To the girl who laughed at me whilst getting my photograph taken…

This photo…

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It was at the One Fine Day Wedding Fair, while my sister was taking a photo of me in my Diana Kotb shirt. Me, who hates being photographed, who is totally awkward at ‘posing’ (see above) and is also in the PBB stage.

What’s PBB you ask?

It’s an acronym for “Post Baby Body”.

Something that I am currently in the throes of, being four months out from having given birth to my second baby.

You walked IN FRONT of the camera that my sister held up, who was trying to make me feel comfortable about being photographed. I could see you and your friend from the corner of my eye coming my way. My insecure self took in your long, leggy, bare, slim selves. Already extremely embarrassed about taking a photo in public, your mere presence, your confident gait in your skin shot my confidence to the ground that I stood on.

Then, you so nonchalantly, but knowing it was rude, walked in front of me while my picture was being taken.

Your friend laughed. That typical, high school girl, snide, laugh.

You didn’t miss a step. You both kept walking without a care for what you had just done.

I was left behind to deal with the rising tide of shame, embarrassment and shock. I looked at my sister who was equally shocked. I looked after you both, hair flying out behind you and said, much too late, “That was rude!!”

It was pointless. You were out of ear shot. And would you have stopped even if you had heard? Would you have had the courage to respond?

Probably not.

I know this because although you were capable of such a callous, thoughtless act, I know that if you had an ounce of true courage, you wouldn’t have done that in the first place.

You wouldn’t have made another woman feel so small.

And the fact that you did only reflects on the smallness of your character.

Not mine.

I may not look like the ‘ideal’ woman perpetuated mercilessly from every media outlet, but to my two daughters I am the only sight that they want to see. The only sight that brings them peace, comfort and sheer joy.  Do you know what that feels like? To know that you are the ONLY person who can comfort someone else?

I may be covered from head to toe in my polarising choice to wear a headscarf, but I guarantee you that I live confidently knowing that I have stuck by my values and not compromised them to please a society that claims to uphold the feminine, but instead does everything it can to define what that means and entails. In only the most destructive manner may I add.

Believe it or not, but I was once tall, slim and carefree, but I traded that in for the opportunity to bring two extra souls to this planet.

And you know what? Even though I still struggle with my new body, despite knowing all that I wrote above, I recognise that the current state my soul, my spirit, my body is in, actually presents the most amazing opportunity for change.

Because I feel like a rock cliff that hugs the ocean. The one whose curves and magnificent form has been shaped by the hounding wind that beats at it. That over centuries of being shaped by the merciless wind, it sits, beautiful, strong and awe-inspiring.

The challenges I face every single day in trying to raise two people are the wind. They are shaping me, moulding my character, testing my patience, steeling my courage, building my confidence, softening my heart beyond what is bearable.

And that is why I look the way look.

And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Especially not for an approving glance,

from you.

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6 Comments

  • Hadicha aytuwar says:

    Beautifully written! Being a mother is one of the best things Allah (swt) has bestowed on us females and I wouldn’t change a thing as being mum to my four darling children is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world! Though my 13 months old twins cause me stress and headaches beyond that of a singleton, I thank Allah everyday for blessing me with them!

  • Bushra Ardati says:

    “Because I feel like a rock cliff that hugs the ocean. The one whose curves and magnificent form has been shaped by the hounding wind that beats at it. That over centuries of being shaped by the merciless wind, it sits, beautiful, strong and awe-inspiring.”

    Such a perfectly wonderful description that speaks to who you are as a person. It’s an honour to know you, and your daughters, gifted to you by Allah, will grow to recognise how fortunate they are to have been chosen to be in your care. May Allah bless you always, dearest Saltanat. Your beauty lies in who you have become in light of what you have endured and experienced xx

    • modestbride says:

      Ameen! Thank you canim… It is an honour to know you! Truly, having you as a friend has made me strive to be a better mother and friend. Much love to you Bushra.

  • Saadia says:

    I think you look great, whether you just had a baby or not! 🙂

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