“Allah will not see a woman who is never thankful to her husband, and she always asks for more (never enough)” (Narrated by An-Nasai) [1]

Bismillah,

I write this piece of article with the enormous gratitude and emotional feeling upon my arrival at home (read: the Netherlands) while strongly hugging my husband. Yap, the expression of saying thank you incessantly to him because we succeeded it! Yes, we returned to the Netherlands safely. Alhamdulillah.

Long story short, after 23 days journey, we have just done what we planned to do in one of our wedding missions which are praying in Arafah field, on the day of Arafah, before the fifth of our marriage anniversary. Alhamdulillah, in the second year of our marriage journey, this command and ritual came true. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

Initially, I did not think to write anything related to this trip with various considerations. However, due to having quite unique experience and aiming to provide information about pregnant women who will also travel to do Hajj, Bismillah I will write down some experiences and tips for performing it.

Wait. What? Are you pregnant?

Yes Alhamdulillah, I praise God for giving me trust in my womb. It was more than 22 weeks when I departed and was about 26 weeks when got back to NL. Please pray for the process of delivering her, educating, raising, and giving her rights as best as we (the parent) can. Aamiin Allahumma Aamiin.

Previously, I would like to make a disclaimer:

Every pregnancy has a different condition. What I write here is not a form of generalization for all pregnant women. Just an endeavor I have tried to maintain the health and wellness of my pregnancy during the Hajj travel. Alhamdulillah, before the Hajj departure, I used to take a long way walking and boarded in some flights from the first month. So, I do hope that this work is able to depict the perspective πŸ™‚

Alright! So,

This article is motivated by (Subhanallah) the limited existing information on how to prepare and perform Hajj for a woman who is pregnant. Even though I searched in Bahasa Indonesia or English. I found the only one information (in Bahasa Indonesia) from Riana here. Then I corresponded with her. However, there was a slightly different condition of our pregnancy. Since at that time Ms. Riana had still relatively adolescent pregnancy at around 3 months meanwhile I was 5 months and 2 weeks when the departure. Moreover, Riana who lives in Spain got a challenge for getting a meningococcal vaccination because in Spain it is prohibited for pregnant women.

The question is: What about the Netherlands and Indonesia?

Before writing about the tips, I would like to present the rules for the pregnant Hajj pilgrims from Indonesia and the Netherlands.

In Indonesia, the government basically does not prohibit pregnant women from going Hajj during pregnant as long as the gestational age is within 14-26 weeks. Nevertheless, the use of meningococcal vaccine which must be done a maximum of two years before the left. As I cited from an Indonesian Ministerial Decree (again in Bahasa Indonesia) which quoted from the following blog.

In practice, when I was in the holy land and met Indonesian pilgrims, indeed, I made a conversation with them since I missed a lot this type of grassroots communication. As expected, they expressed the full frowns face such as describing their confusions and officiousness when they knew that I am pregnant. Some of them even undoubtedly asked, “Is it really permitted? How come you can be here?”. I was smiling and thinking that it might because of the information regarding permits for Hajj for pregnant women 14-26 weeks is not yet widely spread among hajj in Indonesia. Especially looking at the obligation of injecting meningococcal vaccines which have to be done before pregnancy. Hm!

As in the case of Netherlands, there are no specific rules from the government which avoids pregnant woman going to Hajj or Umra. Looking at my circumstance, I have used to actively doing outdoor activity since the first month of pregnancy. Moreover, when I consulted with the Hajj travel provider, they responded with a firm yet calm answer for me.

“Pregnancy and being a guest of God are two things that are possible only by Allah’s permission, Mrs. Intan. Let’s think positively that it is God’s willing. So, as a mother, you will be able to undergo both of it. Allah mandates both things happen to you and by His will, He is the one who enables you to do so. “

Since this sentence was told, I become more optimistic. Yup! This is God’s willing, InsyaAllah I am able to live it. Moreover, I am used to physical activity that is quite heavy since the beginning of pregnancy (InsyaAllah there will be another part written about this story). There is a strong belief within me that the presence of my children in my tummy will undoubtedly be directly guarded by God through His angels. Not me. Neither my husband. Because we believe, the strength of my husband and me to take care of her is indeed nothing compared to the safeguards of Allah Almighty πŸ™‚

Back to the rules of traveling for pilgrimage in the case of pregnancy in the Netherlands. Although I did not require to issue any pregnant certificate or anything concerning to it for the Saudi Arabia visa application, I am fully aware that the responsibilities to make sure the baby’s health is on my shoulders. It means I am the one who must officially ensure that my baby and I are healthy and ready enough to join this trip by seeking as much information as I can as a weapon to “fortify myself” during the trip.

So here are some tips!

Things to do BEFORE THE HAJJ TRIP:

  1. Consult with your ob-gyn or midwife regarding your plan of going to Hajj pilgrimage.

Although they (the health workers in the Netherlands) very much understand or at least have heard the term Hajj and Umrah, they are not sufficiently acquainted with the details of the process of the pilgrimage. So, I made a timeline of the Hajj trip complete with a various physical activity that I will do. Because Hajj is a sort of physical worship, I arranged this timeline with specific notes such as how many kilometers I will walk in a day, how much the temperature over there, humidity, wind speed, air pollution, the possibility of “virus/bacteria” pollution and all the hazards that may occur.

