I tried standing. That didn’t work. I tried sitting. The hard plastic chairs just weren’t adaptable to my new, oversized baby belly. I tried sitting on one leg, propping one on a chair, leaning back, leaning forward. Nothing helped. I just could not get comfortable.
I had to wait an hour at the doctor’s office this morning. They had me do a glucose test, which is where you drink a bottle of very sugary liquid, then you wait for an hour so they can determine if your body is digesting the sugar properly.
Baby was fussy the whole while, probably due to the fact that I overdosed it with a fat wad of sugar just moments before. Not like it’s not used to that – I’m regularly snacking on sugary sweets that I really shouldn’t be eating (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are NOT part of a balanced diet? Oh my….)
As I sat there, feeling uncomfortable, angry, impatient, other worries started to enter my brain. Sicknesses in the family, difficulties at work, trying to etch out a brand-new baby-budget on a limited income. I could feel myself shrinking, feel the tension rising in my shoulders, pressing down on every muscle, rushing through every vein. I momentarily imagined myself with baby crying on my shoulder, tears running down my face, behind on the rent, behind on the car payment, trying to decide where to spend the last $50 in my pocket – groceries or heat?
And then I remembered a phrase in Islam that I am constantly reminded of: Allah knows best. The shaytan loves to get the best of me. Loves to sit on my shoulder and whisper in my ear all the doubts, all the fears, all the stresses that seem catastrophic in this earthly life. The shaytan has no power over us other than this, the ability to quietly sneak up on us and gently steer our minds down the wrong path, to nudge us down that dark road of self-doubt and fear. Reminds us how much we have to lose, reminds us how many times we’ve failed, makes us feel as though a heavy weight has been placed on us, making us feel we are alone in the world, wandering aimlessly with no direction and no hope.
The shaytan often approaches me in my moments of weakness and can sometimes grab a hold of my ear and whisper non-stop into my mind, a stream of consciousness with these powerful means of persuasion. But I am Muslim – this world to me is temporary. I have nothing to fear in this world – it is the afterlife which matters most to me. Shaytan tries to keep our heads in this world with temptations – money, greed, power. Allah has always provided for me, enabled me to always have enough food, clean clothes on my back, a warm house to relax in and feel safe in. A beautiful, loving family to support me and encourage me and stand by me. Never has Allah presented me with anything that I could not bear, and which did not make me stronger.
This baby moves inside me and when I place my hand on my belly, feeling its tiny kicks and movements and wiggles, I feel the miracle Allah has granted me. Each time I go to the doctor, they update me on all my tests, all the possibilities of what could go wrong, and each time they inform me that everything is fine, everything is normal, baby is healthy and growing and stable. And so am I.
And when the shaytan tries to approach me, I have to remember what Allah has taught us, that if we persevere and trust in Allah, have patience and say our prayers, then Allah will help make our lives easier in this life and in the next. I know that the fears and worries I have only serve to lead me down the wrong path, down the path full of self-doubt and anger, jealousy and fear. If I trust in Allah and keep Allah in the forefront of my mind at all times – then my heart will have no room for anything but faith, and I will have greater strength to recognize and ignore the whispers of the shaytan in my ear.
So as I drove away from the doctor’s office, I prayed a silent prayer to myself, asking Allah to forgive me for allowing the shaytan to have that power over me. I prayed for Allah’s help, to keep me from wavering down the wrong path, and I thanked Allah for this beautiful miracle inside my womb, thanked Allah for keeping me and my baby fed, healthy and safe. What more can I ask for in this life?