Sunday, 7 February 2016

Confessions of a Twin Mom


Here you go, an interview with another twin mom, sharing her experiences as a mom, charity worker and Author. She's an inspiration to all those Muslim moms who think they have no purpose or are lost.

Layla Rodrigues, mom of 3 year old twin boys and a year old baby girl. She is the Co founder of IFAM, a non profit organisation supporting Muslim women and the Director of Women2Women Market. She has just finished writing her first book which Inshaa Allah is aimed at young girls, may Allah swt bless it and make it beneficial for the ummah ameen.
She says she's passionate about supporting women in general and adds "I know too well what it is like to feel unmotivated and lost. It took me a long time to realise that I could achieve anything I put my mind to, with the will of Allaah". 

I asked her what was it like being a first time mom with twins
Her reply : Well we were so excited to finally conceive, we wanted children so much and it felt like it was taking so long to happen as most couples feel like at the beginning. The more people asked when are we going to have children the more our hearts ached and longed for children. You see all my young life I always said I wanted to be a mum, so when It finally happened I could not thank Allah enough!
When we were told we were having twins you can only imagine our reactions, happiness, joy and fear all in one, but most of all grateful. At our first scan we were told that one of the twins heart was a bit weak and as with most twin pregnancies it was common for one not to survive. We had hope and knew that if Allah got us this far, he will help my babies through this and Alhumdulillah He did, one evening after a scan we were told that they were both healthy and had strong hearts Allahu Akbar!.
Pregnancy itself was lovely apart from the sickness and common difficulties associated with a twin pregnancy. Delivery itself was amazing, I did have a normal delivery Alhumdulillah. I was a bit fearful of going home as I didn't know what was in store for me. Alhamdulilah I was in love with my boys and so was my husband, it was and is such a blessing.

I know that you would have probably had your moments....Breaking down, only because when your husband is at work, its you against two Vulnerable and totally dependent infants. How did you keep headstrong at these times.
Her reply: My husband returned to work after 2 weeks and I was on my own, as wonderful as it was having two lovely babies. It was exhausting, late nights as I had to take on all the feeds and changing nappies through the night on my own, as my husband needed the rest so he could go to work the next day. It didn't end there, also waking up early to tend to babies and chores in the house it just was so tiring I longed sleep and company. I eventually got low emotionally and eeman wise. I decided to venture out of the home, I went to play groups and ventured on trips to waterloo, the farms and so much more. I then eventually met a twin mum that was muslim and she became my rock and honestly she still is my rock Allah brought her to me just when I needed a friend to hold me and lift me back up! My husband was very supportive mashaa Allah and eventually life began again Alhamdulilah. I began enjoying my time with my twins and being a mum

How did you survive the first year! 
Her reply: I am still very strict with routines with my twins, we have time to eat, time to sleep, time to learn etc. I won't get into timings but it's important you have a routine with twins. This helps with making home life and parenting easier, this also instills structure from the beginning and I highly advise starting this from 3 months onwards if you have or are having twins.
Potty training was a nightmare!! but we succeeded before they turned 2 years old. I would definitely advise in doing it together instead of separate times. The twins will push each other as they tend to copy what each other do. There will be lots of mess, be prepared for it and introduce the potty at least 2 weeks before actually starting the process so they can get familiar with it. Whatever you do, once you start keep at it and don't give up. 

How do you manage all your volunteering work with the 3 kids
Her reply: Running a charity and a business along with all the other things I do and being a mum and wife is not easy. I would not advise any mother to attempt it. It is hard work and at times you feel as though everyone matters except you.
I am pulling back on everything on the basis of having more mum time as my children are older and need me more. I don't plan on stopping everything but working on having more balance and enjoying life more. 

Finally, now that your twins are 3, what advice do you have in store for twin mommies.
Her reply: My advice to any sister that has one or two children is prioritize, there is time to do everything you want to do. There is no rush and your children need you right now. Don't also forget YOU! Your body has rights over you, Your husband has rights over you and you need to remember that.
We are first and foremost mums,wife,daughters and then everything else so do things in order. I am not saying you should not try to achieve your goals, I am saying really truly consider if achieving it right now is good for you and your family.
I pray Allah swt makes it easy for the twin mummies and gives them the strength that is needed to take care of their babies and themselves Ameen. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

A Quranic Reflection

A reflection by a Sister upon completing Surah Al Baqarah:

" Before I embarked on this journey with Al Huda I was floating in sin, shamefully yes yes yes yes , that’s exactly how I would phrase it as I just sinned so much and I didn’t  care. Those were not sins I committed unknowingly but was fully aware of all consequences and I thought to myself I am one big hypocrite who is able to cheat the world with my smile but with all the sinning I was unhappy and unsuccessful. I felt like there was no return for me, I was a hopeless case, I will never find guidance or mercy. I failed my MD dissertation due to time restrain which made me angry and I just continued to retaliate by sinning further … who was I retaliating against …. My Rabb , He didn’t need me, I need HIM. I was scared and I needed that big U turn in my life.

What always worked for me even as a child and teenager was attending dawah classes but where do I go and where was the time ?? I was  so busy with my MD part 1 exams!  One day I walk in to this function and sit at a table where I know no one, but the ladies around that table only discussed one thing ..Quranic verses. I wanted to know more , I asked around and found out but didn’t have time to go or was being held back by a force- my nafs.

