Thursday 26 July 2012

Journal Your Ramadan Challenge: Day 3-6 – Learning the Hard Way

Some people use their common sense, others learn things the hard way, guess which category I fall into?  I have been struggling for a while with this pregnancy, but thought I would try and fast.  I managed to fast through three previous pregnancies when the day was much shorter.  I was desperate not to miss out this time and decided to try it one day at a time and if I become uncomfortable or thinking the baby was exhibiting less movement would stop.

This wasn’t particularly bright, because I have never been good at listening to my body, gauging when to stop and rest or seeing the signs when I am about to faint.  The baby’s movement also didn’t turn out to be a good measure, because the child is nuts and won’t sit still for five minutes under any circumstances (I fully expect to give birth, only for this baby to jump up and run off down the hospital corridor shouting “you can’t catch me!” like the ginger bread man).  I lasted three days fairly easily but on the fourth found myself woozy and severely fatigued.  I decided not to fast the next day.

On day five of Ramadan I had a doctor’s appointment due to the painful joints, debilitating bloating and sever exhaustion I have been suffering from recently.  She asked me if I was fasting and I denied rather indignantly.  She put the symptoms down to me not resting enough, working too much, being a mum of three and going through my fourth pregnancy.  She recommended eating well and getting some rest, something I am going to have to learn how to do properly.

The point is not to show off my stubbornness or my lack of sense, but to share my thoughts on fasting, pregnancy and spirituality.  It says in the Quran:

"Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa." Quran (2:183).

I have come to realise that if you are so exhausted and light-headed that you cannot concentrate in your prayers and on your relationship with Allah (SWT) properly, that then you are defeating the purpose of fasting.  If fasting is making me ill, then I have to find another way to increase my iman during this blessed month.

I also had to remind myself that Allah (SWT) is merciful and does not place a burden on us greater than we can bear.  The exemption from fasting is there for pregnant women out of kindness and mercy and out of concern for a woman’s wellbeing:

“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity”. Quran (2:286)

So I have stopped fasting.  It has taken me a day or two to build up my strength.  I feel better, apart from the permanent tiredness.  At the same time, I feel like my concentration in my prayers is not the same.  I am not reading as much Quran and I feel rather down and as if I am missing out on something.

Insh’Allah I would love to hear from sisters who have suggestions on how I can increase my iman and make the most of this Ramadan when I cannot fast.

The themes for the Journal Your Ramadan Challenge for days 3 to 6 were:
3 – Food
4 – Write
5 - Yearning For
6 - 4pm

Food I have been taking pictures of and will post pictures and recipes over the next few days insh’Allah.
Write and Yearning for are covered above
4pm is when I get home from work at the moment – tired, swarmed by overexcited kids on summer holidays and pleased to see their mum and wondering what to cook for iftar.


  1. You got to rest hun. Your body is giving you all the signs and your doctor has said the same. Take it slow and easy. Pregnant and lactating women are exempted from fasting. Now you know why. ;)

    Give fidya and take those fasts (if you can) later.. For now, spend time reciting Quran, saying prayers...


  2. I too am not fasting this Ramadan and trying to make the most of it despite that. Like you, I'm finding it hard.

  3. As Salaam U Alaikum Sister,

    I came across your site on Google when I was searching 'Muslim Mum Blogs' and I have to say this post was one of the first I read of yours and it really resonated with me.

    I have been feeling/experiencing similar emotions and behaviour. I was always under the impression that pregnant women were exempt from fasting but an Imam whom usually gets its pretty right told me that fasting is obligatory on a pregnant woman unless otherwise exempt from a medical practitioner for health reasons. So I kept the first three rozas and felt fine, in fact I felt great as I didnt have this damn heartburn to contend with! But it left me feeling extremely fatigued and tired that I had to stop. Also, this baby who does not stop kicking started to make less frequent movements. That along with hubby telling me he would feel more comfortable if I didnt fast. It was not easy to decide to stop as I felt quite guilty. It also took me a few days to feel myself again...well as myself ass I can feel while pregnant!
    But I also find that my concentration span is terrible. Im praying as a routine and it does not feel heartfelt and find it extremely hard to read the Quran as I find myself getting distracted or feeling sleepy! Instead, I now find myself listening to recitals on my Ipod. I figure it will also be good for baby to hear as much Quran as possible.
    Thanks for your post though. I feel better knowing that Im not the only one feeling like this!
    Was Salaam,

  4. Salaaam Sis Hana,
    I am glad I am not the only one struggling! Its forcing me to think about spirituality though, and other ways I can find to get closer to Allah (SWT), will continue to share the journey insh'Allah.

    Do let me also know what works for you as seems we are in the same boat. I guess at least we can say we tried!

  5. Was Salaams Sister,

    I did actually respond to this a few days back but I think I may have been in 'baby brain' mode as it doesn't seem to have gone through. My apologies for that.
    Since posting my earlier message it just feels like a sudden surge of change has come about me and I have a more heightened level of concentraton. As though Allah Almighty felt my sadness and despair at not being able to connect and somehow allowed me better focus! But when I was having trouble focusing I would just play Quran Tilawats and just listen to the soothing voice of the Quran.being recited. I felt a sense of connection when I did that and I figured it would be good for the growing baby to hear that too.
    Other than that I found myself reading Islamic blogs. Articles on Ramadan and faith.
    I believe Allah knows what is in our hearts and what our intentions are so we shouldn't beat ourselves up too much about how we are feeling or what we are going through. :)

    Was Salaam

  6. Dear Sister, You should not be working at all.Especially being pregnant. That is the husbands responsibility. Yours is to take care of the home and children. Idon't understand why sisters feel the need to go outside of the home to work. You are really overextending yourself and neglecting the things that need your attention (ie your health,children, home, husband. We each have our roles in life, don't ignre that.