The pressure is gone.
So many thoughts I had about who I should be, ought to be, and need to be, for myself and others.
So much pressure, so much stress, and so much confusion.
Listening to what loved ones said I should be and shouldn’t be, some of them proclaiming to know me more than I know myself.
I hesitated, I thought about what was being said to me but wasn’t sure.
I doubted and searched within but was faced with cloudy thoughts and ideas.
I considered what they said and analyzed the facts.
Could it be that I was making life more difficult for myself by putting more on my plate or was it that I just needed to keep pushing until I progressed?
Now after years of soul-searching, I believe I am beginning to have clarity.
Previously I didn’t know.
I was told that I wasn’t the type of woman who shouldn’t be a stay-at -home mom; I’m the “working -type of woman.”
Furthermore, I was told with “my type of personality” I shouldn’t have a lot of kids, so after the first and second one I was advised to stop.
As Allah had it, I ended up having a third one and then a fourth one. Every birth was accompanied with advice to use birth control. I wasn’t so sure.
I went back and forth between the different extremes; on one hand I knew that I was where I was supposed to be in life; it was no accident that I had four kids.
However, the question was: “Do I continue down the same road, despite it causing me so such stress or do I adhere to the signs and do something different?”
Was it, in fact signs or was it just a fact of life. Surely, we all experience struggle and hardship and there is a reason for that, so was I fooling myself by thinking that I can alleviate myself from something that I would undergo anyway?
After all, you cannot run away from something that is written for you, can you? For years I was confused about this. I spoke to different people, Imams, mothers and people who I respected and everyone had something different to say.
I decided to no longer talk to anyone about this matter and I looked within. I continued to pray and ask Allah for guidance, as I was doing all along.
After the third baby, I believed that I had enough and felt it was ok to stop. I attempted to take up a contraceptive but every time I went ahead with the plans, something kept happening.
It became clear that I wasn’t meant to get the birth control as planned and I reminded myself that Allah is the best of planners and His plan never fails. As Allah would have it, I would get pregnant for the fourth time but instead of the results being as people predicted, it actually ended up being a pivotal changing point in my life, for the better.
No one could have ever predicted my fourth baby being the biggest blessing ever and opening the doors to so many great things happening to me, my children and my entire family.
My fourth baby changed everything for me, even before she came into this world and unlike the concerns of the loved ones around me, instead of this baby creating more of a challenge for me.
It caused me to bang my head against the wall, the baby’s mere existence generated so much ease for me and was the anchor that stopped me from making the biggest mistake in my life.
It caused me to stop, reconsider and actually move in a whole different direction than I was headed in.
My marriage was on a brink of breaking. My husband and I were about to go our separate ways until I got the news I was pregnant. Previously I thought that I didn’t want to be married to him anymore; shaytan did a huge number on me and our marriage.
After going through major adversaries during the beginning of my pregnancy and confusing my trials and emotions with the marriage no longer being healthy for me, I was lead to make the wrong conclusions.
In my mind, I would finally take the steps to turn my life around. I would now be a “free” woman; I could now do whatever I wanted and focus on my career outside of the home. I thought that would make me happy but my Creator showed me how wrong I was.
Alhumdulillah, Allah was merciful enough to save me rather than allowing me to fall on my face. How many people end up doing so and then regret it later on?
Even before giving birth, my baby was the means to blessings opening up in my life. That was just the beginning. One of the reasons for me going the route that I did, was because I thought that was what I was supposed to do, not realizing the huge impact of the influences in my life.
Having a baby totally shifted me. By simply being pregnant, I was lead to serious reflection and blessed to have Allah remove the veils from my eyes; my marriage was saved, my family was reunited and I was motivated to restore attentiveness to my family and show my appreciation for the precious gift that Allah has endowed me with; this single thing, women today would die for: a family.
I decided to be who I was created to be: a servant of Allah, who would place high value on what was entrusted to me. I no longer accepted labels. “A working- type of woman” or a woman with a “personality suited to have kids,” whatever that meant, no longer existed for me.
I freed myself from having to fit in a category or a box. Some women work outside of the home and receive a paycheck, while other women exclusively work at home in service of their families and await their payment by their Creator.
At the end of the day, all of us work but only Allah determines the weight of each of our labor, by our intentions and efforts. Therefore the most important question I must ask myself is: “why am I doing what I’m doing?”
I decided that I would concentrate my efforts on the home front for now and build up my skills to effectively take care of my family, as best as I could.
There’s nothing wrong with working outside of the home but I like the flexibility of not having to clock in to a 9 to 5 and hold my “central office” at home, where I am creating, helping and leading in the most unprecedented ways. Which of the favors of your Lord do you deny?