‘All I saw when you all were pregnant was a beautiful glowing face with a soft cute tummy pushed out!’ I complained while nagging about my nausea.
‘pfft. Haha! Tip of the iceberg’, one of my sisters replied.
Nobody told me how it was when they got pregnant. And living with too many sisters who got pregnant and having seen them with their glowy peaceful faces being pampered, enjoying their phases and waiting for the arrival of their little bundle of joy, I thought I’d be going through the same! Little did I know I was in for a HUGE SURPRISE!
So yes, this is going to be a post on living through the first trimester of Pregnancy which could be the most trying for some – with nausea, extreme fatigue, loneliness, etc. etc. However, note this disclaimer- neither am I a mother of many, or a gynecologist, health nutritionist or a doctor. These are views and solutions I tried finding myself during the hardest three months of my life (yeah seriously!) and had the urge to pen them down since I didn’t have these guidelines handed to me when I needed them the most. For scientific, health, diet related advises or reads on pregnancy, I’d say this is NOT the article you’re looking for. However, if you are going through a quite a tiresome first trimester, then perhaps this could be a light read InshaAllah. This is not going to be much about how to tackle nausea, or how to tackle this and that but just a few reflections on getting thru this hard phase with a happy spirit InshaAllah.
I was amazed at how I had everyone around me, so understanding, so patient, so excited for me, YET I was feeling completely lonely thinking to my self – ‘They don’t know what I’m going through!!’ I tried surfing online for ‘why no one talks about the first trimester of pregnancy’ but perhaps no one had the time to talk about that either. So all I did was sleep. And penned these down in my second trimester when I got better Alhamdulillah.
- Whining about a Purposeless life:
Even before confirming the pregnancy, I already knew I was expecting. Nothing but the extreme tiredness gave it away. I was surprised at how tired I’d be to lift a jug of water or make Ruku in prayer. Little things were getting harder.
Most women don’t talk about the first trimester perhaps due to risks of miscarriage, or due to their ‘extreme fatigue’ and I’m not shying away from using that word again and again since that’s how it is. The worst is when there aren’t any physical indications of pregnancy (as you start showing only around week 20 or more), no one would know and so wouldn’t understand why you can’t stand longer while waiting to bill your grocery, or need a seat in that bus that’s full, or a seat while you wait for your turn with the doctor.
There are times when you feel tired of being tired. Physically, mentally, and spiritually!
If you are the type of super active person like I am, you’d probably get utterly depressed feeling life getting purposeless like I did. I had to take leave from teaching tajweed to children in my colony, and taking breaks from the Tafseer classes I was moderating for my relatives, took official leave from online workplaces, stopped cooking special dishes for my husband and in-laws and felt like I was really doing NOTHING productive anymore. Basically, I was feeling dead mentally, even when there was a new life inside me physically!
Here’s what helped- Well, the only solution is to get lots and lots of rest. Haha! I’m sure you were expecting some supernatural solutions, but really there are a million hormonal changes going about inside you that you NEED to just rest even if you don’t feel like it. And here’s the thing- If you are sleeping with guilt, feeling like you’re being lazy, or just being tired of sleeping and worried or depressed about not being productive, then that’s how you will eventually feel mentally all the time even if you get enough rest.
Rather, try embracing your sleep. When you go to bed, breathe in deeply by thinking of happiness, Jannah and motherhood. Put away those negative thoughts while you breathe out. It’s also a basic Yoga relaxation technique that helps you sleep faster (in case you’re struggling with sleep already like I did). And most importantly, cut yourself some slack and say to yourself: ‘I’m pregnant and I’ll never be able to get this much sleep again! So let me enjoy it while it lasts!’ This way you wake up happier, a little energetic even if you’re still tired.
Watch cute baby videos to cheer up. Our hormones are all over the place and so we get overly emotional. I cried watching an animation movie! So it helps watching cute baby videos for even if you are not an ‘awwwww’ person, it’d get you excited and happy for no reason!
