بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The blessed month of Ramadhan is upon us!
One of the greetings which Muslims share with one another at the onset of this month, Ramadhan Kareem (it could be insufficiently translated into English as Noble Ramadhan), reveals something of the feelings a Muslim experiences knowing he or she has lived to see another Ramadhan.
Think back to the happiest day of your life. Those feelings might come somewhere close to the joy Muslims feel at greeting Ramadhan, a month when the gates of Paradise are thrown open, those of Hellfire bolted shut and people saved from the latter every night. Throw in (amongst other virtues of this month) a night worth a thousand months of worship and it is little wonder that Ramadhan is a month where every Muslim strives to their utmost to fulfill their obligation of fasting and exerting themselves in pleasing their Lord.
The remainder of this article contains the experiences of sisters who have persevered with their fasting despite being pregnant or breastfeeding. Their accounts serve as gems mashaAllah. For non-Muslims they offer a chance to perceive something of the love and dedication Muslims have for their Lord. InshaAllah they will also act as encouragement for those Muslim sisters finding themselves fasting this year while in such a situation.
Truly Ramadhan brings out some of the best of Allah’s mercy and some of the best exertion of His slaves! May He make us of those who fast and worship for His sake and from whom it is accepted. Aameen.
“Fasting Ramadhan between 9-13wks pregnant – alhamdulillah managed to do this as I wasn’t eating much anyway & sickness was there whether I ate or not, so alhamdulillah that wasn’t too difficult. Was October time so days were quite short.”
“I was in the early stages of pregnancy and I fasted Ramadhan. I would feel sick, tired and pretty miserable but I knew I would feel like that even if I wasn’t fasting!! I had 3 other children to look after so, no, I didn’t sleep all day to cope!”
“I have had 2 Shawwal [month following Ramadhan] babies so fasted Ramadhan in the last month of pregnancy. I found this tiring but manageable alhamdulillah. The baby (in belly) was less active during the day, but picked up after eating & resting. I did find that other acts of worship were much harder as I was very tired & sleepy after Maghrib. Often I would sleep after Maghrib for a couple of hours and then get up for ‘Isha/taraweeh, that worked for me.
One child was born on 6th Dhul Hijjah and alhamdulillah I fasted the day he was born! I didn’t feel those days as they were January and very short.”
“My first was a few months old when Ramadhan approached and we already had issues with food and weight gain! She wasn’t gaining weight and was rapidly dropping off the chart! Ramadhan came, I started fasting and she still wasn’t gaining weight and everyone got on my case (health visitor, family and friends) so I broke my fasts. She still didn’t gain weight and I felt terrible! Alhamdulillah I made them up and 5 years later my definitely not under weight daughter is fine mashaAllah. With baby number two I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant. Alhamdulilah fasting was fine, but I was preoccupied with a toddler and the days were quite short.”
“Both my children were born in Shawwal – so I have fasted two Ramadhan’s being heavily pregnant. With my first child, I was sick throughout my pregnancy and I was worried about how I would feel whilst fasting. Nevertheless, I gave it a try and found it to be easy, alhamdullillah. Yes, I would be sick, but then I would just rinse my mouth out and carry on as normal – it was fine! I remember praying taraweeh at a local masjid when pregnant and miss those times where I could go to the masjid and not have to think about the kids!
With my second child, I spent the majority of Ramadhan with my in laws. I would crave fish nearly everyday- my father in law was hoping I would be craving samosas or other goodies, but I would want tuna sandwiches or fish and chips! Towards the end of my pregnancy, they detected some glucose in my urine and I had to miss one fast for a gestational diabetes test – I really missed fasting that day – it just does not feel like Ramadhan! I went through false labour several times in the last ten nights – I would be praying taraweeh and making dua to get through Ramadhan – I wanted to be able to fast and pray in these precious days and I wanted my husband to be there in labour. Subhanallah, my duas were answered as my daughter arrived on Eid day!”
“I had my daughter (Child No. 3) 2 weeks after Eid ul Fitr. Alhamdulillah I didn’t find the fasting difficult, it felt pretty much the same as when I wasn’t pregnant. And what was great was that I could fast the whole of Ramadhan and pray the taraweeh and not miss any due to menses. “
Breastfeeding in Ramadhan
“Sulayman was born before Ramadan and I was able to fast. He was six weeks old so my post partum bleeding had stopped. Alhamdulillah I had no problems and the health visitor was fine. I felt well and Sulayman was steadily putting on weight.”
“My first baby was 4 months old and I fasted. He would get hungry as it approached iftaar time. It would upset me, but soon after I had iftaar and drunk a couple of glasses of milk or water, I would feed him and he would settle. Then I could enjoy my iftaar! Sometimes I would drink and I could feel the water going straight into the milk factory rather that my stomach! It took about a week and then my baby and body adjusted to feeding on a different schedule.”
“Baby no.2 was 5 weeks old when Ramadhan came. It had been 3 days since I had started praying again and was still adjusting to coping with a toddler and a new baby. The fasts were not difficult, but I did find that prayer at night was not as easy. I was still pacing the corridor with my super-windy baby when my husband would return from the masjid at about midnight. I would often recite short surahs in taraweeh and not have much of a break in between rakatayn. After a week or two of fasting we all adjusted to our new routines and things settled. During some of the last ten nights my husband would take baby no.1 to the masjid so that I could have ‘quality’ time for Quran and to pray before putting them to bed, even if I had to finish the rest later.”
“Allah has made fasting whilst breastfeeding easy for me, Alhamdulillah.”
“Abdur-Rahman was just under three months when Ramadhan came and I had no problem with the first fasts, but when we went to Saudi Arabia for our ‘umrah trip in Ramadhan I found it difficult with the heat. My milk started to dry up because I was dehydrated so I had to abandon the fasts. Those fasts were really hard to make up after wards, there is something special about the month of Ramadan. If I was not in such a hot country I would definitely have continued with the fasts.”
“I fasted in Ramadhan whilst breastfeeding my nearly 6 month old son, who had not started solids, so he was quite a guzzler! My milk took a few days to adjust to fasting, as it did with my previous children, but alhamdulillah my not-interested-in-food baby didn’t seem too bothered by it! We were blessed with the opportunity to do ‘umrah (with the guzzler and his siblings!) that Ramadhan and alhamdulillah, he coped with all that just fine too! I fasted the journeys, the ‘umrah, and all our time there and can you believe I actually put on a few pounds in those 2/3 weeks?! Blessed dates and zam zam!”