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Expecting & Nursing Mothers in Ramadan: Worship of a Different Kind

When Emma gave birth to her first child, Ramadan was only a few days away.

For the first time, she found out what it was like not to fast during the holy month – for the whole month.

She would spend hours in her room adjusting to life with a newborn.

Expecting & Nursing Mothers in Ramadan: Worship of a Different Kind - About Islam

Her cycles included nursing, napping, tending to a crying baby, sleeping and waking again and again for more nursing sessions, diaper changing, the daily bath, and more naps.

Needless to say, the joy of having a newborn was overwhelming.

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At the same time, having to trawl through Ramadan with a baby with erratic mood swings was also very tiring, not to mention the feeling of being lonely.

While everyone else was busy celebrating Ramadan by attending lectures, joining Qur’an circles, and participating in other worship, Emma felt she was missing out on so much.

Even suhur and iftar were not part of her schedule, as life adjusted around her baby.

She felt she could not even participate in the simplest worship of breaking fast, let alone fasting and performing Tarawih at night.

Emma didn’t realize that the ease of Ramadan vanished quite a bit after becoming a mother, as her daughter grew.

Emma was tasked with taking care of a nursing toddler the following year, and was also expecting another baby girl, which gave her the flexibility of not fasting during Ramadan.

And as the years passed, her family multiplied, turning Ramadan into a whole different experience all together.

Many mothers go through these long phases of pregnancy, post-partum, and breastfeeding, giving them leave from the worship of Ramadan.

Expecting & Nursing Mothers in Ramadan: Worship of a Different Kind - About Islam

While the flexibility is there, Ramadan really does come with a different form of “hardship.”

Taking care of young children who have multiple needs, not to mention that they are always hungry, even if they’ve already passed the stage of nursing. It is very tiring and a great test of patience.

You Can Still Do Your Best

While it is only forbidden to fast during post-natal periods of bleeding, expecting and nursing mothers are also exempt from worship.

Scholars differ in their opinions as to whether they need to make up all the days that they miss or may just pay a “fine” by feeding those less fortunate.

Regardless of the opinions they follow, here are a few ways for mothers to partake in Ramadan, even if it involves different forms of worship.

1- Taking a change of mindset

It may not be easy to go through Ramadan while everyone is busy with worship and you’re the only one wearing a baby around the house who needs to nurse every 20 minutes.

In fact, fasting while raising toddlers, one of whom still needs to be breastfed throughout the day, is not easy at all.

But take heart, and take a change of mindset—as a mother to little children, or an expecting mother even—you’re on a special route of worshiping yourself.

Carrying your baby in your womb gives you the automatic status of a martyr, as does breastfeeding through the first few weeks.

After that, Allah knows well how much you would like to fast and perform Taraweeh in congregation but may not be able to.

Take heart; Allah knows and understands completely. You are worshipping Allah, just by the situation you are already in.

2- Set your reasonable goals

Everyone is different, so it is needless to compare with who is doing what during Ramadan.

If you’re able to give to charity, by all means go ahead – even if it only means promoting charitable endeavors online.

If all you can manage is watching Islamic lectures on Youtube, then stock up on them while Ramadan lasts.

Download your favorite Qur’anic recitation, and listen to the Qur’an, if you’re unable to find time to read a page.

Recite Dzikr every day – that is also a form of worship and a good one too – for Allah remembers those who remember Him.

3- Talk to your baby about Ramadan

As silly as it sounds, newborns retain everything they hear from birth. In fact, they may understand more than we already know.

Expecting & Nursing Mothers in Ramadan: Worship of a Different Kind - About Islam

Talk to your baby about Ramadan, and if you have older children, tell them stories about the holy month, read books together, and sing nasheeds together.

Insha Allah, they will grow up loving Ramadan as much as you do and will appreciate the month for having spent it with their mother.

4- Prepare meals early on 

If it’s possible, buy in bulk so you don’t have to leave the house too often.

Children often need frequent snacks and set meals; cook in bulk so you don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen every single day.

Many meals can double as iftar as well as suhur for those who are fasting. If you have to leave the house, pack small snacks in zip-lock bags or tupperware for the children.

5- Make the best of your own Ramadan

Remember, at the end of the day, every single person walks down his or her own path and endures their journeys.

Such journeys are designed by the Planner of All Things, and we should be grateful that we are given the chance to enjoy one whole Ramadan, even if we feel we haven’t performed to the best of our abilities.

Allah catches every tear of the believer and rewards even the smallest deeds, so call out to Him in moments of uncertainty, as this is the best way to find calm, even during the most lonely Ramadans, filled with nappies and frequent tantrums.

Ramadan only comes once a year, regardless of our situation. It is a special time for all Muslims, even if there seem to be so many limitations on worship because of a pregnancy, post-partum, or nursing period.

Yet, alhamdulillah, these are special forms of worship on their own.

Ramadan is very much the perfect time to reflect upon our personal journeys in this Dunya

So, take the ease in your own hardship and remember to enjoy your children while they are little.

By the following Ramadan, things may have changed, and a new set of challenges may suddenly arise.

So take the month one day at a time, one segment at a time, and on the long run, all will be well, as Allah accepts even the smallest of deeds with the best of intentions.

This article is from our archives.