I still remember the look on the technician’s face that day and then how she stepped out of the room without a word. I remember the knot that formed in my stomach at that moment and then the look on the doctor’s face when she stepped in to say these heartbreaking and shattering words.
“I’m sorry this baby has passed away. There is no heartbeat”
Words you wouldn’t want any pregnant mother to hear. Words that shook my world.
Sadly, one in four mothers hear these words. One in four mothers experience a pregnancy loss. So many broken hearts, so many lost dreams.
At the heart of it lies the loss of a dream. The loss of plans, hopes and a future. The loss of a part of themselves.
The death of a child is considered as going against the natural order of life. Parents expect children to outlive them. But sometimes, parents have to be the ones saying good-bye to their child first.
One of the biggest questions that haunts parents after a loss is the question of why it happened. They wonder if they could have prevented the loss somehow, if something they did caused their child to die, if there were some warning signs they could have foreseen to prevent it. The questions that bereaved parents are often bombarded with by others often exacerbate the guilt and doubts running in their heads. People ask heartless questions like “Didn’t you see the signs?” “Didn’t you feel the lack of movement?” “Did you take any medications?” “Did you not take care of yourself?” Questions that only worsen the pain a parent is experiencing.
I remember my mind replaying everything that had happened over the past few days, trying to find connections and explanations to what had happened. I remember the whirlwind of questions and doubts in my head wondering if I could have done anything to prevent this.
The fact is there is nothing a parent could have done to prevent the death of their child. As parents we often hold ourselves responsible for taking care of our children, but the reality is we can only do our part to take care of them. We only make the effort that we will be held accountable for before Allah (swt), the rest lies in Allah’s Hand. We cannot prevent what is already decreed by Allah. We cannot prevent a death that Allah has already written. Every child’s lifespan and date of death is written while in the womb. There is nothing we can do to change that. While this is a difficult concept to grasp at many times, it is the very part of faith (Iman) that is incredibly liberating and calming at once. Without this belief in Qadar or decree, we would be unable to find that peace in life. Everything is decreed by Allah. There is nothing we could have done to change what happened.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), then such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’al (Allah has decreed and what He wills He does),’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the Shaytan.” (Sahih Muslim)
Allah (swt) talks about this attitude of remorse and questions like ‘if only’ in these verses:
“…They hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to you, saying: “If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here.” Say: “Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death,” but that Allah might test what is in your breasts; and to purify that which was in your hearts (sins), and Allah is All-Knower of what is in (your) breasts.” (Surah Al-E-Imran 3:154)
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) also said: “No servant of Allah will truly believe until he believes in the good and evil of Qadar and until he knows that what has befallen him could not have missed him, and what has missed him could not have befallen him.” (Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi)
At the stage when we are haunted by questions and doubts and regrets, it is important to hold on to these teachings of our faith: What has come to us could not have missed us and what has missed us could not have reached us. Only with a firm faith in this concept can we attain the peace and strength our faith gives us.