Mostly, when we think of divorced or widowed mums we think of those left behind with children in their care. However, what we forget is that sometimes these women become single mothers whilst still pregnant; imagine how tough that must be subhanallah! At a time when one perhaps needs their partner the most, to suddenly realise you have no-one there must be quite overwhelming; especially when it took two of you to become pregnant. Does this then mean that these women should not enjoy their pregnancies and that no positivity can be derived from this? Should they hide away and not celebrate this wondrous occasion?! I don’t think so! Remember, the situation you now face has already been decreed 50,000 years before the Earth was created by Allah swt in ‘The Preserved Tablet’ where everything that will come to pass has been recorded. Why then should women feel negative about something that was bound to happen anyway, especially if they were not to blame?!
Still, it’s not easy when all you see around you are ‘happy’ couples excitedly awaiting the arrival of their little bundles of joy. I know I felt left out and once again like I couldn’t relate to those around me. In that moment I was determined to enjoy what could well be my last pregnancy in a way I had previously not done so, by cherishing each and every moment – both the ups and the downs. I have compiled a list of tips that make for a healthy but also happy pregnancy in the hope that anyone who is alone during pregnancy need not feel like they are the only ones to find themselves in such a situation. In sha Allah, this eases the anxiety for a mum out there and gives her something to hold on to in her time of need.
- Look after number one! I know this may sound silly, but all too often we are caught up in the daily running of our lives: be it kids, work or something else. Throw in a break-up into the mix and you have chaos threatening to ensue if you can’t keep it together; making time for your wellness gives you a break from it all and helps you to regain focus. I let myself go in my pregnancy and I was the one who suffered. During pregnancy I suffered from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, this was caused by too much fluid being inside my veins especially in the Carpal Tunnel which is located inside your hand. As a result my fingers would go numb and tingly and often be accompanied by severe pain, bad enough that it kept me awake in tears at night. I never bothered getting it checked out as I never made time for myself. By the time I did, I had been suffering alone for months. Had I seen my GP earlier I could have saved myself a lot of trouble! Various exercises, a splint and drinking plenty of water eased my conditions thankfully!
- Listen to your body! By becoming attuned to your body you can save yourself so much headache in the long run. Rest when you need to rest and don’t try to push yourself too hard. I would get so sleepy during my first trimester and I would nap for long periods of time. With my other children I hadn’t had the chance to nap much when pregnant as there was only a year’s gap between them. I always sought to do housework over sleeping as I was worried I would be labelled as lazy but the absence of a man in my last pregnancy meant there was no-one to complain about a dirty house! My children were also 10 years older so they were in school and old enough to look after themselves if I needed a nap. Guilt free napping is a rare gift!
- Put your feet up with a cuppa! Some women suffer miserably with swollen feet and ankles; thankfully I didn’t suffer from this. I like to think that part of the reason why is that I always had my feet up when sitting down. I really miss my recliner now, but anything that raises your feet can be used to make a makeshift footrest if you don’t have one. Alternatively, I would also soak my feet a lot to refresh them. I love tea tree oil products – they make your feet feel rejuvenated and re-energized!
- Embrace your situation, don’t fight it! I always imagined that one of the toughest aspects of being a single mum during pregnancy would be those dreaded hospital appointments alone. Like with most things, if you change the way you look at something you change the way it affects you. Instead of being miserable that I didn’t have my husband at my scans I embraced being able to savour this sacred moment all to myself – just me and peanut. In an ideal world it would be great to have a gushing husband declare how amazing seeing your baby for the first time is whilst he caresses your hand and then whispers how much he loves you. From experience I can tell you most men are NOT like that. The moment with a man is more often than not an anti-climax where they watch on awkwardly, not understanding how you can be so moved to tears by a blob on a screen. Experiencing this moment with a friend can actually be more of a moving experience than with a man; or better yet alone! Don’t lose sight of the big picture: you are going to be a mummy to a beautiful darling baby who will only have to look at you to melt your heart. Allah swt has showered you with such a precious gift that not all are fortunate to receive! When you have your little baby in your arms, you wont even remember the hospital visits!
- Go natural! Allah swt says in the Glorious Qur’an that man has been created impatient and we see examples of this all the time when it comes to having patience with ailments and problems. Instead of reaching for prescription or over the counter medicines to alleviate morning sickness such as Zofran (which is not FDA approved to treat morning sickness and is linked to an increase in birth defects such as heart defects) stick to healthier and safer natural remedies. Ginger biscuits or any plain dry biscuits are great when nausea strikes. Tea can also work wonders especially herbal and watermelon is another one that did wonders for me. If you do decide that you require medication to manage your nausea, then please make sure you research it properly first including side effects. It’s a small price to pay for your baby’s health and well-being.
- Fresh air and walking is vital!! I was very lazy in my pregnancy and I paid the price big time! I wish I had been so much more active but I fell into bad habits subhanallah. Allah swt has given us an amazing free cure with simple fresh air – it lifts your mood, provides you with a clear supply of oxygen and is a massive aid during labor. The more you walk, the easier it will be in sha Allah. It will also make it easier for you to get back into shape after having the baby. Listen to something soothing as you walk or even a lecture, I listened to the Qur’an recitation a lot before bed and the effects when the baby was born were amazing mashallah! It used to calm her right down!
- Stay Positive! A healthy mind and heart leads to a healthy and happy pregnancy! We have so many blessings to be grateful for in our lives: our sight, our hearing, our limbs, our health, our minds. Even if this was all that we were given then it is still more than so many have and we should be thankful to Allah swt because it could have been so much worse. Look to those worse off to see just how much you have been blessed with. Focus on acts of worship a lot to bring you closer to Allah swt which will lighten the heart too. Remember, Allah swt says in the Qur’an that we are not burdened with more than we can handle. Allah swt gave us these challenges unique to us because He knew we would get through it and could handle it. Allah swt believes in you, do you believe in yourself?!
- Eat and drink yourself healthy! It’s never too late to start! drinking plenty of water flushes out toxins and makes your skin smooth and supple; it maintains your youth for so much longer. I suffered from bad cramps and gas when pregnant, so to avoid this and heartburn I cut out all the fizzy drinks and fried, greasy foods. I ate smaller portions of healthier snacks often – especially during my first trimester when all I seemed to do was graze on food! I also tried to eat dinner early to give me enough time to digest it before bed.
- Laugh and smile daily! A recent study found that laughing for 15 minutes a day can burn up to 40 calories! It lifts your mood, makes you more beautiful and compliments your pregnancy glow. It will also help you to feel more positive and more confident and shows your gratitude to Allah swt as you try to be content with His decree.
This world and everything in it is temporal. This message is stated throughout the Qur’an. From this we learn that nothing stays constant and eternally in this life – our worries; sadness; and problems included. This life is so short and is a gift to us; none of us know when we may pass from this world; do you really want to waste precious moments crying over what was not meant to be in your life rather than welcoming that which is? Pregnancy is a gift bestowed upon us from the One Who Created us all, let’s make the most of it and enjoy every moment that we can 🙂