Article 3: CARRYING A TINY HUMAN INSIDE PART 2
Here’s the thing about becoming a mother: it is all at once the most wonderful and the most terrifying and hardest role that a woman has had to carry. You are suddenly thrusted with the responsibility of bearing a tiny human being inside of you and somehow, that role cannot be transferred to your husband, no matter how much stronger both of you may think he is.
MasyaAllah, for Allah SWT is Wise and All-knowing, for surely He must have created women to be able to endure 9 months of hardship and discomfort, followed by labour and then subsequently having to nurture a future little khalifah. But here is the thing: women are BUILT for such a role, so do not fret and worry about not being able to take on such a responsibility. You are, by virtue of being a woman, strong and capable of handling a job that no man can ever perform. Be pleased because Allah has chosen YOU to become a ticket to paradise for your child; such is the elevated status of women who become mothers.
As Muslim women, we all want our child to grow up pious and strong. In this article today, we are going to be looking at the du’as to recite during pregnancy, preparing for birth and the confinement period and the loss of sleep (yes, that part is very important!)
Du’as to recite during pregnancy
The Quran, which is the Holy Book and a guide to us all, has shown us through many stories mentioned about the virtues of making du’a for a pious child.
إِذْ قَالَتِ ٱمْرَأَتُ عِمْرَٰنَ رَبِّ إِنِّى نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِى بَطْنِى مُحَرَّرًۭا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّىٓ ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ
Ith qalati imraatu AAimrana rabbi innee nathartu laka ma fee batnee muharraran fataqabbal minnee innaka anta assameeAAu alAAaleem
In Surah Ali ‘Imran, Allah SWT told us: [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (3:35)
Within the same surah (Ali ‘Imran), it is mentioned just a few lines later that the Prophet Zakariyya also made a du’a for an offspring:
هُنَالِكَ دَعَا زَكَرِيَّا رَبَّهُۥ ۖ قَالَ رَبِّ هَبْ لِى مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةًۭ طَيِّبَةً ۖ إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ ٱلدُّعَآءِ
Hunalika daAAa zakariyya rabbahu qala rabbi hab lee min ladunka thurriyyatan tayyibatan innaka sameeAAu adduAAa
At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” (3:38)
From both these stories, we can derive the lesson that the tarbiyyah of bringing up a pious child begins even BEFORE the child is out in this world. And as the mother, the one whose du’a is even more beneficial for her child, it is recommended that you try and make du’a for Allah SWT to help you raise a strong and pious Muslim/Muslimah. In the case of the Prophet Zakariyya AS, the du’a for a pious child began even before his wife conceived the baby. MasyaAllah, how great is the power of a parent’s du’a.
What we can also see here from both the du’as given is that they both end in such a lovely way – both acknowledging Allah as the One who Hears and Knows our situation better than us. This is the adab of making a du’a; that we end it off in a beautiful way and know that when one makes a du’a, one will never walk away empty-handed. What is the main lesson here? Know that when you make du’a, He will answer your prayers.
These are some beautiful du’as from the Quran that are related to asking Allah for a pious offspring:
رَبِّ هَبْ لِى مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
Robbi hablii minassholihiin.
“My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.” (37:100)
رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ أَزۡوَٰجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعۡيُنٖ وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
Robbanaa hablanaa min azwaajinaa wa dzurriyyaatinaa qurrota a’yun waj’alnaa lilmuttaqi’ina imaamaa.
“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”
During pregnancy, it is recommended to replace listening to music with recitation of the Quran or adhkaar, as it has been scientifically proven that the unborn foetus can recognise certain sounds from inside the womb. Wallahu’alam.
Preparing for birth
Alhamdulillah, most mothers are now more aware of the benefits of having a natural, non-medically-induced birth, thanks to widespread sharing of information on social media sites. However, wanting a natural birth and working towards a natural birth are two different things.
If you’re the type who wants someone knowledgeable to guide you and your husband through every step of the way, then you might want to consider engaging a doula. If this is your first pregnancy, you might be wondering what a doula is. Basically, she is someone who gives support, help and advice to the expecting couple during pregnancy, during labour and post-partum. However, if the price is too steep for you, then you might just want to sign up for a birth class just to find out more about what to expect during labour and post-labour.
