As a Muslim with recurrent miscarriage Islam comforts my heart and calms my fears
In her story, Aisha discusses the isolation of ‘cultural silence’, how she finds strength in the teachings of Islam, and why she hopes sharing her experience online will improve understanding about recurrent miscarriage in the Muslim community.
The first time I got pregnant, my husband and I were elated. When the first drop of blood came, excitement turned to worry. I didn’t know it at the time, but that moment was the start of a heart-wrenching journey that has lasted half a decade and still has not ended.
My first miscarriage was at 5 and a half weeks. Even though it was an early miscarriage, I felt intense grief at the loss of my baby. I thought, “This is a one-off and next time will be okay inshaAllah.”
My second pregnancy was full of fear from the second I found out that I was pregnant. At 5 and a half weeks, I had another miscarriage. This time the grief was even worse.
My third miscarriage was even more traumatic. I reached 8 and a half weeks and saw a heartbeat. The blood loss was more than anything I had ever experienced. I had an excruciating scan and we were told that there was no heartbeat anymore. That scan left me traumatised for years afterwards.
I had 3 miscarriages in 9 months, then my body went eerily silent
It took 2 and a half years to even get pregnant again. Every month of not getting pregnant was another test in itself.
During my fourth miscarriage I was paralysed for hours due to the pain. I scooped out my dead baby from the toilet and did a 4-hour trip to hand them into hospital for testing, whilst I was in severe pain, heavily bleeding and extremely sleep deprived. This extremely traumatic miscarriage was at 8 and a half weeks.
As I write this, I am going through my fifth miscarriage. Once again, we saw a dead baby on the scan.
I have had countless tests with recurrent miscarriage and fertility specialists
No cause has been found for any of this.
After 5 years and 5 consecutive miscarriages, and still with no baby in my arms, my whole life has turned upside down.
Throughout these years, I have had invasive and painful tests and procedures over and over again. I have had to expose the most private parts of my body to strangers again and again. Even though it has to be done to achieve the goal, as a devout Muslim who carefully covers every part of my body, it feels like a part of my soul is being ripped away from me every time.
5 years into this journey, the fear that I might never have a living child is now very real. Being ‘childless’ is a huge test in itself. The implications of it also now stare me in the face. For us to have just one child in our arms will be a miracle from Allah.
One thing that makes this experience harder is the intense isolation. With each miscarriage, I have received less and less support from people around me. When I informed friends of my fourth miscarriage, most responded with 1 text message and didn’t contact me even once for months afterwards.
People assume that you become used to miscarriages
They don’t realise that it can involve a lot of trauma. They don’t realise that each miscarriage is a unique experience. They don’t realise that with each loss, the devastation gets worse.
Whenever I have tried to confide in friends about my miscarriages, most interrupt very quickly. They gloss over it and then change the topic, as if it is a minor occurrence in my life. They are good people and do not intend to hurt me. They are just clueless about recurrent miscarriage and the importance of listening when someone opens up.
When I desperately search for resources by Muslims on recurrent miscarriage, I find no support groups, blogs or YouTube videos. There might be a few about baby loss in general, but nothing specifically about recurrent miscarriage.
On top of all of that, I can’t count the number of times I have been asked by people, “Any good news?” They don’t know of the heartbreak I am going through behind closed doors.
No matter what the intentions are, it is never appropriate to ask a married person questions like, “Any good news?” or “Why don’t you have children?” It is intrusive and insensitive. It can really add to the person’s hidden pain. Islam teaches us to leave alone that which does not concern us. So, asking such questions really is not befitting.
It is too easy to drown in this experience, so I have found proactive ways to cope
I take dua books (supplications and invocations we use in daily life) to appointments to use time in the waiting room effectively. I attend fertility counselling to develop toolkits. I read books about miscarriage to educate myself.
What has helped me most is turning to Allah
Islam comforts my heart and calms my fears. When I am in the middle of a storm and can’t see any way out, Islam gives me hope. Remembering my purpose gives meaning to my suffering. It gives me the motivation to not only survive, but to use this journey to grow, help others, and strive more for Jannah.
I get strength whenever I think about the following teachings from Islam:
- Allah’s wisdom is behind everything that is happening. It may be that you hate a thing that is good for you and you love a thing that is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.
- Every ounce of this pain will be rewarded by Allah if I am patient.
- Allah will get me through whatever happens in future. Allah will not burden my soul with more than it can bear.
- The miscarried baby will drag his mother to Jannah, if she was patient and sought reward for her loss.
- Allah will give a house in Jannah to His slaves who praised Him when He took back their beloved child.
I have hope that Allah will give me a child inshaAllah. I thank Allah for His blessings. I am grateful for the kindness of loved ones. I thank Allah that my test is not worse than it is alhamdulillah.
I am grateful for the care from Tommy’s
The team always encourages me to keep going and shows compassion and sensitivity.
Recurrent miscarriage is lonely enough as it is. But if we add onto it the lack of support for Muslims, as well as the cultural silence, then for a Muslim going through this and struggling to have their first living child, the isolation is overwhelming.
That is why I set up a blog about this called My Invisible Children. I want to raise awareness of recurrent miscarriage in the Muslim community, so that there can be more understanding and sensitivity towards it.
It is very difficult to share online about this extremely private and painful part of my life. But I am doing it because if no one speaks up, then these children and the pain of losing them will stay invisible.
For anyone who is going through this struggle, you are not alone. May Allah give you strength and reunite you with your children in Jannah.