For Mothers,  Parenting tips

Going Umrah while pregnant and with a toddler?

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Going to umrah while quite heavily pregnant with a toddler was one of the things that I never thought I would ever do, but alhamdulillah I was blessed with such an opportunity. It has its share of challenges, and so I hope to share some tips with mothers like me who plan to do the same.

Are you sure about this?

To be completely honest, there were several times before the trip where I doubted myself. Like, “what are you thinking?” I was going to be pregnant on my last trimester and not only that, I have an active toddler to handle. Well, thankfully not on my own alhamdulillah. I was with my husband and mother-in-law who were both great help.

However, a dear sister of mine helped to erase all those doubts when I confessed this to her. She had done umrah during the last 10 days of Ramadan (which has one of the most overwhelming crowds throughout the year). It was during this trip that she and her husband brought along their almost 2-year-old toddler and 5 months old baby.

She too had the same thought as I did. But after a heartfelt conversation, we agreed that it is better now than never. If Allah has given us the guidance and sustenance to perform umrah, just do it no matter how daunting it may seem. Because you will never know if you will ever live to see the next opportunity to do umrah again.

Going umrah while pregnant on your last trimester?

The doubts may also come from others around you. When I took my umrah vaccination, I had a nurse who advised me that I shouldn’t go for the trip. 

“Eh you’re pregnant leh.. can’t you wait till your baby is out?”

She said something like this or somewhere along those lines.

Of course, I brushed it off. I already had my doctor’s approval, and the visa and everything else was set. How could I back out now right?

But no really, here is the thing. Pregnancy is not a disability! Being pregnant just means that you have to take extra care of yourself.

In fact, this trip will make you be on your feet more often with the tawaf, sa’iee and all, and that’s pretty good because it’s just like doing a birth walk. But with a greater purpose of doing ibaadah (worship). 

Things to note for pregnant women going for Umrah trip

 Having said that, you have to take extra care of yourself and pay attention to your body.

1- Move often in the long flight.

You’ve got to keep your blood flowing on your feet.  My tip is that you drink more water so that you will want to pee more and this will make you walk to the toilet more often.

2- Wear compression socks

Got this useful tip from my cousin. It helps to keep the blood on your feet flowing and prevents water retention insyaAllah.

3- Do not overexert yourself

Rest when you need to even if it means you will miss praying jama’ah at the masjid. You will not miss out on the rewards insyaAllah because prayer at home is better for women anyways. What’s important is to  focus on keeping your body well for the umrah itself.

4- Hydrate yourself

Bring along a water bottle for zamzam. Don’t worry about having to pee. Just make sure you are well hydrated. Toilets at the two masjids may be a little inconvenient but just go when you need to. I even brought my toddler to the toilet to pee and make wudhu again. It”s not that bad insyaAllah.

5- Take full advantage of the blessed zamzam water

Make do’a before drinking zamzam as the prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalam) have mentioned that zamzam is what is intended for. So ask Allah for health, strength to do ibadah when you drink it, and ask for a cure when you are down with a sickness. Drink it as often as you can.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best water on the face of the earth is the water of Zamzam; it is a kind of food and a healing from sickness.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3302).

It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) drank it, did wudoo’ with it and poured it on his head. He used to carry Zamzam water in small vessels and large containers in order to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink. (al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 883).

One of the Sahaabah said: we used to call it al-Shabbaa’ah (satisfying) and it helped us to take care our families (i.e., it was filling and helped them to do without food, it was also sufficient to nourish children). (al-Silsilat al-Saheehah li’l-Albaani, 2685).

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3062; this is a hasan hadeeth. Scholars and righteous people have experienced this – they have drunk it with the intention of fulfilling some need such as healing from sickness or being freed from poverty and distress, and Allaah fulfilled these hopes).

(source)

6- Take care of yourself in crowds

Especially during peak periods, do try to avoid going into heavily packed crowds. Most people won’t notice your baby bump to be extra careful from accidentally pushing you. For example, walk a little further away from the Ka’abah where there is more space when making tawaf. I also avoided going into the Raudhah at Masjid an-Nabawi with the advice of one of the guides as it can get pretty wild in there especially at the women’s side.

 

Going for Umrah trip with a toddler?

To be totally honest I wasn’t that much worried about me being pregnant during the trip. Rather, I was nervous about the long trip with an active 22-months toddler who hardly knows how to sit still during car rides.

But this is my honest thoughts after going through the whole 12 days trip to Madinah and Makkah with my toddler-It is actually not bad. It felt like any other trip before, like bringing him just across the border from Singapore to Malaysia. Not a breeze but still manageable. 

