Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Having A Baby

Six months into parenthood, I’ve come to realize nothing- and I mean no book, resource, or well-meaning family member- can prepare you for when a newborn screams relentlessly at 2 AM and she cannot fall back asleep. Or what to do when your baby has a major blowout while you’re in the mall. Or the…

My Stockholm Travel Guide

Stockholm doesn’t have the oppulence of Vienna or the organized chaos of Berlin. It doesn’t feel as old as Prague and nowhere near as expansive as Paris. Because of that, and the generally colder weather, I didn’t think it held anything of significance to tourists and would have never really considered visiting it for a…

A Working Mother and a Pandemic

On Mother’s Day this year, I woke up to find my sleep-deprived face with my uneven foundation and slightly askew eyebrows staring back at me. I’d already had a heavy heart: due to COVID-19, I couldn’t celebrate my first with the mothers in our lives. But then the post on the hospital’s social media channels…

A Spring In Scandinavia

After a rough second half of 2018, I needed something, anything, to stop myself from spiraling and obsessing over the constant thoughts in my head. I needed a project to throw myself into: something I could plan down to the minute detail, something I could be very proud of, something nothing or no one could…

Bringing Raneem Home: The Early Days

It could have been any regular Sunday in our house: Ahmad and I lying down on our couch, enjoying food just delivered from our favorite, Crepaway, while watching the latest season of The Crown on Netflix. Except right next to our coffee table, a 5 day old Raneem slept soundly in her bassinet, blissfully still…

You’re Failing As a Parent: A Prenatal Class Gone Horribly Wrong

In September, just as I’d started the third trimester, I thought it would be a good idea to sign us up for a prenatal course. Our familiarity with babies, up until that point, was non-existent. I didn’t even know how to hold one properly! I mean, I know all about childhood infections and how to…

Welcoming Raneem: The Birth Story

By the end of the eighth month, the only thing missing was to actually deliver. I continued life as usual: work and falling asleep on our living room couch as soon as I’d gotten back while local news covering the thawra blared in the background. This urge to be absolutely ready was because in those…

Expecting Raneem: A Pregnancy Summarized

I remember how hot and heavy my tears felt as they rolled down my cheeks on a Wednesday night in April. Ahmad held me in his arms as I sobbed and sobbed, asking him, asking the universe, “So what does this mean? What do we do now?” He continued to hold me and comfort me…

You Never Forget How To Ride A Bike

So there I was, lying on the street, clutching my left knee in pain on a busy intersection on one of Maastricht’s main bridges, trying not to feel flustered or helpless. But that was easier said than done. My hair was an utter mess. Sweat had begun to make its way down my back. We…

The Netherlands Will Always Feel Like Home

For the second time this year, I found myself crying on an airplane- something I really should stop doing. This time, it wasn’t because a sense of relief had finally washed over me after what seemed like one obstacle after the other. No, this time it was because the airplane had begun its descent to…