Today I prayed my first Asar prayer in 40 days.
Dealing with the birth of my baby, Masha, was challenging to say the least. For awhile, I was just existing as a nebulous cloud of hormones, emotions, and pain; utterly overwhelmed by what motherhood entails.
So, a break from prayers, and in my case, Ramadhan, was initially a relief for me. But when I started seeing posts on social media of how magical Ramadhan has been for some, how emotional terawih has been for others, and how everyone has drawn closer to Allah, I couldn't help but feel lousy.
Instead of growing closer to Allah this Holy Month, I found myself having distanced so much from Him.
Barely a word or phrase of dhikr has been uttered everyday since I gave birth, save for the times when I felt completely helpless while trying to pacify a crying baby in my arms. And those I did out of desperation, not out of initiative.
I dreaded the arrival of the 40th day. I felt that I was already incredibly overwhelmed with having to deal with so much, I just couldn't imagine having something else that I had to perform at specific times throughout the day. I didn't even have the luxury of going to the toilet when I would like to! Calls of nature take a back seat when you have a hungry baby whose diapers need changing.
As the day approached, my fear and paranoia grew. It seemed so long since I last performed a prayer. How was I going to do it?
There were times when hours flew by while I attended to Masha's needs. There were times when she had to be carried for more than an hour, two hours, before she finally slept - only to wake up an hour later because she needed to be fed.
How was I going to perform my prayers then?
The obligation of prayers weighed heavily on me. I was stressed out just thinking about the time when I had to perform my prayers again.
But Alhamdulillah, as Allah would have it, performing my prayers has been filled with ease (and I pray hard that it would remain this way). Masha would sleep just at the right time and I'll be able to squeeze in my prayers and sometimes, even the sunnah prayers!
Staring at the prayer mat as I finished my salam today - it felt like coming home.
At that moment, my (unfounded) fears dissipated. It wasn't as hard to get back into it as I had imagined. It felt like I never left my prayers for a day. The usual duas I made in sujood came back so naturally to me.
What was I thinking? Why would I ever think that Allah would burden a soul who intends to pray? Why would I think he would create anything but ease for us, if we ever so desperately seek it? Where was my husnuzon in Allah?
I began to appreciate the luxury of time I used to have in the past. And I regret that all I did with it at that time was to delay my prayers.
It's funny how have circumstances changed. I now check the time obsessively for the single opportunity to perform my prayers.
So to my friends who have yet to have any children, please, go for your umrah, perform your prayers on time, perform your prayers in the mosque, establish a routine to perform as many sunnah prayers as you can. Because they will come a day where you'll be glad you did all that when you could.