On March 14th, 2015, ISNA-Compass hosted a successful seminar on preparing for parenthood at the ICC. With nearly 50 community members in attendance, we had a full house! The event brought together a diverse set of presenters including Sr. Hira, certified doula and founder of Alif to Yaa of Motherhood; Bupinder Heer of Peel Children’s Centre; Nikki Slinger of Region of Peel; and Shaykh Alaa of ISNA Canada. Everyone was engaged and enjoying themselves, as attendees actively participated in discussion and Q&A.
Sr. Hira started off by speaking about ways in which parents can prepare for the birth of a baby, and cited the story of Mariam, mother of Isa (as), mentioned in the Quran, as an example of patience for Muslim parents to aspire to. She additionally raised concerns about the increased medicalisation of pregnancy and birth today, which goes against the natural process.
Next, Bupinder Heer and Nikki Slinger’s presentation discussed the importance of strong relationships between parents and children, particularly during the early years, since the strength of the parent-child bond can impact child development, which affects life outcomes. The presentation also considered how parents might want to deal with children according to their differing dispositions. The presenters also provided a list of resources and programs offered through their respective organisations that can help parents as they embark on this incredible journey of parenthood.
Finally, Shaykh Alaa brought an Islamic lens to the conversation, arguing that the seeds of parenthood are actually planted when one chooses a spouse. He also provided guidelines for doing so effectively. During his talk, he stressed the importance of parents, especially fathers, spending time with their children, and then introduced the idea of self-care as fundamental to successful parenting.
Audience members raised various concerns and challenges they experience, including the lack of awareness about different types of learning disabilities and their warning signs among parents, as well as the stigma attached to asking for help with the daunting tasks associated with parenting, particularly motherhood, within the Muslim community. These comments make clear the need for more discussion, collaboration and strategizing among Muslim parents and parents-to-be on the subject.
Join the conversation! Connect with us in person by visiting the Compass room (next to the bookstore) or online at firstname.lastname@example.org to comment, ask a question, browse our resources, or simply chat with representatives on the subject.