For many women, the transition from daughter to wife to mother involves steep learning curves that call for lots of strength, patience and open-mindedness. In Ramadan, the differences in these roles are thrown into sharp relief. As wives and mothers, our duties and responsibilities can sometimes get in the way of doing all the ibadah that we want to do, and that can cause sadness, disappointment and frustration.
But there are many ways to still reap all the rewards and benefits of Ramadan, even if fasting, tarawih, and reading the whole Quran are not possible for you due to pregnancy, breastfeeding or caring for small children.
1. Motherhood = ibadah
Remind yourself that the work you do as a mother — feeding, bathing, comforting, educating, playing with your children — counts as worship. Do all this mindfully, and with the intention of pleasing Allah, and inshaAllah you will not be missing out on the blessings of this sacred month.
2. Strive harder at other ibadah
If you lack the time or energy to perform the sunnah prayers like tarawih, qiyaam al-layl or tahajjud, then turn your focus to perfecting your fard prayers, your wudhu, your dhikr and your duas. The beauty of our religion is the variety of worship we could partake in! Seek any of the many means to get closer to Allah in Ramadan, and Allah will surely respond.
Some people benefit from setting goals for Ramadan, but with volatile routines being such an endemic part of my motherhood experience, I’ve found goal-setting to be a recipe for feeling disappointed in myself and frustrated at my circumstances. Instead, I find it helpful to journal, noting down and acknowledging what I’ve managed to achieve for the day, even if it’s as small as reading three ayahs of the Quran. No deed is small, when done sincerely.
4. Support group
The comfort and motivation provided by a support group cannot be overstated. If you’re in despair over the number of fasts you’re missing due to pregnancy or breastfeeding that you’ll need to make up, having a support group with other mothers in the same boat is helpful. My group helped me stay accountable, and encouraged me to complete my missed fasts at a sustainable pace. We kept each others’ spirits up by reminding ourselves of Allah’s Mercy in allowing pregnant and breastfeeding women the concession of making up our fasts at a later time.
If you’re financially able to, helping Muslims in need is a great way to reap the rewards of Ramadan. A quick and easy way to practice sadaqah every day would be to sign up to LaunchGood’s Automated Giving. The process will take you minutes, but will set you up for the whole month of Ramadan. It’s as simple as deciding the daily amount you’d like to donate and selecting the causes close to your heart — and LaunchGood will do the rest! There are verified fundraisers for orphans, providing iftar meals, refugees, mosques or wells constructions, education, and so much more from all over the world.
You can easily keep track of your sadaqah on your personal Giving Grid, and through the daily receipts that LaunchGood will send you.
Finally, remember that our children are only young once. This phase of life where we’re given the honor of experiencing pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy and toddlerhood is temporary. InshaAllah, by putting in the work now to raise our children well, soon enough we will get to enjoy the sweetness of Ramadan and all its special blessings with them.
Shahirah is a freelance writer and editor who writes about everything from politics and science to streetwear and skincare.