“There is no heartbeat. I’m so sorry. It’s God’s Will,”said my gynaecologist. I was expecting my first child and had gone for what I assumed was a regular check-up, only to come out of it with my world turned upside down. Stillbirth was an unknown entity to me, something I knew existed, but not in my sphere. No. Children were born and raised. It was unthinkable. I had just started shopping for the baby, planning, dreaming, thinking of names… In a second, my life completely changed. Many have gone through this traumatic event. And numerous articles have been written on the reasons, statistics, etc. What I want our readers to know about is The Mother. The victim. How she gets through each day with maybe a niggling guilt at the back of her mind. ‘Did I do something wrong?’ ‘Did I cause this in some way?’
As Muslims, this idea should not come into our minds. Allah plans. He controls every aspect of our expanding universe. He gives life and causes death. So why these feelings of guilt? I felt it. I swam in its ocean for sometime. Alhamdulillah, Qur’an and my family pulled me out of it. I know a few friends who have taken this same dip. Some have resurfaced, while some have been taken down it into depression. A reason? Society. Our so-called “safe haven”. People who are supposed to support us through iman. Islam is given a general application through prayer, fasting, hajj, etc. But individually, in day-to-day speech, the reliance on Allah is sorely lacking.
I was repeatedly criticized on the causes of my baby’s death. From my mode of transport to the food I ate – the common culprit centered around me. Not explicitly, but the underlying message was the same. These thoughts were from Muslim sisters. This may be cultural in origin,but they are not Islamic. And these ideas must change. We must rely on Allah even for the food we have. The car we drive. The child we lost.
The lesson I’ve learnt from this experience,and which I’ve explained to others in a similar position, is this: it was not your fault. You are not to blame. You would never willfully harm your child in any way. Allah loves you dearly. He tests us in order to raise us in rank in the Akhirah. Your grief is understandable. The Prophet (SAW) grieved for the loss of his son Ibraheem.
Cry. Grieve. Time truly does heal wounds. Do not fear the future. Allah answers our duas. He never refuses our pleas. You will have your beautiful baby in Jannah and another in this world as well, Insha Allah. Keep hoping. Stay positive. Be happy. Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal!
Having been inspired by her sister and several ahadith, Samina Farooq writes a heartfelt letter to her sister’s child who died pre-term.
Khalida Haque talks to two Muslimahs about how they managed their very different losses.
Umm Yahya is a secondary school chemistry teacher turned mother-to-a-toddler. She’s a baker and an avid reader who is drawn like a magnet to crosswords!