So, during the consultation I asked:

a. What vitamins or supplements should I consume?
b. What kind of certain foods should I eat?
c. How much portion of food should I absorb compared to the regular consumption when I am home?
d. And another question regarding my baby and my own healthiness till the question to ask for permission regarding influenza vaccine.

The answer is: in the Netherlands, there is only one vitamin that is suggested to be consumed by pregnant women. I use the brand “Davitamon Complete Mama.” That’s all. According to the midwife, this vitamins in one tablet contain all the things needed by the fetus. We are not advised (even tend to lead to prohibition) to consume artificial vitamin supplements that are sold freely such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K. Because synthetic vitamin C (like IPI if in Indonesia) is actually not good for developing fetus. Doctors here suggest only vitamin Complete Mama which is safe and needed for the nutrition of fetal development. If you want additional vitamins, then the solution is by consuming food ingredients containing vitamins which must be added. Thank God, during this pregnancy, I was very fond of fruits and vegetables. Until my husband was aching back and forth to the fruit shop, he brought kilos of fruit in a day for me.

Then I ask again, so to fortify the mother so that it won’t get ill easily, can I drink Tolak Angin, Imboost, Habatuusauda, ​​and so on? (typical Indonesian herbal and medicine to maintain body endurance). The answer: “You don’t need any fortifications as long as you eat and drink you enough. You will be fit and prime. ”

Feeling not satisfied with the doctor’s answer, I asked the parent of my friend who would come from Indonesia to bring some medicines that are usually consumed by Indonesian to maintain the immune system. I brought it with me during the next consultation with the midwife, the result is: Nothing to consume including habatussauda. I was shocked, but the doctor’s answers were always based on the papers and scientific journals which proved the effect on fetal development. Okay, as a researcher, in my opinion, his argument is valid and can be accounted for until there is a latest research disputes it. I accept that, but eits, they advised me to consume honey. So you can always drink the honey which later I bought in Medina directly.

My dissatisfaction still led me to look at the possibility of another fortress by asking, “Can I get the influenza vaccine then?”

The answer: Yup you may take it! YEAAAAYYYYYY. I was very excited to immediately make an appointment with a vaccine center to compile some of the vaccines that I needed for the pilgrimage. And it turns out they already have a list, what vaccines are required for someone who will perform Hajj/umrah.

I was vaccinated with Meningococcal and DPT (according to the consular who gave the vaccine, this is mandatory from the Dutch government for all people who will take hajj/Umrah) and additional requests for influenza vaccine. Unfortunately, at the time of departure, it was in the summer. In the Netherlands, the availability of influenza vaccines only exists during winter. This means I can’t get an influenza vaccine.

So after at length regarding the “fortress” debate in each consultation, I was only allowed to:

Take vitamin complete Mama
Honey consumption
DPT vaccine and meningococcal
Influenza vaccine (but it was cancelled because there’s no vaccine stock during summer, spring, or fall).

2.Β  List of equipment (I call it war equipment) for our own comfort when we actively move.

Doing Hajj pilgrimage from NL requires a strong independence and research. Need to consult here and there to those who have experience because everything has to be prepared i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t-l-y, yup EVERYTHING! from big things to small stuff like spray bottles (because there are no involvement from the government as in Indonesia, Indeed!). For war equipment as a pregnant woman, I bought:

a. Pregnancy belt. This function is to help our spine support the growing belly when we walk for a long distance. I purchased online sent from the US. But, but, but, finally I didn’t use it because it was too tightly binding, so it made my breath shorter and shorter. If this is suitable for you, it’s good to wear! Since it is also recommended by doctors here, especially for those who are active when pregnant.

b. Shoes that are super light, soft and comfortable plus the backup. I invest my time to research into this type of shoe. Look for those without a rope so just wear it instantly. Because this will determine the strength of our feet on a long journey. Although not exactly the same, what I bought is more or less a model like this.

c. Masks that are commonly used for those who are having influenza in Indonesia. I know that a parent of my friend will come from Indonesia to the Netherlands, so I asked them to bring it. Because the sale of masks here in NL is not for the public. It is only explicitly used by people who are entitled to and given directly by the hospital. I stock quite a lot of mask to replace it 3 times a day. Regarding the use of masks during Ihram rituals, some of the scholars forbid it with thorough consideration, even though still some of the others allow it with certain udzur. I consulted with some religious teachers and decided to wear when in a crowded place where many people were coughing, flu, sneezing, and so on because this was considered as “jihad” to maintain the health of the fetus, so it was permitted. Although the scholars who accompanied us while in Medina and Mecca actually forbade it.

d. Eyeglasses. This seems mandatory for those who are pregnant or not pregnant. Besides, the glasses are given a rope so that they can hang around our neck so that we have no trouble searching in a bag.

e. Spray bottles to be filled with water. This is also common for those who are not pregnant. However, for those of us who are pregnant, it is more mandatory because of the sweltering feeling that we experience 2 times higher than those who are not pregnant. So use this spray bottle not only to spray the face. I spray throughout my neck, stomach, legs, chest and so on.

