Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Fast & Parenting

Whew. This was a tough Fast for me. Each year Baha'is Fast by eating breakfast before sunrise and dinner after sunset from March 2 until March 20. We celebrate the arrival of spring as our New Year, called Naw Ruz from sunset on March 20 until sunset on March 21.

I started out very sick in the beginning the Fast and that kind of set me up for feeling off balance with the spiritual renewal I was hoping for. I wasn't able to consistently Fast until this last week. It was one of the first Fast's that I've done as a mother. In the past I was either pregnant or nursing.

It's amazing how critical keeping my blood sugar normal really is while trying to be the best mama I can be. This was a tough week of ups and downs for Iz and I had to really dig deep for my patience and gentleness.

When we started the Fast she asked me several times if I like to Fast. I thought it was an interesting question. I like the Fast? I never thought about it quite like that. Growing up as a Baha'i, the Fast was just something we do because we love God and God has asked us to abstain from food and drink for this relatively short period of time. I decided that I shouldn't try to answer that because I really don't want to put it to her in those terms. I love God and I love fulfilling his requests because I trust that there is great wisdom in being self-disciplined to accomplish the Fast.

So, I am very excited for Naw Ruz and to have the luxery of eating and drinking once again, but I do feel sad that this year I wasn't able to fully engage in the spiritual connection that I have had in the past.

How 'bout you, mamas? Any insights? I would love to hear about renewing experiences with the Fast or how you explain it to your wee ones.


  1. Raelee, I truly appreciate this post. It is honest, and true. This was a rough one for me also. Like you, for going on 6 years, I have been either pregnant or nursing, so I was looking forward to fasting. Prior to the parenting phase of my life, I absolutely looked forward to and LOVED the fast. I would have answered an enthusiastic YES to that question. Now, not so much... I find myself getting grumpy, irritable and absolutely at the end of the patience rope when I do not eat... so parenting becomes all that much more challenging so to speak. Since like you, I was unwell during the early part of the fast, I really searched my soul. I made a conscious decision that not eating is actually not a huge sacrifice for me. It comes a little too easily. What is harder is to practice self-care. So, I took the fast as an opportunity to practice doing just that -- I took a multi-vitamin, I drank lots of water, I consciously ate lots of fruits and veggies, I stretched, I took time to meditate, and... I was just mindful of my body's needs more than usual. I know, that was not the way we were supposed to fast, but I made a choice to approach it that way instead of being grumpy about not being able to fast the "right" way... I could go on and on... but I will pause here. Happy Naw-Ruz!

  2. Gayatri, I actually think this a very healthy and wise way to approach the Fast! I love this. Thank you so much for sharing your experience of taking care of yourself during this time of personal reflection and renewal.