A Lesson From Beyonce
This Wednesday, Beyonce released a series of photos along with an announcement sharing that she and her husband, Shawn Carter, are expecting twins, masha'Allah. The photos have been nothing short of show-stopping. In fact, with all of the political banter that's been had over the past few weeks (ahem, months), I believe that the photos were a welcomed interruption of our scheduled broadcasting.
The series of images show Beyonce posted alongside floral arrangements, draped in colorful fabric, and posing with her daughter, Blue Ivy. In the most circulated image of the series, Bey is seen kneeling in front of a floral display in a burgundy lace bra with a pink bow and satin panties, veiled, and looking powerfully at the camera.
This single photo has begun conversations in every corner about why she chose this set, this outfit, those flowers, and that veil. Photographers and fans alike have been, in many cases, disappointed by the image calling it anything from "beneath her," to strange, to downright tacky.
What's this have to do with you? Hang with me, we're getting there...
Both Beyonce and her husband are multimillionaire powerhouses of the music industry, and together their net worth places them just under the billion-dollar benchmark. Do people really believe that Beyonce didn't have the budget, the contacts, or the styling team to give her anything short of what she wanted for her maternity shoot? No, she hired who she wanted, styled the shoot how she wanted it, and made it public because she was proud of it.
Odds are, she knew that people would have an opinion about it. Odds are, she knew that many would find the photos tasteless or confusing. Odds are, she didn't care.
As Muslim moms, there is a lesson here that we shouldn't miss.
I'm not saying to drop to your knees and pose semi-nude to announce your pregnancy, don't get me wrong. What I am saying is that there is empowerment in placing the thoughts and opinions of others by the wayside.
From the time you go public about your pregnancy, comments about what you should do, how you should do it, and why what you're doing isn't 'the best' option will abound. Everyone has an opinion about what sort of prenatal vitamin you should take, whether or not you should get the epidural, if vaccinating your baby is the right choice, if you're holding your baby too much or not enough, and the endless list goes on...
For the Muslim mom, even more questions are likely to come. Why did (or didn't) you shave your baby's head, what's with the dates in the delivery room, and are you planning to make your daughter wear that thing (with a circling motion around your face) when she's older?
While motherhood for us includes some of the same trials and challenges that might be found in the mainstream, there are so many added possibilities for criticisms to arise. The question is: Will you bend to the opinions of others or will you face them head on and do what's best for you? Will you feel confident enough in your footing as a mother to look right into the camera of life with that same fierce and proud spark in your eyes?
Will you remember that you have inherited a wealth that supersedes the monetary riches of even Queen Bey herself?
Will you take comfort in the fact that while you could choose from any other path, by the grace of Allah, you've been given the richness of His mercy and His religion?
Abu Huraira, r.a., said: The Messenger of Allah, p.b.u.h., said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
I encourage you to remember that we are strangers. The proverbial doors of opportunity will swing wide open for negative commentary to come our way, but with support and sisterhood available to you, it makes the weight of those comments a bit easier to ignore.
So here are my two recommendations for you:
1. Take this lesson from Beyonce, and just do you. You were chosen to mother your children, and you are not only capable, you're ideal. And,
2. Join the free Birth Under Wraps group on Facebook so that when you're feeling unsure, you can have immediate access to a community of supportive sisters just like you who are more than happy to give you glad tidings in your journey. You can get free access to our group here.