“Allah knows what every female carries and what the wombs lose [prematurely] or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure.” (The Noble Qur’an 13:8)
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” (The Noble Qur’an 2:155-156)
I had a child.
From the first moment I set my eyes on this child, I knew that I would never be the same. Between sweet embraces surrounded by the scent only a baby has and a smile that brought me to my knees, I fell in love. I loved my child and my child loved me. My child grew up, but never forgot where they came from and where they were going. “Allah is The First and The Last,” I taught. We had many cherished moments together and as the days passed my child became an adult. Having a passion for the deen of Allah, following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), educated, well read, bright and kind, my child married and had beautiful children, who I loved even more than my child. Then a day came when I left this house full of Allah’s remembrance, family, happiness and love knowing that my child would not be far behind me. Knowing that I would awake again to see my child and everything would go back to where it came from as it was always meant to be. Just as He promised…
“He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things.” (The Noble Qur’an 57:3)
This dream shattered on a cold snowy Sunday morning in November. A little over three months pregnant I didn’t live out the fantasy that I had wholeheartedly embraced. I had an ectopic pregnancy and my fallopian tube had ruptured resulting in the instant death of my baby and massive internal bleeding. Being too young, there would be no funeral; no farewell…the baby was cut out of me still wrapped in the tube leaving a void behind that I couldn’t comprehend much less fill. I was devastated to say the least. The physical pain of surgery was not even close to the pain in my heart. Although, I had been blessed with healthy beautiful children, Alhamdulillah, I mourned deeply for the one who didn’t get to live out my fantasy.
You see as soon as a mother finds out that she is expecting it begins. It is a bond that cannot be described. To have life growing within her and knowing that soon she will give birth to another human being that will be completely dependent on her physically, emotionally and mentally is surreal and humbling. The womb, which Allah describes in the Quran as “Rahim” (from the root word “mercy”), is designed to connect the mother and child in such a way that no matter what stage of pregnancy we feel it. Subhan’Allah. We are irrevocably in love with this clot that grows within us. Even without any features or limbs, even with pounds of flesh separating us, we feel as if we are holding this child in our arms already. Subhan’Allah, it’s Allah’s gift to the mother and the child. Only Al Rehman can know this pure and beautiful mercy.
Losing this is an ache that is difficult to satiate. Everyone around us tells us to be grateful for the children we have or the husband that is so kind to care for us, Alhamdulillah, but all we can do is think about what we have lost. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” we tell ourselves. “Is Allah angry with me? Did I do something wrong? I am trying to follow His path, I just don’t understand.” Nighttime is the hardest time. During the day we can find distraction, but the nights are a lonely cocoon where all we hear is the cooing of a baby, breathe the scent of milk and powder, feel soft plump skin under our fingers. It is an ache that doesn’t want to let the patience we so desperately need wash over us. It doesn’t let us be, so that we can see the many things we should be grateful for or realize the fact that this is the way of the Dunya. The Dunya is just a test, just a tide that we must swim against without the undertow dragging us beneath to drown us in desires and distractions. We have to keep swimming to push through to calmer waters where we don’t have to struggle anymore.
We have to just keep swimming.
But in our time of pain, we can become irrational creatures. I cannot count how many times I have comforted women who have had miscarriages, telling them the same words that everyone was telling me. “Allah is with you. Be grateful to Him, because He knows what you do not know, perhaps He saved you from a greater calamity (Think Al Khidr (AS) and Musa (AS) in Surah Al Kahf).” What I didn’t realize before is that when I used to leave these women and come back later on to find them in a similar state of depression, I would feel very disconnected. I didn’t understand what they were going through. Sometimes, as the comforters, we expect that our words and embraces should fix everything, but there are times when the person we are trying to comfort is not in the healing stage yet. They are still mourning, perhaps even in denial and nothing we can say or do will pull them out of the sadness that envelops them.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “The Believer is not tried by fatigue nor illness nor anxiety nor difficulty nor harm nor distress – not even by a thorn that pricks them except Allah Most High erases some sins with it!” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
My husband is a man of few words, especially when it comes to emotions and feelings. I have come to accept that, Alhamdulillah. What he did for me during this time is exactly what I would recommend to loved ones of women who have miscarried. First, he gave me space, he let me have my own time and looked after our children like a mother, he listened to me when I wanted to speak (sometimes for hours) and he cared for me when no one else was there to help me, Alhamdulillah. Most of all, he read my emotions. When the night came, he would put the kids to bed and gently crawl onto the bed, lie next to me on top of the covers and simply just hold my hand. He would speak of Allah (SWT), the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and how lucky I was that Allah had chosen me to guide when I was so lost, Alhamdulillah. He would say that Allah only tests those He loves the most, these trials are only brought on those He is giving special attention to, because He wants to see if they can remain true and grateful to Him in the most dire of circumstances. He would talk of the children that the Prophet (SAW) lost and the sacrifices H. Ibrahim (AS) made that were reason enough for Allah to give him and his family such honor in Dunya and the Hereafter. He kept connecting me with Allah without chiding me or pushing me to show gratefulness by not being sad. He understood that losing this child was much more traumatic for me than it had been for him. He gave me time.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who reflect.” (The Noble Qur’an 30:21)
He would stay just like that all night long. Falling asleep right beside me and never letting go. When I awoke in fear or sadness, he would give my hand a firm squeeze and the love would wash over me bringing me slowly closer to reality.