I prayed but didn’t leave much time for dua, I thought after failing the  dissertation there’s no point asking for anything more … my dua list consisted of rabbana athina dua , dua for my parents and family and yes I always without fail monotonously asked for guidance. I was scared and I didn’t know why ??I was guilty .

Right after my MD part 1 exam ,I couldn’t take it anymore this constant unrest in my soul ,I firmly decided I am going to that Olympic house. I went for one class ,which became two then three ,four, five, six and they were going to finish sura al baqara but I was ADDICTED …what do I do now??

Ramadan came and alhamdulilah shaitaan was tied and all so I remained connected to my lord. I begged him to guide me and not let me go back to my sea of sins. Allah loves me , He answered my dua ,alhamdulilah Al Huda Sri Lanka was born! This dua for Al Huda to have a branch in Sri Lanka was made way back in 1999 when I was a third year med student in Lahore. I didn’t waste anytime and promptly registered .

My journey with the Quran was just amazing ! I have no words to describe it. Alhamdulilah! I learnt repeatedly that my Rabb was merciful and forgiving in sura baqara , that meant it’s not too late to change. He who gave so many chances to Bani Israeel to repent and reform will for sure I know l give me chance to repent and reform. In my duas I begged for forgiveness knowing for sure and hoping that He will forgive.

Sura al Baqara constantly commanded “adopt taqwa” this phrase drastically changed my life. I became conscious of my merciful Lord , this kept me away from doing wrong . In the laboratory there is a saying “doing what is right while no one is watching” for perfect laboratory skills and results.  Taqwa is like that to me. Keeping away from sin and doing what is right, only to please Allah, expecting  the reward only from Him.

The verses have a pattern of alternating  Allah’s mercy ,followed by verses on His wrath for those who disobey, verses that leave us hoping for His mercy and fearing His punishment.

I thought I will be under immense stress trying to cope with my classes at al huda, work and the home front. Subhanallah , when I busied my life pleasing Allah , Allah took care of all aspects of my life. I am excelling at work alhamdulilah, and am confident I will do just fine with my MD part two next year insha-Allah, as I have help from the lord of the alameen. My husband enjoys having a less grouchy less stressed wife because I was commanded to do ihsaan and my parents  enjoy the renewed  attention they get from their daughter.

My effort to please Allah by learning His Quran and and by putting His commands in to action has only made my life better, stress free and happy. Alhamdulilah!"

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


I would like to start with how I embarked my journey into motherhood. After my husband and I were told the unexpected news that I was carrying twins, we couldn't thank Allah SWT more. We rejoiced this blessing by sharing with family and lots of gratitude to Allah. I began reciting the quran with the intention of letting the foetuses listen to the words of the Almighty. After 34 weeks of carrying this wonderful gift or rather gifts of God  and enduring all the complications of a multiple pregnancy, I delivered my beautiful girls. Although my husband and I had to undergo the traumatising experience of an emergency C- Section, we were very hopeful and convinced that Allah would not let anything wrong happen, this trust we had was worth every ounce and Allah did not let our hopes down. "whoever puts his trust in Allah then He will suffice him" Quran 65:3

Post delivery was a period of distress. Little did I know the demands of twin babies. I was an overwhelmed first time mom trying to get it all right. The breastfeeding not getting on well, changing nappies 8X2 times a day, burping one after the other, settling one to sleep only to find the other wide awake and amidst all of this getting my household chores done!.... With my husband working full time I had very little and sometimes no support at all. All these had gotten the worst of me and my iman was an all time low. I just barely managed my 5 daily prayers but I knew this was not enough.
Alhumdulillah my husband had my parents fly from Sri Lanka, I had them for the first 5 months.  The extra hands helped me revive my iman and connection with the Almighty. I was trying to find time to re connect with God and realised for the first time that iman is not something that you set aside time for..... It is a part of you and with you 24x7. You only need to be conscious of it. I realized that ibaadah (worship) can be done anywhere anytime. Feeding my babies and looking after them on its own was an ibaadah as I was taking care of something that Allah  had entrusted me with. Cooking was another ibaadah, freshening up myself with utmost difficulty just to look pleasing enough for my husband when he gets home tired, was another. Soon I began to realize that I could turn any ordinary chore into an ibaadah with the right intention. This is SubahanAllah a blessing from Allah, He truly is Compassionate. "Allah does not burden a soul that it can bear " Quran 2:286. I found myself increasing my ilm by listening to numerous lectures while breastfeeding. I know some moms out there wait for the right time to reconnect with god post delivery, just like I did but sisters you are unintentionally pleasing Allah every time you do something for your family. All we need is to be conscious of why and ultimately for whom we are doing it in order to earn your reward. After all we dont want to waste a single effort in earning hassanath do we. This very conscience can turn your mundane daily chores into much more  meaningful tasks, which Allah has dedicated to you in the first place.

Sometimes we tend to get our daily activites out of the way just to relax. In the name of relaxing we are hasty in finishing our days activities may it be our Salah or other responsibilities. We forget the true purpose of this life, which is to work hard in order to relax in  the next  life (Akhirah).I remember an advice from  Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal : His son, Abdullah, asked hism one day: “Abi when will we ever relax?”  He looked him in the eye and said: “With the first step we take into Jannah.” 

If we understand the purpose of our existence which is to submit and worship our Lord The Lord of the heavens and the earth! then no task is going to be over whelming rather we will see it as a means of  achieving the purpose, the ultimate goal of entering Jannah!