The million dollar question every newly-wed has heard thousands of times: When are you having a baby?
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) who said: The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: "Part of the perfection of someone's Islam is leaving alone that which does not concern him" [Tirmidhi]The hadith alone should answer people's question, it's nobody's business but my own. When you're 20 something and single, everyone is trying to set you up with someone, just so eager for you to get married. Then you get married and everyone wants to know when you're having a baby. This question is a bit personal for me and I was contemplating whether I should even write this or not, but I presume there are many sisters out there who feel the same way I do.
I have been married for about a year and half now and since the day I got married people have either been speculating I was pregnant or blatantly asked me directly if I was pregnant. I got married when I turned 23, I know some girls get married and have children younger than 23 and others think it's too young to get married, but this was the age I felt ready and this was the age Allah had decreed for me to get married. Originally I always wanted to get married young and spend around 2 years enjoying life with my husband, do a bit of travelling, build on our careers and quite frankly learn to be married and build a life with each other.
A month or so into my marriage, I put on a bit of weight, as you do when you first get married. I could feel the eyes on me when I'd go to a party or wedding, everyone whispering, people would even say 'my gosh you look like you're glowing' and I would quite simply reply 'I'm not pregnant'. 2 months after my wedding my cousin got married, people at her wedding kept asking if there is any 'good news' and when I said 'no' they would ask if I was sure. 'ARE YOU BEING SERIOUS?' If anyone was sure it would be me.
After that I had found out a 'friend' of mine had been talking about me behind my back, when my husbands cousin was asked by a mutual acquaintance, 'if I was pregnant, when I was planning on having children or was it completely out of the question?' When my sister in law told me this girl I hardly even knew was asking these questions I was hurt beyond words. Why were people talking about my personal life? Why were people I don't even know discussing my fertility? I was so upset, this was the first time I had to realise that not everyone who is nice to my face is actually my friend, that some people talk to you not because they care about you, but because they want information about your life so that they can gossip about you. I was always an open and trusting person but this incident made me realised I need to be careful with who I call a friend and how openly I talk about myself.
When I lived with my in laws, I found out my mother in law would go to extreme lengths to find out if I was pregnant. When speaking to a friend of mine (who already has a baby), I found out that my mother in law was not the only one who did this, apparently it's a very common thing.
When I moved out, my mother in law called me one morning to ask me directly if I was pregnant, I wasn't even shocked or surprised I just said 'no' again she asked, if I was sure, I politely replied I was very sure and that if I was pregnant I would tell her. I know they're just excited and can't wait to be a grandparent and I have no problem with that, they are my family. I do have a problem however, with other people asking my mother in law if I'm expecting or why I don't have a baby yet.
The other day I got a call from an aunt, quite condescendingly she asked if there was 'any news'. I was so used to this question by this point I knew exactly what she was talking about, I sighed and replied 'no'. She then went on to say that she went to an Islamic talk and the teacher said its not good to delay having children, that I shouldn't worry about money or my situation, I didn't say anything, so she carried on. She told me that she lives with her in laws and thought there wasn't enough space for a baby, but now she has had a baby everything has fallen into place and her baby has brought so much blessing. All I said throughout this conversation was 'ok' and explained my stance on the issue, she then asked how old I was when I said 24 she realised she only got married at 24 and only recently had a baby. She ended the phone call with 'so long as you're not delaying it on purpose or anything'. I felt like screaming down the phone 'I'm old enough and educated enough to know what I'm doing with my life, it's none of your business!
I got to the point where I started wanting to be pregnant just to shut everybody up! I was so self concious about my figure and my weight because I felt the only reason people kept asking was because I was 'fat'.
I know I sound like I hate children or that I don't want to have a baby, but honestly my husband and I love children, we love visiting my baby cousin and spending the day with my little nephews. I'm not scared about being able to cope with a baby, I have lots of younger siblings and cousins. Being one of the eldest I pretty much grew up around younger children, my youngest brother is 18 years younger than me, I practically helped raise him. My husband also has younger siblings with similar age gaps, we're used to feeding and changing nappies so that isn't even a case for us. My situation is just fine , we both work full time and have our own little apartment. I know a baby brings blessings and that you shouldn't fear poverty or put off having children, but having a baby is between me, my husband and what Allah has destined for us.
A baby will come when the time is right, when the situation is right, when Allah thinks we are ready for this huge blessing yet huge responsibility. Right now I am happy with the way my life is, I am happy living alone with my husband, my career is going well alhamdulillah, we are going for umrah, we are planning on doing a lot more travelling, possibly going to Japan next year, we're even researching moving abroad to live and work. I am not putting off having children on purpose or anything, on the contrary I am living each day as it comes and leaving life in the hands of Allah.
I am medically educated and have done plenty of Islamic studies on marriage and children, I do not need anybody to give me advice about having children, I don't need anybody to be concerned for me or to poke their big fat noses into my personal life.
This post isn't directed at my closest family or friends that I trust and speak to, but to people who 'but in' uninvited.
Advice I would like to give sisters going through a similar situation to mine is ignore what everyone is saying. Some people will tell you to have a baby right now and some will tell you you're too young to have a baby and that you should enjoy your life. Only you know when the time is right. Everybody is different and everybody's life situations are different, some people want to have a baby right away and some people want to wait a little bit. It's completely up to you and your partner, no body else. Do not be pressured into anything, at the end of the day you will be the ones looking after this little human being for the rest of your lives, you will go through the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums as well as all of the good things that come with a child, but remember it will be you and not the people that are telling you what to do.
May Allah bless us all with children who are the coolness of our eyes, may they grow up with strong Imaan and pleasing to Allah SWT. May Allah also protect us from those who seek to harm us or talk ill about us. May Allah bless us with everything that is good for us in this life and in the next. Ameen.
Have you ever been through something like this? Leave a comment below to share your experiences, advice and thoughts.
Until next time....Salaam!