Infertility! Him, that word, so easy to pronounce yet very difficult to swallow… such a lonely word, such an experience! When one marries, you are optimistic that you will inshaa Allaah fulfil the prophet's (sallaallaahualayhiwa sallam) saying: "Marry and multiply so that I will be proud of you on the day of Judgement"
One year of marriage, nothing! Second year, you start to panic, if you aren't already panicky. I started off with going all the way to Ibadan to see a specialist. I had appointments of at least once a month. My husband and I then decided to find an obstetrics and gynaecology hospital in Victoria Island. That was still something, since we lived in the outskirts of Lagos and public transportation was a major means of transportation at the time.
You are told how the body works, some information you find out yourself. You are interviewed and required to take tests to determine whether there is a problem and what it may be. You literally become gynaecology students!
You go through hormone analysis to determine hormone levels and the status of the uterus and tubes. Once I had this done in a highbrow laboratory in Victoria Island during Ramadan. By the time the female doctor had finished the procedure and I was being tidied up I just fell apart and cried my heart out. I was still drowsy from the anaesthesia but the pain in my heart was fully awake and raw, wondering when and how it will end. I was thankful to have had sympathetic nurses attending to me.
Tests done, medication commences, consisting of fertility tablets, which were expensive. Hopes were high. However, every time the period arrives, becomes a time of terrible disappointment and dashed hopes as all the efforts you put in that month come crashing down. A mourning period! You on your own or through the urging of others seek help though other" spiritual sources" (Mallams, prayer groups and homes, churches etc) depending on your level of Imaan (faith). At this point you become easy to persuade.
I was once taken to see a "Mallam". I had expressed my reservations about going there to the lady who took me. However, she assured me the man was not occultist, "he uses the Islamic way", she said. I was persuaded, partly because of desperation and partly not to offend the lady after she had put in so much effort to arrange the meeting. We went into some sort of consultation room. The first thing I saw was a "Iaya" (a talisman) discretely tucked away with some containers. Doubt number one cast! I sat down and noticed the room was rather dirty and unkempt for a "religious" man to be in and a "religious" activity to take place. Doubt number two cast. I still went along. At the end he prescribed "tubutu" to be made by him and drunk by me. He assured me I'd soon be having a child. At the time I got to this stage, Allaah made me aware through my older brother that some of these "consultations" bordered on Shirk and disbelief.
By year three, you say okay, my Islaam is getting better, Alhamdulillaah, let's try alternative medicine. You go through all kinds of procedures, drink all kinds of herb teas, and did some fasts among others. All that done, nothing! I went through these and by day two of a twenty-eight day fruit last. I was so sapped of energy, I could hardly stand up from bed even to say Salaah! I was that drained. My romance with that kind of alternative medicine went through the window.
The loneliness and emptiness in my heart, life and home remained. It seemed everywhere I turned was a pregnant female, human and animal! Beggars, even mad women...! I once saw a thirteen-year-old carrying a huge one! I wondered "O Allah, what about me?"
You get to a stage that you are tired of it all; you decide to settle for a hospital/doctor. I settled for a doctor in Ikeja. I had to go through all those tests all over again. I was placed on a different fertility drug to determine which would produce results, fresh hopes rose!
I couldn't believe it the following month when I was late. One day two Days... eleven! I was hypertensive and could hardly sleep at night. On day twelve, I ran to the doctor, we did a pregnancy test and it came out positive!(an you beat that! Alhamdulillaah. We decided to take it easy from then on. On day thirteen, while coming back from work I had some unusual pains. I decided to take a cab home instead of driving. Before getting to the cab, I felt a flush of warm fluid down my legs, along with the fluid I felt as if it was my heart breaking into little pieces and being flushed out too! I finally made it to the hospital and it was confirmed there was nothing there anymore!
By the third to fourth year, you simply decide to live your life and not be preoccupied by the childlessness. I decided to know more about Islaam, all the better, it had a comforting effect. This particular verse helped me to live with the reality of my infertility and face the real purpose of my creation, which is to worship Allaah. Allaah says:
"To Allah belong the dominion of heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows (children) male and female according to His will, or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom He wills" (AshShura 42:49-50)
I realized that Allaah in His infinite Mercy has willed that some people will have children and some will not. Simple! I remembered that even the Prophet's (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) wife, Aisha (RA) never had children, not to talk of me. I then devoted my energies towards being a better Muslim. So it continued, and then one day in my fourth year I was late! I actually thought I had premature menopause! You reach a point of being too tired of having dashed hopes that you are sceptical of any ray of hope. And just like that I got a gift from Allaah. A bundle of joy, crawling all over the place.
I realize some cases might not be so straightforward and some may be more complicated, but hold on to Allaah, that is where your hope and strength are. The situation is more bearable when you surrender to Allaah.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited