All my life I have dreamed of an education and job. Not once did I stop and dream about a wedding, a husband or children. I wanted to find someone who shared my passion for education, advancement and accomplishments. Allah sent me the man I love and we got married in the courthouse and began our life together. We did not have time for a wedding; he and I were both too busy with school and work. We lived a happy three years together studying, working and improving; we were living our lifelong dream.
Then Allah sent us our first child and my life came to s screaming halt. I switched the few classes I had left to complete my master’s degree online, quit my job and stayed home to care for my beautiful newborn son. My life was not as romantic as it sounded; I struggled every day staying home with my baby. My brain knew the best thing I could do was stay home and care for my child. It is the most rewarded deed for a woman to do in the Muslim faith, but my heart did not feel it. The first year of my son’s life was the biggest jihad I have ever faced. Now when I think back, I believe I must have had post-partum depression.
Allah sent my husband and I another beautiful child. The second time around was not as difficult but I still yearned to get out of the house and work. I was torn between my children and my passion. I was raised that children at a young age should be cared for by their mothers at home unless there is a financial need for the mother to work. I searched for online options to fulfill my need for professional advancement but I could not find what I was looking. My jihad continued; I did not know what to do.
I love my children and I want them to be healthy. Being a nutritionist and public health professional, the importance of proper eating and a healthy lifestyle are etched in my brain. Watching people give babies sugary drinks instead of milk or water drove me crazy, seeing parents giving their children candy, chocolate, cookies, and cereal on a regular basis instead of healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains enraged me. I feared for the well-being of these children. I believe every child deserves a good chance at being healthy and it is their parents’ job to provide them with this opportunity. I found my calling, my passion and my new jihad.
My new jihad is being a good mother and active in my community. I want to make America healthier. My Jihad is spreading health for families and especially children.
Submitted by: Sarene Alsharif, Rockford, IL