Disclaimer: This article is written for women who do not have the responsibility of supporting their families and are financially able to implement the advice contained herein.
On TV and in movies, motherhood is about excitement, happiness, and pride. Pregnancy is special and fun, and babies are there to coo and act cute, be dressed up in all sorts of must-have outfits, and be shown off as the ultimate accessory. As always, these depictions are half truths at best.
Motherhood is about submission. And just like with Islam, submission is not just when it is convenient, compatible, or easy. The fruits of your labor take time to blossom. From the first day a woman gets that positive pregnancy test, the trials and tribulations begin. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and heartburn characterize the first trimester. Thankfully in Allah’s Mercy He has promised in the Qur’an “With every hardship comes ease, with every hardship comes ease.” (Qur’an, 94:6) So alas, the second trimester brings a period of ease and pleasure. She revels in her changing body and starts feeling the first movements of her child. She feels great after recovering from the morning sickness and starts to plan the future. Then the third trimester starts to threaten this bliss. By 37 weeks her discomfort reaches its peak, and she is ready for that time of ease again. She begins to look forward to the birth and wants to do anything to make it come sooner, not knowing what is about to come. She thinks the birth is the end but indeed it is only the beginning of a lifelong test of her will.
The moment finally arrives and she meets her child for the first time. Again, Allah has granted a wonderful moment of ease and unadulterated joy after the hardships of birth. No woman can truly understand the intense emotional response her mind and body has to holding her newborn baby until her time comes.
Every aspect of the birthing journey becomes trivial and worth every moment with her new baby. After the initial joys, she suddenly becomes submersed in another wave of emotional intensity that threatens to overwhelm her. Again, submission is the key to accepting the instantaneous maternal extinct that Allah has created for her. Rather than fighting the feelings or trying to escape, she must submit and allow herself to cry, breathe, share and finally accept the responsibility that has now been flung on to her.
Yes, motherhood is a responsibility. A huge responsibility, and as with most responsibilities, there is pleasure spiked with pain. Allah has just entrusted her with what could be the biggest test of her life. Each stage of parenting comes with its joys and conflicts, victories and failures. Without guidance from her Creator, she may feel lost and overwhelmed and try to chart her own path, which could lead to disaster. Submission to Allah’s will and His purpose for mothers is the key to surviving the many trials to come.
Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have made it very clear that one of the primary roles of a woman is as a mother and care provider for her children. The emotional well-being, physical health, and religious guidance of the child all rest primarily in the hands of the mother, with the most intense period being from conception through the earliest years of life.
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