Reflections

Postpartum Depression: The Painful Birth of a Mother (Part 3)

Part 3: The Birth of a Mother

When you reach your third trimester, you and most probably everyone around you, are going to talk about labour. Some will share their wonderful birth stories, and some will tell you why they will never give birth again.

Your days are filled with thoughts and excitement for the birth of your child.

What gets overlooked too often is that with a birth of a child, is the birth of a mother.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve had children before, if this is your second, the world will be witnessing the birth of a mother of two; because you only really ever were a mother of one prior to this.

It took me 11 weeks post Zac’s birth that I realised that me becoming a mother was a process. It was a journey, and a very long and hard journey. I started to give myself a break, if not outwardly, definitely inwardly. I stopped blaming myself for Zac’s unsettledness, slow weight gain, etc. I started to accept the overwhelming feelings, and having learnt how to recognise them early, sought help either by prostrating on my prayer mat, or by reaching out to loved ones.

I started to acknowledge that I didn’t know much; and in fact, wasn’t required to know much. Just like at the start of every new job; the seniors train you but give you bit by bit. Let you attempt it yourself, and remind you that mistakes are OK because “you’re not meant to know everything, we know you don’t know at this stage”. Then you repeat, and with their guidance, get better and better.

I did start getting better, Alhamdulillah.

I’m still struggling, but because I know it’ll always be a struggle, and rightfully so, I’m at a better place inside. Inner peace is much more of a regularly visiting friend, than a beautiful stranger.

I pray for the same for all other mothers out there.

A Special Note To The Support System

Hold them, kiss them, and tell them that it’ll be alright.

And I know it’s probably your first time at dealing with all this too, so make it a journey you go on together.

Drop all expectations and let things heal with time.

She’ll be back, God willing.

And things will be even better, and you will all be stronger.

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Postpartum Depression: The Painful Birth of a Mother (Part 2)

Part 2: I Need Out

I did learn to love my baby boy slowly.

By the 3rd month, I was quite comfortable with just being alone with him, and even found myself looking down at him, singing to him, and sincerely smiling out of gratitude.

But that didn’t come without trying really hard to come out of the grappling hands of PPD.

PPD PIC 3
Little Zac at 3 months

Alhamdulillah there came a point, after weeks of enduring the exhausting routine of oscillating between borderline happiness and agonising sadness, that I gained the desire to actually solve the problem. That point happened right after I had screamed at my 9 week old; I was changing his nappy, after he had done an epic poo, and he was wriggling and fussing and I just lost it. In the midst of the mayhem that was trying to put a wriggling baby’s arm into some tiny sleeves, I lost it.

“Zac, STOP!”

Zac cried louder, and I cried harder. I saw his tiny body shake out of shock from my scream.

I knew there and then, this had to stop. I once vowed to give my babies a better childhood than mine, a calmer and more peaceful start to life.

Things had to change.

So I started watching videos on PPD; there was just something about watching other women speak of similar postpartum emotions and physical pain, something about watching them describe exactly what I was feeling at the time and accurately explaining that sometimes “it just hits bad”.

It occurred to me that this was a common problem. In fact, after speaking to other women I knew, I found that it was something that was not unique to millennial moms. It was something women have been battling time and time again in every culture, every era, and every socio-economic background.

This might sound strange, but that made me feel better.

And more importantly, it made me think, “There’s got to be a way out of this”.

The Only One That Can Help

For such a long time, I felt like I was intentionally ignoring what I already knew – that Allah is the only one that can help. That all solutions, whether it be a calmer mind, better spousal communication, or a more manageable sleep pattern, would come from Him.

But I was unable to bring myself to ask from Him.

Until I couldn’t bear it anymore – the weight of the pain was getting heavier, and relationships were getting shakier.

So on the very same day I had screamed at Zac, I cried my heart out to Him. After the first few times of making supplications to Him, and not feeling much improvement, I felt impatience and frustration growing within me. But I was reminded of the many times He had helped me; the many times I experienced modern miracles first hand. So I persevered in my supplications and kept on hoping that the heaviness would just go away.

