Dear Muslim mother, you are not aloneRS Khan
Dear Muslim mother,
The last few weeks have been the hardest weeks that I’ve had for a while. Why? You may ask. Yes, there were the usual issues, the toddler tantrums, the teething troubles, the terribly overtired children, the sibling squabbles. But those issues I can – at least some of the time – deal with. Yet there was one thing that I really could not deal with, and that was the sleep deprivation. The prolonged sleep deprivation.
In those few weeks, I had a permanent cloud hovering over my head. I couldn’t think straight. I suffered from bad headaches and sometimes even felt like I had a personality disorder due to my intense mood swings. On the rare occasion that I felt rested, my level of patience and happiness increased tenfold and motherhood suddenly became enjoyable again. Yet by the end of the 3-hourly-long-wake-up-at-2am-and-cry sessions, I became a different person. Angry. Anxious. Depressed. At times, I really felt like I was losing my sanity.
Yet I’m not writing to you to gain sympathy or to complain. Allah knows how much complaining I’ve done over the past few weeks (may He forgive me).
Rather, I’m writing to you to tell you that as a sleep-deprived, struggling Muslim mother, you are not alone.
When you feel guilty about missing fajr prayer because you finally fell asleep at 5am and woke up when the sun was rising.
When you feel relief at having completed ‘ishaa prayer just so that you can sit down and rest your aching body for a few minutes (or even an hour, if you’re lucky).
When you feel angry at your husband for just asking if there is anything he can have for dinner.
When you feel like a terrible mother for losing it with your children, over and over again.
When you feel like just running away from it all (just so that you can sleep).
When you feel like your imaan has all but disappeared.
You are not alone.
And in fact, your imaan hasn’t disappeared. Neither have you forgotten the importance of your prayer or the rights of your husband and children. You are simply struggling. You are simply sleep deprived, exhausted and at the end of your tether, just like tens of thousands (and probably hundreds of thousands) of other Muslim mothers across the world. And you are far from alone.
So if you have a baby who doesn’t sleep, this letter is for you. If you have a child who doesn’t sleep, this letter is for you. And if you are a mum who suffers from insomnia, this letter is for you too.
But let me tell you one thing, just while the cloud has been lifted. There will be ease. There will be ease. There will be ease. For Allah’s promise is true: “Indeed, with hardship will be ease.”
So keep going. Keep struggling. Keep striving. Because regardless of what you think of yourself, the reality is that you are an amazing Muslim mother.
With love and support,
From a fellow Muslim mother who understands.
© RS Khan 2017