And here we go with our first Pregnant in (Cape Town) that isn’t me! An unimportant number of years ago, our featured momma and I were at school together, so I was so excited to reconnect with her after all these (not tooooo many) years. I loved so much of what Mushra had to say that today’s interview is a little longer than usual. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do!
Mushra is 28 weeks along with her second little girl. 32 years old; Mushra studied Business Administration and now wields dual swords at Media24 as the Publishing Editor of Modest Muse, and one of 6 candidates selected to be groomed as future leaders of Media24 (out of an application pool of 200!) in their 2 year Apex Future Leaders executive management programme.
The one downside to being a rockstar in her career, is that she is a little anxious about returning to work after maternity leave ends. “After only 4 months I have to leave my little one in someone else’s care; I didn’t have to do that with the first one. I will also have to express milk at the office, which will be a challenge as I have not done this before. In terms of the Apex programme, I will still be attending important meetings and presentations, as well as submitting academic work during those 4 months; but I am so humbled to be a part of the programme and I am looking forward to sharing and inspiring others with all that I am learning.”
I have no doubt her daughters will be the most inspired by all that their mother is achieving.
When she is not being an inspiring career woman, she is a dedicated wife to her husband Altaaf and an adoring mommy to her gorgeous 4 year old daughter, Almaaz, who she says is a replica of her hubby (who sounds awesome).
“He indulges my cravings and just leaves me be if I don’t feel like doing anything. He also sent me to the spa for my backache – awesome Mother’s Day gift – and he indulges my crazy! lol”
She says being pregnant in Cape Town has it’s perks. “I love this place… the beautiful scenery makes the drive in traffic to and from work bearable; Nuri sushi in the CBD does cooked sushi that has solved my sushi craving problem and the views from the building in which I work also make every day beautiful.”
Something I found beautiful from Mushra’s culture is that Islam considers a woman who is pregnant as someone who is fighting a holy war. I know I felt that way often enough and I love that her faith recognises and respects it.
Both Mushra and Altaaf were married previously, but had no kids. So finding out she was pregnant was the greatest gift. “I tried for 2 years to conceive in my first marriage, and actually began to believe that there was something wrong with me. And then, as was God’s plan, I fell pregnant very early into this marriage.”
Mushra’s first pregnancy was a breeze, though she did suffer from slight Postnatal Depression after birth. Her lowest point was contracting a very bad bladder infection when attending the Soccer world cup in Greenpoint in 2010. “I was bleeding a bit and so stressed that I would lose my precious baby; and I could only get to the gynae the next day. Losing your baby is every mom’s worst fear. I’m very careful not to stress and to eat right, but sometimes life hands you stressful situations. Luckily Almaaz was fine.”
Having 3 sisters and one brother, Mushra always knew she wanted another child, and hopes to try again for a boy in 3 years.
“I was never hesitant about having more kids. I love being a mom and Almaaz teaches me about being innocent again. I am lucky enough to be married to someone who absolutely loves and embraces being a dad and is absolutely in love with his daughter (more than with me even – lol). Bringing another being into a loving family like ours is an absolute blessing.”
Although not exactly a difficult pregnancy, it has brought severe morning sickness and vomiting, extreme sensitivity to smells, loads of crazy hormones (as she puts it) and a craving for Coca Cola – in a glass bottle.
“This is my second pregnancy, and I feel grateful and blessed that I am able to carry life for a second time. I’m not as big this time around, and people are constantly telling me I’m glowing.”
Sisters & Names
Mushra is happy with the 4 and a half year age gap, as Almaaz is at a good age, very independent and off nappies. “I think she will help me a lot, as she is very maternal and nurturing.” Mushra and her next youngest sister have a 6 year age gap and are very close, so she knows from experience that when her girls are older, the gap won’t feel that big. “And there is no love like sister love.”
Their first daughter’s beautiful name was from the Randy Crawford song, Almaaz; they loved it in the song and later discovered it meant diamond – the perfect name for their precious gift.
Because her pregnancy experience was so different, they were 100% sure they were expecting a boy and chose the name Yaqeen, meaning to have absolute faith and conviction in God. “We have been through some challenging times and it is with true faith that we got through, which is why we chose the name. After finding out at 20 weeks that we are adding another princess to our family, we are favouring the female equivalent of Yaqeen, Aqeeda. Nothing is set in stone though and we may feel a different name suits her better when we meet her.”
Having your baby
Mushra had hoped to have a natural birth with an epidural for both her births, but her first ended in c-section, which she says was great except for the pain of the epidural. Her doctor has advised her that the safest route for her and her baby is to go the same way this time round, as he is concerned that she may suffer a tear of the previous cut or the surrounding muscle if the contractions are very strong or she is in labour for too long. She is happy to do whatever is best for her body and her baby, and is looking to welcome their new addition around 10 August.
Words of Wisdom
One thing you wish somebody had told you about pregnancy before your first?
Don’t read all the books and listen to all the advice, it will overwhelm you. Do what feels right for you!
Best advice you received when you were pregnant?
Advice for daddies-to-be from a pregnant mommy?
Tell your wife she is beautiful no matter what. If she gets snappy and cries because of something strange, just hug her, don’t laugh! Hormones make you a different person; it’s like if the hulk were carrying a baby.
Advice for first time mommies-to-be about pregnancy?
Enjoy every second; you are only pregnant (hopefully) a few times in your life. God is harvesting his creation in your body. Be grateful, be careful, be happy and take care of yourself. Do not let anyone’s words or actions make your pregnancy anything less than beautiful for you.
Advice for other mommies-to-be about pregnancy with small children?
Talk talk talk – tell your partner and those around you how you are feeling all the time.
Ask for help – don’t try to be Supermom.
Get a Linda!! Linda is my nanny; she organises and manages my life at home. I love her to bits and could not do what I do without her.
Thank you SO much for sharing with us Mushra; I really enjoyed writing this! You are such an inspiration to me, and I have no doubt to many. Your daughters are so blessed to have a mommy like you, who leads by example and works at all you believe in. We are all wishing you so much luck on the rest of your pregnancy journey, welcoming your baby girl into your family and on all the work you will be doing!
Next week we return to Joburg, with another Pregnant in (_) interview with the beautiful Kaylynn Smith.
Sending all the love xx