For some, pregnancy isn’t an excuse and they still go ahead with their jobs or day to day tasks, whatsoever, which helps them be distracted and not obsess much about the little one inside them. This is a great way too (just didn’t work for my 1000 times multiplied fatigue). Just gearing up the energy to tidy up your room one fine day does make you feel so much better. So try to fight the tiredness if you can, But don’t strain.
Dua is the key to everything. Ask Allah to energize you to alteast worship Him. He helps miraculously. And don’t fret. This is temporary, and soon you are going to have time and energy to do everything you want in your next trimester InshaAllah.
- How my baby taught me TaqwaAs mentioned above, even Ruku in Salah was getting tiring. So I resorted to sitting and praying. And it didn’t feel like ‘prayer’ anymore as days passed by. It seemed just as a robotic exercise day and night. I was so excited for this time, to bond most with Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى so my baby does too along with me, yet I was only getting farther and farther away from Him. I had planned to never leave Tahajjud so it’s a habit my baby never leaves. Yet, much to my disappointment, I was never able to wake up for it instead!
Prayer seemed like a burden and Iman got so low and then one fine day suddenly while I was reflecting on many things, this is how my baby taught me Taqwa:
‘EEEEEe baby, we are going to pray Isha now and make some Sajdah to Allah our dearest!” I said excitedly to my little belly.
SubhanAllah, how beautiful is the thought that when I prostrate, my baby is already worshipping its Lord in the womb. And when I perform an act of worship, my baby is involved too. When I read the Quran, it hears. Our connection spiritually is already so close just like our physical connection. It eats my food, drinks what I drink; and so does it enjoy my Quranic recitation while I enjoy singing it across my room too!
Yet again, SubhanAllah, my baby is already teaching me to be a better Muslimah by the day. Just as I rejoiced over the above reflection, I realize that when I sin, my baby experiences it with me; i.e., when I let loose my Taqwa, if ever I had some of it, then my baby feels it too. Me being away from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and forgetting to fear His wrath means my baby is too, perhaps, right?
Or I’d like to think so.
Because thinking this way has made me so carefully and meticulously choose my steps, do every deed so consciously, control my emotions or my ego, increase me in cheerfulness and contentment, love more and LIVE more. Alhamdulillah.
I’m supposed to be doing all this as a normal human being and believer even before getting pregnant, but now as a would-be-mother inshaAllah that this baby has made me, I’ve learnt to be careful. And perhaps that’s what Taqwa is; In doing things with complete consciousness of Him.
It isn’t easy to be a mother. From the symptoms of pregnancy; nausea, vomiting, fatigue, heartburn, constipation, over dramatic moodiness, stress, over sensitive smell and taste, dizziness, headaches, anxiety, mood swings, and what NOT! To the VERY fact that you are now a mother to be and a little bundle of joy is coming your way. This little bundle is also an Amanah our Lord has granted us, from the very first day we conceived. SubhanaAllah. Its like a lifetime job handed over to us by Him we are accountable for every minute.
Alhamdulillah for this joy. That takes us closer to Him through it. Everytime I think of this, my heart flutters with fear of fulfilling its responsibility. But also rejoices more in prayer, and the thought of being dependent on Him سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى all along; of never being alone, and of standing in prayer with love for Him in my heart. Doing what I love- painting and writing and cooking and talking etc. and feeling my baby enjoy this as much as the tired me is!
- Fights with Husband – Bonds with Mother in law!And so as our relationship with Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى strains, our relationship with the husband too, strains. Every moody preggy woman feels – ‘he doesn’t understand what I’m going thru, he’s being selfish in his desires, he just won’t empathize with me, why can’t he help with home chores, why can’t he try feeling it for me, be more understanding, why is he so selfish when I’m getting all the attention, etc etc.’ It is natural to get these thoughts EVEN if you have the best husband in the world (I have the BEST Alhamdulillah). Yet I used to tell him ‘your mom takes care of me so much but I want YOU to take care of me’ lol. That doesn’t even make sense when you think you are in a joint family with workers at your home so your husband basically doesn’t have much to actually do to take care of you.
