Child Loss: A trivialised grief

Photo by Hafsa Javed from her album 'Grief' (@thehafsaj)

By Mashal Jumani

Being blessed with a child is one of the most exquisite blessings of all. The joy of knowing that a life is thriving inside you is inexplicable; the mother develops a beautiful bond with her child the moment she realizes a little soul is inside her. From consuming a healthy diet to taking all the precautions, a mother ensures nothing leaves an adverse effect on the child. This incredible journey of motherhood starts from this very moment, and she looks forward to the wonderful day when she holds her tiny human in her hands. In addition, she not only experiences physical and psychological changes due to the hormonal changes in her body, but she endures all the pain to give birth to her love of life.

However, not all mothers are fortunate enough to experience the beautiful moment of holding their children. The studies show that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage; this is how common miscarriage is! Moreover, there are stillbirths, infant losses, and failed treatments. It causes immense pain and suffering to the grieving mother to know the two lines on pregnancy test that welled up her eyes, the pounding heartbeat that swelled up her own heart out of happiness, the first ultrasound that made her cry like a baby, the first flicker that brought butterflies in her stomach and the warmth of her baby’s soft and gentle skin that gave a new life to her worn out soul are nothing but a source of agony now. The whole experience of losing a child is so devastating that the mother begins to lose herself. She feels the excruciating pain like her heart is being stabbed repeatedly, feeling the suffocating burden on her chest that would end her life. She finds herself with countless questions like why me? Why could my child never make it to this world? Why would I be deprived of watching my little one grow? What could be the reason of my little one’s demise? Every question hits her like a knife piercing through her skin. She is often held accountable for the loss, as a result, she carries the burden of her negligence and doesn’t forgive herself for something that she never did.

Despite going through this turmoil, our society hardly provides the required support to the grieving mothers. Customarily, this issue is considered very trivial in our society and is rarely talked about. Most of the grieving mothers do not possess the privilege of mourning over the loss. They are expected to resume their routines without healing from the trauma which leaves a detrimental effect on their mental health. Many people are not even aware of the way the mothers can be consoled. Instead of letting them process the pain, people would come up with the most insensitive questions like how did it happen? When did it happen? Was she not taking care of herself or child? They expect all the details to be provided and do not realize they compel the mother to relive those horrifying moments which further trigger her turmoil. Moreover, several people comfort mothers with words like, “don’t worry, you will be blessed with more kids.” “Many women go through this. You have to move on and be happy.” This completely invalidates the feelings of a mother who wishes to be given due time to process her feelings. Nevertheless, people need to be heedful of what they utter; if they can’t empathize with mothers then it’s better to stay quiet.

Moving forward, she never overcomes the pain but learns to live with it. The intensity of the pain may subside; however, the triggers refresh the unhealed wounds. The only thing that brings solace to the wounded soul is the word of Allah swt. His promise of union with the unborn children/ infants in Jannah. The promise of the little souls being content in the gardens of Jannah, spreading their beautiful smiles there and being away from all sorts of pain/ suffering of this world. As it was narrated that Abu Hassaan R.A. said:

I said to Abu Hurayrah R.A: “Two of my sons have died. Can you narrate to me any Hadith from the Messenger of Allah swt which will console us for our loss?

He said: Yes: “Their little ones are the little ones of Paradise. When one of them meets his father – or his parents – he takes hold of his garment – or his hand – as I am taking the hold of the hem of your garment, and he does not let go until Allah admits him and his father/ parents to Paradise.” (Narrated by Imam Muslim)

My heart goes out to all the brave mothers who have experienced this devastating loss. In our society there are only few women who are fortunate enough to have the best support system, however, there are many mothers who bear the excruciating pain in silence without much support. I am sharing this article to raise awareness for the issue, which is quite common but often neglected, and I am sending my love and support to each one of you. You are not alone! You are brave and resilient and remember your little one is sound and safe waiting for you in the next world.

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