Wednesday, 20 February 2013



Monday, 18 February 2013

Lounge Talk with Life Coach and Family Mediator, Bint e Ahmed


By definition, emotions are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's  relationships with others. This means that while relationships act as a stimulus, the 
expression of emotions is the conditioned response. This forms the human psychology. 
At times when one fails to attain the desired fulfillment from a particular relationship, he is often termed to have a psychological deficiency. While this is true at times, it by no means implies a social taboo. As humans we live in societies for a reason - to seek help from each other. 
People advise with the intention of helping those in need. However, those who are knowledgeable are the best sources. They are professionals who have been trained in the field and add from their personal experience.
Parenting and Relationship Coaching is one such banner. Run by Bint e Ahmed, she is a life coach and family mediator, who strives at overcoming any obstacles that may be hampering the development of healthy relationships.
The team at Mama, Baby and Diapers sought to interview the expert over an exchange of emails to find out more about the inspirational woman.

Beginning with the most clichéd and apt question for introductions: can you please tell us about yourself?

I would like to be known as Bint e Ahmed. Professionally I am a software engineer turned a Life Coach and a Family Mediator. I currently reside in Karachi.

What comprises the project Parenting and Relationship Coaching (Pakistan) and how did it come into form?

I was getting increasingly unsatisfied with my 9 to 6 job and working with abstract software code. I always wanted to do something different; something that would connect me to people, something that would help me make a difference in people’s lives.
I was always aware of my empathetic nature and listening skills, yet was not sure how to use them until I got the opportunity to attend training in Life Coaching first, and then Family Mediation. My experience working with lawyers and social workers gave me a clear direction.
I then moved to Pakistan in the end 2011 with the objective of starting workshops for parents, teachers and care takers. However, the turnout at these workshops was disappointing. That is when I created the Facebook page for Parenting and Relationship Coaching (Pakistan), with the purpose of creating awareness. It led to a remarkable response from fans.
One fan asked me if I could provide individual coaching. I took it as a challenge and agreed. The client was very happy with the way I guided her and this encouraged me to advertise a one on one coaching program on the fan page. A few fans signed up for the program which led to appreciation from the clients. Since then Alhamdo Lillah more and more people are showing interest, joining the program and brining major positive changes in their lives.
Many of my clients have commented that the improvement is so significant that their friends and family members can notice the change in their approach to life and communication style.

How would you describe your background and training?

I have received training in Life Coaching, Family Mediation and many other relevant topics from Canada and have worked with lawyers and social workers. I got opportunity to work with abused people, divorced couples and immigrant community in Canada. This has indeed been an enriching experience.

What is your coaching philosophy?  What’s your mission as a coach?

Parenting and Relationships need skills that are not taught in educational institutes. With the trend of diminishing joint family system in Pakistan, the informal guidance and emotional support has become unavailable. In the past few decades the way we live has changed drastically. Old ways of parenting and maintaining fulfilling relationships do not work anymore. Divorce rate and family conflicts are ever increasing.
My mission is to provide guidance, emotional support and impart skills to help women raise children with character and maintain smooth and fulfilling family relationships.

What procedures do you use to evaluate the areas of weakness of your clients and how do you help them perform to the best of their abilities?

When a client shows interest, I arrange an intake call with her over the phone, Skype or viber. During the first call I get a fairly good idea about what kind of help is needed. Week by week we discuss problems and issues of concern. Each week I give them reading assignments, help them define family rules and activities to follow and practice to help create harmony and structure in the family.
I coach them on       

  • Time management
  • Organization skills,
  • Assertive communication skills
  • Positive discipline
  • Managing emotions
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict management
  • Negotiating differences

Can you please quote a real life experience and how it aided to benefit your clients?

