بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
You visit the doctor early in the moring and wait for what seems like the longest 15 minutes when the doctor finally gives you the good news that you are expecting! “Alhamdullilah!” you say and smile at your husband. You are excited and can’t wait to begin this new adventure. However as the pregnancy progresses, you are shocked at the hurtful and sometimes rude comments made by other women who have gone through this stage in their life. The sympathy, care and sensitivity you were expecting from other women is absent, and at times it can only be found in close family members. Casual comments made with a smirk such as “Can you believe how big you have gotten?” leave you in tears.
I have experienced similar scenarios like the one mentioned above. In fact I experienced it so much that I made a checklist of all the things one should not do or say to a woman who is expecting. Keep in mind that a woman who is pregnant is going through changes internally that make her extra sensitive and it is during this time that she desires most the care and love of those around her. In an effort to “want for your sister what you want for yourself,” I have prepared the following list of cautionary tips for us women.
1. Avoid saying anything that could be perceived as negative regarding the woman’s physical appearance. Basically anything besides “you look fantastic,” can be taken the wrong way. So either don’t comment on the woman’s appearance or give her a genuine heartfelt compliment.
2. Don’t talk about what it was like when you were pregnant and what you were able to accomplish during that time. Every woman is different, every time period is different and every child is different. Learn to accept these differences. What is easy for one pregnant woman to do may be impossible for another. The last thing an expecting mother needs is a “guilt trip” on all the things she is neglecting because of her pregnancy.
3. Do give her beautiful reminders. Although this is appreciated for any believer, for a pregnant woman it can move her like never before. For she is nurturing a new human being and Allah (swt) has filled her with the constant worry of how she will care and raise this little blessing. Hence a reminder serves to ease her worry and put her trust in Allah (swt).
4. Understand that if she cannot make it to a dinner or another event, it is not because she dislikes you. Understand her need for extra privacy and for wanting to limit the number of people she interacts with while pregnant. Give her the ability to cancel without making her feel bad.
5. Avoid constantly asking the pregnant woman if she is hungry. Contrary to popular belief many women don’t feel hungry at certain times in their pregnancy and sometimes the constant asking of eating leads a woman to overeat. If she is hungry she will let you know.
Becoming a mother is a beautiful blessing of Allah (swt) and the road to becoming one can be a test for many. Women are forever changed for the better after giving birth and for a pious woman her faith, reliance and humility in front of Allah (swt) increases as a result. She sees the creation of another human take place in front of her and she realizes that she has no control over any of it, only Allah (swt) Creates and brings into the world whatever He wills. During this time if we can give her the care and sensitivity she needs, we will succeed in fullfilling the Hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم in which he صلى الله عليه و سلم said “The best of actions is to bring happiness to the heart of the believer.” (At-Tabarani)