As a Midwife, part of my role is supporting and educating families and communities.
Islam encourages truth between parents and children. This is perfectly exemplified in the hadith where: Abdullah bin Aamir reports that one day the Prophet (s) came to his home. While the Prophet (s) was talking with his father, Abdulla’s mother called out to him and said:
“Come here so I can give you something”. The Holy Prophet (s) asked: “What do you want to give him”? “I want to give him some dates”, replied the mother. The Prophet (s) was pleased and said: “Had you not intended to give him something, Allah would write down a lie for you”.
I’ve recently been reminded about some advice I wanted to give Muslim parents for a while.
My point of advice to all Muslim parents is to approach sexual education in a pure and open manner, which is appropriate for children’s age, and NEVER to lie or hide anything. I have heard stories about mothers lying about prayers (when they have menses) and lying about pregnancy, due to cultural shame. I find this approach worrying for many reasons. Having babies is part of sexual education that becomes imparted naturally, if it is done correctly, and led by children’s questions. Children should be answered in an age appropriate way with truth. Sometimes this means trying to see and understand things from a child’s view.
At the age of 2 or 3, or even when you are still breastfeeding a toddler, you can tell them beautiful stories about “when you were in my tummy”. Kids love this story time. It makes them feel loved and close to their parents. For instance: “When you were in my tummy, you were so cheeky…you used to keep me up all night with your kicks.” This kind of story makes little ones howl with laughter. They love to touch mum’s tummies and try to remember how it must have felt. Children also love to hear the story “The day you were born…”
These beautiful techniques build trust and confidence between parents and children, and you can repeat the story, and expand on it as the child grows. My children, for instance, sometimes catch a glance at my stretch marks on my tummy and they say “Mum what is that?” I respond “Those are the marks I have from you, when you got fatter and fatter in my tummy…” We laugh, and they stroke my tummy saying “Aaahh, we love your zebra-tummy Mum!”.
Every time you walk in the park, or even eat a fruit or a salad, you have the chance to plant another seed of knowledge in children.
A date or an olive is a tool for sex education…”look, this is the baby inside the fruit, if we plant this, we will get a plant, just like you when you grew inside my tummy.”
When we are not praying or fasting, we should not be ashamed to say:
“Allah loves Mummies so much, He gives them a special rest. The place where you were in my tummy, is a special house, which needs to be cleaned every month, and at that time Allah lets Mummies have a rest, because He knows we get tired at that time. Cleaning is hard work.”
This is truth, in a beautiful, clear and logical way, that any child can understand, which will bring you closer together, and your children closer to understanding Allah’s beauty and mercy. We should never lie or hide the truth from our children. We should merely find the right way to teach, for every truth is a sign of Allah.
By Nabila Fowles – Gutierrez
Nabila is a Specialist Coach & Strategist, Business Owner, Midwife & Clinical Research Nurse. She is also a Divorce Coach & Director of Divorce Survival, an innovative approach managing high conflict divorce and family breakdown, helping clients find happiness and lasting solutions.
All guest writer articles come from our Muslim Mamas community or from our network of supporters. Some contribute one-off stories; some contribute as anonymous mamas. All experiences and opinions are those of the writers.