A Letter to My BellyJanuary 6, 2012
Only one week before your birth, only 7 days before you become an autonomous human being. I am feeling insomniac and stressed like never before. It’s worse than waiting for an exam results, a feedback on an interview or a message from a loved one. This is the countdown for LIFE. So I decided to do what I do best: writing therapy. Yet, it feels much more difficult and serious than writing an article for a newspaper or a note for my blog. This is writing a letter for an unknown being inside my belly, my son.
I remember the day your father proposed to me. I was in Morocco and he was in Egypt in the middle of an apocalyptic demonstration where he was seeing people being shot around him, furious youth chanting, and a smell of spring and hope in the air. No romantic speech, no diamond ring, no leaning on his knees, just a ‘’If I die tonight, the only thing I will regret is not marrying you and if I survive and Mubarak’s regime collapses it will be a sign that everything is possible and that we are meant to be together’’… and I said Yes!
I remember how I felt when one morning one month after our big fat Moroccan wedding; I woke up feeling dizzy and strange as if I sensed an unusual presence in my body. Your father and I went to the doctor all confused, and in the echography screen there was a cell and inside the cell a tiny white blinking spot, ‘’it’s the heart of your baby!’’ said the doctor. From that moment I fell in love with you even before you becoming a proper human being!
There are many things I need to apologize to you for. First for dragging you around in 4 continents for the last 9 months on planes, trains, cars, boats, buses and microbuses. If you choose later to become a hard rock musicians I won’t blame you because I will be responsible for that one! However, you can consider yourself a lucky child who has lots of experience even from within, and you can put on your CV that you met Sheikha Mozah, Ban Ki-Moon, and Erdogan, visited the State Department, the Council of Europe and the NATO, had dinner with Marzouky, Hermes and tata Corinne, smelled Musk, Hash and Tear Gas, and tasted Caviar, Foul, and Couscous…
I also need to apologize to you for violating your intimacy, exposing you on social media and nicknaming you Sardina. Forgive me baby, but my friends and family are all around the globe and the joy of having you is so big that I needed to share it with the world. For the Sardina part, I think no matter what we will name you on formal papers by now everyone know you with your nickname. I even surprised your father one Ramadan night praying God and saying ‘’Please God bless and protect my son Sardina’’, so even up there they know Mr. Sardina Mohamed Awad!
Furthermore, I need to apologize for bring you to the world in such a date, where our region is living a turmoil and everything is uncertain. I know the earth is overcrowded and over polluted with toxic wastes and hatred speech and maybe the fruits won’t taste the same as when I was a kid myself, nor the landscapes will be as green. Yet, I can promise you that there will still be flowers to smell, seashells to collect, books to read and animals to play with.
I will not impose on you my taste, my choices, my religion, nor my political views, because I believe that the clever baby you are already have inside of him the light of the truth. Therefore I will do my best to help you keep that flame alive. In addition, I don’t want to impose on you my Moroccan culture or your father’s Egyptian culture, with all our heritage of chauvinism, guilt, schizophrenia and frustrations. Even if I had the chance and the strong temptation, I didn’t want to give birth to you in the US or Europe for offering you a blue passport, as I don’t want to doom you to a history, an anthropology or a geography. I would like you to be proud of being a fruit of a multicultural love, to have access not only to our two cultures but to all cultures and to choose by your own where your heart belongs to.
Finally baby I am asking you to give me a chance to learn how to be your mother. I confess having no previous experience for this risky job. I have tried my best reading books, singing songs and caressing you while inside my belly, but I know that it takes more than that to be a good mother. You didn’t choose to be my son, while I chose to be your parent. That’s why I am sorry if I don’t meet your expectations, if I am chaotic, idealistic and badly prepared for the adventure of motherhood. All I have to offer for sure in my unconditional and infinite Love. Would you accept it?