Hi I’m Sumayya, co-founder and CEO of Mama app.
For the past 5 years I have been fortunate enough to spend my time between my favourite two cities: Dubai and London.
Like a lot of first time mamas, I had my birthing plan written up to the smallest detail. I soon came to realise that this was a total waste of time for me because nothing went to ‘plan’!
My first hurdle was to keep the baby in my tummy till after I completed my diploma. As a dentist for 8 years, learning how to place implants was a professional achievement I cared a lot about. My 3 year postgraduate degree was coming to an end and my expected due date was 3 days later.
With my little one due any moment, this was an exam like no other!
8:30am the morning after the exam, I felt something happening, possibly a contraction I wasn’t too sure to be honest. Being aware of how slow labour can be I tried to relax and planned to go for a walk after my breakfast. Little did I know that nature had a different plan, my labour progressed incredibly quickly.
My only true memory of this event is screaming to my husband that I needed to go to the hospital immediately for an epidural! (yes, my birthing plan did say natural pool birth but forget that!!!)
This is probably the BEST part…. we didn’t even make it to the hospital. Rush hour traffic meant the journey took longer than it should have and before I knew it, I delivered my little girl before we were able to reach the hospital. IN AN UBER!
The next few months were a blur! Who knew life would be so different and challenging as a mum. It’s amazing how much my little girl had changed my life and perspective.
When winter arrived in the UK, my husband and I, now with a 5 month old baby headed out to Dubai. Dubai felt very different to me this year with a baby in tow. I love this city, it is incredibly child friendly but the friends I have here with no children lead a very different life to a new mum with a young baby. At this stage my daughter was still being breastfed and refusing to drink from a bottle, I could not leave her for longer than a few hours and going out with friends who didn’t have babies did not feel very comforting.
Like London, people in Dubai work long days and for me interaction with other people was pretty limited. I tried a few baby classes but I had no luck, I was hoping I would meet another mama to be able to chat to and even exchange numbers so we could meet for a coffee. I am pretty outgoing and talkative so approaching another mama did not worry me. However this did get me thinking, for those mums that are shy or reserved this must be super challenging. After having a baby and still trying to figure stuff out, even I felt a slight knock in my confidence.
This is when I realised there was nowhere in the country that allowed me to easily connect with other mums… each with their own amazing stories to share. This is when the idea of the Mama App was born. Finally a place where mums could connect with other mums to talk, meet and be there for each other… even when things don’t always go to plan!