And then, one day as I searched Pinterest “Islamic patience quotes”, I stumbled across these:

“And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger, and a loss of wealth, and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (2:155)

and

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear” (2:286)

It then struck me that this test might be necessary, a sort of an initiation to the even tougher days to come when treading the path of motherhood. I also realised a crucial fact of the whole experience; that it is simply part and parcel of my journey in the dunya (this world). It was painful, and at times I really felt like I would never be able to get out of it; but that’s what every test ever felt like. Yes, granted, this time around the pain was more intense and my mind felt like it was being hijacked and ripped apart so that the best of its being was nowhere to be found.

But, perhaps, as we get older, supposedly wiser and stronger, the tests get harder. In hope, that we come out better and keep on moving forward until the day we meet our Creator.

Then, I felt something different that I hadn’t felt in a long time; the reality of this dunya became more apparent to me.

It’s temporary nature, the volatility within, and the constant back and forth between ease and hardship.

I needed to realise the situation for what it was, and not give it any more credit than what was due. To stop making it too much of a big deal that it was allowed to take away my inner peace. But how do I summon that strength?

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Or who is it that could be an army for you to aid you other than the Most Merciful…” (67:20)

 

Opening the Doors to Others

“Babe, I think I’m struggling”

It was a message to my sister. Long overdue.

It was the beginning of me opening up to my loved ones, the ones that wouldn’t judge me, that wouldn’t shrug me off and push my worries and struggles aside.

I remember holding my phone and thinking, “Whom can I trust this with?” Because the last thing you want to do is confide in someone and have him or her put you in an even worst state of mind.

I whispered “Bismillah” and messaged my sister.

Why don’t people reach out more often?

Breaking Free From Just Being “Meroyan”

 There’s a fat chance that if you’re Malaysian, especially Malay, you’ve heard of “meroyan”. In the literal sense, it simply means postpartum depression in Malay.

But the negative connotation to it is what people have ingrained in their minds.

And this is precisely the toxic, unproductive mentality that is hindering so many women, especially in cultures that just put all mental illness in this general, unhelpful and unproductive category of “crazy”, from reaching out and seeking help.

Now that we’ve established that, tell me this: Which right-minded person would want to be called crazy?

Reading through other women’s experience, getting a glimpse of who they were before, during and after their episodes, proved to me that these women were not the “gone cases” that our culture so often thinks they are. They are sane, strong, but extremely stressed and overwhelmed individuals that are undergoing a completely new and challenging experience. Not to mention, there is no lunch break when you deal with an infant, neither is there continuous sleep.

After understanding this fact, I felt empowered. I wasn’t crazy.

Being comfortable with that fact, and believing it, made it so much easier for me to reach out.

And from then on, some friendships became stronger, sisterhood was fortified with honesty, and marital understanding was brought up to the next level. Alhamdulillah.

Know Your Enemy

Knowledge is power.

Francis Bacon, Kofi Annan, Zhang Zhidong all said it. Even Miranda Kerr said it.

Coming from a faith that the first word revealed to our Prophet pbuh was “Read”, I should’ve known better.

I started reading about PPD; causes, symptoms, ways to overcome, the stories of those who got out of it, and even the stories of those who went on to develop postpartum psychosis. The knowledge made things a little more clear to me, each day I read about it. I learnt how to recognise what I was feeling, when things were about to implode and sometimes, subdue the devils inside and just go to sleep (or eat chocolate). With the knowledge I had, I was able to articulate myself better to my support system; what I was feeling, what help I needed (sometimes, you just needed baby taken away from you so you can sleep), or even what I didn’t need.

As a first time mom, I was obsessed about reading anything pregnancy-related when I was pregnant. But I read so little about the experience that was about to last even longer: about the hardships that may present themselves when the baby actually arrives.

I really hope other first time moms out there do not underestimate the importance of finding out what motherhood is really like. Beyond the “you’re going to fall deeply in love with your kids” or “you’ll just know what to do”. Find out about what happens before the actual birth of a mother.

