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What's Holding You Back From Taking A Leap of Faith?

We’re in a season of transformation, growth, and rebirth. The fall season is here, reminding us of this. Growth goes hand in hand with our ability to trust the unknown. We need courage for this type of trust. Come along to witness Iman’s journey of navigating motherhood and making tough choices during the COVID-19 pandemic, so her children can thrive.

Iman’s Story

Iman identifies as a woman of an Afro-Arab background. She’s lived in Canada for several years with her husband and children. She spoke with me about the challenges of her and her husband being working parents, her returning to school to further her career, the impact of the pandemic on their children, and navigating a predominantly Caucasian and Eurocentric school system. 

In particular, she and her husband made the tough decision as parents to send their children to live with their grandparents in Tanzania for some time. 

Iman spoke about how terrifying this was for her, despite Tanzania being the place of her birth and upbringing. She worried about her children and prayed for this to be the right decision. She made the trip back with them and witnessed them thrive. 

How Iman Overcame Her Fear and Delved Into The Unknown

Iman embarked on an unknown territory. And something that may be judged and not well understood by many parents. Especially here in Canada.

When asked about what that was like for her, she explained: 

“I'm going back with my children, and I am deciding to come back and leave them there. That was so hard. I prayed so much. I was worried. Wondering, if they will be able to adjust. Especially my youngest, he's never been to Tanzania. The first time we went there, he was scared of everything. Every. Single. Thing. He surprised me. He now speaks Swahili. He doesn't even reply in English anymore. So now, as I'm seeing the progress, I feel like I made the right decision. If they stayed here, they wouldn't have progressed the way they have. Things are always different in hindsight.”

She Let Courage Lead The Way to Thriving

Having the courage to do something that most parents would feel is unfathomable; allowed her to see the growth and resilience of her children and how they could thrive in a different environment. 

When she spoke about the experience of one of her children, who had experienced speech and speaking delays, she said, “I feel like going to a Tanzanian school and seeing people that look like him; it boosted his confidence. Interesting with the move, he started to speak more.”

As she continued to share her story, it stood out how much our environment can influence our abilities and development during childhood. And how much parents sacrifice for their children, especially those with an immigration experience. It also highlighted how important it is for children to experience representation and for their identity to be nurtured through their culture and heritage.

Iman further shared about her experiences during the pandemic: 

“You know, here with the COVID lockdown, it was so hard for the kids to interact. But when I went back, there were no restrictions. So they were going to school freely, and I put them in swimming classes and football…”

She continued to see them thrive and grow.

Mother-Daughter Bonds: Inheriting Mom’s Resilience

Iman credits her family for being able to navigate this unknown territory with faith and grace. This huge shift and transition was a family decision, including her and her husband’s parents. She especially credits her mom for being a big supporter and influencer. 

She spoke with admiration about her mom, who has taught her to take life as it comes, to have an attitude of openness, and to balance between being strict and disciplined along with being free and playful. Iman laughed and smiled, describing her mom in awe of her ability to be “the modern grandmother.”

“My mom’s a very typical Afro-Arab woman in some ways. Let's say she puts those long dresses and her hijab on, and then she’ll throw her soccer shoes on and gets down playing soccer with the kids.”

When asked what this has taught her, seeing her mother handle life this way, she shared it has taught her “sometimes it’s good not to take life too seriously” and that it’s something she’s learning to do. “Not being scared of just being free with yourself and not being scared of so many things. We sit down, and we worry about this and that. Well, sometimes you just go with the flow. My mom has this unwavering belief that it will be fine in the end.”

We Don’t Just Pass Down Trauma, We Pass Down Resilience

Iman shared how this mindset about life was modeled throughout her upbringing by her mom and how this continues to influence her today in her growth and confidence as a person and a mother:

“I want to be more confident with myself and raising my kids so they can be confident in themselves. I want them to be kind and gentle people, curious about the world and not afraid of it.”

Iman continues to grow as her children grow.

For mothers who are aware and awakened, like Iman, the cycle of birth and rebirth with their children continues throughout life beyond the initial physical act. They see that transformation is necessary to be the kind of mothers they want to be: confident, inspiring, present, aware, fallible, and courageous. 

Making the tough decisions that allow their children to thrive…

Unlearning the deep-rooted beliefs that no longer serve them or their children…

Leaping into unknown territories despite the fear and self-doubt…

You won’t see these stories in the headlines, though they deserve to be seen and heard. 

Speaking with Iman left me in awe of the depths parents, especially mothers, are willing to go to for the well-being of their children. Motherhood comes with many uncertainties and unknowns, and you’re constantly delving into that for your sake and the sake of your children - it takes daily tenacity and audacity. 

If you were moved by Iman’s story as much as I was…

  • What did you find inspiring from Iman’s story?
  • Is there an audacious mother, sister, wife, daughter, or friend that came to mind when you read this?
  • What would you like to tell them?
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Hiba Khatkhat

Hiba is a holistic psychotherapist specializing in trauma, couples treatment, and culture. She's passionate about solving mental health crises by practicing prevention. She brings over 18 years of experience working with individuals, couples, & families in her private practice. She is known for her work on the transmission of trauma and its impact on relationships.

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Level Up Your Happiness With Self Compassion

Compassion is both an outcome of and a tool for healing. Today, I watched a video of a woman creating a secret underground tunnel that’s liveable in the wilderness with three fundamental tools. It was a reminder of how creative and resilient you can be when you have the right tools. And what amazing things you can bring to life when you learn how to use them. Witnessing her was a seemingly simple but crucial reminder amidst the continued state of the world, in which the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, amongst other painful news. My first reaction to the overturning, and to quote the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, “This is some bullshit.” This devastating decision, to me and for people like me, is yet another way the world can lack compassion. You can quickly get stuck in grief, defeat, and hopelessness when faced with this. Getting stuck prevents you from seeing the opportunity for rebuilding that comes after that. I could’ve gotten stuck in the limited resources the woman had in that video. I had to dig deep into my self-compassion to pull myself out of these reactions. I also connected with my community (the people who would get the depth of this). Compassionate connection with yourself and others allows you to find your sense of renewal and generate hope, dignity, and freedom. You become a better change-maker when you don’t deny your anger and sadness about what’s happened. You pay attention to it AND focus on personal renewal and healing as tools for rebuilding (at the same time). This compassion inspires you to be resilient to your circumstances and work towards the change you want. This week, consider compassion for yourself and others as a tool for connection, renewal, change, and oneness.

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