If you are pregnant right now, chances are you’ve already spent hours on your phone or computer researching everything there is to know about pregnancy—from the aches and pains you’re feeling—to how it’ll feel when you give birth. The minute I found about my pregnancy I went hunting for information about everything relevant to pregnancy, labor and childbirth. As humans, we are curious so it’s natural for us to wonder and ask about how it’ll feel to give birth. However, as a first-time mother to be, it’s important that you carefully select the right information to help you while you’re pregnant and while you’re in labor or giving birth.
In other words, my expecting sisters, please try not to read too many negative stories about labor and birth; don’t listen to them either because that will only scare you or give you negative thoughts about it. What will happen if you focus too much on how painful or complicating birthing might be? Well, when it’s eventually your turn to give birth, you will replay all of those bad things you heard or read about in your head and you will most certainly start to panic as soon as you feel even a little pinch of pain.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I always used to wonder how it would feel to give birth after nine long months of being pregnant. I would ask my friends and sisters who are mothers how it felt. Most of the time I was told of the pain and complications each woman went through. Hearing them speak about the pain and anxiety of it all, naturally, it made me feel even more nerves and terrified. I only imagined being in unbearable pain every time I thought of my baby being born.
I wished not to go through birth. This definitely was not a good way for me to be thinking at that time. It brought about unnecessary anxiety that made me dread giving birth. It took me a long time to figure out how to reduce my anxiety about labor and childbirth and focus on more important things. It was in my last pregnancy (with my third child) that I finally figured out how to think positively and remain calm in the midst of my labor and birth.
Why We Get So Anxious about Labor and Childbirth
I’ve seen one too many movies with a woman that’s dripping in sweat, screaming with all her might while the doctor, nurses and her family all yell “PUSH!” I’ve also heard about the long, painful labors—days and nights long—of my mother and sisters and friends. I’ve most certainly read about too many stories on the internet of women talking about the unimaginable, indescribable pain they went through while giving birth. All of that contributed to my anxiety about labor and birth in my first and second pregnancy.
This is why so many women are terrified when they become pregnant with their first child. All they focus on is the pain waiting for them at the end of their pregnancy journey. Focusing on the negative will take away from enjoying your pregnancy and enjoying the birth of your child.
My positive birthing experience
It was a year ago when I had my third baby. My labor and delivery went smoothly but certainly not without pain. It would be naive for any of us to think we will not go through any pain during labor and delivery. The pains of childbirth made Maryam, Alayha Salaam, a woman much better than all of us wish she was dead! Allah told us in the Quran the struggles she went through when she was giving birth—“And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She said: ‘Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!’”(Quran: 19:24).
Pregnancy and childbirth is no walk in the park as you can see from the verse mentioned. However, with mental and physical preparation you can better cope with the pain, inshaaAllah. Here are some of things I did that helped me tremendously and gave me a better birthing experience in my third pregnancy:
- I took deep slow breathes every time I had a contraction.
- I focused on staying calm and positive no matter how intense things got.
- I made du’a so much, alhamdulilah! Making du’a was not only a distraction from the pain, but it actually calmed me down because I was remembering Allah so much.
Started learning early on
Thinking and being positive started long before I went into labor. This is the main reason why I had a better experience this time. I was much more mentally prepared this time around. Here’s what I did to prepare myself mentally for the big day:
- I purposefully tried to avoid reading about or listening to any negative stories about childbirth.
- I concentrated on finding helpful information about breathing techniques, best positions to labor in and motivating and encouraging stories and videos on childbirth.
- I focused more on eating right and doing exercises that would prepare my body to give birth
Alhamdulilah all of my patience and positive thinking paid off because my baby boy came into the world in a relaxed and happy environment. He came while I remembered Allah with much remembrance. This birthing experience was certainly my best one yet.
Dealing with the pain and anxiety from an Islamic perspective
Alhamdulilah, we have a beautiful religion which guides us to everything that is good. Even in tough moments like when giving birth, it is important to have trust in Allah and to call on Him and seek his protection from any complications. It is also important that you have good intentions. When you are in labor, no doubt it will be uncomfortable and something you’ve never experienced before. However, you should take that moment of hardship and ask Allah to make you stronger and to make your child righteous.
Furthermore, Allah will not let you experience all that you’re experiencing without awarding you with something great, His forgiveness. In a hadith narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira, The Prophet ( Salalaahu alayhi wassalam) said,
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
Subhanlaah! Just imagine that; with every passing contraction that you feel pain whether it is extremely painful or a bearable one, Allah is erasing some of your sins. While the above hadith prepares you mentally there are also du’as that you can make that will inshaaAllah bring relief to you when you recite them. Remember though that these duas are not specifically for pregnancy or labor but are just general duas that are recited when facing any difficulty or hardship and most if not all can found in the Hisnul Muslim book of du’as.
When I was in labor I would repeat the following duas and phrases and alhamdullah I felt relieve or ease almost immediately:
- Bismillaah. ‘A’oothu billaahi wa qudratihi min sharri maa ‘ajidu wa ‘uhaathiru, which translates to: In the Name of Allah (three times). I seek refuge in Allah and in His Power from the evil of what I find and of what I guard against.
- Allâhumma lâ sahla illâ mâ jacaltahu sahlan, wa anta tajcalu-l-hazana idhâ shi’ta sahlan which translates to: “O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy.”
- Lâ ilâha illâ l-lâhu-l-cazîmu-l-halîmu. Lâ ilâha illâ l-lâhu, rabbu-l-carshi-l-cazîm. Lâ ilâha illâ l-lâhu, rabbu s-samâwâti wa rabbu-l-ardi wa rabbu-l-carshi-l-karîm, which translates to: None has the right to be worshipped except Allah Forbearing. None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, Lord of the magnificent throne. None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, Lord of the heavens, Lord of the Earth and Lord of the noble throne.”
- Allâhumma rahmataka arjû. Falâ takilnî ilâ nafsî tarfata caynin, wa aslih lî sha’nî kullahu. Lâ ilâha illâ anta, which translates to: O Allah, it is Your mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You.”
- Lâ ilâha illâ anta, subhânaka, innî kuntu mina z–zâlimîn, which translates to: “None has the right to be worshipped except You. How perfect You are, verily I was among the wrong-doers.”
- Laa Hawla wa Laa Quwwata illaa Bi-llaah, which translates to: No power nor might except with Allah
What you should focus on from beginning to the end of your pregnancy
While pregnancy may seem like something that’s forever when you’re going through it, it’s not! The time will go by you very fast and before you know it, you’ll be welcoming your baby into the world. There is no point then, in spending time dreading your labor or birthing experience. Focus on the important things like eating healthily, exercising and most importantly, making lots of duas for your unborn child.
Keep in mind that your child is coming into a world full of fitna. Make dua that Allah protects him or her from all evil and make du’a that Allah blesses you with a pious, healthy child. Pregnancy is actually an amazing time of a woman’s life. It is in this time that Allah is creating an entire being inside of your body. Focus on that and draw near to Allah for giving you this experience. Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings in life.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
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