Becoming a new mom comes with a variety of challenges which you can’t comprehend before, even if you have seen moms up close. It is only when you truly step in your new role that you are hit with a dose of reality that it is tougher than you thought. Managing a new baby who decides to cry by his/her own free will with recovering health, home chores and/or work responsibilities is a GIGANTIC task. And I am not saying this lightly at all. (hint: CAPS) Don’t get me wrong; baby is beautiful gift from Allah, and we, as moms can never be grateful enough for the little bundle of joy. This gift however, comes with responsibilities which we have to fulfill and it is only through talking about these challenges that we can overcome them and support each other and the new moms in their journey.
Religiously speaking, in the initial 40 days after having a baby, the mom is relieved from praying or fasting which is a big gift in itself. It gives time to the new mom for bonding with the baby, recovering properly and mentally relaxing. Notice that in some cultures the initial 30 to 40 days are the time when family provide extreme care to the new mom to help her gain her strength.
In a hadeeth narrated by Umm Salama, she said, “A Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) wife used to remain in (a state of) nifaas (nifaas: bleeding after childbirth) for forty nights and the Prophet would not ask her to make up the prayers she missed during the period of nifaas”.(Abu Dawood)
When I wasn’t a mom, I never thought that I would miss prayer despite being awake at the time of adhan. After becoming a mom, it was a continuous struggle to pray and I was riddled with guilt. But with time, I learnt some ways which allowed me to not miss my prayer and be mentally relaxed as well. Let’s be honest! If the baby starts crying whilst you are praying, it won’t be possible to complete prayer. As we know by example from the life of the Prophet SAW that he used to shorten prayer if he heard a baby’s cry from women’s section.
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I start the prayer intending to make it long, then I hear a child crying, so I make it brief lest I cause hardship to his mother.”(Abu Dawood)
Allah doesn’t want to make our life hard and difficult for us to live and at the same time, we can’t just let every religious responsibility go because it is too difficult. What we can do is, take benefit of the relaxations that we have and at the same time, stay sincere in our commitment to fulfill our religious responsibilities. Here are five practical tips to stay regular in prayers as a new mom.
- Pray on Time
Now this heading might mislead you that on one hand I am saying, it is difficult to pray on time as a new mom and on another hand my first tip is praying on time. Actually, what I want to say is that in our younger years what happens is that we hear the adhan, but we still spend some time on whatever we are doing until our mom’s berating voices reaches us that it is time to pray. Then we get up… do wudhu and get to pray in the bracket of time that is designated for a certain prayer. As a mom, we don’t have that luxury of delaying a little bit. Oh! The baby just slept, let’s have some time on the phone etc. If the baby is asleep or not fussing as that call for prayer reaches us, we should pray right away because it takes only a second for things to go haywire.
- Have Baby Lie in Front of you on the Prayer Mat
Put the baby in front of you on the prayer mat. In this way, the baby will be comfortable knowing that mama is with him/her. Some babies even enjoy seeing you pray, fascinated by all the movement in prayer. Make sure that the floor isn’t too cold for the baby. You can put a quilted sheet on top of praying mat to make sure that it is comfortable for your baby too.
- Pray with Baby in Your Arms
If the baby isn’t leaving your lap, just hold the baby in your arms and pray. Now this involves some changes in the regular praying architecture. Lol. You might have to put only one or none hand in the air when doing takbeer and you might not be able to put both hands on your knees when doing ruku. When going in sujood, put the baby down on the prayer mat and then you can do it. Don’t feel guilty about this as we have this relaxation to do so i.e. hold baby while praying.
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray whilst he was carrying Umamah, the daughter of Zaynab bint Rasool-Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). According to the report of Abu’l-‘Aas ibn Rabee’ah ibn ‘Abd Shams, when he prostrated he put her down, and when he stood up he picked her up.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
- Join Prayers
Now there are different opinions regarding joining of prayer. Some scholars might disagree, and some might support this. But taking this ease is way better than guilt and stress. We know that Prophet SAW joined his prayers once to create ease for us. So, in time of difficulty when you know, you won’t be able to pray one prayer or the other on time, you can join zuhr and asr together and maghrib and isha together when prayer. You can pray them together at the time of earlier prayer or the latter.
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, prayed noon prayers and afternoon prayers in combination for reasons other than danger or travel. Sai’d ibn Jubayr said, “Why did he do that?” Ibn Abbas said, “The Prophet intended to not cause hardship for anyone in his nation.” (Muslim)
- Ask for Help
Baby’s father can look after the baby when he is at home but if he is not, instead of taking all the burden alone, ask your trustworthy and close people for help. If you live in a joint family system, you can politely ask the other members of your family to look after your baby for some time as you pray. Sometimes we feel ashamed of asking for help because our baby is our responsibility and we feel guilty if the baby fuss with someone else but hey! all the babies are like that.
Above tips can help you insha’Allah in being more regular in your prayers. And even then if by one reason or the other, you end up missing a prayer, just say astaghfar and pray it qaza. Allah knows your intention and efforts and he will reward you for them.