Aneela Nasir, USA
Like any expectant mother, I had my worries and anxieties during the months leading up to the birth of my second son. How would I distribute my attention now that I would have two children? Would my firstborn be okay spending the night without me for the first time when I go to the hospital? Would I be enough for both my sons or would one feel neglected?
Little did I know that as the time came closer to welcome our son, we would be living in a completely different world and the worries I prayed about for months would become an afterthought as I grappled with a much greater fear; the coronavirus pandemic.
As my due date drew closer, coronavirus was only spreading faster and government restrictions tightening. Rules were changing with each visit to the doctor’s office. Our state was in complete lockdown. By the time I went to one of my final checkups, all workers and patients were wearing masks. The waiting room was rearranged to have fewer seats placed at a safe distance from one another. A separate waiting area was setup in the hallway to accommodate more patients. There were workers walking around sanitising doorknobs and elevator buttons.
When my husband and I reached the door to the waiting room, a sign informed us that no one was to accompany patients during their visit. I was a little taken aback by that, but my husband assured me it would be all right and left to wait in the car.
As I spoke to my doctor, I started to realise what would likely happen when it came time for my son to be born. She told me that I was lucky because my hospital was still allowing spouses to accompany women in the hospital; that at many hospitals not far from here, women were required to enter and leave the maternity ward completely alone in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
I asked my doctor my nagging question already knowing the answer: “Will my one-year-old be able to visit me in the hospital?” She shook her head: “No”, with a sorry look on her face. I could not help but start crying in front of her. “I wish I could hug you,” said my doctor. I cried even harder.
It might seem silly to get so distraught over this, but my son had never spent the night away from me. How could I leave him to be with my new baby, especially without knowing how many days I would be gone for? Maybe I needed my son more than he needed me.
That day, I felt a need to tell Huzoor, may Allah be his Helper, about my situation. He had recommended medications to me during both my pregnancies. I knew that while I don’t write to Huzooraa as much as I should, his prayers would improve my situation, as they always have.
I shared all my fears and anxieties with him. I told him how scared I felt about leaving my son and staying in the hospital while coronavirus is spreading. I knew that I would not hear back soon as responses from Huzooraa were delayed due to coronavirus. But as soon as I sent my letter, a feeling of peace and satisfaction came over me that Huzoor’saa prayers would be with me.
Days before I gave birth, I read about an incident just a few hours away in New York, about a man who had lied about being healthy, so that he could visit his wife in the maternity ward. The man finally admitted to feeling ill when his wife started showing Covid-19 symptoms shortly after giving birth.
It was also during this time that we decided, as a family, that it was best that my mother did not visit for the moment. It would have been a huge help if my mother was with me during my newly postpartum days, but my parents live far away from me and we had to think of everyone’s safety over anything else. Instead of worrying excessively about these things, I was able to pray about them instead and stay calm.
I felt serenity in knowing that I had asked for Huzoor’saa prayers and felt an extra responsibility to pray hard for myself too since I had asked him to do so as well.
You know, it is true what they say: Allah works in mysterious ways. Because of the lockdown, I was lucky to have my husband with me all the time. Originally, he was supposed to be very busy on the days around my due date. Instead, I was able to have his constant support and physical presence at a time I needed it most.
On 13 April , by the grace of God and with the prayers of my beloved khalifa, our son Mutahir was born. His name, given to him by Huzooraa, means “the one who purifies”. Mutahir came into the world during the peak of coronavirus in my state. By the grace of Allah, he is healthy and safe and I am happy to say that through prayer and maintaining a connection with Khilafat, I was able to stay positive and strong through this exceptional situation, solidifying again, “Surely there is ease after hardship.” (Surah al-Inshirah, Ch.94: V.6)