But again, as we have mentioned in the previous article, always spend within your means. If you are quite tight financially, then reading up articles that are freely available online or watching YouTube videos on labour will help greatly. This will require more effort and due diligence from you, but you will save a lot more money, insyaAllah.
In this technologically advanced world, there are now applications (apps) that can help and guide you through pregnancy week by week. These are the best ones, as recommended by an obstetrician:
- WHAT TO EXPECT PREGNANCY AND BABY TRACKER (for iOS and Android)
- WEBMD PREGNANCY (iOS)
- THE BUMP PREGNANCY COUNTDOWN (iOS)
- HELLO BELLY PREGNANCY TRACKER (iOS and Android)
In addition to that, you might want to follow some local doulas on their social media sites because they do provide very good information when it comes to pregnancy and delivery. Just search for ‘doula’ in the search box of Facebook or Instagram and you will be able to find one soon.
Do bear in mind that preparing for a healthy and safe birth begins from the very start of pregnancy (or some will even say that it should begin before conception) and not something that you can do just one month before the due date. Eat your fruits and greens daily and if you are worried about not taking in enough, blend them all into a smoothie and have it for breakfast so that you can get that out of the way throughout the day!
Loss of sleep and preparing to lose even more sleep
Somewhere along the way, between the second and third trimester, most mothers-to-be will suddenly experience an inability to sleep at night, or would be woken up in the middle of the night and unable to fall asleep soon after. What are some causes of this pregnancy insomnia? Well, it could be due to so many possible reasons: the need to pee at night (due to baby getting bigger and pressing down on the bladder), heartburns, leg cramps, or even anxiety and worry over the upcoming labour.
Some women have a theory for this: it is to prepare your body for the loss of sleep after birth. In a way, though not scientifically proven, being woken up inexplicably at night during pregnancy did help prepare me for the night feeds and diaper changes later on when the baby is born.
Whatever it is, try to indulge in some relaxing routines before bedtime in your final trimester so that your body can have some rest, such as lighting up some aromatherapy candles or having a nice warm shower or bath. It is also important to note that exercising and eating a balanced diet during pregnancy can reduce the heartburns.
Take care of your body during pregnancy and increase your chances of having an easier labour.
Preparing for confinement period
The period after you come home from the hospital with the baby is something you should prepare for way beforehand. Things like who will do the household chores, cook your confinement meals or even handle the baby at specific times of the day have to be discussed between you and your husband. I have heard of women who were so unprepared that they ended up eating unhealthy food and doing all the chores while their clueless husband went about his day. The thing is, most men are unaware of the kind of help you will need after giving birth, so you need to spell it out in black and white for them.
For food, it is best to get either your own mother or mother-in-law to prepare them for you, or if you can afford it, order confinement meals from trusted meal providers. Trust me, suddenly having a baby at home will drain a lot of your energy and time so it is best if you can get someone else to handle the logistics of preparing your meals.
For household chores, you need to get your husband to roll up his sleeves and help out with the heavier tasks such as vacuuming, mopping and hanging out the laundry. The first few days and even weeks for you should be spent on trying to recuperate and trying your best to get as much sleep as possible. Your nights will already be burned with the night feeds (especially if you’re breastfeeding) so it is best to catch a nap or two during the day.
Of course, you will eventually be able to get back to your usual routine, though there may be compromises here and there, but you should not be thinking of cleaning the house or cooking during the confinement period.
Self-care and self-love
At the end of the day, your family will benefit the most when YOU are well-rested and well-adjusted to motherhood. Don’t assume that you are doing everyone a favour by taking on all the tasks at home like a superwoman – trust me, you will become cranky and snappy, and that is not good for the home environment at all.
There must be a lot of open communication between the spouses on what you expect from each other during this new phase in your life. After all, the baby belongs to both of you, so both will need to chip in and do your part.
Muslims are commanded to show good conduct (ihsan) in their dealings with other people in their daily lives, so show ihsan to each other and insyaAllah, this journey will be so much smoother for the both of you!
About the writer:
Sis Suliyati is the founder of @MuslimParents.SG, a Muslim parenting portal that runs parenting classes and courses as well as kids-friendly Quran classes for parents. For more info, follow us on IG and FB @muslimparents.sg
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