Modesty After Baby

I have to say that having a baby has seriously affected my sense of modesty. I was never an extremely modest person by nature. My covering was entirely based on what Allah has required, but Allah did make it pleasing to me. Still it was a process that until Baby seemed to be going from less to more.

Three months after my shahadah I started wearing hijab. My hijab consisted of a scarf over ordinary fitting long-sleeved tops and long pants or a skirt. Other than the scarves, which I had to order online, I had no new clothes to support this change in requirements and was trying to meet them with my existing wardrobe. This meant that I was wearing hot, heavy clothing that was made for winter in the middle of summer. At least I was never one of those sisters wh was wearing sweaters in summer!

A while later, a friend commented on the tightness of my clothing and suggested it was showing my body. I was bewildered. I failed to see how my body could be showing when it was covered (no skin was showing). How could you be seeing my body? I also had not perceived my clothing to be tight. It was looser than what it had been before my Islam, and, by the standards of my culture, it was not considered form-fitting. After reflecting on it a while, I was finally able to see what my friend meant. I started wearing skirts over my pants to hide the shape of my body.

I read in the Quran about pulling the khimar over the breasts, and I started  wearing my scarves so that they draped over my breasts regardless of what I was wearing underneath.

Eventually, I got my hands on an abaya, and I wore that thing out. Abayas are incredibly comfortable and convenient. After I married my husband I acquired several more abayas, but I was still wearing long skirts and shalwar kameez as well.

Sometime during my first stay in Bangladesh, I read an excellent blog article about the requirement to wear jilbab over clothes when going out. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said he had seen something similar on the Islamic TV, so I made the change. I chose to wear abayas whenever I went out, as that was easiest for me.

Since the birth of Baby, though, there has been a change. Most of my abayas did not have easy access for breastfeeding. I was not really going out anyway, so I was basically pulling a long khimar on to go to the laundry or walking about the apartment building. I would only be wearing ordinary fitting clothes beneath, so that basically means the shape of my body is not well hidden from the waist downward. My tops were chosen for the ease of breastfeeding access and were often 3/4 sleeve, so when carrying Baby, often part of my arm is exposed. I have started compensating by putting a long skirt on (but not all the time), and I used to be very careful about making sure my arm was covered to the wrist, but I seem to reason lately that maybe no one will see me. I do still wear abayas and khimar when going on longer outings, but that isn’t all that frequent.

My husband has not commented at all on the level of my hijab. I guess it is still acceptable to him. Maybe standards change when you are more concerned with the needs of your baby or preventing Baby from waking your husband. I don’t know whether this is right or wrong, but babies change things.

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