My Empty Womb

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I would like to dedicate this to all the brothers & sisters who are facing criticism, judgement and insincerity from family, friends and community members for not having children. Children are beautiful gifts from Allah and He the Almighty decides whom He wants to give children to and whom he doesn’t. The ability to have children, and the inability to not have children, are both blessings and choices that Allah makes for us. Although not having children may seem like a punishment, it is in actuality a blessing in disguise. Allah has amazing things planned for us and we must make the effort to look at what He the most Merciful has enabled for us before we look at what He has disabled. This post took a lot of courage and strength to write and I hope that a bit of my strength reaches you when you wonder why your womb is empty.

An Essential Part of Life

Reproduction is a very essential part of human life. It is the process of passing on one’s genetics, DNA and family lineage. So I completely understand why having children is constantly emphasized in our society; our very existence in this world is based off of the fact that our parents reproduced and without reproduction there is no continuation of human life. In many cultures children are seen as the glue that holds a family together, a sign of happiness and an essential part of starting a family. There is no doubt that having children, and being able to have children, is a blessing in and out of itself. I realize coming into this world isn’t as easy as it may seem; we grow inside another human being for almost a year until we’re finally ready to come out into the world and even that takes several hundred miracles. Most of us look forward to being a part of this magical journey of reproduction and fertility; we strive to become parents and to raise children of our own. For some of us these plans do not follow through and we find ourselves in a very difficult and confusing situation. Many couples and families struggle with having children and this often leads to sadness and disappointment. Other than the ones struggling, it is very rare for people to acknowledge the difficulties and challenges that come up when trying to become parents. You see the want and need to reproduce and have children is a very human like desire but this desire is only fulfilled if Allah(swt) wills it. It is merely impossible for someone to become a parent if Allah does not grant him/her that ability. We must always remember that we have very limited control over matters like pregnancy, reproduction and fertility. Regardless of what plans, calculations and methods we apply it is still in the hands of Allah to decide. We can all agree that children are a blessing from our creator, but we should also acknowledge that not having children is also a blessing from our creator. Although one may seem more superior and desirable than the other, it is very important that we understand that both decisions are that which Allah has made for us. It is very natural for us to feel sadness and disappointment for not being able to have children but we must remind ourselves that out of everyone Allah has chosen a few to endure this test. Many of us will assume that not having children is Allah’s punishment, but only He the Almighty knows why He does what He does. He could be testing our patience, or increasing our faith … but regardless of what it may be Allah has chosen that which is good for us. Finding goodness in what Allah has decreed will only bring us happiness and contentment and I, for one, whole heartedly accept everything that Allah(swt) has planned for me. If His plans include an ‘empty womb’ for me than I believe there is defiantly something amazing waiting for me … something more beautiful than a child, something more meaningful than becoming a parent, something created just for me.

Judgement, Criticism and Superiority 

Whether it be your choice, or Allah’s will there is no doubt that couples will face criticism and judgement from family members, friends and community members for not having children. As someone who has just recently got married I have faced a lot of judgement and criticism. My husband and I have been married for 3 years but we’ve only just started living together for a year now; explaining why I refer to us as a newly wedded couple. Although we’re both just starting our family we’re not at all against having children. In all honesty we’re both actually very excited about becoming parents one day. But in reality things are just not happening at the moment and that is simply because Allah does not think we’re ready to become parents just yet; and Alhumdulilah we’re both very okay with that. My husband and I both acknowledge the fact that we may never have children of our own or that we may have to wait years for a child but either way we’re both content with what Allah has planned for us. Alhumdulilah this year my aunt and younger sister have both been blessed with the honor and opportunity to become mothers. Every day I admire and observe the two of them as this beautiful journey has changed and improved their character and increased their patience. It’s truly a magical experience and I’m glad that I get to play a small role in their pregnancy story as they slowly prepare to do magical things at the end of their third trimester. When my aunt and sister became pregnant I was genuinely happy for them just as I should be, but I didn’t realize their next step in life would induce pressure and raise question about my fertility, marriage and overall reproductive system. I suddenly found myself in a battle with women judging and criticizing me for not being pregnant. People began asking me questions about my relationship with my husband; whether I use contraceptives, if my reproductive system is healthy and functioning, whether I was waiting until I completed my studies, or if there was something physically wrong with me or my husband. It’s as if me not being pregnant is a crime against the entire world; as if my ‘empty womb’ is a nuclear weapon and somehow invading my privacy will bring peace and safety to the world. My ‘empty womb’ has become the center of attention at social gatherings; people find the need to pass on their sympathy, advice and concerns to me as if I’m in the last stages of my life. I have become extremely self-conscience and insecure about myself in the past few months; I suddenly feel inferior to all the young mothers around me. My achievements, career, education, and ambitious have little to no meaning to people when they see I have failed at conceiving a child. These few months have been extremely nerve wrecking and stressful for me because it seems all everyone ever talks about is having a family and raising children. Some of the aunties in the community have little to no respect for personal space and boundaries. I’ve come to understand that there isn’t anything that could possibly make these women realize how hurtful and destructive their words are. But I’m learning to ignore what they say about me because I know my ‘empty womb’ is a blessing from Allah and every time I am judged, criticized and questioned about having children Allah gives me the strength to answer with confidence that: It is Allah’s will, I have no control over what He (swt) has planned.

