Dear Rayyan

Losing a child was one of the hardest things I ever had to experience in my life.

I remember how ecstatic we were when we learned I was pregnant. The next day I went to Target and looked at all the baby clothes. A smile broke out on my face as I saw all the pretty vibrant colors…..pink, orange, yellow and red. I imagined which outfit I would bring you home in. I picked up a tiny pair of socks and felt their softness between my fingers, imagining how cute your feet would be.

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We began talking about what if you were a girl? What if you were a boy? How would we decorate your room? Who would you grow up to be? What name would we choose for you?

The questions were endless!

We were young. Early 20’s and on our way to be parents. We still didn’t have life figured out (and we still don’t) but we were extremely happy that we would meet you soon.

We told our parents and close friends. We wanted those who we loved to share in our joy and happiness.

We were going to be parents!!!!

A few days later I knew something wasn’t right. We were at my friend’s house and had just finished a delicious meal. We talked about how our children would grow up together as their own children played happily nearby.

I felt a severe cramp in my side.

In the bathroom I saw I was beginning to bleed like a period, but I thought to myself: “How can I have a period if I am pregnant?”

All kinds of thoughts raced through my head. Oh dear God, please protect my baby. Please keep my baby safe. Please don’t let my baby slip away.

That night my husband and I rushed to the ER and our fears were confirmed.

I cried.

The doctor tried to console me and told me how sorry he was.

I cried harder.

That was the darkest night of my life.

You slipped away. I never had the chance to feel you kick. Give me heartburn. Watch my belly grow. Experience the miracle of God’s blessing…. a little human who would call me mom.

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For months I was in a dark place. I felt alone, helpless and didn’t understand.

My faith was tested and my marriage suffered.

I became swallowed in my grief. I felt God didn’t love me because if he did, why did this happen? Even my husband couldn’t comfort me and I pushed him away.

One day I woke up and realized my life wasn’t over and I had to keep on living. I was surrounded by people who loved me and wanted to be there for me. I wiped my tears away and started talking with others who experienced loss. We laughed, we cried, we hugged. Slowly I begin to heal. I started to smile again.

I also came across the organization Children of Jannah, a resource and support system for Muslim families who have lost their children.

I started living again. I broke free of the darkness.

Allah tests those who he loves. A true test of faith is holding on even through the most darkest times.

We never knew if you were a boy or a girl.

We named you Rayyan.

A name for both boys and girls.

A gate in paradise for those who fast and remain patient.

“Verily, with hardship there is relief” (Qur’an 94:6)

A few years later we met your baby sister Eiliyah (the beautiful one who grows in love and peace with God). She is God’s gift to us and a blessing for our patience.

She is our miracle.

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Many days we think of you and wonder how you would have been as her big sister or brother. You would have been almost 3 years old when she was born.

But we find comfort in knowing that you are at peace. You are with Allah and surrounded by other children like you. You are not alone.

You are the children of Jannah.

Dear Rayyan, inshallah we will meet you at the gates of Jannah. We love you and you will forever have a place in our hearts.

Love your parents,

Abu and Umm Rayyan

If you have experienced loss, please know that you don’t have to be alone. Please visit www.childrenofjannah.com for more information. If you would like to talk to Khadijah personally, please email her at Khadijah@mnannies.com. Together we can heal, one day at a time. 

About Khadijah

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Khadijah is the founder of Muslim Nannies and RAHMA (HIV/AIDS organization). She is passionate about helping the community and identifying resources to help others. She was invited to The White House and met President Obama in recognition for her efforts. She also writes for The Huffington Post. Khadijah resides in Northern VA with her husband and daughter.

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