Dealing With Motherhood Struggles
All of us at one time or another go through tough times and moments of despair - even desperation! Our first instinct is to cry out, "Why me?!"We forget that sometimes we are being tested and sometimes we have brought it upon ourselves. The Quran says:
"Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is Sufficient as a Witness." (An-Nisa Verse 79)
Even when we understand this, we think, "How unfair is this life!" or "How unlucky I am!". We become focused on our troubles, thinking we're the only one in distress. Some of us feel entitled because we make salah and abstain from bad deeds, so we think that we shouldn't be made to suffer. If this were the case, then why was our beloved Prophet SAW put through hardship and tribulation when his faith was immense?
When our imaan becomes strong, Allah SWT tests us. Think about it, as we get closer to Him we cry out, "O Allah we put our trust in You. We believe in You. We want to please You", so shouldn't we get tested on what we say? If we are not tested, how do we prove to Allah SWT of the faith we claim and not make empty promises?
When it comes to the struggles of motherhood, you will hear many of us moms complain because motherhood is downright tough! Though, it’s during those times that we need to show our sabr and focus on our barakah, because Allah SWT may be testing us. It's not easy to develop sabr and endurance, but Allah assures us that, "With every difficulty there is ease. (Quran)." Also, we should be aware that everyone is fighting a battle and we may not know what issues occur in a household.
If we notice ourselves complaining a lot about motherhood, it may point to weakness in our imaan. There is a difference between venting to your spouse, a friend, sister etc. and complaining continuously and regularly to whoever will listen. I don't mean to say that we should keep everything bottled up inside either, that's definitely not the healthy way. There are ways to talk about our problems and relieve the stress without complaining and displeasing Allah.
We can communicate our hardship to others if it is in the form of seeking advice or when we need to explain our circumstance. But before calling up a friend or talking to a loved one about our problems, we should turn to Allah for help first through dua and nafl prayers. Thereafter, we should change our condition by ourselves or with help from family, friends, and the community. If our hardship is beyond relief, that’s when we endure it with sabr, knowing Allah’s Promise that with every hardship is relief, and that He SWT never gives us a struggle beyond what we can bear.
Then, we can also look towards others who are enduring a greater trial than ourselves, as this will help us find resilience with our struggles that are unchangeable or may be a test. To explain this a little more, I’ll share with you a story about a Muslima I once new, who displayed good character during her struggle.
Many years ago, I followed a sister who often shared positive inspiration on her public social media page. One day, she mentioned to her followers that she was going through a hard time and needed to take a break from posting. She expressed her feelings of sadness to us, but did not complain about it. What I admired most, was that even though she was experiencing a tough time, she wrote about maintaining patience during hard times and shared examples of mothers in her community who were dealing with greater struggles than her. She wrote:
"I am touched by all the kind words. Do give me some downtime. However, I must say, as much as some of you say you are inspired by my posts, I am actually surrounded by inspiring parents myself. I am also learning from them. Among my friends too, I have so much to learn. For example,
A mother pregnant with her seventh child while caring for six kids without help, one of them special needs and carrying out her homemaker duties
A mother of five with a child who's recovered from cancer and continues her dawah, teaching duties and business
A mother with autistic children who gave up her career to care for them
A single mother who started a business to support her child
A mother of four who raises another four children from her husband's previous wife, thus raising eight kids and holding two jobs to support them all.
A mother who raises ten kids into huffaz.
A mother who was pregnant with her sixth child, only to find her husband had another woman and makes peace with it.
A mother whose husband abused her.
A mother on a wheelchair who works to support her three children.
A mother with five kids, one with special needs, and she still teaches and completed her Masters.
A mother whose children have returned to Allah SWT and goes through life after the initial grief.
I have much more examples of real life mothers whom I know personally and are really awesome, masha Allah. Behind these mothers are Allah and they are all my inspiration. I am nothing compared to these mothers. May Allah help us and guide us, and please forgive me if I need some downtime for a while. May Allah bless you for your encouragement." - Umm A
That day, as I read the sister’s words and saw how she looked at others who are worse off in her community, I saw how I had allowed my struggles to get the best of me. It was such a great reminder for me to bear my hardship with a lot more patience, and to really look at my blessings with more gratitude. This is having iman, not just through worship. Our strength of iman comes from our reliance and trust in the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate One.
So the next time you’re dealing with a hardship, think of this sister, look around your community at others struggles, and know that you're not alone in your troubles. Allah is always there for us.