Growing Up as Firstborn Muslim Daughters; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly • The Muslim Women TImes

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As a firstborn Muslim daughter, I used to be given the duties of taking good care of and managing the family from as early because the age of ten. I might change my brothers’ nappy, give him a shower, type out my siblings’ uniforms for varsity and what have you ever. I felt I needed to be mature approach earlier than ever being a toddler.

– Salma Begum

We’ve all heard concerning the firstborn daughter trope; bossy, know-it-all and eager to be the ‘good girl’ on a regular basis. They are super-ambitious, Independent and nurturing. And they appear to hold these traits with grace. This isn’t any coincidence. The affect of start order has been confirmed to have a profound impact on folks’s personalities. Firstborn daughters are normally the main focus of the household’s consideration. They are elevated to the place of leaders from a really early age and are sometimes concerned in decision-making processes. But whereas we envy the privileges given to firstborn daughters, do we actually know what it should really feel like for them? Is the place of a firstborn daughter an enviable place? Or do we have to pay extra consideration and care to those girls and women? TMWT had a chat with three firstborn Muslim girls, and right here’s what every of them needed to say:

Shakira Shareef, (Sri Lankan)

TMWT: What was your expertise rising up as a firstborn daughter?

Shakira Shareef: My childhood was wonderful, however when maturity hit, issues obtained worse. It was not due to my dad and mom, however ours was an prolonged household, and we had been middle-income earners. So mother needed to patch up lots of issues to maintain our lives clean. But the Sri Lankan Muslim neighborhood forces and calls for the primary daughter to get married earlier than she’s 23, at most. My dad and mom had been understanding, however kin had been down on my dad and mom’ throat. They had a tough time. My psychological well being was ruined, and whereas I used to be nonetheless education, I obtained many marriage proposals. Thinking about it, I really feel disgusted even now. At some extent, certainly one of my cousins tried to set me up along with her brother, whom I handled like my very own blood. That expertise agitated me, and I nonetheless take into consideration how she had the mindset to convey such a subject to the desk. She satisfied my mother as properly, and I used to be mentally drowned.

I vividly keep in mind how I cried to my buddies, hugging them and relating how insane my relations had been to convey up the subject of marriage after I was solely 16. Some reminiscences keep even when the folks concerned within the reminiscence change and perceive their errors. The expectations my prolonged household positioned on me had been an excessive amount of, I couldn’t deal with them. I cared much less about what different folks mentioned or thought, and this put me in a greater place than my mother, who was upset and apprehensive, seeing that my psychological well being was at stake.

In phrases of funds, I all the time had the mindset that I wanted to make my very own cash as a result of I believed it could convey me freedom. I assumed folks wouldn’t strain me to get married as a result of they informed my dad that I used to be a burden. So I figured that finance was the primary motive why I used to be seen as a burden, and I made a decision to take management of it. I did. Alhamdulillah! As a first-born Muslim daughter, I used to be neither unhappy nor glad. There had been difficult conditions, however there have been stunning reminiscences too. I form of really feel prefer it has moulded me right into a stronger particular person. I can deal with lots of issues due to what I went by way of. Once once more, my dad and mom and siblings are blessings. It wasn’t their fault. Had we given up on societies’ expectations and stereotypical ideas, issues would have been higher.

TMWT: How do you assume this expertise has impacted your life presently?

Shakira Shareef: Though I gained’t wish to say {that a} poisonous surroundings helped form me into the impartial particular person I’m proper now, however it’s what’s. I’m able to make my very own choices, make my very own cash, and take care of my household, together with those that questioned my private life. My father is so happy with me, and he says I’ve set a superb instance for my sisters and brother. I really feel like I’m somebody that they will look as much as. Of course, there are issues like my short-temper and hard-to-please traits that I like to alter in me. I additionally really feel like my expertise made me the one who doesn’t wish to ask for assist and who isn’t open to letting others assist me. I flip down items as a result of they make me awkward. It may very well be due to the way in which I grew up, satisfying my very own wants, and dealing with difficult conditions. I actually don’t know, however what I do know is that there are some issues that I like to alter. One of them is permitting others to assist me. Accepting the truth that I don’t need to play the -“I’m strong enough to handle my own problems”- card all the time. So, in conclusion, the expertise has formed me right into a stronger model of myself. I assume there are psychological traumas and emotional setbacks that may creep into my life after I’m married. I’ve to attend and watch whereas making dua. Allah is aware of greatest!

