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Hanieh Bilal: Redefining modern Pakistani motherhood

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Hanieh-Bilal

Hanieh, we know you, we know your kids, thanks to the group 😀 But we also want you to tell us a bit about yourself. Tell us about your life, your experiences, about what has shaped you as a person. You can also tell us about your education and other CV details 😀 But for us, experiences and events that have helped you become who you are today mean a lot more than CV details.

I am a clinical psychologist and have had the experience of teaching in numerous universities as a lecturer. From my experience so far, I have learnt that it is essential to listen to both sides of a story first and be open towards their experiences with empathy. We take a second to judge people, which we shouldn’t. I also believe that we can learn a lot from others, and through each experience I encounter with someone else, I have a learning experience, even at this growing age.

You have done a huge service to moms/wives of our country. You have given them a sense of direction, a place where they can connect and share, and truly a part in the virtual world which they can call ‘home’. There is a difference between reading a blog and having real people who share real experience to solve a person’s problems. It makes it so much more comfortable. So please tell us how you came up with the idea and what did you have in mind when you made this group.

There have been a number of situations in my where I was going through an ordeal, and I had no one to talk to. Regardless of how supportive your spouse is, sometimes things take a wrong turn and you need someone to talk to; especially those who may have experienced something similar. This gradually gave me the idea of making a space that can be used not just by me, but others going through similar situations. After this group was made and by reading anonymous posts, I still believe that I did the right thing to make this group; where women can share their problems related to different, but somewhat similar situations. Secondly, I believe that in Lahore, there was very less social activities for mothers and kids, so my second motive behind this group was to have a platform where I could arrange playdates for mommies and their kids.

There are all kinds of women on the group, please share the time you spend doing group-related tasks, how long it takes you, how are you dealing with anonymous posts and new members’ approval so that everyone gets an idea of the effort you are putting in for them.

I would like to thank my team of moderators here. We have set rules for people to comply with and the group moderators, alongside myself, make sure they are being practiced. It takes a lot of effort to add people; you need to see all the profiles and to see if they are real or not. We have given this platform to women where they can share there experiences, problems and even promote their work (on one day so it doesn’t become a buying group). Sometimes, when I am out with my family or am busy organizing and event, I am unable to give attention to the group. This is where my moderators make sure nothing goes unnoticed and they play their role perfectly.

As a mom, personally, what do you think has helped you the most in making sure that you don’t lose your own center of gravity. Of course, all of us lose it sometimes. We scream, we give in temptations, but the art is not to not lose it, the art is to find a way to bounce back. So what has helped you do that?

Of course, we all need a break. We all get tired, lose our temper and need some “me time”. Here, I would like to thank my husband for always understanding me and holding me when I lose my temperament. He understands that I need break and in that time, he makes sure that I get my time and kids are with him at that time.

How supportive has your husband been? In laws? Have there been days you’ve regretted forming this group?

My husband is my BIGGEST support! Whatever I’m doing today is all because of him. I wanted to do a job with two kids and he supported me. Whatever I am doing today, it’s all because of him and I can never thank him enough for this support. He went with me to Karachi and Islamabad, taking off from his work, just to make sure he was there for me and the kids when I was utilizing an opportunity given to me. When it comes to look after kids, both, my in-laws and husband have been always extremely supportive. My daughter sleeps with her dada daadi, so I guess that’s safe to say how much they’ve made her attached to them – they treat her like a princess, Alhamdullilah.

Is there any post that struck a chord with you and which you remember?

A lot of posts and I can’t forget them. We always think that our problems are the bigger than others, but after making this group, I realized that no there is so much happening with women all around me.

You have also been hosting meet ups for mothers. How has that experience been? Will you be planning trips as well? Just asking 😀

I have worked with a lot of people so far. In less than a year I have arranged 10 or maybe more meetups. I have had good and bad experiences, but I always take a lesson from them. I have met amazing mothers who are doing so much in their lives and have learnt a lot from them so it’s always a great experience meeting different people on meetup. Of course yes! My son is just 11 months old and my daughter is 2.5 years old so right now I can’t arrange a lot of meetups or trips but in near future definitely yes!

Where do you see this group in let’s say, 10 years’ time?

I see this group helping a lot of women in establishing themselves.I wish to see the platform grow more famous to a level where I am actually able to do something for women who need help. I want to start practicing psychology soon and I will make sure the members of my group get my services as well. women all over the world face so many issues, but they don’t have listening ears. I want this platform to charge the norm if not completely, then just make it better.

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