Click here for Part 3: The Birth of a Mother

 

Postpartum Depression: The Painful Birth of a Mother (Part 1)

PART 1: I Was Supposed To Feel Love and Be Filled With Gratitude

Assalammualaykum.

“I think I should write about my experience after Zac” – that was what I told hubs 5 months ago, when I was still 4 months preggers with Aamena.

Why has it taken me 5 months to write this? Partly because I was still struggling with how to keep my toddler alive, my hubs happy, while juggling work as a pregnant-again lady (1 year maternity leave and woah I’m rusty!) and trying to still keep in touch with family and friends.

Partly because it made me nervous.

Nervous because writing about it means confessing that I went through it. And coming from a culture that looks down upon those with mental illness, rather than embracing it as any other type of illness that can happen to anyone given the right combination of factors, I’ve had to remind myself that if and when I decide to write about it, in sha Allah it’s for the better.

It’s to educate people who still have the mentality that mental illness automatically makes you either crazy or sane but weak.

It’s to reach out to that first time mom who is probably crying alone in her bedroom, nursing a baby on one breast and holding a warm wash cloth to soothe those bleeding cracks on the other.

It’s to comfort that woman who just bravely tried to reach out to the people that were supposed to just hug her and love her in return, but instead told her to just deal with her emotions herself.

You’re not alone, and you’re brave.

That bundle of joy, and everyone that is benefiting from the smiles of that bundle of joy, should really be thanking God He sent you, the bravest woman in that delivery room, who endured all that pain, and immediately after stroked the same head that almost tore your lady parts apart and thought “I love you”.

How Does It Start?

I’ve heard a few stories from a few beautiful ladies before, and, like the experience of motherhood itself, the onset of PPD is very unique to each individual.

I’d like to think mine struck in stages. And that is what is so tricky about PPD – most of the time, it’s a creeper. And when people are telling you, “It’s OK, it’s just the baby blues, it will go away in a few days” you might find yourself ignoring that inner voice that’s telling you “Dude, something is wrong here, you’re a wreck inside”.

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PHOTO: STOCKSY

I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide after a complicated-but-ended-up-still-being-natural delivery. Labour went on for approx. 14 hours and because it went on that long, my emotions and the cocktail of adrenaline and oxytocin within was already going mental. My mind was suddenly awake, but my body was beyond tired. Because of the emergency epidural (yes, they can give you epidural at 9 cm dilation – in special cases), the lower half of my body was numb and I felt a bit awkward not being able to feel my legs.

With the cocktail of hormones and plethora of emotions surging through my body, Zac was placed on my chest for skin to skin. And what did Remie do? Well, just what any over-researched first time mom would; put that baby to the breast, for their first meal. And, in my head, I was already pressuring myself (and perhaps baby), “Ok, so he’s supposed to latch like this, and I’m supposed to hold him like that – eh, why isn’t he latching? No, no, let’s start again. No! Why isn’t he latching?”

And that’s where it slowly, ever so subtly, started.

My unpreparedness for failure, my ridiculously high expectation of myself as a mother, the image of what family life would be with a child (you know the jolly house with a smiling dad, mom and chubby no-problem-with-feeding baby), the Pinterest images I wanted to emulate – and of course, Madam Hormones and everything she was doing because she was trying to get herself used to not having to support a growing human being anymore.

Inside, I already felt the chaos.

And amidst all that inner chaos, I looked down at my baby boy, he really was beautiful MashaAllah. And I did stroke his hair (yeah, he was born with quite a bit of hair). I did whisper I love you.

And then, for some reason, I just passed him to my husband.

At the time, I convinced myself it was because I wanted my husband to give the adhan (Islamic call to prayer) in his right ear. But, deep down inside, I knew I passed Zac to him because I didn’t know how else to handle him not latching and things not going as they “should have”.

I Thought I Was Supposed To Fall In Love

Who hasn’t heard the saying “there is nothing that compares to a mother’s love for her children?”

Well, that’s what I was preparing myself to feel the moment I saw my beloved baby boy.