f. Pampers! Well, this is really exciting when I search for it. In the Netherlands, the oldies are healthy. So almost no grandma and grandpa use pampers for adults. No pampers for adult sold in the shop at all. It took a week until I found a type of pampers for children aged up to 12 years with a maximum weight of 57 kg. I bought that one at a time. Pampers are used when staying in Mina’s tent (because queuing for the toilet really teaches the true meaning of patience) and before staying at Arafah field. Believe me, the first 3 days even though we wear pampers, we can’t pee there. But when things have taught us about other ‘things,’ the pee is coming out! I use pampers every time I pee and change immediately. Don’t wait until 2-3 times, to avoid excrement sprinkled everywhere.

g. Sarong for changing pampers in tents when the toilet cannot be compromised even if only to replace pampers for a while: ”

h. Plastic for used pampers!

i. Wet Tissue (non-perfume)

It looks like it’s the core of the protective warfare equipment that must be purchased before the Hajj departure. Furthermore,

3. Doing sports: at least 2Km walking exercises.

For a student mom like me, doing a sport is really tricky. Especially when before the departure of Hajj I was being chased by a minor thesis deadline. Even for eating, there’s no time, even less for sports. Well, but it turns out that the key of the Hajj travel is that we have a strong foot to walk. Alhamdulillah, my husband is quite discipline to accompany me to walk and walk even though looks like a slug because my stomach starts expanding freely.

I am indeed the type of person who is a bit lacking in sports, I don’t know how I can’t divide my time well between academic and sports needs. I outsmart by:

a. 3 months before departure, I did gymnastics Hajj preparation exercise based on YouTube guide on this link. This can be done at any time without having to leave the house. We can adjust to the condition of the womb, for example, by not being too excited about prancing, for instance. Oh yeah, even I showed this gymnastic video during pregnancy consultation to the midwife to confirm that it’s safe hehe

b. 2 months before departure, walking 2Km three times a week with the time given so that we can attempt to be discipline in the speed of our walk whic is able to increase our endurance.

c. 1 month before departure, walking 2Km every day. With a lower speed but more constant and intensive.

This is all very very useful when we are on the day. Thank God, my stamina was maintained during the trip there. I was not sick at all (flu, cough, inflammation, etc.). Alhamdulillah.

When it came to my husband, his exercise was riding 6Km every morning and in the afternoon run around the running field in the sports center in front of our house for 4 rounds. Because he will need more physical endurance indeed for ikhitar directly guarding me and baby in my tummy.

4. Make a target and prioritize the list of worship that we will do while in the holy land.

This is seriously super duper fundamental because whoever goes to the holy land, I am sure that you will have a strong intention to carry out all the types of worship. For other terms, you will be an a-m-b-i-t-i-o-u-s worshipper :p. How come? Because we believe that praying in the Prophet’s Mosque rewards 1000 times, being in Haram Land rewards 100,000 times. Isn’t that tantalizing MasyaAllah? But remember, we are two at the moment, mom-fellas. We have to prioritize ourselves and our cutie pie! Also, there are still obligations and pillars of Hajj that we must perform it thoroughly.

I prioritize to complete compulsory rituals of Hajj and Umrah (because of my Hajj is tamatu) well, smoothly, without pain. As simple as that. Because, if we learn, the Hajj series itself is not an easy thing. For me the biggest challenge is not when it comes to tawaf or sai, but precisely when in Musdzalifah, Mina, and throwing a stone. I will tell you in the next part, InsyaAllah including the physical solution. In addition to the obligatory priorities and the pillars of Hajj and Umrah that are smooth without illness, my list of Sunnah worship is also straightforward. The target of praying in the Prophet’s Mosque and the Grand Mosque is written there, but of course, it is not intensive until staying overnight or i’tikaf over there. Sorry, I can’t share the details list of my worship targets, but if anyone really feels the need kindly contact me via email πŸ™‚ But basically, re-check our physical abilities to be able to prioritize the compulsory practices and do some light sunnah.

Alright! In this part one, I write about as much as I remember, 4 important things I did before the Hajj pilgrimage departure for pregnant women. Hopefully, it can be useful! The hope of this writing is simple, building a sense of optimism between us who are considered as a double jihad fighter. First, Jihad due to pregnancy and second, jihad due to Hajj. InshaAllah, this is one of our endeavors. Finally and hopefully, God strengthens our Azzamto perform Hajj pilgrimage of pregnant women and straightens our intentions to always be oriented to God in each of our worship.

Written at dusk between light and cloudy 4.29PM when starting the days waiting for graduation. On the second day after arriving back in the Netherlands (5th of Sept 2018). Yet translated in English on Sunday, late midnight 2.06AM while looking at my husband sleeping besides me.

Note:

[1] Narrated by an-Nasa-i in Isyratin Nisaa ‘(no. 249), al-Baihaqi (VII / 294), al-Hakim (II / 190) and he said, “This hadith sanad is authentic, but al- Bukhari and Muslim did not take it out. See Ash-Shahiihah’s Lineage (no. 289)

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