I vividly keep in mind how I cried to my buddies, hugging them and relating how insane my relations had been to convey up the subject of marriage after I was solely 16. Some reminiscences keep even when the folks concerned within the reminiscence change and perceive their errors.

– Shakira Shareef

TMWT: As somebody who is aware of what it’s wish to be a firstborn daughter, what are among the belongings you would change in case you occur to be a guardian?

Shakira Shareef: There are some things I might change. I might give my daughter freedom over something but in addition make sure that to clarify the Islamic framework. I wouldn’t put strain on her to get married. I might inform her to get married solely when she really feels prepared. I might additionally implement equality in my dwelling, letting my youngsters know {that a} son isn’t higher than a daughter. They deserve equal consideration, love, and respect. Being a pal earlier than being a mother to my daughter is absolutely necessary to me. Lastly, I might take note of her psychological well being, assist her nurture a wholesome sense of self-worth.

Hajer Al-Awsi, (Iraqi-Australian)

TMWT: What was your expertise rising up as a firstborn daughter?

Hajer Al-Awsi: My expertise was a combined bag, I grew up being actually obedient and feared the principles my mum and neighborhood informed me I needed to comply with. There wasn’t lots of room for alternate interpretations of scripture. I used to be all the time assumed to be the great woman and had a lot belief reposed in me. I additionally acquired lots of combined messaging; my mum thought I didn’t have to put on a hijab till I used to be ‘a woman’ however each time we visited prolonged household and buddies, I used to be requested to start out sporting the hijab. This ended up with me deciding to put on it on the age of 12 and having lots of physique dysmorphia till I lastly took it off at 17.

TMWT: How do you assume this expertise has impacted your life presently?

Hajer Al-Awsi: I’m now not a spiritual Muslim and I take into account myself extra culturally Muslim than anything. I really feel suffocated by restrictions in my life and particularly in my day-to-day actions like how I gown or what I eat. The lack of sex-positivity in my upbringing has severely affected my intercourse life and relationship to intercourse.

TMWT: As somebody who is aware of what it’s wish to be a firstborn daughter, what are among the belongings you would change in case you occur to be a guardian?

Hajer Al-Awsi: I might permit my children to make their very own decisions over my very own beliefs. I might make it possible for I give my children area to turn into their very own particular person but in addition construct a great relationship with them, in order that they all the time really feel comfy to come back to me when they should.

Salma Begum (British)

TMWT: What was your expertise rising up as a firstborn daughter?

Salma Begum: Being the primary youngster and daughter was a rollercoaster. I had all these ambitions and desires positioned on me. It was nice to be the primary youngster and the one to be trusted by my dad and mom. It was nice to be conversant in the kin, the tradition and the language. I did really feel a way of belonging and an id inside my tradition. However the ugly was very ugly. There was and there nonetheless is lots of expectations positioned on me to dwell out my dad and mom’ desires, to dwell the life my mom by no means had and to be an instance and set an ordinary for my youthful siblings. Growing up within the west and never having an older sibling to information you or feeling such as you don’t have the instruments to navigate the troubling waters of teenage life, I typically felt very alone and lonely. Sometimes I used to be given the duties of taking good care of and managing the family from as early because the age of ten. I might change my brothers’ nappy, give him a shower, type out my siblings’ uniforms for varsity and what have you ever. I felt I needed to be mature approach earlier than ever being a toddler. I felt I by no means obtained to be a toddler which is why I’m now studying easy methods to join with my interior youngster. Being the eldest, you get to see the household politics and difficulties and perceive them, you develop up seeing the cracks in your loved ones and feeling prefer it’s your duty to fill them up, by shrinking, by making much less noise or by taking good care of everybody else round you, however by no means actually understanding your personal feelings and what they imply.

TMWT: How do you assume this expertise has impacted your life presently?

