Oh, this Ramadan started with high hopes, but not too high as to try and remain realistic. Still, the pressures of every day life have taken their toll. I thought after a full week of fasting and successfully nursing, I was good to go and would experience my first Ramadan the way men experience it – with no break.
Well, Allah had another plan for me, and that did not include fasting the entire month. I fell into the same trap as previous years where even when I took a day off from fasting, my milk supply just wasn’t bouncing back the way I’d like. It would seem the fenugreek was not working as wonderfully as it was those first few days, and I just couldn’t get Tulip through the whole day anymore.
Alhamdulilah, I got to fast over a week this Ramadan, which has its spiritual benefit, and now I’m back to trying to make the most of each day, but wishing I could fast. Ramadan is not the same if you’re not fasting. Distractions are so much easier to fall in to, old habits are easier to keep falling for, and ibadah seems to stay at a minimum (at least when there’s little kids at foot). Literally, when you are fasting, you have more hours in the day to use toward beneficial things. When you aren’t preparing food, eating food, then cleaning up after eating, your day seems longer and more productive (assuming you use that extra time wisely).
So, in order to not be a total downer, here’s some things I’ve learned over the past few years of fasting part time, or having to skip fasting completely:
Make the most of disappointments
Yes, I just talked about that a bit a couple days ago, but it’s worth bringing up again. Not being able to fast is disappointing and I need to remember to make the most of it and not sulk about.
Support your family’s fasting
When I’m not fasting, it is easier to make a nice meal at the end of the day. When I am able to fast, many days I’m not up to cooking for a couple hours at the end of the day. I may be tired and without energy, and of course I’m hungry myself, and cooking definitely reminds my body of its empty stomach.
Accept the Qadr of Allah
Sometimes we need a reminder that we are not in control of everything. Our bodies seem completely in our control, but sometimes even our body does not do what we want or expect. Am I going to become angry when I don’t get what I want? Am I going to question why things happen the way they do? The one way it is acceptable to question why things happen they way they do is when we want to find the lesson. We are not a victim of circumstance. We can control our attitude when we face difficulty, and that is part of our test as well.
I’m not able to fast the entire month, which is disappointing for me and I’m saddened by it. But the fact of the matter is that my reason for not being able to fast is temporary. In sha Allah when I’m not either nursing or pregnant (or last year I was both!), I will be able to fast again. There are many people in the world that will never be able to fast again. For them they do not have a future year to look forward to. Am I grateful that my condition is temporary, or am I looking at the current situation and hyperfocusing on that? It really is a choice. Do I choose to focus on what I can be grateful for, or do I choose to focus on my troubles?