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I Feel Guilty for Killing My Own Baby

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Sep 13, 2018

Question

Hi. I am a Muslim girl who has smoked for many years. I smoked throughout my pregnancies. I felt bad and cut down. Hamdulillah, I had healthy children.

During my last pregnancy, I did the same; I cut down the day I found out I was pregnant, but I couldn’t stop completely. I also knew that if anything was to happen to my babies, I would blame myself and never forgive myself because of smoking.

Then the worse happened; I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks. I am filled with guilt and feel very depressed that I am a murderer. I murdered my baby. I cannot live with this guilt all my life to know that I continued to smoke and it would harm my baby. I need help. I continue to smoke as it’s an addiction, but I have made the intention that I will quit very soon. Please help!

Counselor

Answer


I Feel Guilty for Killing My Own Baby

In this counseling answer:

• There is no way to know if your smoking causes a miscarriage or not. Most likely it did not.

• As Muslims, we know that the timing of death is determined by Allah alone.

• Let yourself move through the grieving process as it is natural, but don’t let it consume you.

• When you are mentally prepared (and yes, this is important), set a schedule for exercise as well as a smoking cessation program.


As Salamu Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your concerns. I can feel the guilt, turmoil, grief and the stress that you are experiencing through your question. I am so sorry that you miscarried your baby. May Allah swt grant ease, sister.

One of the Most Difficult Tasks

My heart goes out to you as smoking is one of the hardest habits to quit. I have worked with individuals who have been addicted to heroin and have successfully quit using heroin for many years but have indicated that it is more difficult to give up smoking. As I understand, you have smoked for many years and you smoked throughout your pregnancies. As you knew that smoking was not healthy, you felt bad you and cut down on the amount of smoking and had healthy children.

Self Blame

However, during your last pregnancy, you did cut down but you couldn’t stop completely. You stated that at 7 weeks you did have a miscarriage. Parents.com indicate that ‘The vast majority of miscarriages occur because of chance chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the unborn baby or, less commonly, hormonal imbalances or problems with the uterus or placenta, says Dr. Schaffir. Nothing that a mom-to-be has control over.

“It’s a good thing that only 10 percent of women believe this because it’s natural for a woman experiencing loss to try to explain it in some way, even if that means blaming herself,” he says. “But all women need to know that most of the time a miscarriage is completely random, and odds are you will get pregnant after trying again.”

The Unknown & Guilt

Sister, there is no way to know if your smoking causes a miscarriage or not. Most likely it did not. Many women smoke. Obviously is not healthy for you, we know that.

Recent research in the past couple of decades shows it is not healthy for an unborn baby. It can cause low birth weight, premature birth, and other complications. However, for many many decades before the dire health consequences of smoking were made known, many more women smoked during pregnancy and they did not slow down or quit smoking. Women continued to smoke throughout pregnancies.

A study done by the ncbi.gov stated that „Although many studies have addressed the association between miscarriage and smoking, the evidence has been considered inconclusive. The US Surgeon General’s most recent conclusion, from the 2004 report, classified the evidence as suggestive but not sufficient to infer causation, and the most recent edition of the authoritative textbook, Williams Obstetrics, also describes the lack of consistency.”


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While they and others more recently did find a correlation between smoking and miscarriage, other studies are inconclusive.

Tests & Trials

Sister, there is no way to be sure that smoking caused you to miscarry.  As stated, you had previously healthy children.

Women have miscarriages for many reasons. Often times when a woman miscarries a fetus without a definitive known reason, she is in such a state of grief that she internalizes the pain and seeks self-blame.  Parents often do this as well if a child passes away either by illness or accident. There is always the element of „what did I do wrong; What could I have done to prevent this”.

As Muslims, we know that the timing of death is determined by Allah alone.

Furthermore, the definition of murder according to Webster’s Dictionary is „the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought”.

Did you want to kill your child (malice)?  Did you think about how to kill your child (forethought)? No, you did not. You loved your child and looked forward to having a healthy baby.

Sister, you are not a murder. You did not murder your child. You may be going through a test from Allah right now. I kindly advise you to draw closer to Allah swt for comfort and mercy.

Regarding miscarriage, Aboutislam states that one important thing remains that it may be a test from Almighty Allah to test the patience of the parents and surely He will reward them if they receive this calamity with contentment and acceptance. If you lose a baby and show patience, you will soon meet your baby in Paradise where you will be joyful with the great reward waiting for you with your little child”.

Grieving & Trusting in Allah

Sister, I encourage you, insha’Allah, to stop being so hard on yourself.  We are all imperfect. We all have things we need to stop or start doing.  We need to start eating right, lose weight, stop smoking, put that soda down, exercise, stop backbiting and gossiping – the lists goes on.

Did you know that some studies (Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology) found that pregnant women who drink about two cups of coffee a day or five cans of caffeinated soda have twice the rate of miscarriage? How many women think about their soda or caffeine intake while pregnant? While smoking definitely is not good for mother or unborn child, neither is caffeine.

The point is, there are too many variables relating to miscarriage to self-blame, sister. I kindly advise you to try to refocus your energy and thoughts on healing your body, mind, and spirit and to trust in Allah.

Let yourself move through the grieving process as it is natural, but don’t let it consume you. If you feel you are at a point wherein you cannot let go of the thoughts of guilt, please do seek out counseling in your area to help you through the emotions.

Refocus your Thoughts and Goals

Insha’Allah, spend time with your children having fun. Go to the park, enjoy a day at a friend or families home or do something enjoyable with your husband. By rebuilding your positive and enjoyable activities, you will have less time to focus on self-blame.  Draw closer to Allah in prayer, Qur’an recitation as well as Islamic activities at your Masjid. Insha’Allah, sister, you will come to realize you are not to blame, and that Allah swt has to control over everything.

When you are mentally prepared (and yes, this is important), set a schedule for exercise as well as a smoking cessation program. I would kindly suggest that you consult your physician for an effective method based on your personal lifestyle and triggers.

I am not going to lie and say a lot of people have quit and it will be easy because it won’t. But you can do it. Combined with good nutrition, exercise, and prayer, you will soon be feeling like a new person!

We wish you the best,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Time to Quit Smoking is Now

Miscarriage of an 11-Week Baby: Should I Name Him?

Miscarriage and Local Superstitions: Any Relation?




About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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