As thoughts like these get piled up within, relationship gets strained with him. However ladies, the trick is to notice the things HE DOES for you rather than the things HE DOESN’T. And he actually is doing a lot, given the fact that it is a new change for HIM too. His sudden fear of responsibility itself is going to make him overly silent making you wonder whether he is even as excited as you are, to be a parent. He is. Trust me, and more excited perhaps than you.
You see it:
- When he keeps telling you ‘slow! Be careful’ when you walk in the street, or climb the stairs.
- When he tries to keep your room tidy as you don’t have the energy to.
- When he denies you a long trip you desire, only because it’s for your own good.
- When he tries to take you for a short walk after Fajr to feel the fresh air (even tho you scream ‘don’t you get it I’m tired!’ ) innocently thinking a dab of fresh air will do you better.
- When he wakes up in the middle of the night when you’re struggling to sleep and serves you a banana thinking perhaps you are hungry.
- When he presses your aching feet very softly as he is so tired in the middle of his deep sleep.
- When he brings your lunch, food and tea upstairs because you shouldn’t be climbing stairs too often.
- When he fulfills your cravings. Yum! That’s when HE’s the best right!!
- When he eats your leftover food lovingly because your new sense of taste and smell denies you ANY food!
- When he wakes you up patiently for Fajr knowing you are too tired.
- When he accompanies you in your trips to the doctor, since that means a lot to you.
And the list goes on in these little things he tries to do for you that are actually so much new to him.
So embrace the fact that you have been gifted a companion by your side. Each of your ways of life might be so different, experiences and thoughts must be different; however, he is the most loving dearest being you could have by your side at this moment. Gift him something and make him feel appreciated. Instead of expecting it from him, just do it for him, and your happiness only multiplies. Of course it requires patience and most importantly, sometimes speaking up to him when you really want his empathy. Speaking up will only strengthen the bond you both are trying to keep tight, while holding in will weaken it. Men often don’t understand silence, but when you speak up, and they love you, they will do anything to make you feel better. (especially at this stage )
So look for these little things. And thank him from time to time for being patient with the *new you*. Enjoy those little times showing him when you were able to finally finish your cup of ice-cream, or when you were energetic enough to spend your day productively by perhaps just cleaning up or making a painting or just reading a book. Share your moments and make him proud. Slowly you’ll realize he is learning the new you is differently growing but beautifully so.
- Quran: THE Solution
One of my relatives who just gave birth told me that she often recited the Shahadah during her pregnancy hoping her little belly hears. Now when she especially says ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ to her new born baby, she responds with a smile no matter how naggy she was! I found this so beautiful. It is true that the baby hears us in the womb around 16 weeks onwards I guess. So I wanted to recite as much Quran to it as possible. However I was too tired to do so and ended up procrastinating.
Since then I got worried that why would my baby enjoy painting and writing and reading, but not the Quran yet. Here again, dua was they key. After constantly making dua and effort to listen to the Quran, what helped was to play Mishary AlAfasy in the background while I combed my hair, or rest in the afternoon. And it helped me enough to contemplate on His verses, get rid of anxiety and mood swings and enlighten me up. It didn’t immediately help, but gradually with consistency Alhamdulillah it did. Slowly the urge to recite and not just listen crept in and now I love His words more than anything else and I pray and hope my baby does too. My heart melts and yearns to read the Quran when I listen to its verses and I sometimes think ‘It’s the baby!’.When any emotion sinked in, be it loneliness or anxiety, the Quran has served as the only refuge- be it listening or reading.
‘Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest’ [Surah Ar-Ra’ad] and what best dhikr than His own words!
I end this article with the advice of just embracing each moment and psychologically turning your downs to ups, and enjoy these stages of motherhood. A happy preggy lady means a happy baby they say!
There are times you will want to give up. But of course there is no other way. However, after a few weeks, when you first see that little bean inside you when you go for your scan, every pain will slowly feel like nothing at all.
So take your time. A little bean is growing inside you and is going through tremendous development Alhamdulillah. So try to sit back, relax. And let it grow <3
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