several topics that are in the article are important to all the women and men in the community. I really think some of what she said about deviant and selfish behavior in regards to sex can lead to a break down of the whole thing and remove the barakah from intimacy.

As for the BFing and sexuality… It is a hot topic if anyone is ever bold enough to bring it up in a group of mothers. There is no doubt that motherhood changes things in a marriage, but opening up about it can help it all go more smoothly. I’m not saying share intimate details about your marriage (that would be bad) but lets talk about these changes in a general sense.

The info about oxytocin really explains a lot, subhan’Allah!

There have been so many times that I want to tell a new mom these things, and I don’t know how to broach the subject without seeming crazy. I remember the first time I talked about it to a group of moms and I just breathed a sigh of relief. “Alhamdulilah, I am not the only one dealing with this!” I thought.

Anyway, way to go UmmZaynab. Maybe you and I can get together and do a frank talk about motherhood for Islamic centers around the US;) I’ll cover common myths about fertility, conception and childbirth. Hmmm, would we be too “radical”?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Local Masjid Stuff

Our local mosque is getting ready to face what I think is a rising issue in many communities here in the US... There is a drive to make a change in the way the partition in the women's area is set up. Our mosque is an old church, and qibla is on the left hand side wall if you are facing the "front" of the sanctuary. So, we divided it in half lengthwise and have the two entrances (one to each section) from the outside, and two staircases to the lower level (one from each section). It started by cutting a hole in the partition wall. Now, we are debating the usefulness of having two sections for the women; one in front with only half wall to designate the area, and one with a full partition for women (I have been pretty vocal about wanting some separation) to be separated entirely if they wish.

I have been debating it. And I know that in the time of the prophet (SWS) there were no separate areas for women... But I like my divider, I like my privacy. And I think that making it like we are saying will put an odd strain on the women attending jummah. "Oh, you know sister so and so, she's a in front of the partition type." Plus, our masjid is mixed sects... And the sister who is most concerned about this is shia, so I feel there is a risk that people will view it as a shia issue... Which of course it is not.

Are we headed towards a day where we will have reformed Islam? There will the orthodox mosques, and reformist mosques? Can our communities handle further division? We are already so divided, even if it is not official divisions. Shia and Sunni. Affluent and Working Class. Asian and Arab. The list goes on. I know it is idealistic... But can't we all just come together in this country where I am starting to get the distinct impression that everyone else is against us? Maybe if we were a little more unified we wouldn't be such an easy target.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The store... Again

I have taken a few days off from the store and things are going crazy. I feel like it haunts me, I can never just get away from it. I just don’t know what to do with the place. A board member from the school I sell uniforms from called to complain that there are parents who won’t buy from my store again this year because it is too “chaotic” and they want to be able to browse the uniforms (I keep them in a store room and employees bring out what you need, like a shoe store). The alternative is to buy online… And I don’t see how that will help you browse and “enjoy the event” of shopping for school clothes, but hey. The thing is I really don’t care about the uniform sales that much. I don’t make a ton of money, and what I do make I will end up spending on staff, so a part of me is like just forget it… Give back the uniforms to the previous owner and get them out of my store.

But, I have committed to selling them; so I feel like I have to sell the maximum number possible. Last year these parents who want a nicer shopping experience bounced about $900 of the checks they wrote for uniforms. So, what is the benefit to me in serving them better? Will I make more money? Will all the checks be honored? I really doubt it. My store is small, and I sell more than uniforms… So I don’t know what I could do to make it go their way. I think what they really want is a Dillard’s type experience with no waiting and tons of staff to help them. I can’t provide that. So, I am planning to not have my kids or the employee’s kids there during the uniform time, have more staff on hand and insha’Allah move some uniforms to a browsing location. Then… Bismillah and open for uniform season. If people want to shop elsewhere… Go ahead and do it. What can I say?

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like, "If this happens in the United States and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims." You could take out their holy sites.

Campbell: You're talking about bombing Mecca?

Tancredo: Yeah. What if you said, "We recognize this is the ultimate threat to the United States, so this is the ultimate response." I'm just throwing out some ideas because you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine. Because other than that, all you could do is, once again, tighten up internally.

Who is this freakin’ idiot you ask?

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo made that comment on a Florida Talk Radio show on Friday, July 17. What was he thinking? The funny thing is that he was asked about it and refuses to back down. Other than the possibility that this guy actually represents Americans in some way, there is something else disturbing about it…

Tancredo has begun his insurgent bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Which is really just what we need in this age of delicate foreign relations, and I thought Bush was an idiot. Where do people get off making comments like that? And whatever happened to politics?

