by Fudia Muhammad
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said that if you have not yet had children, you should consider yourself fortunate because you still have an opportunity to prepare and plan for a family; whereas others may not have had that chance. Though we are all here intentionally by the Will of Allah (God); from the perspective of our parents, most of us were unintended accidents conceivedfrom lust and passion; not through any deliberate or calculated planning.
Child spacing commonly refers to the length of time we allow between the birth of one child to the conception of the next child. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches that it takes two whole years for a woman’s body to completely heal and be restored after giving birth. But before we deal with adequate time between the birthof multiple children, consider that child spacing also refers to the time allowed after marriage before having the first child.
It is recommended that couples take at least two to three years after marriage before trying to conceive. The number three represents trial. In marriage the first three years are often fraught with difficulty, struggle and trials – but trials purify and hard trials are necessary to establish truth. So if we can overcome those first three years; we know that our marriage can survive, if we so choose.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “Some of you got married six months ago and it’s over now. You got married five years ago and it’s over, been over; was over the first year, but you hung out [and] let the marriage get cold and stale and dead and you were grumbling and cussing each other. And then you finally said, ‘Well to heck with it, I’m just leaving.’ Leaving the children torn and divided; not wishing to choose between the mother and the father, loving both. But unfortunately, having to choose because we did not struggle at the most difficult time in that marriage.”
The more we are able to overcome obstacles as a couple, the stronger our marriage. Strong marriages are the cornerstone of strong families. It takes time to adjust to marriage. Couples should enjoy quality and quantity time together before the tremendous demands of parenthood become the new reality. It is important to get to know one another and begin to build a solid foundation organically. This takes understanding the nature of a man and the nature of a woman;how to please one another and also working to avoid those things that annoy. Talking on the phone and going out to dinner once in a while during courtship is one thing. But as the cliché goes, ‘You never really know a person until you have lived with them.’During the sixth month of pregnancy is not the time to discover that a particular habit of our husband’s happens to be one of our deal breakers. Our children will enjoy a more loving and peaceful household if major issues are worked out before they arrive.
We have to better prepare and plan all future pregnancies. The closer together our pregnancies, the more likely we are to have complications and the more serious ones can lead to a miscarriage or impact the health of the mother. Nutrients, hormones, muscle strength, body composition and organs all have to be replenished and restored after pregnancy – this takes time. As we have been sharing throughout this column, a woman’s mental, spiritual, moral, emotional and physical conditionare crucial to giving birth to a god.
After enduring nine months of pregnancy, intense labor and delivery, followed by the demands of caring for a new life; only to discover that you must go through it all over again before you have had a chance to catch your breath is a lot for any woman to endure. If pregnancy is not planned, it is difficult to be joyous instantaneously. Unplanned pregnancies often bring about immediate stress and unhappy thoughts towards the pregnancy, which are transferred to the baby. We have now already had our first set back towards giving birth to a god.
Having children back to back not only causes stress on the mother, but it can also put a strain on the marriage. Women could actually fear having intercourse and therefore avoid intimacy with their spouse because they do not want to get pregnant to soon. Or, she may take drastic measures of unnatural and unhealthy birth control; which can have long-term side effects, impacting her health and the health of any future children.
Child spacing is also beneficial for our children. Remember, babies are born selfish and this does not change for years. They are not concerned with anyone else’s needs or wants, including that of their siblings. Children need and want their mother’s time and full attention for the first few years of life. It takes most children close to three years before feeling secure and reassured enough by their parents, where short periods of separation will not cause them distress or anxiety. Some toddlers actually want to hurt a new baby, who is seen as an intruder. Conversely, if the next pregnancy is spaced, when the new baby comes, the older child is not jealous or angry about the new addition to the family; but happy, peaceful and excited. Ideally we want older siblings tobe eager and actually want to help theirparents care for the new baby.
The Holy Qur’an reads, “Man prays for evil as he ought to pray for good.” So to avoid that prayer – ‘Oh Allah (God), please don’t let me get pregnant’ – before intimacy with our spouse, we need to make the proper preparations and plan our pregnancies. If it takes two years for our bodies to heal after giving birth and close to three years for our children to feel secure, then we should plan for the birth of our children to be spaced at a minimum of two years, nine months. By studying our body and understanding ovulation and fertility, we can plan each child’s conception to the day.
The Holy Qur’an confirms that there should be adequate space between our children – Allah (God) exhorts mothers to nurse their babies for two whole years. Breastfeeding suppresses ovulation in many women for the duration of the time she nurses. As long as a woman is breastfeeding frequently, she will not ovulate and sometimes she also will not menstruate. If one is not ovulating, conception is not possible. Once breastfeeding decreases or stops, ovulation resumes. Breastfeeding can be a natural child spacing option for many women. If conception takes place too soon, breastfeeding should be aborted. The continuous action of drawing milkfrom the breastscauses the womb to contract. If she is pregnant and nursing a baby at the same time, there is a small risk of miscarriage. This is why some health care practioners recommend that a pregnant woman not continue to nurse a baby.
As stated in a prior article titled, “Birth Control,”there is such a thing as having too many children – only in the sense that the woman’s body will begin to break down a lot faster than otherwise. Sisters who are experienced in wholistic health and wellness confirm that at present, for a woman to bear more than four children is physical abuse. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan bore witness that had they not had so many children (nine), his wife would be physically stronger today.
Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad shared thatin the Hereafter, women will ultimately be able to bear a multitude of children duringtheir lifetime without issue. This will be possible not only because we will be so much healthier and therefore able to heal much sooner; but also because our lifespan will equal or surpass those whom we read about in the scriptures; they lived for centuries!
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)