Wa ‘Alaikum As-Salam,
I truly ache for you as I am very well aware of how difficult it is for a young woman to be with small babies all by herself with no support. Let me say first that you are a very honorable woman. I have no doubt that Allah (swt) sees your sacrifices and good works and also your difficulties.
The primary focus for you right now must be to take care of yourself and your babies. You cannot care for your babies if you do not care for yourself. I am not a sheikh or a scholar so you might want to clarify some of what I share with you here with a scholar.
My experience of Allah (swt) is that our Creator is beneficent and merciful. Recommendations to pray in an ideal world are designed to elevate us spiritually and to bring us relief, not a burden. With that said, your second baby is only a month old. When a woman has children and no help is available, it can be impossible to meet all of the criteria for prayers that we are taught. With that said, Allah (swt) will bless you for taking good care of your children.
To help you with depression and spiritually, if you have memorized some surahs that give you strength, recite them or simply say them as you go about your daily business. If not, then sit with your babies and read from Qur’an to them. You will feel good when you do this.
Another thought is to modify the postures by sitting on a chair. If the elderly are allowed to pray in this manner, then I am wondering what a scholar would say about a young woman who has small children. Once they are toddlers, you can let them crawl all over you while you pray. They learn how to pray this way believe it or not, and eventually, they will start to copy you. It can be quite cute. The reason I am recommending that you find a modified way to pray for the time being is so that you will be “tuning” into Allah so that you can receive strength. Please submit this question to our next live fatwa session to get a quick response, in sha’Allah.
If you can find any women or women’s groups and you can reach out to them, I strongly recommend that you do. The combination of being in a foreign country, being all alone, and not having any help with two very small babies is very overwhelming. Please reach out to whoever you can. Perhaps you can talk to your doctor when you go for a wellness check or when you take your babies in for a wellness check. They might be able to share with you some resources where you can reach out for help.
With that said, I also highly recommend that you write to your family. It might be a better situation for you to stay with family while your children are young if your husband is amicable to this kind of arrangement. Or perhaps you have a sister who can come and stay with you for awhile to help out. I am aware that this might not be practical given expenses and distances, but I thought I would put it out there for thought. Either way, please, please take the time to reach out to them and communicate the difficulties that you are having.
Don’t worry about your career for now. You have not lost anything. You are very young, and the education that you have received will benefit you later, after the babies are older.
I understand the frustration and anger that you have toward your husband. However, the anger will not serve you to move forward and to focus on what you must focus on at this time. The fact is, he probably is not going to change, and you are way too busy to try to work on changing him. It is probable that your husband does not see himself as a helpmate. In the generations before yours, men were taught that the women took care of the household and the childcare. They do not have the concept or know how to help.
Now, although I did say not to put too much energy into changing him, you might try to write a letter to him explaining how lonely, helpless, and overwhelmed you are. You can explain how much you need him to be a father to the children and to help you with things around the house. This is called a “feeling” letter.
To accomplish this, you first write the letter anyway it comes to your mind. You do not give this letter to your husband. You allow yourself to write out your angry feelings and it might end up being a 14-page letter! Next, you read the letter and then clarify what you really need. This might range from needing your husband to feed the older baby in the morning, giving you a hug, or picking up dinner a few times a week. Now, you are going to rewrite the letter. This time, you will include the specific things that you need to be completed. You will also remove statements that are “you” statements (that come from being angry) such as “You never help me with…” and replace these statements with descriptions of how you feel and what you need. For example, “I am feeling so overwhelmed and helpless, I need your help. Would you please start picking up dinner on Wednesday and Friday nights so that I can take care of myself?” Rewrite the letter again, re-read it, and write it one last time.
As for the pornography, this is really not good. However, you need to pick your battles right now, and you need to focus on yourself and the babies. So, I would pray to Allah and allow Allah to work with your husband for now on these issues. When you are feeling stronger and you have more support and the babies are a little older, you might be in a position to address this. However, if your husband is treating you badly and you are in danger, then you must take quick action and reach out to your family immediately to get yourself and your children in a safe place.
Again, you can also say something to the doctor. Many doctors in most countries know where to refer you to get this kind of help. If you do not feel that you are in danger, but resent the sexual requests, be honest with your husband. It is not uncommon for a woman to be too tired to engage in sexual activity with her husband when she is overwhelmed with young babies. He needs to know this. Every woman is different in this respect. It is possible that your husband is experiencing identity issues himself and is figuring out what being a man with responsibilities is all about. Maybe the pornography is a stage that he will grow out of. Again, you would want to let him know what your sexual boundaries are, and what you like and do not like.
What you need more than anything now are healthy nutritious meals, plenty of water, and plenty of sleep. Don’t worry about the small things like making the bed. Pick up the stuff off the floor and put them in baskets or boxes, or just clean piles if you don’t have time to put everything away. Your babies will be small for a very, very short time. Spend your time with them now. Keep your home sanitary and yourself nourished and rested.
As for the laundry, try to have a basket for your clean clothes and the babies’ clean clothes. The days and nights blur into each other when you are nursing babies anyway, so there is nothing wrong with taking the clean laundry and putting it in a basket and just using the clothes out of the basket and tossing the dirty clothes into the dirty clothes hamper. I’m just giving you an example of how you might simplify things for now while you take time out to hold your babies, sing to them and enjoy them for awhile.
Take one day at a time.
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