I heard a lady call into a talk radio station in Denver yesterday spouting similar garbage about Muslims should have to get national Ids to prove they had some special background check run on them or something. Telling the “harrowing” story about her husband (a Greyhound Driver) seeing a young man “kneeling, and then bobbing around up and down while chanting something, some kind of prayer or something” before getting on the bus!!! And how horrified she was that no one did anything about this guy. Apparently the brother was wearing a kufi or some other dress that she described as “middle eastern”. Apparently this bus driver was thinking that young man was making a prayer before doing a suicide attack… Come on!!!! Is this what the general American public thinks about Muslims? Walahi, I hope not. La hawli la rub!

More Bombings in Egypt

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For those of you who haven’t been hearing about it, early this morning Egypt time (fajr) there was a series of bombs in a resort area in Egypt near the Red Sea. It was a deadly attack, killing at least 88 so far, and who knows how many more by the time the buildings are searched and the critically wounded are considered. I am so sad to see these things happening in Egypt. But, it goes to show that everyone is affected by terrorism. I am just aggravated that the media is not covering it well. Compared to the coverage that the London bombings got, this is being practically ignored. I guess since Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country it just doesn’t fit the story of Muslims vs. the world that they are trying to sell.

Egyptian Toll Hits 88; Mubarak Vows Hunt

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt - Egypt's president vowed Saturday to hunt down terrorists who unleashed a rapid series of car bombs and another blast in this Egyptian Red Sea resort, devastating a luxury hotel and a coffee shop and killing at least 88 people in the nation's deadliest terror attack.The early morning attacks, which used more than a half-ton of explosives, came just two days after the latest strikes in London and sent an already jittery world reeling again. At least 119 people also were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Book Review: Birthing From Within

So, I finished Birthing From Within, and have been meaning to review it. Here it is:

Birthing From Within is a good book for moms who are looking for an aternative to your average childbirth preparation book. I could see where it would also be a good book for doulas to read. Overall though, I would say it is acceptable but not exceptional. I think it is worth reading, but only if you are able to read more than a few books in preparation for your birth.

Some of the gems from this book are about facing fears, and how your ideas can shape your birth experience. I think that is really true. I also liked what she has to say about the importance of supporting moms during birth, but think Mothering the Mother is a better choice for that topic. I also liked the references to traditional cultures and their birthing practices, they were fun and informative.

The one part that gets a BIG THUMBS DOWN from me is about breastfeeding. Here it is:
“I generally do not encourage breastfeeding-on-demand to the exclusion of bottle feeding. In these days of working mothers, breastfeeding-on-demand for many months can be unrealistic.” She then goes on to talk about giving a baby 3-4 weeks of age a bottle every day, “to take better care of yourself during the stressful postpartum period”. She says that it is necessary to give the bottle early and every day because if you go past 6 weeks and you have to introduce a bottle you are more likely to have problems, and if you don’t do it every day they might “forget”.

Of course in my mind this is a load of malarkey to put it mildly. Breastfeeding-on-demand is VERY REALISTIC. And I feel it doesn’t add any stress to the postpartum period most of the time. There is no reason to give baby a bottle just in case. If he/she gets hungry enough and that is all they have available they will take it, or you can try alternative feeding methods if needed. Besides, you can get help in sooooo many other ways from dad. How about a load of laundry? How about picking up the house? I personally never suffered from sleep depravation when I had a baby; I nursed on my side and co-slept… I never even really woke up at all. OK, I feel better. Just throw out that piece of the book; maybe I will put electrical tape over that section in my copy…LOL

There are some pieces of advice I found were good. I really liked the stuff about coping with pain, and the ideas about training for it are pretty good (she uses holding an ice cube as the “pain” to practice techniques). And, I think it did a good job of telling women in a hospital situation about the possible difficulties they are facing. Also, her explication of why drugs can impede labor progress was one of the most concise and understandable I have heard yet. “Pain also raises endorphin levels in your body, while analgesic drugs and epidural anesthesia lower them. This is significant because endorphin levels correlate with the release of oxytocin. So, when pain is relieved through drugs or an epidural, the stimulus for endorphin production is eliminated, and its levels fall. This change is often accompanied by a drop in oxytocin, thus slowing down labor and dilation.”

So, overall, on a scale of 1-10… I give this one a 7.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Double Edged Sword of Licensed Midwifery

Right now there are changes going on in laws regulating the practice of midwifery around the US, changes that will impact the future of home-birth in this country. One of the ones that is always on my mind is the move for state and national licensing and certification of midwives.

