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English mum..Bengali/Muslim dad.

(163 Posts)
Halzer Sun 29-May-05 14:39:36

Hi mums...

Anybody out there married to a Bengali or Muslim man?
I soooo need to find women who understand my situation and this is the first mums website that I have found with this sort of catagory.

Anyway....Im am swimming in boredom at the moment
. I got married in 2001 to my bengali b/friend of 8 years. I also converted to Islam.
Now I have a DD aged 2 and a DS, 4 months....but in the process of becoming a wife and mum I lost contact with half of my friends, and the other half "dont get my lifestyle"
My head is spinning with all the pressure from my in-laws.....
Anyone out there in a similar position...?
I would love to chat with ya'll

hercules Sun 29-May-05 14:40:32

I'm not but welcome to mumsnet
There are a few Muslim mums here I know.

stitch Sun 29-May-05 16:31:39

hi halzer, how can you have the time to be bored with two babies
my dh is bengali. im not.

Halzer Sun 29-May-05 17:33:22

hiya stitch....

Your kids keep me busy! But what I meant by boredom is that although i have sis inlaws, they have been brought over from Bangledesh, so there is a language barrier so I feel a bit left out when we are all together and they all talk about how their lives were in Bangladesh etc.. We dont have much in common I have lost touch with my old friends.
I would love to talk with mums who are like me, and who I can talk with when my mum inlaw does things like pinch my sons nose to make it pointed and I want to ask her to stop, but know it will upset her if i do.

some things about the culture I just dont get.
oh well..I will get there in the end.

pinkmagic1 Sun 29-May-05 22:16:19

I have been married to a muslim man (arab) for 8 years and have 1 DS. I have not converted to Islam but do find that some friends find it difficult to understand my lifestyle. There are certainaly more restrictions on a Muslim women or one married to a Muslim on what is seen as morally exceptable and what is not and many western people find this hard to understand e.g friends find it difficult to understand why my husband dosn't want me out in a nightclub at 3 in the morning!
Whats with the nose pinching? Their are some very strange customs but to them we must realise some of ours seem very strange.
Are their any mums and toddler groups in your area where you can widen your circle of friends or maybe even take a part time job when your youngest is a little older?

stitch Sun 29-May-05 23:17:27

i used to feel left out about the language barrier. but to be honest,90% of the time what they were saying would just upset me. sometimes the bitchiness was intended, and sometimes just unthinking.
i think you basically need to develp a circle of friends other than your inlaws. there are some muslim mother and toddler groups. again, i found that the bengali community looked at them with slight suspicion, as there were, 'non bengalis' there
do you live with your inlaws?
what about church m/t groups. i find they are better organised than the muslim ones, and dont tend to be as religious as the muslim ones, iyswim.
antenatal class friends?
when i was lonely at home with my first baby, my hv found me a friend.... sad, but she was fantastic.
and mumsnet is brilliant. i spend far too much time on here

ChaCha Wed 01-Jun-05 11:13:21

Where in the UK do you live Halzer?
Do you reside with the in-laws/family?
Hopefully (inshallah) you will meet other mums on here - it's a superb website! I have non-Muslim friends who are just as supportive and have lifestyles very similar to my own. Probably a lot of what you are facing is culture related rather than just religious. Hopefully there will be more posts on here.
Look fwd to speaking with you x

Halzer Wed 01-Jun-05 14:08:24

Hi cha-cha..

I used to live with my in-laws for around two years. Even though it drove me insane at times it was also useful as I managed to pick up the language well, which Im glad about as now I can speak Bengali to my kids. I think its important that they can speak it as hopefully when they get older and come into contact with Bengalis who dont know that "mum is English" they wont be singled out.

You are also right about culture being more of an issue. Islam is no problem but it clashes with the culture.

Dont get me wrong, my in-laws treat me well but as all the sister inlaws I have are brides from Bangladesh, I cant really relate to them much. We talk about our kids, clothes etc but when I want to reminise about loving Bros in the 1980's, Im totally stumped!

I now live near Ilford in London with my hubby and two kids and Im looking to go playgroups
when my 4 month old gets a bit older.
Still, Im glad I found this site.
Thanks guys

ChaCha Wed 01-Jun-05 16:32:12

Salam Halzer,
I had to laugh at your not being able to reminisce with your SILs about Bros etc.
Feel free to CAT me (that's contact another talker) and then you can email me if you like. Is great that your children are already bi-lingual, good for you!
Must go, talk soon x Salam x

shimmy21 Wed 01-Jun-05 16:47:03

Hi Halzer I'm married to a Turkish man and although he's atheist so we don't have any religious differences I can so totally relate to the clash of cultures with the in-laws. Some of my dh's mum's beliefs in childcare would literally get her done for abuse if she lived in the UK (luckily for me she doesn't ). One example - she belives you should add salt to a child's diet to make them thirsty so they will drink more milk Another example - if your child is so hot that they are sweating you should add another layer of clothing because sweating will give them a chill. And another - on the hottest of days you must never give your child icecream, a cold drink or let them play with water because they will catch cold and die. You've got me on a roll now!!

I can relate to the lack of shared experiences too. When you first fall in love you don't belive that not having a shared culture will ever matter but it does. Every comment has to be explained and it can be hard work. but there are wonderful bonuses too from your children having 2 cultures.

(And on a shallow level I've found all those boring programmes of the top 100 LPs or the top ten children's TV programmes a really useful way to share my childhood culture with my dh. He even knows who Bros are now!