But honestly, in absolute all honesty, I didn’t feel it. Not at the very moment I saw him, nor for the next few weeks.

I was struggling with my level of love for him. Why didn’t I feel at complete and utter awe at his little fingers and beautiful face? Why didn’t I cry tears of happiness when I held him in my arms?

ppd pic 2
PHOTO: THINKSOURCE

Maybe, it was because I couldn’t do all that, while dealing with the intense pain of breastfeeding for the first time.

Maybe, it was because I was stressed with the fact that he wasn’t regaining his birth weight and I was being visited by different midwives giving me different advise as to how to improve the breastfeeding relationship I had with him. It all just became a huge blur where I was just living by the 2 hour block; every 2 hours put a warm towel on my breasts to ease the pain and to encourage let down, have him latch, then pump whatever he didn’t drink, sterilise all the equipment, while my sister (THANK YOU!!) would feed him whatever milk I pumped the last session with a syringe. All that took literally an hour; which left me with just an hour to attend to my needs (think: eating, toilet, showering, wearing clothes, resting, or just talking to someone)

Maybe, it was because I felt very alone in the new journey. Besides, no one else in the house was going through the pain I was going through, was feeling the emotional implosions I was feeling, and, in my eyes at the time, weren’t sympathising enough.

Maybe, it was the amount of times tears streamed down my cheeks, forming a mini waterfall on my face while I tried hard to breath through the choking feeling I felt down my throat, and sometimes deeper – somewhere where the heart lies.

Resentment started to creep in. Towards the very people I wished wouldn’t leave me all alone.

I would walk into my room to feed Zac, and just cry. Granted, my sister would ask me, what was wrong, but I couldn’t even explain. So I bravely, but foolishly said, “Oh, it’s just the baby blues I think, and probably the pain from breastfeeding”

I had fights with both my sister and husband. And things just got tense in the house.

I think, secretly, we were all just waiting for that magical 14th day to arrive, when supposedly, the baby blues were meant to disappear.

The 14th day came, and my feelings stayed the same.

Click here for Part 2: I Need Out

 

 

 

 

Perhaps you are my means to jannah

IMG_20171130_083333I better start by saying I’m sorry.

I know I have the tendency to say sorry for everything to everyone, because I’m insecure that way. But this time, this sorry, I know for sure you deserve it and it’s long overdue.

 

From the very first day we met, you were the best. You never unnecessarily tried to upset. You never once hurt me by your actions, or by your words.

You never not look at me when I entered the room. You never once ignored me when I spoke to you.

 

I, on the other hand, failed so many times.

How is it that one could even begin to think that any of your cries were for nothing. This place is new to you. Everything is new to you. And all those times, you turned to me and Abi for guidance. For reassurance. Everything, understandably, was a big deal to you. Why is this container not opening? Why does my bum feel wet? Why is the sun in my eye?

 

You had no idea what was going on, and just needed answers, and if not answers, just comfort that all those things were ok.

 

But instead, when you turned to me, crying out of confusion, I made you more confused by dismissing those worries and telling you “don’t cry”. And now when I think back, I never gave you a reason – “why shouldn’t you cry? Is it all ok?”

Even worse, sometimes I would get annoyed and angry and disregard you altogether.

 

I’m so so sorry, my dear baby boy.

 

You are that proof of true unconditional love in a humanly form.

And to just think God’s love for us is bigger and better than all that, brings me to tears.

 

You are the one who can smile and laugh to me, right after I scold you, but realise my fault and hug you.

Thank you.

 

You are the one who can kiss me even though right before that, I ignored you because I needed space.

Thank you.

 

My struggles to become “the mother” that I have always wanted to be is so real and you know how real it is. Perhaps you already realise and recognise all my flaws. Perhaps you are the one that will one day coach me.

 

And He reminds us that you, and all our future children, are our gifts.

 

But how spoilt and shallow minded can I be. Thinking that a gift always has to be what is pleasing to me there and then.

 

You, my beautiful son, are definitely a gift.