Salma Begum: Presently, my life is a fruits of my surroundings, my childhood and my expertise rising up because the eldest daughter and youngster. This is an id that by no means adjustments. I can change my type, my profession, my relationships however in the case of household, my id is all the time the identical; the eldest youngster, the eldest daughter. It’s used each as an encouragement and a risk of downfall. As the eldest daughter, for instance, it’s a must to get married first and provides your dad and mom the marriage they all the time dreamed of for you. You need to marry the form of man they all the time dreamed you’d find yourself with. You need to be the one to come back to everybody’s rescue though it might have gone to others extra succesful. You take over the function of the mom in the home.

Eldest daughters really feel like they’re wives and moms earlier than they ever get married and have youngsters of their very own. There’s all the time extra to show as a result of when folks consider the household, they consider you. You’re the primary, in order that they keep in mind seeing you develop up and fasten the household picture to yours. I really feel lots of guilt each time I make the selection to do one thing totally different to what’s anticipated of me in the case of profession decisions, my pursuits and even my future household plans. I really feel like I’m answerable for each issue my dad and mom are in and it’s my function to be concerned and provide you with an answer. I really feel like I’m my siblings’ dad and mom. I’ve three and I’m the eldest of all of them. My household have made me really feel answerable for their future, and I’ve to additionally pave the way in which for them. But we’re all totally different and distinctive in our methods and what we would like for ourselves. I’ve struggled so much as a result of I’ve been the one to go towards the grain to get small privileges which I get to see my youthful siblings get pleasure from because it’s one thing pure that they’ve been born into.

Eldest daughters want time for play, to be carefree with out duties. Eldest daughters want to attach with different women from a younger age, perhaps by way of play dates or kin the place they will really feel a way of id and belonging, and get to grasp one another.

– Salma Begum

TMWT: As somebody who is aware of what it’s wish to be a firstborn daughter, what are among the belongings you would change in case you occur to be a guardian?

Salma Begum: I’m not but a guardian. But when I’ve a daughter, I might do issues very in a different way. I’d open up communication. I suppressed lots of ideas and feelings rising up and it’s one thing I’m attempting to beat as an grownup. I by no means had a secure area to speak. I might clarify what everybody’s function is, what my duties are as a guardian and what duties are for kids. There was lots of enmeshment rising up, so understanding who’s the guardian and what’s anticipated and who’s the kid and what’s anticipated of them is essential. This would Involve boundaries from me as a guardian, to deal with my very own duties as an grownup and never place them on my daughter once they haven’t but developed their feelings or understandings of what’s occurring of their surroundings.

I might spend time with my daughter and encourage her to be curious and take an curiosity in every part she loves and never solely those I approve of. I might be a greater planner and organiser of the household life so there may be construction and a way of security and safety and my daughter wouldn’t really feel the necessity to step up and take over as a guardian. Eldest daughters want a secure surroundings the place they really feel appreciated and guaranteed that they belong as daughters and never as substitute dad and mom or caretakers for his or her siblings. Eldest daughters want time for play, to be carefree with out duties. Eldest daughters want to attach with different women from a younger age, perhaps by way of play dates or kin the place they will really feel a way of id and belonging, and get to grasp one another. Eldest daughters want mentorship once they’re older; perhaps as youngsters as a result of that’s once they get essentially the most strain of getting their very own life and struggling towards what’s anticipated of them close to their future.

Lack of assets, lack of help, lack of emotional growth and help and mentoring is why we wrestle within the methods we do. And extra may be carried out by the neighborhood to grasp and supply help. Because everybody advantages from the success of the eldest daughter anyway, it’s in everybody’s curiosity to nurture her and construct her up. They have essentially the most love for his or her households and siblings and would do something to point out their love and care. So it’s in everybody’s curiosity to deal with her as she would naturally give again to everybody else.

TMWT is a web-based media platform spotlighting the tales of Muslim girls of the previous and current. We goal to be one of the vital authoritative and informative guides to what’s occurring on the earth of Muslim girls. We hope to cowl key points, spark debates, progressive concepts and provocative subjects to get the Muslim world speaking. We wish to set agendas and discover concepts to enhance the lives and wellbeing of Muslim Women.


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