Am I being Punished?

It’s very natural for us to assume that we’re being punished when we can’t have children especially when children are regarded as Allah’s gift. Not having children by default is assumed to be a punishment because you are being denied a blessing. What we fail to realize is the fact that being granted no child is also a very special blessing from Allah. Although it’s very hard to understand, accept it’s vital for us to see it as a blessing… because it really is. A few weeks back I was feeling really sad after being confronted by a woman from my community who insulted me in front of a room full of people about me not having a baby. Her words really got to me that day and I started wondering if I would ever get pregnant, what does it actually mean to not have children, and what have I done to be punished like this? The answer to my questions is that only Allah knows the reason behind me having an ‘empty womb’, and whatever that reason may be it is in my best interest. What really helped me during such a critical time was an article I came across that changed my entire perspective about having children; the article was called ‘Maybe Allah wants you to Become an A’isha not a Khadija’ posted by MuslimMatters. The author highlights lesson the lives of our Prophets (SAW) wives Khadija (RA) and A’isha (RA), both who were very close to his heart. In the article it was discussed how Khadija (RA) had several children with the Prophet (saw), while A’isha (RA) had none, and still they are both equally praised and respected. In fact, A’isha not having children allowed her to be one of the greatest teachers of Islam. She used her time, knowledge and education is build the future Ummah. She became one of the most influential and praised women in the religion of Islam. Despite not having her own children she raised other people’s children to be and do amazing things for our religion. Looking into A’isha’s life made me realize how much of an honor it is to be able to educate and influence others to be and do better things. Although being a mother to your own children is a great honor I cannot deny, it is important for me to emphasize the honor of being a mother to an entire community of children. I’ve realized the world needs a lot of Khadija’s but for progress, development and improvement the world is nothing without an A’isha.

Don’t Lose Hope

Allah is the most generous. If He wills He can grant a barren women and an impotent man with children and we should always pray and hope to have children of our own. But the concept of having our own children should not consume us, we should continue to look at alternatives such as adoption, and foster parenting while we hope and pray for our own. There are plenty of ways to play the role of a mother or father in a child’s life without sharing any DNA and I think it’s time we accept the fact that being related to the child has nothing to do with how you will be as parents. The challenges Allah makes for us is created only to bring us closer to Him, and there is nothing more valuable than to be closer to your creator. The struggle with infertility, impotency, and an ‘empty womb’ are all challenges that Allah is putting us through, and it is only He who understands the pain, frustration and anger behind it. Allah will only burden us with what we can bear and whatever He grants us is that which is best for us.


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Showing 16 comments
  • Aaliyah

    I can really relate to this post. I was married for six years before I was blessed with children. It seemed to bother others more than it bothered my husband and I. Sometimes people don’t realise how much of an impact their words can have. Like you said the alternatives of adoption and fostering are as equally important as having our own children. Unfortunately society tends to forget that.