Sometimes simple adjustments in your attitude can make big difference. I always advise my clients not to show an immediate reaction when an argument flares up. I coach them on different techniques on how to contain their emotions and take time out to control immediate reactions. Many clients have given the feed back that this almost invariably helps contain the conflict and because of lack of immediate reaction the other party loses interest and is not so keen on opposition.

What do you think are the main factors that contribute to healthy relationships amongst a child and their parents? How can they be incorporated into daily life?

Positive discipline, bonding and structure. Implement one rule each week and see how it brings harmony and peace to your household.

In your experience, what have been the most common factors that lead to strains within relationships?

We are products of our experiences. We unconsciously learn lots of things that are not so helpful.
Blaming, complaining, nagging, desire to control, desire to always be right and lack of communication are some of those things and a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Has there been a time when you gave coaching sessions, yet the participants had difficulty in understanding the topics you were covering? What did you do?

I adapt to the participants’ level of understanding and language. Alhamdo Lillah most of my clients have made very positive changes in their lives. Though there are some clients who were not so receptive and insisted that it is the other person who should change. They think that I can teach them how to change the other person and make the other party realize their mistakes. Now I make it clear from the beginning that change should always come from within first. As most of our interactions are interdependent the other party adapts with you and a process sets in motion that may bring profound changes in the way you interact and relate.

How can interested participants get in touch with Parenting and Relationship Coaching (Pakistan)?

Details of contact are provided below:

Life Coach and Family Mediator
Bint e Ahmed
Ph: 0300 2643988, 0315 6123656, 
Viber: 0307 7198611

Going back in your life 10 years, what do you find you could not do then that now you have no problem doing?

Stay calm in panicky situations; control my anger, disappointments and reactions to unpleasant situations.
I am amazed at how easily I can forgive now whereas it was almost impossible before and how forgiving takes a heavy load off your chest.
I have also learnt not to be judgmental and communicate assertively

Would you like to end with a positive advice or a note of inspiration? 

Parenting and maintaining healthy relationships are indeed difficult in these times of tremendous social change. Don’t be shy to admit that you need help. This can turn around your life. Give yourself a chance.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Monday Moves: Nursing pains

While breastfeeding is the most natural and fulfilling way to bond with your baby, it is also a tiring process. I mean cradling an almost 8-pound baby (who is in the process of gaining more weight) is a feat on its own; and then finding that perfect position that contributes to a successful transfer for both the parties takes work on both ends. 
However, in the process a mother often sacrifices her comfort to meet her child's requirements. And for that I shall pay a mini tribue to all those mothers who breatsfed ...

... to thee courage and selfless-ness, I salute!

If not undertaken the right posture during breastfeeding, one can often suffer from neck and shoulder pains. Apart from enduring physical tension, mental stress is also a direct contributing factor.
In order to relieve pain in the targeted area here are a few exercises that can be done after each feeding.
Begin by relaxing your shoulder and neck muscles. A good way to do that is to massage the area with warm oil or take a warm bath. Work towards the muscles gradually. 
Here are 4 easy exercises to loosen the muscles.

Head Roll

Pull up your neck and start rolling your neck in a clockwise motion very slowly. Count up to 5 circles and then stop. Now move in an anti-clockwise direction, completing 5 circles. 
Pause and then repeat the cycle for one more time.

Shoulder Shrug

With arms held loosely at either side stand straight.
Inhale, while at the same time lift your shoulders first as high and then as far back as they can go. 
Exhale, and lower your shoulders to the original position. 
Repeat up to 10 times. Do this exercise after each feeding.

Neck extension and Neck flexion

Stand straight and clasp your hands behind your head. Be careful to place the hands behind head only and not neck.
Without moving your neck, push your head backward against the hands resisting the movement. Hold up to a count of 10 and then relax. Repeat 3 times.
This is a neck extension.
For the neck flexion clasp your hands again and place them on your forehead. Once again push your head forward against the resistance formed by the clasped hands and count to 10. 
Repeat 3 times. 

