Women give birth everyday, but the experience is enough to completely alter one’s perspective of life.
Pregnancy and delivery might make some women feel a sense of power, of creating life, of being the medium for someone’s arrival into this world.
But for me, it did the complete opposite.
I am extremely humbled. Delivery in all actuality is a near-death experience, and for me, ready to go under the knife as I was out cold from full anesthesia, and came back due to His will, I felt the immense, harrowing, yet assuring realization that my life is not in my hands.
It was all Him. My Rabb was the One guiding my body, the doctor’s hands, to bring out the baby alive and breathing. I had spent months researching about the process, about what foods to eat, what exercises to do. But at that moment, everything seemed useless.
And then, in a state of complete weakness, unable to focus, unable to walk on my own, I was handed this tiny, living, breathing, being. As I started to recover, I became terrified, because I was falling in love too suddenly.
I’d never before lied awake watching someone breathe. But here I was, observing his nostrils flaring and hearing the soft gurgling sounds, and it was as if I was brought into this world just for this.
My son was having some stomach pain in the middle of the night, and my husband and I were trying our best to soothe him. If anyone was to peek in from the window, they would seriously think we’d lost it - shaking random objects, crumpling bags of chips, whatever would make the appropriate noise that would distract him from his pain. And I know at some point all parents do hilarious things for their kids, potentially embarrassing, just to make them happy.
Motherhood does give you a new set of superpowers. I can tell from the pitch of his cries whether he’s sleepy or whether he’s just whining for attention. My sixth sense can sometimes tell me if he’s about to wake up, even before I hear the rustling through the baby monitor. I’ve only practiced on a couple babies before, but changing diapers and feeding him just took a few days and I felt like a natural.
I’d like to think that it was all because of my prior preparation, but it wasn’t. When my son is fully fed, changed, clean, and sound asleep, I’m sitting there wondering how in the world I’m able to care for a human being when I couldn’t even keep my own room clean a couple years back.
Allah doesn’t leave you to your own devices.
And I was thinking about all of this one night, as I was yet again doing everything in my power to soothe my baby to sleep. It’s a fact that whatever children do later on in their life for their parents, they will never be able to pay back everything, commensurate with their parents’ love, pain, continuous effort, selfless dedication. And to compare any type of love in this world with the love given by a mother, is terribly unjust.
Yet Allah did compare something with a mother’s love.
He said He loves His creations more than the combined love of 70 mothers. I never quite deeply understood the meaning of this comparison until now. Just as a mother’s love is selfless, Allah’s love is entirely one-sided as well. But the immense difference between these two types of love, is that a mother can receive some benefit for caring for her child in this world - emotional, physical, financial.
But what can we ever do for Allah? Compared to what He’s given us? Allah doesn’t need us at all, not our support, not our worship, not our dedication. A servant’s complete dependency is on His Master, and the Master can do what He wills, regardless of whether the servabnt obeys or not, and He isn’t affected by anything the tiniest bit.
When my son displays his pouty lip, when he becomes frightened by something or suddenly feels a pang of hunger or pain, sometimes it’s too much for my heart to handle.
When it becomes nearly impossible to go on supporting this tide of emotions inside of me, I remember the Lord Who calms the tumultuous tides of billions of mothers, day and night, as they welcome their children into the world, or as they say farewell. He Who is the pure definition of unconditional love, only He knows how to soothe the wounded hearts of the women who are exhausted, drained from loving and caring too much.
But my real sense of humility comes from this: I can boast of my sacrifices to my child all I want. I can say I stayed awake all night for him, I endured horrible pain, I starved myself.
But the reality is – I’m just a means. Through me, someone else envelops this little boy with love.
If I really love him, I would teach him about the One Who loves him infinitely more. Regardless of what any society teaches, I want this love to be constant. I don’t want him to do anything just to build an image to satisfy society. What I should want most of all, is for my son and I to help each other be better people, to help each other become better servants of Allah, so that we could all reunite in Paradise.
That’s the word that pops into my mind whenever I feel a sudden rush of motherly love. I want it to be eternal. I don’t want it to die along with this worldly life. I want this love to never be suffocating, to never be selfish, to never be a reason to commit injustice.
I pray that I always feel humbled whenever I look at my son with love. As he grows older into a man, may Allah keep my ego and pride at bay, may He always remind me that this little boy was given to me as a gift and a responsibility – to raise him to be a righteous leader.
Oh our Lord, gift us from our spouses and our offspring coolness of the eyes, and make us leaders of the righteous. Ameen.