We often hear about “mamta ke zabaan“, the language a mother uses to communicate with her children, and its magical powers. Have you ever wondered how you developed yours? What does the language mean to you? How is it unique to you and your children? I thought about this question and wanted to share my experience. Would love to hear your thoughts too!
When my daughter was born in Canada back in 2010, my mother came over to help us. She had to leave 20 days after Zeynab’s birth and I remember I wrote a distraught Facebook post about how I was feeling helpless without my mother and wondered how I would manage on my own with a newborn. A very wise cousin of mine replied to my post and I still remember her words. “You’re the same rock to your own child now as your mother is for you. You can do this. Take care”, she lovingly advised.
True to my cousin’s words, I gained confidence as a mother and in my ability to anticipate and understand my child’s needs. This was the time I started to value the power of “mamta ke zabaan” still not realizing its full potential though, as I struggled with the newborn stage.
I remember I was super confused once at a store trying to decide which particular baby appliance to buy and the elderly sales lady gave me great advice: “You’re the manual your baby comes with”, she told me gently looking right into my eyes. Her validation and trust in me was invaluable to a new mother, in a world otherwise full of free conflicting advice, nagging and criticism.
There were so many decisions to navigate in that first year: co-sleeping vs. crib, breast feeding vs. formula, when to start solids, which sippy cup is best, which pram/travel system to buy, whether to pierce ears or not, scheduled vs. free spirit living etc. I researched fervently on each of these topics and discussed with other moms. My intuition and gut feel eventually guided me towards the choice that was the best fit for our family, as I understood my child like no one.
There was no joy greater than realizing that my crying child was not hungry, did not need a diaper change or was sleepy, she only needed a snuggle with me. I was familiar with this need. Even as an adult, living on my own with my family, I needed my mother’s assurance in tough times.
I celebrated my daughter’s first birthday as a true celebration of my motherhood. We had made it through the first year! My baby was now a toddler. Though I cried buckets after getting that email from Babycenter (what do you mean she is not a baby anymore!?) there was lots to celebrate.
My daughter’s needs have changed over the years as she has grown but the “mamta ke zabaan” keeps evolving with her. When my son was born, he was such a different child. My parenting style with him was unlike that with his sister because it was guided by the needs of my child.
I tell my daughter that I have an eye at the back of my head hidden behind my hair, because she is always amazed at how I find out things she didn’t tell me. As she InshaAllah grows older I can’t wait to tell her that she will also develop this power one day, the power that only comes with one of the greatest gifts of life: motherhood.
What does “mamta ke zabaan” mean for you? How were those early days of motherhood? How did you find confidence in the new role through the sleep-deprived nights? Would love to hear your thoughts.