|At my conversion ceremony in March 2008.|
2010 is my third year as a Muslimah and it was also meant to be my sixth year of fasting during Ramadhan. Since 2005, I'd done my best to never miss fasting during this holy month, because I had just started learning about Islam, and fasting along with my Muslim friends seemed like the right thing to do.
After taking the plunge and converting to Islam in 2008, fasting began to take on a whole new meaning for me, because unlike before, when I was just testing my personal limits and accompanying my friends, now going a whole month without food and water during the day suddenly became a spiritual experience - a time to be grateful for finding love, peace, and most importantly, God.
During Ramadhan that year, I was still basking in the glow of marriage, finding my footing within my new extended family, and little did I realise, also carrying just-conceived twins! Fasting was so easy and joyful, and by the time Raya came, it hadnt even felt like a month had passed!
When Ramadhan 2009 rolled by, so much had happened in my life, including losing the twins and thankfully, conceiving again, that there was so much more to be insaf about and grateful for. Unfortunately, because I was about 4-5 months pregnant at the time, and so ill and dehydrated from terrible morning sickness, I had to skip fasting on the doctor's advice.
Come August 2010. I am the proud new mother of a lovely little girl, and on all accounts, raring to get my fasting record back on track. Then, by the fourth day of Ramadhan, my milk supply dropped so drastically that the doctor recommended stopping my fast so that I could take medication to bring the supply back up. And since Zara was still around 5-6 months old at the time, she still required sufficient amounts of breastmilk to complement her semi-solid diet. So... that was that. Another Ramadhan gone to waste.
Some of my friends were surprised that I had even attempted to fast while breastfeeding, insisting that in Islam, it is acceptable for a breastfeeding mother as long as you pay fidyah. Still, I felt terribly guilty about not being able to fast for the second year in a row, and at the back of my mind, I also worried about having to replace a WHOLE lot of fasting days before the next Ramadhan!
On top of that, I had to endure a lot of snide remarks from other women about not fasting, ranging from "I fasted while breastfeeding, why cant you?" to "E'elek... it's not like you're gravely ill that you cant fast!", and even "Zara will survive lah, my kid did!" It made me doubt myself constantly and I wasn't sure whether I was doing the right thing.
Until today, I still look back at my Ramadhan, think about my many wasted opportunities to redeem myself in the eyes of Allah and wonder if I could have continued on. But... the month has come and gone, and I now have no choice but to wait until the next Ramadhan comes along.