The physical pain began to wane after some weeks, but the emotional wounds were not as quick to heal. There was always something to pull me back when I felt as if I was at the cusp of breaking the surface of grief. One such incident happened on a late night in December after a rare day of normalcy with my kids when I fell apart again. I was in my washroom looking for cotton balls, when I spotted the test stick that had confirmed my pregnancy. I felt a weight so heavy in my breast that I couldn’t breathe. The sadness all came crashing back through the walls I had so carefully constructed around my pain until I was left a blubbering heap on my bathroom floor for hours. The truth of it is, like a body builder who lifts weights and tears his muscles apart to rebuild them so that they come back bigger and stronger, the human soul does the same. It needs to be torn and healed repeatedly to solidify the connection between it and Allah. That scar tissue is Allah’s Mercy. Without pain, how would we know pleasure? Without grief, how would we experience this Mercy?
Just keep swimming.
“After every hardship there is certainly ease.” (The Noble Qur’an 94:5)
Besides the support of my husband, family and children, I turned my attention to Allah, the Quran, Sunnah and Seerah. I made Du’a to Him to heal me, help me come to terms with my loss and move forward without guilt and pain. I wanted to know what Islam said about miscarriages and if I would get to see my child in the Hereafter. I was obsessed by the idea. Honestly, there wasn’t too much genuine information out there. I found a few resources that I will link at the end, Insha’Allah. The Quran and Sunnah are candid on the subject of loss and our Prophet (SAW) gave such solace and hope to Mothers who lost their children, Sadaqa Rasulallah (SAW). I hope that they can bring comfort to some as they brought to me.
Also, reading the experiences of other women and chatting with a few on forums was helpful. I began to realize that I was not alone. Friends approached me to share their experiences and slowly I began to move beyond grieving and into a new realm of acceptance. Really, it helps to talk it out and I can’t stress this enough, seeing a therapist or speaking to the local Imam if we don’t have a support system available may be a step in the right direction towards healing. With this dialogue, the gratefulness began to seize me. I realized that I hadn’t done anything wrong and that miscarrying wasn’t my fault. There isn’t anything I could have done to prevent it. I also realized that there were women I knew personally who couldn’t conceive or who had incredibly difficult pregnancies, Allah had blessed me with an easier test to bear, Alhamdulillah. I had to come to terms with the fact that we all have different tests depending on how much we can take, Subhan’Allah. My miscarriage was just Allah’s decree. I had asked Him for a healthy, pious and well mannered child, perhaps this was the answer to my Du’a to Him. I remembered I had made a promise to Allah long ago. I had promised to take Him and His pleasure above all else in my life, He was fulfilling His part by testing my faithfulness to Him, but I was too grieved to realize this. Drowning in self-pity and resentment, I didn’t see that this was His way of solidifying my belief. When it came down to really putting Him above all else in my life, including myself, would I be able to do it? Would I be able to still love Him and worship Him, when He had taken a piece of the most precious part of me?
“Allah loves the patient.” (The Noble Qur’an 3:146)
Simply, the answer is yes. Allah rewards all who are patient in the time of adversity. Nothing can happen without His command and true submission is that we understand this, accept it and live it every day of our lives. Allah gave me that baby, gave me that pleasure and then He took it all back, because He can. He is Allah and there is no denying it. His pleasure is not in making us suffer, His pleasure comes from the hope and submission we display when He sends trials on us. There are people all over the world who are suffering much worse than anything we could ever imagine and still they worship, they love, they smile, they never give up hope in His Mercy. They never give up His remembrance. It motivates them to strive for His pleasure so that they can make it to the ultimate destination of peace and happiness. They prevail and so shall I and every other Muslimah who grieves and calls on Him in desperation.
“Whoever surrenders himself to Allah and lives righteously, grasps the most Firm handle, The ultimate decision of all matters rests with Allah.” (The Noble Qur’an 31:22)
In the end the most important thing to remember is that this life is temporary. It is not Allah that deceives us, but our desires that do so. They make us hang on to resentment and passing whims that will not benefit us one iota in the Hereafter. Holding on to His rope and living His desires are what will remain as solid truths when we will be standing in front of Him unclothed, alone and vulnerable. Perhaps, we will be blessed enough for Him to reveal the veiled reasons as to why certain things happened in our life. Perhaps on that day this fortitude will come in the form of our lost children to intercede for us and beg Allah to forgive us just for the patience that we hold now on losing them (Ameen). The patience we bled when sometimes all we wanted to do was shatter.
In this journey I have learned that true Muslims are not a people of despair. They always hope in the Mercy of Allah. We just have to keep swimming towards it…
“Allah is The First and The Last.”
“Your little ones are the larvas of Paradise. They will meet their parents and grab them by their garments or their hands to no end other than that Allah will enter them into Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim)
“… And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out
And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (The Noble Qur’an 65:2-3)