Alhamdulillah, the arrival of another Ramadhan is another precious chance to increase our acts of worship and stack up as many good deeds as possible for our bank account in the Akhirah. It usually comes and goes within the blink of an eye, and most of us hardly get enough time to make sincere worship of Allah I in each of Ramadhan’s days and nights. For a worshipper who happens to be a wife and an expectant mother, this time of the year can be oh-so-difficult to pass through. Keeping up with a Ramadhan routine for the benefit of her soul – as well as looking after her family against the trying experiences of early pregnancy, such as extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches, mood swings and hormonal imbalance – can leave an expectant mother frustrated and even depressed during this beautiful month of the Qur’an. How do expectant mothers make this period the most memorable and productive time of their lives without whining and crying most of the month? Here are a few tips to swim past the baby blues and reap the benefits of this holy month.
Pay attention to your body
It is highly important that you listen to your body. Pregnancy symptoms differ in women and every experience is unique, even for a woman who has multiple pregnancies. You should determine whether your body can cope without food or water for the as long as the period between suhoor and iftar. If you fear that feeling ill or extremely hungry while fasting may affect your baby, then it is better for you to abstain from the major act of depriving yourself of food and water in this period. The Prophet r had put this into consideration when he said that:
“Allah has relieved the traveller of the obligation of fasting and half of the prayer, and he has relieved the pregnant woman and nursing mother of the obligation of fasting.” (Albani)
As the sickness becomes more severe, you need not feel guilty about missing fasts. This is because the task of bringing another soul into this world is one of the most rewarding jihads a woman can pass through. The more important concern should be to prevent harm to your health and that of the baby, which would otherwise go against the tenets of Islam itself. If however, you are quite sure, based on medical assurance, that you are strong enough to fast in this month, then do so, as this would be the most rewarding experience for you.
Manage the blues
Depending on its severity, pregnancy sickness may pose a challenge to the performance of other acts of worship, even for expectant mothers who are not fasting. This may result in feeling like it is an unproductive month. Learning to manage these blues will go a long way in saving up energy to perform some other acts of worship such as reciting the Qur’an, engaging in adkhar, giving charity and preparing meals for the family. Here are some remedies that would help to calm the sickness:
- Fight nausea with simple homemade drinks such as a hot cup of ginger and honey, a warm cup of pasteurized apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized vinegar may be dangerous to the baby’s health) and a warm cup of lemon-infused water.
- You will definitely need to keep energy levels up during this period as there is plenty of energy being used by your body in the hard work of growing a baby. You are producing more blood, your heart rate is up, your metabolism is burning up energy even while asleep and you are using up more nutrients and water. Little wonder you are always fighting fatigue. Hold on, the battle is not yet lost. You can keep energy levels up by frequently taking in extra calories with foods such as milk, dates, honey, crackers, nutrient-rich vegetables such as spinach, as well as plenty of water. You may even make a ‘Ramadhan’ date milkshake with a combination of three ingredients popular during the month: milk, dates and honey. You should try as much as possible to get organic foods and avoid processed foods.
- Increase your physical activity. The more physically active you are, the more motivated you become. You may take a daily thirty 30-minute walk while listening to the Qur’an or to your favourite lecture on your phone – this will further help to keep your motivation level up.
- In between your numerous daily activities, you will also need to take a break from everything around you. Stress produces some hormones that may affect the nervous system of the baby. So you need to resolve this as quickly as possible. You can do this by reclining while listening to the Qur’an. You can also meditate while lying down and closing your eyes or take a nap, as is the Sunnah, in the hours between Dhuhr and ‘Asr until you feel refreshed again to carry out another task.
- Finally, you will need to be determined. Getting over the pregnancy sickness to maximize the benefits of Ramadhan cannot be done through wishful thinking. Determination does it. When you feel too lazy to do anything, seek the refuge of Allah I from Shaytan, make lots of istigfar and motivate yourself for the tasks ahead.
Purify your intentions
As an expectant mother, it is essential you set the right intentions for the many tasks ahead of you in this blessed month. Have it at the back of your mind that you won’t allow this temporary state to deprive you of the blessings of Ramadhan. Make a to-do list of everything you want to achieve each day in this month and make du’a for the strength to carry on. If, for any reason, you are unable to achieve all your goals, you won’t be deprived of the reward of having set good intentions for the unaccomplished tasks.
Make the most of the blessed month
The fact that pregnancy sickness has prevented you from fasting should not stop you from carrying out other rewarding spiritual tasks. The holy month of Ramadhan comes only once a year, so despite the obstacles, maximize the limited time. You can make the most of it by attending taraweeh with the family, reading, learning, listening to and studying the Qur’an, seeking beneficial knowledge by attending lectures, listening to Islamic lectures on your phone, watching online videos while cooking or performing any other household task, as well as reading beneficial Islamic literature. You can also host iftars if you have the ability to. This will help strengthen friendship and family ties, as well as reaping the rewards of feeding fasting people.
Get closer to nature
Taking a walk on the grass, relaxing at a park and breathing in fresh air can be an avenue for you to reflect and ponder over the signs of Allah I. It also helps you to be more grateful for the blessings around you. This is equally healthy for the baby as it helps soothe the body and relaxes the nerves.
“……then when Sulaiman saw it placed before him, he said ‘This is by the grace of my lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own self, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own self). Certainly! My lord is rich (free of all wants), Bountiful.” (An Naml :40)
Pregnancy is a blessing from Allah I which leads you to carrying out the miraculous act of bringing another human being into this world. The joy of motherhood can therefore not be quantified, as it changes your life for the better. Rather than treating it as a burden, especially during this blessed month, you should show gratefulness to Allah I by being positive and energetic in performing acts most pleasing to Him. Also, be extra grateful for the double blessing of being granted a baby of your own and witnessing another Ramadhan.
Putting these tips into action will surely enhance your productivity level during this holy month and, bi-idhnillah, it will be a worthwhile experience in the end.
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men. (Bukhari)
THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE RAMADHAN 2017 ISSUE OF SISTERS MAGAZINE