It seems that despite my efforts to be discreet, some mentions of my health have crept into my writing over the last few months. I write about my life and my experiences and it can be hard to separate how I am feeling physically from that, especially at times like this when it impacts so much on everything I do.
So, just when I thought I had my life all (kind of) planned out and set on a course, Allah (SWT) reminded me that we plan, but he is the best of planners and what he plans is nothing short of amazing. Around the time I released my 2014 Muslimah Inspiration Journal and started filling it’s pages at the start of the year, I found myself pregnant. It was an enormous kick in the backside reminder that Allah (SWT) sets out a course for us that we can’t foresee, but that there is always khair (goodness) in what He decides for us.
I have to say I freaked a little and didn't sleep for about two nights – terrified of the long days and nights of sickness and discomfort I suffer during pregnancy, terrified of the pain of delivering a baby again, terrified of what people would say – “five kids?!!”
But I knew better than to let this take hold too deeply. After all, I know that Allah (SWT) loves us and blesses us with what we can handle. Also, I believe that a gift and blessing should not be taken lightly, but recognised and appreciated for what it is. In the case of a child; a source of deep joy, an opportunity to create our legacy, the awe of watching a human being come into their amazing potential as unique individuals and Muslims and a chance to raise our standing in the next world insh’Allah.
I am just over six months pregnant now (26 weeks, so a few days short of the start of my third trimester). I'm not sure where the first two trimesters went. Most of the time has been spent being utterly sick and lying down quite a bit. The last two months have been without sickness and I have been trying to catch up with getting some routine back in my life and acting as if I can carry on as normal – including walking a lot and trying to eat sensibly so I don’t get too big . The last two weeks have seen me come to a realisation that I am pregnant and that means I have to slow down, be gentle on myself, ask for help and sometimes just say to my family that I just can’t do anything right now and will have to lie down and that they will have to make do with whatever is lurking in the recesses of the fridge for dinner.
I have to admit telling people was challenging, but not always as I expected. I waited till almost six months to tell my mum because she has always been adamant two children are enough (she told me to stop after two, then after three, then for definite after four). I was fully expecting a slap, but got a disappointed “but you had such a nice family”. I told her it was just about to get nicer and she harrumphed. Kooks was watching and piped up with “I was the fifth and look I'm the best one” which was met with “you came uninvited”. Good job we both have a thick skin. It might sound horrible on my mum’s part, but I know how much she found it very hard to raise the five of us on limited resources with no help and in isolated circumstances. I know she wants the best for us and thinks that would include an easier life. I also know that she will love this baby in the way she loves all of her grandchildren (mostly by stuffing them full of sweets when I am not looking).
I told my manager at work fairly on, but didn't start to tell people until after five months when I had my second scan confirming things were okay. Prior to that I had been feeling no movement from the baby and started to get scared. People’s reaction has varied from congratulations and encouragement to "OMG five kids!!". Thankfully more of the former and less of the latter.
Little Lady clocked something was going no fairly early and asked me why I wasn't missing nay prayers and if it was because I was pregnant. I told her to stop being nosy and it was different when you were older and have had kids, you don’t always miss prayers. When I finally owned up, she wasn't very impressed with my dissembling. She is very happy though and has been great at trying to help me. The boys don’t seem to have quite caught on, Gorgeous just thinks I am getting fat and isn't very happy about it. He keeps telling me pointedly that he would never want to get fat. I did ask him what he would do if we went and got another baby, he was adamant that we’d never be allowed more than four. I asked him how he would like another little sister, this set him off ranting about it not being fair if there were more girls than boys. He still hasn't quite recovered from Darling encroaching on his limelight, so who knows what another baby might do to him. One of my sisters suggested I take a picture of his face when he finds out – will definitely be doing so.
Other than this I am trying to get my head around managing a very full home alhamdulillah and a big workload. Three at school, including one who will be starting high school and two children under two. Although to be honest, I would count Gorgeous as more than one child – he’s loud enough and creates enough chaos and work for it.
I am grateful for my wonderful husband who helps me so much, has listened to my moaning and been patient through the incapacitating months of sickness. I am grateful for my lovely sisters and sister-in-law who have been nothing but supportive. In particular Shutterbug Sister who on my telling her I was pregnant, without a pause reminded me that it was a blessing from Allah and could not be without purpose. Just the words I needed at that time and they have sustained me in the days that followed massively.
I am grateful for my health and energy, for the fact that I have stopped being sick and for the prayers sent my way. It’s a time of transition in our family, of things changing and moving forward. We are at a point of uncertainty before the big things start happening: the arrival of this baby, Little Lady’s school, Kook’s wedding and who knows what else. It will be hard work, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I'm not scared of that because I am constantly reminded of Allah’s (SWT) promise that he does not burden a soul with more than it can bear. My plans for the coming years will have to be reassessed in light of having less time and the need to focus on caring for the people around me. I am breathless, can’t manage stairs, cannot pray without getting painful heartburn and have swollen ankles and porky fingers (I am trying very hard to find the funny side of that). Plus I am still terrified of the pain that is coming my way in about three months…
Yet I am so excited. I have watched each of my children grow and their own nature, character and strengths emerge, gifts from Allah (SWT) to be used in this world to fulfil their purpose. I am watching Darling come into her own – introverted, affectionate, strong-willed, bossy and bright as a button. Now insh’Allah I have the chance to watch this unfolding and realising of those gifts once more. I feel very, very privileged.