Upper body stretch

This exercise besides strengthening your shoulder muscles, also helps tone arms. Check out the exercise, behind back arms clasp.

These exercises can easily be done while sitting down and therefore, add the convenience of being incorporated in your newly found lifestyle of breastfeeding- only minus the pains. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013



DIY Day: Owl-themed Valentine's card

I believe that children are born intelligent. They have an innate ability to grasp ideas quickly and comprehend hidden meanings and patterns in their surroundings. As parents, it is our responsibility then to hone this ability.

beat that einstein!

A good way to do that is by putting them up to a challenge. This DIY tutorial tries to do exactly that. And since Valentine's is coming up, I thought of coupling the challenge with the occasion.
The owl-themed valentine's card by Annette is a puzzle in itself and once finished is an adorable present.

Step 1: what you need

  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Coloured or patterned paper (for heart-shaped cut-outs)

Step 2: snip, snip ...

The project involves using only hearts to make a complete body of an owl.
Use the coloured/patterned paper to cut out heart shapes. 

You will need 1 big heart for the body (as shown in the picture above)
2 medium hearts for the head outline (white hearts in the top row)
2 medium hearts about half-inch smaller than the hearts used for the head outline - these will be used for the head (the second row patterned hearts)
2 small hearts for talons (white coloured bottom row) - these will be pasted upside down to give the appearance of toes
1 tiny heart for the beak (to be pasted upside down under the head)

Step 3: the puzzle at hand

With the cut-outs spread out, ask your child to figure out how they might go together. You can show her the picture of the final project which will look like this:

Here's how it is made.
Glue the smaller medium sized heart shapes onto the medium hearts, cut out for the head outline. Paste these onto the big heart cut out for the body. Remember to fan out the two heart shapes used for the head to give it the shape of a head. Place the smaller heart cut out for the beak upside down atop the now formed head and glue it. 
Use the small hearts for talons. You can paste it onto the body either at the front or as toes peeking from behind.
I drew in round eyes with eyelashes to let the other person know that it was from a girl. You can choose to use different shapes or stickers for the eyes.

By the end of the project your child will be left mentally stmulated to try more puzzles of the sort. And with each additional owl she makes you can accompany them with tiny goodie bags to share them with her friends.

Happy Valentine's

Monday, 4 February 2013

The 9 months: a survival guide

Pregnancy is tough, and without proper guidance the parents of the soon-to-be born child can be left clueless and dazed.
Here is a survival guide to safely get through the 9 months, by David and Kelly Sopp.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Monday Moves: Hate the 'love handles'

They may sound cute but they are lethal. Once that piece of chocolate cake, you so indulged yourself in owing to the love for the dessert itself, is completely ingested, these love handles will appear as villains avenging the death of chocolate.  

get away from me you evil!
Love handles are in love with your body - especially around the waist, where they accumulate as a layer of fat so hard to get rid of. 

So come on, let's jointly wage a war against them. Let's hate the love handles!


These are so easy that you can do these while heating up your food in the microwave.

Stand straight with your hands on your hips or at the sides, and legs a little apart. 
With your back straight and your tummy tucked in, lower your torso a few inches towards the left, and then back again. repeating the motion on the right side. This is one rep.
Continue to do 10 reps in total, or if you're adventurous, till your food heats up.

Torso twists

This time you can wait for the kettle to boil. Till the tea is ready ..

Stand straight with legs seperated. Gently twist the torso to the right and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat the motion to the left then. During all times, try to restrict the motion from the hips. Continue to 10 reps.

Bicycle crunch

Laying down on the floor, bring your hands behind your head and raise your hips above the ground to a 90-degree angle. Pull your left leg inwards towards your chest. At the same time twist yor right elbow to meet the knee of the leg. Repeat with the opposite leg and elbow. 
Work up to 10 reps.


Lose weight around the waist while also toning your arms. Check out the last exercise in the post.

