Mother’s Day has always been hard. Me and many of my friends who grew up with the same first-generation Muslim struggles and ailments of dealing with navigating our own mother’s traumas without sacrificing our own sanity or self-care find ourselves in similar situations. Over the years, I’ve realized this and learned to appreciate how much it has shaped me. I’ve seen how my relationship with my mother, or lack thereof, has not only been a motivation for my work, but really, an explanation for the woman I am today. My friends Tasbeeh and Fariha wrote an incredibly heart-wrenching piece on good.is about this difficult relationship many of us share with our mothers. Fariha writes how “our mothers haven’t learnt to heal their own pasts." Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, I was informed that my estranged mother has been hospitalized with cancer. I haven’t seen my mother in over five years. The difficulty of her relationship with my entire family has been hectic, to say the least. I attribute many of our issues with the way she was raised, feeling more compassion towards her than anger as I've grown up and realized it wasn't her fault; the mental tug-of-war of growing up as a woman in the hyper-shame of the East and raising daughters in a hyper-sexualized world of the West.
I haven’t been able to process my mother’s news properly, until reading this piece today.
Tasbeeh’s words hit me hard: “Still, there are parts of my life I do wish I could divulge to my mother, to share with her, and know that I can’t—because I know I will be subject to her judgment, and worse, her disappointment and sadness. The best thing I can do is keep my distance, but close that distance whenever I can, on days she’s feeling more forgiving, or I am. I resent Mother’s Day, too, for imposing this contact as a rule, and for perpetuating these narratives of mother-daughter bliss.” Thank you @fariha_roisin and Tasbeeh Herwees.