  • Ayeina

    If this was 10 years in your marriage, it might have made sense – all the concerns and stuff…but one year? Couples who go to doctor within a year of cohabitation are not even entertained by them. Doctors simply refuse to look into the matter because within a year, it can be completely normal to not have a baby.

    If anyone asks, tell them that you’re pregnant – pregnant with love, knowledge and patience. Baby isn’t an ingredient right now. But all those ingredients are pretty amazing as well ❤

  • Chelsea

    I’m so sorry that you have to deal with all of those remarks and comments. I’m sure some people are well-intentioned but I can’t imagine how much it must hurt to have judgement when all you need are people by your side building you up.

    I was diagnosed with PCOS just about a year ago and although I haven’t tried to have children yet, the thought of not being able to is always on the back of my mind. I wake up every morning and go to bed every night with this thought and it’s really scary. You have so much hope and trust in Allah (swt) and your words are so encouraging. I hope that with any test in my life I can be as positive as you.

    You are certainly in my duas. Thank you for sharing this very personal and important message 😉

  • Iman

    I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with people who are rude and insensitive. It truly baffles me why they think this is any of their business! I love your approach to it and your positive outlook. May Allah bless you with what He chooses when the time is right <3

  • Sahar

    I can feel your post word by word because battling this issue for almost a decade now! Endless doctor visits and medication has made my body not mine anymore! To top it all one of my near relative thinks that I do not want babies! How rude! The fact is that I am not sad anymore thinking I do not have kids. This choice was not mine, Allah swt chose it for me and I am more than happy than anyone who has kids.
    Imagine our kids are taken away from us when we are still alive. I have seen a few of them in my life grieing over ther the loss of their precious kids and I am blessed to not go through that situation.

    And like everything else Allah knows what is best for us. I hate society and the people that think only if you can deliver a baby you are a complete woman. But now if anyone ask me why don’t you have kids I simply tell I forgot! Too much haters to handle, let them go.

    And be happy that when they see you they get ashamed of asking or thinking that you are sad! I have literally found my happiness and I wish I could say this to all sisters in this world who are differently blessed like me!

    Sorry for the very long post!

    • Nurul

      Differently blessed. I LOVE that phrase. Thank you!

      I’ve been in thehe same boat as you, but it’s only been a couple of years of trying for me and my Husband. True what you said, it feels like my body is not mine anymore! It gets so tough, but we keep fighting on with smiles on our faces. Allah knows best! 🙂

      May Allah bless you with goodness and Mawaddah in your marriage and Family, in this Life and the Hereafter. You’re a strong Lady!

  • Um Ibrahim

    Anyone who critices you for not having children just shows how truly ignorant they are.

    Yes being a mother is a wonderful thing and a true blessing, however, not being a mother doesn’t make you any less of a wonderful human being. And what matters most to Allah is your taqwa and the kind of life you lead.

    May Allah do what is best for your and husband and may Allah always bless your marriage with or without children. Allahuma Aamin.
    Um Ibrahim recently posted…Giveaway: Islamic Phonics BookMy Profile

  • Khadijah

    Thank you for writing this xxxx

  • Ummul Khayr

    Assalaam alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakatuhu.
    You are courageous to have written this piece.
    May Allaah bless you and your husband in the best way, in His own time.
    I can relate to everything you have said. We have been waiting for a decade now.
    It’s not easy to be patient, but the reward promised to those who beautify their patience is too good to lose. Be consoled that The Almighty has called us SPECIAL, is why He is testing us thus. He wants to hear our voices, He wants us to beseech Him. SubhaanAllaah!
    May Allaah increase us all in beautiful patience, and give us the best for us.
    As for those who speak without thinking, simply…IGNORE!

  • Farhana

    We are sharing the same path… lets be blessed dat we can be juz like Aisha.. and kip on doas to Allah so He will grant us to conceive our own in “our empty womb”… Amin..

  • Lina H.

    Salam sis. Stay strong. It’s only been a year. InsyaAllah your time will come. It took me 8 years. 5 years of doctors visits. Nothing good came out. We decided to adopt. And now we have an active boy. Even by adopting we face challenges. Life never fail to give us surprises. InsyaAllah.. you’ll find ur peace. *hugs.

