Genuine Surrender: Lessons from Labour


http://www.flickr.com/photos/autanex/787092619/By Umm Sephora

We learn many of life’s most profound lessons through paradox.  Here we are – human beings with a soul that yearns for the eternal and lasting, yet living in a world of the temporal and ephemeral. Our hearts seek spiritual highs, yet all the while are encased within bodies which have physical and mundane needs. We seek control over our lives, we plan and prepare for days ahead although we know that each major and minor point of our lives have been decreed long before we even had consciousness.

It is in the spirit of this paradox that while preparing for bringing new life into this world, thoughts turn to death. Though sanitised and with first-world healthcare, the process of childbirth still poses very real threats to the life of the unborn and the labouring woman. At the very least, I was reminded that this is a milestone in my life in which the child I gave birth to will, insha’Allah, outlive me and carry on whatever legacy I am able to leave in the world after I leave it myself.

With all the anxieties, excitement and uncertainties which come with having your first child, you take every decision with consideration and time. You believe that you have done the best kind of research possible and that the conclusion you have reached is the best one you could have made at the time. Then all your plans go out the window and you are faced with dealing with a whole different reality – one unprepared and as a result, terrifying.

Although expecting to go to hospital for a planned induction resulting in a natural delivery, reality delivered a labour which began spontaneously and ended in an emergency caesarean section. So what’s your biggest fear about labour? Having to have a c-section of course. But that’s not likely to happen, right? Of course not, only a life or death situation would allow for that.

When you are told the only way to ensure the health of your child is to have major abdominal surgery, your head immediately swims with all the protests. But! But the recovery time from that is over 2 months for healthy women. You have family willing to take care of you and look after you. But! But I want immediate skin-to-skin contact with my newborn so I don’t ruin my chances of breastfeeding successfully! There are millions of women who successfully breastfeed after a c-section. But! But what about my future children? I want to have natural deliveries! And that is fully possible.

And so comes the moment of surrender. Allah! Make this easy for her, make this easy for her, make this easy for her. Make this easy for me, make this easy for me, make this easy for me.

What does it really mean to believe that Allah is the best of Planners? That whatever happens was what was always meant to happen and that, undoubtedly, was the best thing for you all along? What does it mean to be able to sincerely say with both your tongue and your heart that you are pleased with what happened in your life because it came from Allah and everything from Allah is perfect only because it’s Source is Perfect? What does it take to be equally content during the times where your plans come through and where your most dreaded outcome becomes the reality?

What was written to happen, happened. The only outcome which was possible came to be and waiting on the other side was the most perfect, most beautiful human being I have ever laid eyes on. All 4.01 kgs of her. All 54 cms of her. All of her. Allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd (Allah is Greater and He is praiseworthy). He brings life from life and lays the path of our destinies for us to discover and surrender ourselves to.

Every “eventuality” comes with trials and blessings

Whether things were going to be this way or that way, there would have been hardships and ease associated with every eventuality. Nothing meets us in life without being a blend of potential harm and potential opportunity for greatness. Only a heart alive with iman can disentangle, appreciate and seek the goodness of all eventualities.

The most straightforward proof of your helplessness lies in health

At any point, in a million different ways, your body is a proof of how utterly weak and helpless you truly are. Not the most exceptional polymath, nor the most despised of outcasts can escape the corporal limitations of their bodies. And every part of good health we have is given to us and taken away from us. In both states are we tested for our gratitude and in both states does Allah demonstrate His Absolute Power over us over and again.

Your times of weakness bring out the goodness of those around you

Human weakness brings out the human compassion of those around you. To be exposed in all your vulnerability taps into the part of somebody’s consciousness which reminds us that we are all just as vulnerable and in need. So you see, you experience, and you are often awed at the goodness of those around you. You reaffirm your gratitude towards the people Allah has surrounded you with and chase away any thoughts of feeling alone or abandoned. Allah sends you the right people at the right time to help you in just the right way. And in this are lessons abounded.

Whatever happened was for the best simply because it happened

Reflection brings up everything that ‘at the time’ could never give insight into. When you reassess your priorities and see how beautifully they have been met, you can say with a new level of yaqeen (certainty) that this was for the best. It happened and it was for the best. You are here now, there is barakah (blessings) in abundance, and yet again, Allah has taught me lessons in His Most Sublime Way. Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks is to Allah). Allah is Truly the Greatest. The One, The Inimitable, The Perfect.

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11 Comments

  1. Yeasmines says:

    Jazak Allahu Khair for the share. As a young woman who is thinking about having children one day, this article truly puts things into perspective alhamdullilah!

  2. Rachel says:

    what a beautiful post. favorited to return to many times. thank you for your insight! many blessings.

  3. TCM says:

    We should be careful not to confuse surrender with lack of critique or knowledge of how the medical field does c sections out of convenience, not necessity. The c section statistics suggest that they are asking us to believe that one in three women are unable to give birth naturally? As if Allah did not create a woman’s body capable enough?

    http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10456

    I wish there had been more facts and statistics to make us informed Muslim women when it comes to childbirth and the “childbirth industry.”

  4. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah khair for this very powerful and beautifully written post!

  5. Ahammed says:

    Jazak Allahu Khair,
    Dear brothers and sisters of “suhaibwebb.com” , you always share mind touching blogs and may Almighty Allah(SWT) pour HIS countless blessings upon you all.

    Some of the parts I could not understand and hope you would help me.

    “What was written to happen, happened” (paragraph 8 )”

    could you explain me the role we must play to the happenings.From all the above i can understand that we are just moving along with clouds and we must be happy with that , by affirming its Allah(SWT) decides everything and i have no control over any situations or happenings.
    If life is so , then we must be like “just work/have food/and do some halal things” :- thats life.

  6. RKhan says:

    Jazak Allahkhair dear sister Umm Sephora, lots & lots of hugs for writing this piece, all Glories to Allah(swt). There is indeed a great lesson to learn & reflect upon from ur post. I am so humbled when I think back that I can’t control my tears. Why is it that we can’t be grateful & thankful to Allah as events progress in our life, even though we know that He (Our Creator) loves us more than 70 mothers put together. We have to sit back & reflect into our past to realise His greatness for the events in our lives(good or bad). I pray that He gives us (all brothers & sisters in faith) the thoughtful & spontaneous realisation to really mean “Alhamdullilah” from the heart when we say it with our tongue always & in all situations we face inlife. May Allah reward you & your baby immensely – Aameen

  7. So beautiful – Jazakillah khayr ukhti fillah x

  8. Saima Riyaz says:

    Beautifully written! Jazakillaahu Khair sister!

  9. salsabil says:

    As salamualikum!I think you integrated your key points well in the story of a human crisis.this was also a good read!jazzak Allah khair.

  10. anthony says:

    The butterfly in labour
    The sparrow in labour
    The spider web spun of labour
    Such utmost perfection

    Human labour of intersection
    Prophecy from Allah
    Knowledge in circumspect
    Labour of love

  11. ASBAB says:

    Salam !
    Dear Ahammed,
    mine is like this..
    the past is destined..
    now..i work..how ?
    Only the best way around..the way of Prophet (S.A.W)..the way of Muhammad Rasulullah.
    the future i don’t know.

    “What was written to happen, happened”
    This is one of the six fundamental believe in Islam..i was taught..correct me if i am wrong..i am not aleem. No..we definitely should not seat back and relaxed and just let things around us unfold. Look how hard Our Prophet work for us..don’t you think we should work even harder

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