Portraits of Strength: Rosnah Roselee

Portraits of Strength: Rosnah Roselee - Hegen

In honour of International Women’s Day, we are featuring ten Hegen mums who have found strength in spite of the odds, adversity and loss. This week, we have a mother who is finding peace in the battle with grief.

It happened at 27 weeks, on the 18th day of Ramadan or 11th May last year at around 4pm. That was the last time Rosnah felt her baby moving in her womb.  

The 33-year-old had been hoping for the best, telling herself, “he’s probably tired and so moving less than usual”. But the truth hit her hard when her gynaecologist broke the sad news the next day. “I’m sorry, I don’t seem to detect any heartbeat,” she told Rosnah.

Despite her pain, Rosnah waited to give birth naturally on 31st May. The doctor offered a post-mortem to find the cause of death but this pious Mum refused. Instead she prayed to God to “show the reason why you took him from me.” When her gynae examined the baby post-delivery, the cause was easily discovered. Part of the umbilical cord closest to him had twisted, cutting off his oxygen and food supply. 

She named her baby Muhammad Rayyan. Muhammad is the name of Islam's last Prophet and means “a person in whom praiseworthy characteristics are abundant” while Rayyan means “watered, luxuriant and also a name of one of the doors to Paradise.”

Being a Senior Staff Nurse at Jurong Community Hospital, Rosnah went back to work, serving on the frontlines during the Circuit Breaker after just a short postpartum break.


Hegen: Losing a child in utero must have been absolutely heart-breaking. How have you been coping with this?

Rosnah Roselee: My husband, Muhammad Saini, our family and my closest friends have been my support system. They’re the ones there when I break down and beat myself up, ranting that I shouldn’t have taken this pregnancy lightly. My mum would remind me that my son had been chosen and is already waiting for me at the gates of Heaven. This comforts me, though I’m still hurting. 

I made his forever home in the cemetery as beautiful as I could and we visit him often. I also made a memento ring with my both my sons’ names so that I can wear it all the time and keep them close to me always. I still have the first (and last) clothes that Rayyan wore and I’d inhale his fragrance whenever I miss him badly.


Hegen: We’re so sorry for your loss. It happened during Circuit Breaker and you’re in Essential Services. What was it like having to go back to work right after going through your ordeal?

It was hard. Some of my colleagues were surprised that I was back so soon and asked about the baby, not knowing what had happened.  

Once I broke down at work while dispensing medication to a patient. My nurse manager was around and her blunt words did help. She asked me: “You think is he better off with you or God? I replied, “with me”. Yet, I know deep in my heart that he is better off with God. And I believe that one day I’ll be reunited with him in the Hereafter. 

After that, I felt more willing to open up and share with my colleagues about what I had been through recently. It actually helps with my healing process and coping at work.


Hegen: What's life like these days? Would you be open to trying for another child? 

There are days when I’m just in my own world, dreaming of Rayyan. I’d look at his picture or pay him a visit at the cemetery. I’d always pray for him daily. 

As for having another child, I believe that when we least expect things, God may answer our prayers. Yes, I’m still open to trying for another child naturally. But if it’s not successful, I might wait a year or two before trying IVF again (which was how my older son, Muhammad Rizqi was conceived).


Hegen: Do you communicate your sadness and loss to Rizqi? 

I do. Ever since we lost Rayyan, we’d read prayers for his little brother every night at bedtime. I would often tell him, “Mummy has two sons, Rizqi and Rayyan. And though Rayyan is not physically here, he is always in our hearts.” 

I would also tell Rizqi that I love both of them equally. Since Rayyan had passed, Rizqi (who is turning two years old) has continued breastfeeding and allowed me to have the experience that was supposed to be with Rayyan. 


Hegen: Tell us how you view Motherhood, with all that you've had to go through?

I actually never thought that I would go through motherhood. But now that I have, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. It has been an emotionally tiring but still fulfilling journey for me. Of course there are days when I feel like I’m not a perfect mom but I’m pretty sure I’m more than perfect to my son - and that is what matters most.


Hegen: What would you say to other mothers who are struggling with the death of their children or loved ones?

I believe that many women – especially Mums – are people who can somehow find strength against all odds. We’re the ones able to smile yet cry at the same time. So even in sadness, all we can do is to give our very best and just trust in God to fix what we can’t.