  • Layla

    Assalamualaikum wr. wb.,
    Syukran for your lovely article. I share the same sentiments as you, sis. =)

    I have been married for 4 years + now and have not been blessed with a child. I have thought of whatever reasons I can think of for why it is such. The best answer is – Allah knows best.

    I get annoyed when someone says to a single lady/man that he has to change his ways and only then he will find his lifetime partner. And of course, the usual “Oh maybe you don’t have kids yet because you are not ready to be a mom/dad.” And in my heart I would reply, “Who are you? God?”

    The truth is, we really don’t know. Allah is the Most Wise. I used to ask myself, if we have to be READY before being a mom, why are teenagers giving birth out of wedlock? Why do women abort or throw away their babies? Were they ready? And then I thought about Aisyah R.A. wondered, if she was that young when she was married to Nabi Muhammad S.A.W., did anyone question her fertility? If yes, it must have hurt her alot then, but being who she was, she was wiser and stronger than all that.

    I once came across a lecture by Syekh Ali Jaber (he is from Madinah and now resides in Indonesia). He told a story about how a man came up to him to ask to pray for him and his wife to have kids. He wanted them so so badly. The Syekh made duaa for him and for what is best for him. He said no and insisted he want to have kids no matter what. Later on, he appeared again and said that he has been blessed with a child but the child is handicapped. He was angry and didn’t want the child. The syekh scolded him for saying such things for he wanted a child so badly and God has answered his prayers. He shouldn’t be reacting that way and has to be grateful for his blessings.

    Moral of the story – ask for what is best for you. Cause ultimately, the only reason why you don’t have a kid yet (or ever), is because ALLAH KNOWS BEST.

    As if our only reason for existence is to reproduce. Allah mentions in the Quran that “I have not created the jinns and the humans except to worship Me.” Qur’an 51:56.

    Not everyone will agree with your reason, especially our mothers/sisters/aunties. They are not able to understand deeply because they have not gone through it. No matter what, Allah has chosen for us to understand this. And this is our lesson in life to understand and trust Allah in His plans. ❤

    (Everything that is good comes from Allah, and everything that is bad comes from me.)

    I pray you all love, happiness, barakah, rizq, good health, taqwa and peace in your hearts.

    Much much much much love,
    Layla 😘

  • Faldeelah Frantz

    Salaam sister, I can relate, was married for four years before conceiving. And at that time i kept a journal and my only strength was Allah and my strong believe. Today my sister in law is going through the same. Seven years of marriage and they are still struggling to conceive. I lay awake making duah for couples that are struggling to conceive. The first thing I did after a lot of tears was accepting the situation. It was hard but it also entails believing in your duahs and finding peace. So my heart goes heart to all cause I know the remarks from people can sometimes be very harsh especially family members. Always believe in the following: The best of profits were tested and your strength and believe exist in the way we accept and handle the test. Allah is the greatest. As this is a topic very close to my heart. Love you from your sister in Islam

  • Mrs. Catha

    I can very much relate to this. I love children especially my students. But can’t deny the fact that it hurts when I am centre of discussion in any social gathering. How women appreciate us as an ideal couple but loudly sympathize in front of me for not having any kids. Yes, all my achievements and goals seem so low while returning back from any such meeting. I just wish that they stop sympathizing and let us live happily in accordance with Allah ‘s will.

  • Safiyah

    AsSalam Alaikum wa ramatullahi wa barakatuhu!

    I was literally crying while reading your post. I can understand how you feel especially the pressure everybody is putting on our shoulders. Alhamdulillah I came across with this inspiring article of yours. I myself is struggling as well but i’m trying to look in every positive sides of the situation. Even though I am not having a child now does not mean I am not blessed. Well, in fact, we are blessed by having a strong heart to accept the situation itself.

    Jazakillahu Khair for this post that truly inspired me.
    May Allah grant you the greatest reward for your patience. Ya Rabb!

  • Fatemi dawat

    Very well written sister. Thanks for this lovely post.

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