Infertility is a test for thousands of couples all across the world, and like all tests, it is very heavy and has the ability to crush even the soul.
If you are familiar with my blog, then you may have read a previous post of mine, where I spoke about my very own journey into motherhood. My heartache, my struggle and the very sukoon I found through it – the words of my Rabb and appreciating the beauty of dua.
It was exactly two years ago I had written that post – and there was a reason behind it, a reason I hadn’t shared at the time. There is something I wrote in the post:
“Alhamdhulillah, Allah showered His Mercy upon me and granted me a child but it doesn’t mean I am no longer tested. We must know that until the last breath we take we will be tested.”
The test hadn’t ended. The test had just begun. After being blessed with Yusra, I fell unwell. Without going into the details of it all, I had a year filled with a nightmare experience of pain, discomfort and unexplained bleeding. The night I had written my post, was after a hospital appointment where I was told that a hysterectomy might be a good option to relieve me of my pain. It wasn’t the final decision, but it was the kind of discussion the consultant was having with me. I felt saddened – before this I hadn’t thought about having another child, but this obviously brought about so many questions. I always knew I might not have any more children, but to be told that it will definitely not happen, was difficult truth to digest. Maybe because I had hope, hope that if it happened once, it can happen again.
A feeling of confusion surrounded me. I found myself crying again. I felt ashamed, I asked myself why I was being so ungrateful?! Allah so loving blessed me with a child, He answered my dua, why then was I being greedy and what is it that I wanted?
I learnt from reading other peoples experiences, that infertility second time round is as high in number as the first. I didn’t know this before. I didn’t know that many women find it difficult to have a second or third child. And because they already have a child, medical professionals don’t offer a great deal of help (in this country anyway).
The following week, I remember attending a mother and toddler group at the masjid, where sisters were discussing planning for another baby. It was a funny discussion, where some were saying never again and others were saying you should get them all out of the way in one go. I sat there, at first listening, thinking I cant contribute to this discussion, because I can’t plan. I can’t want a baby and then just have one. As the conversation continued, a simple, very normal conversation between mothers, something women from all cultures and backgrounds tend to have, I suddenly felt uncomfortable. I no longer could sit there and listen, I felt my heart started to weep. I got worried that my heart would show me up publicly and I wouldn’t be able to keep control of my tears – I moved away from the conversation and started to play in another area.
I came home and told myself off and then did what my soul needed; I spoke to Allah. This time round, I felt I was equipped with a stronger heart, a more understanding heart – one that was able to speak to her Creator straight away – so although my physical body felt pain, my soul was at ease – something I wasn’t able to experience previously.
I remembered something similar I had experienced years before, before I had become a mother. I was at an iftar gathering of about 20 sisters, when a sister asked me how my pregnancy was going, in front of everyone. She had heard from another sister that I was expecting. I wasn’t. I was nowhere near a pregnancy at the time. I remember her question leaving me feeling red in the face with embarrassment and sorrow. And for someone who is never short of words, I was a little speechless. I didn’t know what to say, and felt my tears sitting at the edge of my eyes, waiting to roll off. Thankfully, another sister very kindly covered up for me, saying: “no she’s not expecting, she’s enjoying her life” or something along those lines. She saved me.
That night when I had come home, I cried. I cried during taraweeh, I cried at tahajjud and I cried into my pillow.
And now some years later, one child later, all this crying was to enter my life again. I was scared. I knew what it makes of me. But alhamdhulillah, something made me happy as well. I felt Allah wanted to teach me a lesson in gratitude, a lesson in humbling myself before Him.
I started to question if I was truly grateful for my duas being answered. Did I take my blessing with open hands and then not offer the thanks due for it? And I knew the answer. No, I hadn’t. As a lazy servant, I was quick to make dua, I was quick to cry to Allah, I was very quick to liken my burdens to the pious prophets of the past. But I wasn’t equally grateful when I was relieved of my pain. I didn’t look up how the Prophets gave shukr. I didn’t experience the beauty of being a grateful servant. My dua was one sided, based on my need alone.
Once again I found solace in the conversation between Prophet Zakariyyah (as) and Allah. For me, the words in ayahs 1-15 of surah Maryam have always exemplified the essence of the one who asks and the One that responds. I also found solace in the duas that Prophet Yusuf (as) and his father Yaqub (as) made. Their words were filled with hope and their actions filled with tawaqqul.
So I was being tested again, but this time I felt the test was for my soul, there was a great need for the nafs to be purified and without a test it wouldn’t happen – because us humans are selfish like that. We only seek Allah’s help when we need something. We fail to seek it in times when we think things are ok.
I needed a lesson to bring me back to reality. I needed Allah to remind me that I was still in need of every good He was to give me. I was still in need of His many blessings in my life. And this need wouldn’t end with my pain going away or with another child, this need will be present until I am granted a place in Jannah.
So equipped with many thoughts and many deep, deep conversations through dua, I finally accepted that life will carry on with tests, sometimes hurting the body, sometimes the mind and mostly hurting the heart.
I came to learn to be a believer in a different kind of way. In this journey, some of my friends helped me a lot. Especially, my friends from my Quran group. We experienced the words of Allah together, through which we found a special bond. It’s lovely having friends, but to have friends that offer comfort, using reminders from the Quran is a true blessing.
My mother helped too. My mother reminded me of istighfar. She would often tell me to not forget istighfar, she would say, believers invite blessings through istighfar. She would remind me to give sadaqah. She made me look at things differently. She would tell me that sadaqah doesn’t have to be in the form of money, it could be in other ways too. I even ended up writing a post about it.
So what happened? Well, this time last year, I suddenly felt unwell. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. I told my husband I felt funny inside. And then I found out I’m expecting, alhamdhulillahi rabbul al amin. Something that wasn’t meant to happen; “are you sure?” the consultant asked me when I called him. “Well, you’re a very lucky woman”. Apparently it was a medical miracle.
And so now a year later, I have four-month-old Yahya, literally sitting on my lap as I type this. And I write this, not knowing the purpose of it, but maybe to remind myself. Remind myself once again, that man is not in control of his affairs, no matter how blessed he is, no matter what wealth or comfort he may posses, because life changes, things change within minutes and seconds; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but always with the Will of Allah, because Allah knows the real good and the true bad.
We are but to be believers in this life, living and experiencing sabr, shukr and tawaqqul.
He said, ‘This is what your Rabb has said: “It is easy for Me: I created you, though you were nothing before.”’
(Surah Maryam verse 9)