free stats Carmen's Web: Of children
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Of children
When I was a teenager, I dreamed of having twelve children, then six, then two when I found learned what childbirth actually consisted of. As a teenager, it just seemed natural to want to have was simply part of life. The prospect of never having children (or having a husband) never crossed my mind back then.

One of the main reasons that I broke off my engagement when I was in Egypt was because I was afraid of how my children would turn out if I lived in Egypt. I had already been so detached from the country, the people, the traditions, that I was afraid that my own children would become strangers to me. That I wouldn't recognize them. That I wouldn't be able to relate to them in any way since I hated the country so much. I didn't know how I would be able to raise Egyptian children, children who'd probably know more Arabic than me and be part of a culture that had tortured me for years. I couldn't fathom the thought of restricting my kids' movements, especially my daughters. To know that they couldn't come and go as they pleased because of the constant street harassment. To know that I couldn't just put my kids in a stroller and walk them down the street bothered me. When I mentioned this to my would be in-laws they told me that that's what nadis (country clubs) were for. Yeah. I want to raise my children in country clubs.

So up till then I was still thinking that I'd have children, that it was still a natural thing that would have to come eventually. I never really thought about WHY I would want to have children.

Why do people have children? I can't really find a reason that, for me, isn't selfish. Kids fill a void, kids bring love and warmth, kids are companions, etc, etc. All these didn't seem like good enough reasons for me.

A couple of years ago my aunt was imploring me to get a move on it already and get married to have kids. She said that my kids would be spectacular and that she would love to meet them. I wasn't in the mood to have the whole marriage discussion, so I asked her to give me one good reason to have kids.

"Because God said so," she stated, and went further to quote the verse which basically tells us to go forth and multiply.

"That's not a good reason," came out of my mouth much quicker than I had anticipated and I was subjected to a 45 minute lecture on how everything God says and wants is a good reason.

I don't know what the appeal of having children is and I can't really think of a logical, intellectual, subjective reason to want to have one. What I do know, though, is that there's something that tugs at me everytime I'm around children nowadays. Especially girls. I see girls and I fall in love with them.

I went out with my boyfriend yesterday afternoon to his brother-in-law's surprise birthday party. I was the only woman there who did not have children or in the process of having children (his family is very fertile). I was surrounded by kids, mothers, and pregnant women and I felt like an odd woman out. If I were in my early 20s this feeling would never have happened; I know because I've always been surrounded by such creatures. For some reason though, recently, I've been very aware of my surroundings re: pregnancy and children.

I WOULD love to have a baby, but I'm not sure WHY I want one. I had a horrible time growing up. I'm surprised I got through it all and am somewhat sane still. Why bring a child into this world?

This question became increasingly more difficult to answer when I started dating non-Muslims and fell in love with a practicing Catholic. Getting together with him would be difficult, having children with him more so.

My boyfriend's niece is dating a Muslim and is getting serious about him. His mother doesn't want anything to do with a Catholic girl and her family is worried about what an interfaith marriage would look like. The guy's father told him that he can do whatever he wants and that he'd be supportive, but that the children would have to be Muslim. This issue of contention took months to resolve. The girl's father finally relented and decided that if his daughter really wants to marry this man that he'd be okay with the fact that his grandkids would be Muslim as long as his daughter doesn't lose her faith.

If kids didn't fall into the equation I doubt there would've been so many problems.

I have an Egyptian friend who's a product of an interfaith marriage and she mentioned something three years ago that has stuck in my mind since. She was telling me that her parents had been married for over three decades and still hold each other's hands when they sit together at home. That for her, that's the product of a good marriage.

I'm all over the place with this post. It's late, I'm under the influence, and I'm super tired.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 2:58 AM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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