When you think of the term “licensed midwife”, it sounds good. It sounds like it means “safe”, “well-trained”, “qualified”, “accountable”, “responsible” midwife. But, in my journey into midwifery I am starting to wonder how true that is.

On the positive side, maybe licensing will bring a certain respectability to midwifery. Maybe people will see that we have something to offer the community on a wider level. There are countries where lay-midwives even have hospital privileges if they are licensed. And, maybe if Doctors saw that we had worked to gain the knowledge we have and we had some title to prove it they would listen to us if we had to transfer a patient, much like they would listen to another Doctor giving over a patient to their care. But, would gaining respect in a more mainstream system require assimilating yourself into it?

I think that the real crux of the issue lies in regulating midwives more then licensing them… And the two things go hand in hand. When a state decides to license midwives, they also hand them a set of rules and guidelines to follow in order to keep that license. This becomes a problem for moms like me, mom’s who have more than one c-section in their history and know their best chance at having a normal birth is with a midwife at home. Or, a mom carrying twins. Or a mom past the magic 42 weeks gestation. But, the midwife operating within the confines of her license is sometimes forced to turn away these mothers whether she feels able to help them on their path to a normal pregnancy and birth or not.

So, the midwives with the most freedom to exercise their judgment end up being those in areas where midwifery remains un-regulated. And, assuming that they are in a state where midwifery is not illegal… I would say these midwives might be in a pretty good situation. “But, without a license how will I know she is a competent midwife?” mothers may ask. Talk to her and ask as many questions as you can. Do your homework. Talk to her clients. Look into public record and see if there is anything about her. Ask other midwives in your area their opinion. Be an informed consumer. And I hope if you have to be referred to a physician at any point during your care you will check his credentials the same way.

When I first started researching midwifery I thought that I would want to be licensed, and that I would never practice unless I was. Now, I am starting to feel differently. I don’t think a license will make me a better midwife. And I don’t think that passing an exam to get licensed will teach me anything more than how to pass the exam and get licensed. I am not interested in that. I will do it if I feel it is the right choice, but I am no longer locked into the idea that it will help me or protect me to have a license.

You come to a point when you are learning about midwifery that you realize midwives are really sticking their necks out no matter what their license status is. There is no way to prevent it. And I hope everyone sees that a license is not a guarantee that you are choosing the right midwife. I know that some people are soothed by the license. They feel like it is a way to reassure themselves that the midwife they have chosen is capable. And, there may be some truth to the idea that licensing could weed out some under-qualified midwives… But it might also keep some really great ones from doing things they know are right.

I guess in the end if I get a license (and I just might) I will try to remember that it is only a piece of paper and I am only doing it to get midwifery out there in the mainstream. But, I will not let it dictate my practice. I will not let the fear of losing it keep me from doing what I know is right. And I will remember that some of the organizations making these licenses are still living in the past and using antiquated information to form their standards most of the time.

So, next time you hear a midwife tell you she is not licensed, remember this and ask her why.

New Furball

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So, here is a picture of the new kitty in our house. Don't resist it, just say "awwwwww!".

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Time may change me, But I can't change time

Today I put away the diapers… They reside in the closet next to my slings, which now also never get used. *Sniff sniff*

I guess I am happy, my youngest is now 2 ½, and it is time for him to be out of diapers and such. But, this is the first time in 6 years that we haven’t had a baby in the house. No diapers, no slings, no nurslings. It’s sad for me in some way because I am so used to having a little one around. Now my “baby” isn’t really a baby at all.

I know DH is a little nervous about this status… He knows that it won’t be long before I seek to remedy it, even if it is not a conscious decision to do so. Seriously, I find myself lovin’ on babies of friends more than usual these days. Allah help me when school starts this fall(for so many reasons, but that is another post in itself)!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My List

So, I have seen the lists of a few other bloggers… I think Dawn deserves the credit for this. I find that they are kinda fun and reveal a little about the person making them… So here is mine, in no order of importance or anything.

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Yeah, Johnny Depp. But, not “21 Jumpstreet” Johnny Depp… “From Hell” Johnny Depp.

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Who can resist Antonio? Of course this is the one DH thinks is the craziest of them all. He thinks he looks like a greasy Egyptian mechanic.

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Brad Pitt… I really liked him in “Fight Club”. He can be a little tu-tu sometimes, but most times is really cool.

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Nicholas Cage is an all time favorite… I have liked him since Moonstruck. Quirky and not handsome in a traditional way, but very appealing.

