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.