 

Those days I ask myself, what am I doing with my life, how can I help these people, how can I volunteer for that cause, how can I comfort that sister, etc.

 

I really should have realised that perhaps my grand opportunity to (hopefully) attain jannah, to please Him, is through you.

 

All those opportunities for me to be patient, to smile when I really felt like crying, to speak softly and explain yet again, even when I felt like getting annoyed.

 

All those times opportunities for me to hug you and comfort you and teach you, all those opportunities to prove that I am someone that would help one in need – so so many opportunities.

 

You are a gift. Every child is.

 

A gift from Him. Where else am I going to get those daily opportunities to get closer to Him and jannah?

 

SubhanAllah. The more I write and think about it, the more it becomes clearer to me.

 

Never should I ever say (or think), “you owe me because I am your mother” – maybe, you do, maybe you don’t Allah knows best. What I am sure about though, is I should be grateful to Him for you, not only because of your beautiful smile, your cutest laugh, your wonderful attitude, but most of all, because perhaps, you are my means to jannah.

 

I hope I’ll be better to you Zac.

 

And I hope I get to be near you in jannah – just like how we’ve always been for the past 15 months.

Building those Iman Guns

I remember 2012 really well.

The year I decided to wear the hijab.

It was such a new experience. Something was overwhelmingly lifting my heart from the day to day worries I usually had. Despite doing my honours that year, I was super calm and composed – way more so than the wreck I was whilst completing my Pass Degree.

Committing to this concept- the concept of modesty inwardly and outwardly – was absolutely liberating for me because it just made sense and sat well with my heart.

I was suddenly thinking before I let words come out of my mouth; my tongue was no longer on autopilot attacking whatever it pleased. I was suddenly looking at people and actually looking at them; the fine lines that show the worry and exhaustion from daily life, the squinting eyes and big smile when someone pays them an honest compliment. I was walking alongside Allah’s other creations; the jacaranda trees that spoilt the Kensington pavements with their purple delights and the huge vast skies, a display of His Majesty without fail.

It really felt like just keeping me on a lower profile, physically and as a spillover from that, emotionally, enabled the other elements around me shine brighter than before. To my benefit.

That year was the year of my iman rush.

The Iman Rush

It’s when Allah swt blesses you with a sudden, seemingly effortless urge and ability to do good deeds, to see the dunya for what it is, and to strive sincerely for Him. Your relationships suddenly become more meaningful because you’re finally listening, helping and loving. Your daily tasks completed, and you still have time for qiyaam, Quran and zikr. Your love for the Quran blossoms and you keep going back to it for guidance and when you read a verse, you read each and every word.

It’s an amazing feeling.

Come 2017

I’m married, I have a beautiful son, a hardworking husband and a pretty house. I have close friends that, even though aren’t near, always keep in touch. I’m on maternity leave hence have more time to work on “what matters” – family and self improvement.

But I find myself somewhat disconnected. Somewhat struggling to find the inner peace and willpower to improve.

My more sympathetic girlfriends will tell me “You just became a mom, babe. Cut yourself some slack”

Thank you, darlings.

But I just know that I’ve been slacking way too much to be cutting myself some slack. It’s not just about the sudden demands of having to be on call for another human being 24/7. It’s not just about trying to be a personable and pretty wife, while keeping the house in check.

It’s about that khusyoo’ that was once there.

It’s about the yearning to memorise one more ayat before bed.

It’s about the awe I felt when I looked up at the sky, and saw not just the sky, but His creation and His perfection.

Wait. When was the last time I looked up at the sky?

I need to get fit – physically and spiritually

It dawned upon me one day, as I was doing some Kayla workouts, that I needed to train and workout just as hard, for my iman.

Fine, there was an iman rush. Just like the first year I experienced the joys of jogging and running. But weren’t there days that I just did-not-want-to-run. Of course there were. What did I do? I forced myself out of bed, washed my face, put on my running gear, and went out. I would walk first. And then after 1 km, I would slow jog, then the next km I would jog, and the last km I would run.