Plus, I have 2 other couples on the trip with toddlers who were the same age as my little one. And they survived too.

Yes, of course, it is tiring. And of course, there were cranky and challenging moments. But have faith that Allah will always ease our affairs, especially when this is a trip for His sake.

Things to note when bringing a toddler to the umrah trip

But of course, you still need to be well prepared when bringing a toddler -physically and mentally.

1- Be mentally prepared

The trip will be a tiring one and things may not go as planned. Your child may act up or fall sick. Just keep calm and ask Allah for help. Remember, parenting is an act of worship too, and you will be rewarded for every hardship that you face with patience.

2- Memorize the essential do’a and rites for umrah

This was my husband’s advice. Especially so for him as he would be babywearing our little one through the Umrah rituals. It will be much easier than having to refer to a book. Even if you have a guide with you, you will still be at an added advantage. Because perhaps you may miss out on some things with so many people and distractions around you.

3- Prepare snacks

For the flight, bus trips and while at the masjid. My little one enjoyed the flight meals. You can also buy snacks locally there but do note that a lot of the snacks there are rather sweet (i.e. biscuits). For healthier options, you can opt to buy fruits and bread there as snacks.

4- Prepare toys

For the flight, bus trips, while at the masjid and especially in the hotel. I only realized this when I spent quite a significant time there when I did not go to the masjid because I was too tired.

For the flight, we had a touch screen which has some cartoons and games on every seat. We usually try our best to minimize screen time on normal days. However, for a long trip like this, anything that kept him occupied and kept us sane is good enough for us. He did play with his toys too for the flight.

For bus rides and masjid, a toy car was sufficient to keep him entertained.

Here is a list that I brought for the trip which kept him occupied:

  • 3 small cars
  • Drawing tablet (like this)
  • Color pencils
  • Stickers
  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Small toy phone with surah and do,’as (they have this sold a lot at Makkah and Madinah)
  • We also bought/ were given more small-ish plastic toys from Makkah/Madinah.

5- Get a child leash/harness

For an active and curious toddler. This is one of the most useful things I’ve bought mashaAllah. Having him attached to me while I pray just gives me peace of mind. I still use it here when I pray at the masjid.

(I got one like this)

6- Your child will be given sweet treats

That’s just how they show their affection to children there. You turn your head the other way and suddenly your kid is holding on to a lollipop. If you are particular about their sugar intake, just remember to plan ahead on how to handle such situations. Keep calm and smile.

7- Bring medication

Such as medications for fever, cough and cold. There are pharmacies there too. However, I have personally found zamzam to be the best. Just make do’a and have faith.

8- Stroller issues

At masjid nabawi, you can bring your stroller in the area outside and pray with your stroller in sight. You can also park your stroller at designated parking spaces for strollers at the sides, near the women’s entrance to the masjid if you’d like to go in. Is it safe? Not really. Story short, our stroller actually went missing at one point but alhamdulillah we found it back again. As for masjidil haram, you can bring your stroller almost everywhere in the masjid. Except at the tawaf area where the ka’bah is at, when the crowd is too overwhelming. The guards will actually stop you from bringing it in. If not, I believe you can bring it in because I have seen strollers being pushed in there. The place to do sa’iee, I have seen people pushing their strollers on the level meant for wheelchairs.

Additional points for Masjid an-Nabawi

Maybe this is not within the topic but I just have to share this with you sisters who are just as excited about circles of knowledge.

Joining Qur’an circles.

This is one of the reasons why I love this masjid so much. There are so so many circles of knowledge after every prayer. You will see different circles for different purposes, with people of different ages, learning the alphabet, memorizing the Qur’an, memorizing hadith etc. You can sit and just listen. However, if you wish to join in and check your recitation, there is one place for visitors with the sign “za’iraat” (الزائرات). For women, it is way at the back, near the entrance. You simply give salam to the teacher and join in the circle. The teacher that I had, spoke some English. She will ask you to recite al Fatihah when it is your turn. 

Listening to lectures

There are also a lot of spots in the masjid where lectures are held by women teachers. Most of them are in Arabic but I believe some of them are in different languages to cater to the different visitors there. After Fajr, you can even listen to Shaykh Abdurrazzaq al Badr’s lecture (I think that was his voice that I heard) if you sit at an area, towards the right, near the front. Even if you don’t understand Arabic, you will still be rewarded for sitting in such gatherings of knowledge insyaAllah!

SO these are some of my tips for women who are just like me, pregnant and with a toddler, braving themselves to make Umrah. I hope you have found this looong post beneficial and may Allah ease your affairs. Aamiin!

 

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