Side plank hip dips

A variation of the plank, start in a plank position and slowly lift your body to a side, resting the body's weight on your right forearm. 
When comforatable in the position, drop your hips to the floor as you inhale. Exhale as your bring them back to the original position,
Do up to 10 reps, increasing 5 each week. 

Since they are a tough son of a glute to get rid of, the exercises will demand attention and consistency to see significant results. But once that waist is back in sight, you will love your curves and hate the love handles!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Psyche of a Blood Sucker

This time they werent even in a group. It was just the single shameless blood-sucking mosquito that had raged a rampage across my infant's body. I can actually play connect-the-dots with the tiny mosquito bites sprawled randomly on his face. 
I was also in the room, but it chose to ignore me and advanced towards a more gullible prey. I had just put him to sleep after a warm bath, which basically implied a deep sleep for the baby and a heavenly nap for the mother. But no, the predaor had a mind of its own.
I have broken down components of the mosquito's psyche to understand how its mind worked during the course of the mutiny.


Id is the impulsive and unconscious part of the psyche that chooses to respond to the immediate needs of the body.
Ok, so I get it. The mosquito had an immediate need to suck blood. And since the demand was so overwhelming the mosquito was blinded by its objective of sucking blood and blood only. The blood of whoever he may have found easily. 
Apparently mosquitoes are more attracted to floral scents, since nectar is their prime source of feeding. My baby had just taken a bath and smelled of oranges, making him a very potent force of attraction for the deranged animal, which was just waiting for such an opportunity.

it surely was a pseudo-vampire, but definitely not a hummingbird


Ego embodies reasoning and operates by seeking a realistic approach to satisfying the immediate needs of the body, at times also postponing the satisfaction 
Apparently the mosquito had no ego. Scientifically only female mosquitoes suck blood. So it must have been a female, ready to lay eggs. In other terms, a mother. I am a mother too. But I would never do such a disgraceful act to someone's child. 
It was daytime when the fatal incident happened. As far as old wives' tales go, mosquitoes are quite lethargic and slow under the sunlight. This is also scientifically correct.
Hunger for blood (or more accurately pre-requirment for reproduction), decreased physical capacity and desperation compelled the pest to cater to its demand despite any mental restarints (which I'm assuming weren't any), with no regards to its consequences and how the animal may be judged in the hereafter for the brutality involved in acqiring the pleasure.

hear that you little bugger? now behave!


Superego incorporates within oneself the values as taught by elders.
Mosquitoes teach mosquitoes to bite. They also teach them to come back home after each  mission; alive.
Here is where the lousy insect used smart thinking in choosing between the two victims.

Surface Area

I had my face and arms exposed. The baby only his face. But that tiny cute face also had a bald head and supple cheeks for a comfortable landing.
Favour - Baby


If the mosquito had even attempted to come near my face or buzz in my ear it would clearly have gotten a 'smack' and instant death. The baby on the other hand has only just learned a pincer grip and still has a long way before he can even master the battle with the beast.
Favour - Baby

Quality of blood

Mine: containment of poisonous oxidants courtesy junk food. Baby's: clean, fresh blood just waiting to be served.
Favour - definitely baby

Since none of the above factors, which might have contributed to a logical decision, favour me.
The obvious choice as directed by the mosqito's superego was then an infant who could do nothing against the terror it was about to inflict upon him. Further, the insect knew he wouldnt be drawn down with remorse because it was only following in the footsteps of its ancestors, carrying forth the tradition that has long been there since the day these nuisance were born. 

i wish you were mr. mosquito, i wish you were

What was left for me to do was an act that doesnt define my morals. I didnt want to kill the mosquito. I wouldnt have had to, if it quietly flew to a palce where it hurt no party. But it was sitting atop my baby's bald head flaunting its victory as if it had conquered everest.
Too bad your life will only be a timeless memeory to be read and scorned upon. The story of a mosqito who died in peace.


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