Though I hope to someday be one, I am not a mother. And since I’ve never had any children, I can only imagine the challenges that come with being a mom. After all, only parents know best, right?
So when I come across certain parenting decisions that shock or confuse me — like the family who has 19 children or the little girl who was raised by animals — I try to keep an open mind.
But when I heard about this particular family and their controversial parental choices, I was truly caught off guard. And, judging by the conflicting backlash, it seems I’m not the only one.
Maha, a 52-year-old mother of three, is not your average mom. A prenatal belly dance instructor, strict Paleo dieter, and a leader in spiritual birth preparation classes, Maha walks to the beat of her own drum.
But when she publicized this particular parental decision, Maha stirred up a huge a pot of controversy.
Maha and her 6-year-old daughter, Aminah, are just like any other mother and child. As they told Woman’s Day, they enjoy going to the park, playing hide-and-seek, and having their hair done.
But Maha and Aminah share one special activity that sets them apart — and it’s causing quite the stir around the world.
At 6 years old, Aminah is still being breastfed by Maha. Whether playing at the park or waiting for the dentist, Aminah lets her mom know when she wants to feed — and Maha is happy to comply. “It’s my favorite thing to do when I’m not at school,” Aminah said to Woman’s Day.
And according to both mother and child, the breastfeeding will continue until little Aminah decides otherwise. The reason? Maha believes breast milk is healthy and vital for children.
In fact, Maha so believes in the power and sustenance of her breast milk, she’s opted out of vaccinating Aminah.
According to the 52-year-old mom’s Facebook page, Maha feels that women should decide what’s best for their child. “Who defines ‘normal’?” she asked to her followers.
While some people say she’s simply after attention, Maha is happy for the negative backlash: “People are thinking about it — makes me very happy — rather than being hidden and silenced under a breastfeeding cover… “
Now, Maha aims to spread a message of choice and equality. “Who makes up the rules and then dictates them to mothers babies/children…?” Maha wrote on Facebook.
“Leave mothers alone to make up their own minds unless she asks wants needs to know… And in that case empower her to tune in and to make her own decisions based on her circumstances.”
Image credits: Facebook/Maha Al Musa