EIGHT years ago, my life changed drastically. What was supposed to be one of the happiest times of my life, turned out to be - what felt like - a nightmare.
I was expecting my third child. Allah blessed me with 2 boys and I was told that the baby I was going to have was a girl. We could not have been happier.
I went in for my scheduled C-section, confident that in two days time baby and I would be back home, adjusting to our new family dynamic.
I had an epidural and as I was being stitched up, the paediatrician brought my daughter to me and explained that she is having difficulty breathing so they would be taking her to the NNICU. I wasn't too distressed by this because with my second delivery my son was also taken to the NNICU for a night as he had some fluid on his lungs.
I was bed-bound for the rest of the day, sure that she would be out the next day... Until the paediatrician came to inform me that things were not so ok. She first informed me that my daughter had a cleft palate. Her words washed over me and I remember thinking that she has got the wrong mother. I saw my baby and I didn't see any cleft. She further explained that it is a sub-mucous cleft i.e. a cleft of the soft palate.
The doctor went on to inform us that she also had a hole in her heart. In addition to this the doctor explained that she had single palmar creases on both her hands which is usually indicative of a genetic condition. I remember thinking that doctors don't know everything. She will only have a genetic condition if it is Allah's will.
We spent 18 days of going up and down to the hospital. My baby was oxygen dependant and was slowly weaned off until we could take her home. The doctor ordered tests upon tests. And each test came back negative. During that time I felt extremely guilty and somehow responsible for her condition. I felt like I had angered Allah and this was the result.
The first year or so of her life was an emotional rollercoaster of hospital stays and endless tests - the anticipation of waiting for test results to come back was draining. The doctor explains the test being done. You Google the condition - sure that this will be the diagnosis because the symptoms match. You prepare yourself for a positive result - only for it to be negative!
One test that did come back with a result was the genetic test we had done to determine what condition she has. We were told that she has a rare genetic condition which affects people in different ways. In no way does it make her condition more manageable... but it gives what we deal with with her a name.
What I have learnt from the past 8 years is that Allah puts conditions on us so that we may turn to Him. He wants for us to realise that this world is not for us. It is a merely a means to an end.
Many people who have met my daughter have told us that she is going to walk us into Jannah. In sha Allah! Allah knows best how weak we are and it is only by His Mercy and Grace that our abode will be in Jannah. If looking after her and loving her in this world is a means of entry into Jannah, then it is only Allah's Mercy on us that He has given her to us.
Every person in this world faces their own trials and tests in their daily lives. Some are apparent for us to see. Others is only known to Allah and the person facing the difficulty. No matter what we may be experiencing, we first need to accept that we are exactly where we are supposed to be in our journey of life. The condition on us is only from Allah and it is only He who can remove it or improve it.
Fifty thousand years before Allah created the earth, where we are right at this moment on this earth was written. So many times we think if only I had done this and that differently, I would not be in the situation I am in today. It is for us to realise that if it was predestined for us by Allah - the Controller of everything in the Heavens and the Earth - how is our feeble intellect and actions going to change the outcome?
Whatever goodness Allah has blessed us with in this world, is only His Mercy and Kindness for having blessed us. Whatever bad situations or emotions we go through, is also His Mercy and Kindness upon us - because He wants us to draw nearer to Him through taubah and to draw solely from Him.
Yes, our situations may not be ideal. For us, family life has changed drastically. We often have to deal with my daughter having emotional meltdowns. A simple trip to the mall or going to fetch my sons from soccer practice can turn into a tantrum of epic proportions triggered by the most insignificant things. Going to gatherings has me on my guard watching that she does not hit anyone. The enjoyment we get out of these little things is often lost because of the stress experienced.
Despite this, we thank Allah for our condition. It could have been so much worse. But He did not choose that for us.
I used to wonder... if I had a choice to go back in time and have a "normal" daughter or not to have a third child, what would I choose. I realized that I wouldn't change anything. Allah loves us! He has handpicked us to be a part of the best of Ummah - the Ummah of His Beloved Nabi Muhammed SAW. His plan for us is the best of plans. There are times when our situation may get the better of us and we feel dejected. We are human after all! Even at those moments we need to accept and trust in His plan for us...