Halzer Wed 01-Jun-05 16:52:27

LOL shimmy..

And the best thing is that I can play my old A-ha Cds and not get strange looks from my hubby coz he dont know who the hell they are!!

shimmy21 Wed 01-Jun-05 17:05:23

Halzer, are there any things you can do with babies near you? (baby massage, mums n' tots groups or anything else?)

Being stuck at home with 2 little ones can be incredibly hard work and a bit isolating let alone having to work harder than monocultural families to cross the cultural gap. Do you have any family on your side nearby?

mixed Thu 02-Mar-06 18:45:57

Just reviving this thread to ask what names you have for you ds. I'm pg and have no idea for boysnames. Not converted to Islam and don't want a "too Muslim" sounding name, but feel an "english name is alsoo not appropriate. Girls names are easier, Sarah, Amber,

themothership Sat 04-Mar-06 16:05:22

Hi Mixed,

For boys you could try Arabic versions of 'Biblical' names (i.e. names of prophets and charaters who appear throughout all three monotheistic religions)... E.g. Yusuf for Joseph, Yaqoob for Jacob, Benyamin for Benjamin, Danial for Daniel etc...

Might not be what you had in mind, but it's the route that my and dh were thinking along the lines of when I was pregnant (turns out we had a girl in the end!). I'm a Pakistani Muslim, dh is white, converted to Islam when we got married.


saadia Sat 04-Mar-06 16:35:07

the mothership's idea is good. Other popular names which might fit your criterion are Kamran (which could become Cameron) or Rayyan (close to Ryan).

mixed Sat 04-Mar-06 20:42:56

Thanks for the reply.
Yusuf,Yacoob sssound a bit too "oreign/Muslim" to me. DH likes Kamran but as I'm not from the UK, it would sound a bit too strange in my family ears.
I like Danyal but two of DH's best friend have called their son Danyal....
Well, have still 20 weeks to go...
Thanks again.

tahira Mon 06-Mar-06 14:32:20

Hi everyone!!!!

My name's Tahira and I live in Essex. I'm a Pakistani Muslim and married my best friend James who is White. He converted to Islam when we got married and we now have a beautiful daughter called Safiyah. I understand what you mean about the difficulty in picking names. I didn't want the name to sound too foreign, but then you've got to realise that the kids will not look white-it's hard to decide!!!
For a boy's name we were going to have Jalal or Aadam.
Would be great to hear from any of you as this is my 1st time on this website and to be honest I don't really know any mums as I'm 25 and my old friends are all single and childless!!!

mixed Tue 07-Mar-06 10:33:36

Hi Tahira, we also have Safiya on the girl's short list.
I think we are a bit a complicated family, dh from a Muslim country, me from another European country (not UK) but actually also "mixed race".

Live more North from Essex but you will find this website quite addictive.....

tahira Tue 07-Mar-06 12:57:55

Hi mixed
My daughter is 1/2 Pakistani, 1/4 Maltese, 1/8 Russian and 1/8 Enlgish.
She's very mixed!!!!
There's a saying somewhere like, more ingredients improve the broth!!!
Probably got that totally wrong!!! LOL!!!

mixed Tue 07-Mar-06 21:13:23

yes, dd and ds are also something like that, although the 1/4 is probably less than that. Won't get into details as paranoid about RL pepole recognising me.....

tahira Wed 08-Mar-06 11:53:38

No problem

there's no chance of anyone recognising me as i don't think anyone i know is aware websites like this exist!!

halima Wed 08-Mar-06 21:10:55

Salaam Mums

My name is Halima, although it used to be Claire. My DH is Bengali Muslim and my family are Jewish. I met my DH at university 7 years ago and culture/religion was never once discussed, not until we were in a serious relationship, but by then it was too late, I was head over heels . His family didn't accept me until we were married, 3 years ago now, and by then I had been a Muslim for a year (my own choice). His family are wonderful and very loving, but yes, there are some major culture differences. Fortunately I get away with a lot because I'm "not to know" . We have a DS aged 7 months. His name is Zakariya (a good Jewish name and good Muslim name, so both families are happy).

I would love to chat to you all! This is so exciting



tahira Wed 08-Mar-06 21:55:23

Salaam Halima
I'm also new to netmums and am totally hooked on it!!!
Hope to keep in touch and chat!!


mixed Thu 09-Mar-06 20:49:56

I'm going to blow my cover I think, but our son is also called that, and my Christian family think it's a good Christian name...
"Joke" is that neither my DH or me are religious at all......

halima Fri 10-Mar-06 19:13:57

yeah, none of my inlaws know how to use the web either! was reading some of the earlier threads, bout in-laws pinching noses to make it pointed. had to stop my MIL doing that, had to warn her he'd end up with a nose as massive as mine and i was trying to breed that out! she also breastfed my DS to stop him crying (altho she has no milk)! that's the only time i've shouted at her (I was horrified!!!). i also totally get what other mums are saying bout inlaw pressure.

as for names, if i'd had a girl, i would have chosen Hana cept DH hated it, did like Maryam but my inlaws pronounced it Mor-ri-yom. my fave was leila, but they all laughed and said it meant something really rude in bengali. and nadia was thrown out the window when she won big brother. actually my inlaws pronounce zakariya as jackariya (and my nephews call him jackie) whilst my family pronounce it as zechariah, so i think we'll have to choose more carefully next time!!! boys names so hard to choose.

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