Author : Asma Manham
Yes, having children do change the nature of marriage, your love is shared with more people. But more people to love doesn’t mean less love to give. Love grows when given more.

1. How does having children change the nature of marriage? Does it strengthen the connection or add challenges? All relationships go through many different phases and each of them might come with distinct changes. Having children is one important phase in a couple’s life. It changes both the partners at a cellular level. The impact these changes have on new parents is largely dependent upon different factors like proper awareness on child rearing, mental and physical wellness in pre and antenatal times and a very helpful support system. Being well-read about getting into parentship is primary for any parent. Just because two people tied the knot does not necessarily mean that a child should be on the way without any thought. The union in itself of two different people in marriage is considered a virtuous act in deen. Raising children in the proper manner is also an act of worship, it is also the child’s right to be brought up well. Generally, once the parents accept this, it wouldn’t be a hurdle nor a burden at all. Yes, having children do change the nature of marriage, your love is shared with more people. But more people to love doesn’t mean less love to give. Love grows when given more. Having children does make the couple learn and explore more about themselves as well. They get to practice patience, manage time, and get into routine and more. Having a partner who affirms and understands the rights and duties makes the job pretty much easier for the couple to function as a team. Otherwise, it might pose a hurdle and a burden. Despite all these, it can’t be denied that couples might suffer from postpartum blues/depression. This might not necessarily depend upon any material factors. 2. In your opinion, did you face any/many cultural expectations and assumptions on how to be a good mother? The usual tips/suggestions – are they always helpful for the mother and the baby? The overburdening on new mothers is a very common phenomenon. People put too much pressure and expectations on mothers, despite the fact that a mother rearing her umpteenth child might also tremble and tumble at some points in the process. This is because of the fact that each child is a different individual and thus bringing up each child is a different and unique process. Another peculiar thing is that people almost never burden the fathers, let alone pass a comment regarding parenting which is odd, because technically the process involves equal participation of both the mother and father. Researches prove that an involved father promotes inner growth and strength in children. The social stigmatization surrounding parenting as solely mother’s responsibility is an unnecessary burden that the society puts on couples. The tips/suggestions that our elders give us can’t always be dismissed. Since information is at our fingertips these days, one can always cross-check with them for religious or scientific backup. (Distinctly mentioned ‘religious’ and ‘scientific’ because not everything religious can be backed by science, because religion has aspects of ghaib in it) It is better that people don’t comment unnecessarily unless advice is actively sought, lest the new parent might severely get affected from these comments. This is important because it might otherwise affect the sanity of the new parents who are already going through a lot with a new individual in their lives. 3.Time management is a major challenge for young couples. How do you suggest that they best manage parenting/their own relationship/work?

Prioritize. Organize. Schedule.  

These are the important things to take care of in any circumstances in the case of effective time management. Same applies for a parent. The key to organization is knowing what a priority is and what can wait. Organizing anything and everything might take time initially, but trust me, once all is done, you will realize how much easier things can be done that way. Scheduling your daily routine is helpful for children as well as parents. Research shows that younger babies prefer sticking to schedules since they are at ease when they know what to expect next.

Also, never hesitate to seek help. No parent is super-perfect. Neither is any house. Since we all are social animals, we will need aid and assistance from our fellow people from time to time. Seek help and offer help when you can.

4. For expecting couples and new parents, what’s one advice you would have or something that they should prepare for beforehand?

Be well-read about what is to happen once you plan to step into parenthood. Know what all changes that can possibly happen for a couple – physical, mental, financial, etc. Prepare for yourself and the baby. As long as you are steadfast, things will fall into place, In Shaa Allah. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll know that it is only a test in this dunya and that this dunya is temporary. Parenthood isn’t something silly, for you are bringing a life into the world where you will be responsible for bringing them up in a good manner. Babies will thrive and strive in any environment, but not all will turn out to be ‘human beings’. That’s where parents’ roles and responsibilities come in play. Give children their rights and fulfil their need to be loved. After all, they came into this world because you chose to bring them here.

May Allah (SWT) bless and give barakah in abundance for all the parents of yesterday, today and tomorrow.


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