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OK, you might not recognize him right away… Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens. Now the Islam thing is just a bonus, I have thought he was too cool since I started listening to his records in high school. I always was a hippie child at heart:)

OK, so I feel all shallow and materialistic because I am looking at my list and it is all about pretty boys… But all in good fun right?! Of course you may note a theme in the pictures I found of all my list men. Facial hair, gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hole in the floor update...

OK, nothing to update really. Alhamdulilah we have two bathrooms because in about 10 days we will be a month with the dreaded hole in the floor.


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So, I did henna yesterday, and this is a picture this morning. The cool thing is I only left the paste on for about an hour (I usually wrap it and leave it on for the entire night). And this is not the maximum darkening; it will continue to get darker for the rest of the day. Anyway, cool new recipe, especially since I like to do the kids and they never leave it on for more than an hour. Nothing artificial, just the right essential oils.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What's goin' on

Well, I am feeling a little frantic these days. I put the word out that I am ready to sell my store. So I have to think about some things to get a packet together so people could have all the information about it. Of course that means adding work when I am already overloaded. You know the expression the straw that broke the camel’s back? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

But, the up side is if I sell the store things will get a lot quieter for me. Of course we will probably get something else going to fill the time!LOL My DH is already talking about a preschool. I would much rather do something that required less presence on my part. I guess as long as I get a break before we start anything new I will be fine.

I have been really thinking about Islam a lot these days, one of those spiritual high points for me. I am taking the chance to try to learn more Quran, study the religion. Read the stuff about the history of Islam that I have always said I wish I knew more about. But DH isn’t with me on this one. He has been down in the dumps spiritually ever since his father passed like 4 years ago. I wish I could say I understood, but it seems like a long time to me. Maybe he just processes things differently than me. And never having lost a parent, alhamdulilah, I can’t say I know how he feels with any sincerity. The funny thing is he keeps telling me he will join with me in all of this “very soon” because I am “making him feel guilty”… We’ll see. Anyone know of any great books about the history of Islam in English? I would love to hear what all of you think are must-reads.

Oh, and since I never posted the answer about would I want to know if I was dying (I mentioned a colleague of my SIL was dying of terminal cancer and the docs ad opted not to tell him). My answer is I would want to know. I think I would like to take the chance to gain closure and say goodbye to family and friends. And I figure how you live your life stays the same (basically) so why would I go do any great things in my last days if I didn’t know something was about to change? I mean that gentleman will probably b at the same place spiritually when he dies as he was on the day they knew he had terminal cancer… They wouldn’t be taking an opportunity for any good deeds by telling him, his book is already written… If he is the type who would do good things without any knowledge impending death, he will do them, and he has been doing them throughout his lifetime. Are you with me? Anyway, the long and short of it is I would want to know.

Friday, July 08, 2005


I have been trying to collect my thoughts and write something about the bombings in London… And I have so many that it has been quite a task. First I want to say that I am deeply sad for the families who lost loved ones in this incident and I hope those injured make a speedy and full recovery. I don’t condone this type of violence for whatever reasons. I am 100% for total peace on this earth from the war in Iraq to the civil wars in Africa. Now, let me qualify what I am about to say with one statement: I don’t think this was a terrorist attack at all. I will elaborate more on that, but I want to put it out there right away.

When Al-Queada, or the IRA, or The Entifada in Palestine, or any other terrorist/rebel group launches an attack, it is NEVER purely about religion. Religion is merely a small factor in the mainly political motivations of these groups. And if you look into the background of “terrorists” you will see that they are usually people who have been oppressed in some way by the government of the country they are attacking. No one called the Oklahoma City bombing a Christian terrorist act… Why are we so quick to use Islam to explain the action of Muslim terrorists?

The fact is there are more Muslim groups doing these gorilla warfare attacks right now because THEY ARE THE PEOPLE BEING OPPRESSED IN TODAYS SOCIETY. I believe 100% that if you put any person Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Atheist, or whatever other belief in the situation that Palestinians are in right now they would fight back. If you had tanks patrolling your neighborhood daily, the Israeli Army had bulldozed your home, and your best friend shot in front of you when you were 12… You would take up arms, and you would do it without needing much convincing. Why would you be afraid to leave that life behind for the promise of doing some damage to the oppressor?

Now, all that said. There are some things I want you to ask yourself about the London attacks. Who benefits from it? Who has the power to do it? And who has the power to cover it up?(yeah, curtosy of JFK, great movie) I don’t want to be too conspiracy theory nuts about all this… But isn’t it an enormous coincidence that this happened when George Bush was being questioned about the war in Iraq, the G8 summit was going to talk about something of real importance (like the 1,000s dying of hunger and AIDS every day in this world), and the Patriot Act was up for renewal? Now, the American government can pat themselves on the back because nothing like this has happened in the US post 9/11. Now the G8 summit will shift their focus to the “war on terror”. And finally, the Patriot Act and all the things they want to add to it is a sure thing now. Food for thought, right?

