Given the current circumstances, it can be a scary time to be pregnant or going through birth. The rules are constantly changing, you feel like you’ve missed out on a normal pregnancy, and you’re worried about going through labour potentially alone. One mum, FMD, has done it all from pregnancy through birth and she’s here to tell her story!
The Double Line
My journey into motherhood was not one that I had ever anticipated. My husband and I had been praying for our little miracle for a long time and in the month we found out, I was feeling a little ‘different.’
We had been holidaying in Oman and had some exciting plans during our time there. I didn’t bring along a pregnancy test and had no idea where I could find one at 12am in the middle of Muscat. We drove around for about an hour and finally found a pharmacy open. I was desperate to know whether what my husband and I had been praying for, had finally happened.
We took a test and two lines appeared. Those two lines bought us sheer joy; this was something we had talked and dreamed about since we had met. We had dreamed about having a family of our own – a child, a gift and a massive responsibility from Allah.
The rest of our trip was blurry, but soon enough we were home and I was constantly throwing up. I knew very bad “morning” (more like all day) sickness ran in the family but I wasn’t expecting myself to be unable to go to work, cook, shower regularly and maintain my life! Even though I didn’t feel like myself, I was holding onto the amazing idea that a child was growing inside of me. It was this thought that kept me going.
Alone and Isolated
As I was getting a little stronger towards the end of my first trimester, the whole of England went into lockdown because of the need to control the Coronavirus infection rate. The primary school, where I had been working, closed and I was now expected to teach online.
The fear of this global pandemic affecting my unborn child swarmed through my mind. I couldn’t help but feel terrified and confused as words such as ‘vulnerable’ and ‘high risk’ were being thrown around without offering concrete definitions or explanations.
What was this virus? Who could it harm the most? Millions of questions ran through my mind but the most prominent was how could I protect my unborn baby?
During lockdown, I truly felt alone. I was unable to hug, see, or regularly speak to my mum. Becoming a mother is a massive change and who better to navigate, advise and care for you than your own?
On my darkest days, I felt as though I was dragging myself through each day, trying to be positive through the nausea and constant vomiting. Despite the desperation to see my mum, I was paranoid about even visiting from afar.
Moments I Won’t Forget
Anyone who has experienced pregnancy themselves, knows what it feels like to anxiously wait for the 12-week milestone. The hospital was adamant that birth partners were not allowed to attend under any circumstances. I even asked if I was able to video call my husband during the scan but was disappointingly refused.
I had to constantly coach myself mentally about him potentially not being there throughout it all – drawing strength from Lady Maryam.
Regardless, it was an exciting moment for both of us. I looked at our little miracle moving around and I was in awe of his tiny heartbeat.
Following on from this, every scan and midwife appointment was attended alone. I was able to come to terms with this but I knew I needed my husband during the birth. I had to constantly coach myself mentally about him potentially not being there throughout it all – drawing strength from Lady Maryam. She speaks out to all the pregnant women in Islam; the fact she was all alone, confused and bewildered yet she managed to give birth, with only the help of Allah gave me the strength I needed during my pregnancy.
The Big Day
As my due date was soon approaching, my husband and I came up with a contingency plan: stay home as long as possible, and once in active labour, my husband could be with me. Little did we know, my labour would last as long as four days.
When we arrived at the hospital (3rd time lucky – we visited twice prior to this but were sent home), I was in a tremendous amount of pain. My husband wasn’t even allowed through the sliding doors to see me off. I had my bag, coat, and blue notes on me. I remember pressing the button to speak to a midwife to be buzzed in as I fiddled with my mask and tried, in a panic, not to drop my belongings. I desperately attempted to stop myself from the need to cry and plead with the hospital staff as I needed someone to help me up the stairs because I was alone. All I remember were streams of tears down my face while looking at my husband through the glass screen – I remember him smiling reassuringly almost as a sign telling me I’ll be ok.
Going through early labour alone was terrifying but the staff at the hospital were accommodating and understood the anxieties I was facing. I didn’t know the lady who came down to collect me but she was warm, calm and kind. She held my hands and took my belongings; these small yet meaningful actions helped reduce my fear of the unknown.
Conception to delivery and feeding of the child till it’s weaning, the woman is like the man who is at the battlefield doing Jihad
I was waiting for about an hour, in a dark corridor in triage. My contractions were now 2 minutes apart. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and told myself, regardless of how this ends, Allah is with me. Prophet Muhammad himself stated that “conception to delivery and feeding of the child till it’s weaning, the woman is like the man who is at the battlefield doing Jihad”. Islam, my faith and its principles, is what gave me my inner strength.
Alhamdulillah, it was only a few hours later until my husband was finally able to be with me.
And, the rest was a blur.
Our miracle was born and my heart was gushing with love for him. Everything was sore but it didn’t matter because my baby was healthy and safe. My husband was asked to leave very soon after the birth and he wasn’t allowed to visit me. My first night alone was difficult and painful; I now had this new little baby staring up at me and nobody to help.
However, by the end of the night, the knowledge that I had just birthed my baby, empowered me. Despite the dripping blood surrounding the ward floor, I hobbled around the bed to reach my son each time he cried, pooped, or needed me. I had so much mercy for him. In the same way that keeping my baby safe whilst I was pregnant was my priority, keeping my son safe, now that he was born, was still my priority. It reminded me of the mercy Allah has upon us, even greater than our mothers’.
Strength Like No Other
Ten weeks on, I reflect on my journey often, and thank Allah for everything he has provided for me. The hardships and the joy. My story isn’t to ask for pity or sympathy, there are many women who have had experienced similar, if not worse. My pregnancy wasn’t ‘conventional’ – people have mentioned I’ve missed out on a lot, but it was undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Prior to pregnancy and birth, I never truly realised how strong my body, mind, and soul actually was. When faced with adversity, we have no choice but to grow. Allah chose this particular time to gift us our son and I refuse to look back and ‘wish’ it was different. In fact, I’m glad it was different, as it was these very experiences which have helped shape and mould me as the person as I am now – a mother. It was these experiences which provided me with an intense feeling of strength that I would never have acquired.
I didn’t realise the birth of your child is almost like your own rebirth – you perceive everything around you differently. No longer am I the woman I was before, the birth of my son has changed my core and filled me with inner joy and greater reliance and trust on the Almighty.