Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Me, Aisha (Natural Mom)
Teaching Pregnancy Exercises
This has been an exciting month for me!
Alhamdulealah, somebody pinch me! I need to check if I'm dreaming before I post this! It's not hard to tell that I have a passion for natural birth and it's my goal to spread it throughout the Middle East and Africa, insha'Allah. But I was totally amazed when I came back to Egypt from a trip to the States this past June.
I had just finished attending classes to become certified as a childbirth teacher and labor/birth doula. I was seven months pregnant myself and was waiting until the end of my ninth month to join my husband in Saudi to have our baby there. I didn't expect to accomplish much in those three months in terms of putting my training to work.
No one could have imagined the opportunites that I found in those three months in Egypt, let alone during the past month in Saudi!
I hope you enjoy reading about the exciting opportunities in Egypt and Saudi. I'd love your feedback and comments. Now on to the story...EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! I'm in the News! :)...
In those short three months, I partnered with the Suzanne Mubark Regional Centre for Women's Health and Development. I participated in lectures and taught childbirth classes. I was briefly mentioned in Arabic newspapers on more than one occassion. You can view one such online article here: Arabic article. My lectures included "The Miracle of Natural Birth," "Natural Birth Leads to Breastfeeding," and "Natuarl Birth Techniques for Ethiopian Birth Workers." I was invited to travel to Ethiopia, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia, etc. to do on-site trainings. I had to put that on the back burner considering my travel plans to Saudi and my own birth pending.
I was so impressed with all the opportunities I found in Egypt that I feared Saudi would pale in comparison. But what I'm finding (in less than three months here) is a whirlwind of opportunity that continues to amaze me at the power of Allah and opportunities HE is continuing to provide.
First, I was interviewed by American Bedu about life in Saudi, my marriage permission and iqama dilemmas, teaching/lecturing about natural birth, and my advice to other expats. I respect her so much and being featured on her blog is such an honor and a blessing! I'm grateful for the opportunity! Please make dua for her as she is such a wonderful asset to those seeking information on life in Saudi. She just posted the interview today and I hope you'll read it on her blog at American Bedu Blog.
Before that article even got posted I was approached by both The Saudi Gazzette and Arab News. Each requesting to interview me! I had to pick one though because they both wanted it exclusive. It was a tough choice and I really liked both reporters but I ended up with Arab News (mostly because the editor was on board whereas the writer from The Gazzette had contacted me on her own and hadn't gotten her editor's approval yet). The article, "The Miracle of Natural Birth," was well done and I was impressed with the journalist's final copy, masha'Allah (thanks, Lisa). That article was posted a couple of days ago and I hope you'll read it at Arab News Interview.
Somewhere in between all that I was approached by a very popular news blog, Saudi Life. They had come across this blog and were impressed enough to offer me a weekly column on their forum! My articles will debut there in the near future, insha'Allah. I don't have anything posted yet but you can visit their site at http://saudilife.net. I will continue posting to my personal blog and will always welcome your birth stories, insha'Allah. But with over one million hits per month, I'm so excited for this opportunity to reach a larger audience!
To top that off I was invited by the Saudi Ministry of Health to write an article about how natural birth leads to breastfeeding. It will be published in their quarterly magazine (My Child), insha'allah. The publication has a readership of 150,000! It will be in Arabic (my dear, sweet, supportive husband is translating it for me now). I will share the English version after the Arabic is published, insha'Allah.
Moving on with my excitement, just a couple of days ago I received my final exam from the academy that I trained with back in June to teach childbirth classes and provide doula services. I've been teaching as a provisional teacher (in training so-to-speak) until I had taught enough classes to ensure them that I am competent. The exam was over 80 essay questions with 88 vocabulary words. It took me forty pages of type with 14,813 words to answer everything! By the time I finished, I felt like I had written a novella! :) I'm so pleased to have submitted it and am awaiting the results. I'm confident I did well and can't wait to be fully affiliated! I've learned so much and am so grateful for their training and support!
Finally, I met with the General Manager of a new clinic in Riyadh. I was totally impressed with him and the clinic's philosophy about patient health first and foremost (as opposed to the Riyal driven business practices of some other clinics). His ethics and standards seem to be a great fit for natural birth classes and doula services! He has just hired an obstetrician and wants me to work closely with her, insha'Allah. Once we solidify the working relationship I will make an announcment and provide more details about the clinic, insha'Allah.
I'm so thankful for all of these wonderful opportunities. It's hard to believe they have all come about in the first half of this month! No matter how many times I say, "Alhamdulelah, Allahu Akhbar," it just doesn't seem enough!