Also, on Al-Jazera this morning they gave a two pieces of information that make me REALLY doubt the terrorist connection even more. 1) The Israeli Prime Minister was en route to London and was told by phone of the attacks and warned to turn back by Israeli intelligence. This may have taken place BEFORE the first bomb exploded. 2) The explosives where high powered devices, not the type that could be manufactured outside a weapons manufacturing facility.

I have some serious doubts about groups that have only done small suicide bombings and car type bombs making the leap to high-powered explosives… I also have my doubts about them launching the highly orchestrated attacks on 9/11, but that’s for another post;)

So, think about it, watch international news if you can… I say question everything.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Live like you were dying

My SIL in Egypt told my husband today that a friend of hers from work has terminal cancer. My SIL is an accountant and got the info because of all payments the company has been making for medical expenses. There are no privacy laws about this kind of stuff in Egypt, or if there are no one is following them. So, the company (my SIL in particular) now knows that he is dying of cancer… But he doesn’t.

So, this leads me to the philosophical question, would you want to know? My husband thinks not telling the man is a fine thing, because it will only make him sad… And what if he became to depressed to function? He also pointed out that Islamicly this was better because if he does any good deeds as a dying man they will lose their significance since he only did them because he was dying…

I will reserve my thoughts for the next post, but I am wondering what do you think?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Working in the coal mine...

I have been asking myself the question does it really matter about my husband’s job for quite some time now… And I am at a loss about whether or not we are at an impasse, which will require me to just chuck the whole situation we are in right now and move on with life in hopes of forcing a change. Let me explain.

My husband works nights, about 1am to 8am every night. And, whether he will admit it or not he is always either working or sleeping. If he is not at work he is at home doing paperwork. His office is my dining table and we never eat there unless we have guests. I have made several attempts to remedy this and they only last about a week before he starts complaining about my “moving his stuff” when he is in the middle of something.

This is awful for me for several reasons. 1) Working nights means sleeping days, and my husband wakes up if there is a pair of jeans clinking in the dryer. You can imagine how hard it is to keep three kids from waking someone like that up in a ranch style house, right? 2) There are no vacations from his job, and he can’t take a day off if he is ill unless he is physically unable to come to work. 3) I have to help him with work all the time, which means we have less time for family things since if we are all awake he needs me to help him. 4) The flip side of #3 he thinks I NEVER help him because every new moon I have to say no or am distracted by the kids while helping him. 5) Between the work he brings home and my store I never have time to decompress and get things done around the house, so our house is a mess and I am a stressball. 6) The job is not glamorous, and I am always wishing that my kids could tell other kids that their father is an Engineer (which is what his masters and BS say) instead of this lengthy explanation I give to avoid saying he delivers newspapers. 7) He contends that we make more at this job, I contend that we would spend less if he had a regular job (right now we have 2 cars all the time for him complete with insurance and repairs plus tons of gas plus we pay for all our health care needs and $500 a month for insurance that will only be helpful in a big medical case) 8) I want to have a normal life where my husband comes home from work at 5 and we all have dinner, he has weekends off when we can do family things… I just want him to be around once in awhile so I can stop feeling like a single parent. 9) I think half his health concerns are due to not getting enough sleep, and if he could sleep at night (even if it meant taking a pill to do so) I think he would be a different man.

I am listing my store today, insha’Allah… And I want to focus on getting our lives in order. I just don’t know where to start! And I am wondering if I can start without my husband admitting what is going on with his job and making some changes. Please keep me in your duas sisters… I am afraid I am in for a long haul this month!

Monday, July 04, 2005

hole in the wall, I mean floor

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There is a hole in my bathroom floor right now about 2 feet by 3 feet I imagine. How? When? These are reasonable questions... While I was in Denver my husband decided to investigate the broken tiles by the tub since we thought the cause was probably a sagging sub floor. So, he tore up the tiles and the backer board (support for ceramic tile) and low and behold... A rotting sub floor covering in black, probably toxic, mold.

So, he cut out the offending sub floor and now there is the hole with no reliable date of repair in sight. But I am at one with this... Why you ask? Because home improvement projects are ALWAYS a nightmare around our house. So, the hole pales in comparison the prospect of actually trying to fix it. At least it isn't winter with cold air coming in through said hole.