I built up my stamina slowly but surely, and practiced utmost discipline.

Even after giving birth, I was so determined to get back to my pre-baby physique, that I started training.

I realised then, as I was Kayla-ing it out, that I needed to start an iman-building regime. Just as how I would approach my workouts and diet, I needed to do that for my iman.

You don’t get fit just by lazing around and not having a plan.

I needed a plan.

So I created a regime that would start out easy, and progress week by week (for some actions it was month by month: like getting up exactly when fajr starts to waking up for qiyaam).

I started to push myself, even if the last thing I felt like doing as I lay down for the night, was to memorise an ayat, I would just open the Quran app on my phone and at least read. And reading (sometimes) led to memorising the ayat itself, which then (sometimes) led to memorising the translation.

Just as I needed to concentrate on my form when working out, I started to concentrate on my salah; the individual moves, and I would then try to appreciate the relevance of what I was reciting to the said moves, and so on and so forth.

Until one night, I was in sujood, and feeling utterly humbled and felt an all too familiar, but missed, rush.

Who would’ve thought, that me exercising and trying to improve physically would lead me to this?

SubhanAllah.

He has truly made the physical world and spiritual reality seamless to each other. If only we reflected.

Alhamdulillah.

Putting the toilet seat up

We say it’s a man’s world.

Well, perhaps it is. There are areas where it is undeniably a man’s world. 

Let’s take that big fat paycheck for example; in Australia, women’s average full-time total remuneration across all industries is 23.1% lower than that of men’s (http://data.wgea.gov.au/).

We can also take the issue of sexual harassment to illustrate; a study that appears in the research journal Social Psychological and Personality science compared the percentage of men and women that reported at least one incident of sexual harassment in a 12 month period  in the US military – 20% versus 50%.

But throughout the years, we’ve seen the fruits of the feminist movement, and in my humble opinion, I would say women today are at least 50% better than the women living just 100 years ago.

We’re louder, we are heard. Whether or not the men listen, whatevs – but we are heard.

We vote, we have presence in the workplace; some companies are even blessed with the presence of female board of directors, we drive, our husbands help around the house more and no longer leave us all alone in the middle of the night while we nourish our newborns (applicable to only some places in the world), and the list goes on.

We also, apparently, have the more correct view as to whether the toilet seat should be up or down (?)

Toilet seat up

The inspiration to write this piece came as I walked into my dad’s toilet.

Yes, my dad has his own toilet – ground floor of our house right next to his man cave room (where he gets the best sleep he claims).

Note: I contemplated of putting up a photo of his toilet, but reasoned against it. Privacy issues 🙂 So please do NOT think that the picture above is that of my dad’s – it’s MY dream toilet.

As I walk into his toilet, I notice that the toilet seat is up. I didn’t really give much thought to it; except for taking a tissue to act as a barrier between my hand and the toilet seat that I was about to bring down.

After I was finished, I flushed, and for some reason, I put the toilet seat up.

As I was washing my hands, I glanced to the toilet seat and then it crossed my mind; Dude, you actually put the toilet seat up. 

What made me do it?

Probably because it’s just drilled in all of our heads, that this is pa’s toilet. So you leave it as it was, and more importantly, leave it as he would like it.

Sure, the argument stands (and trust me, my lawyer sister and I have presented this argument to him before) that putting the toilet seat down is generally safer for everyone. Really, it probably is. So that no one accidentally plops right into the icky toilet bowl and potentially hurts their thighs and bottom (can easily happen when you get up in the middle of the night and couldn’t bother to check “Is the toilet seat up or down?”)

Notwithstanding the above argument, I put the toilet seat up really just to do what my dad would like me to do.

I guess I wanted to make him happy?

OK maybe that’s too far-fetched.

But it got me thinking afterwards “Why don’t I just put the toilet seat up next time (when I go to the toilet that is also used by men)?” I remember this conversation I had with my husband; I was telling him that some people that visited our house would always leave the guest toilet seat up.

“Why can’t they just pee like you do? Just sit?”

“What makes you think I sit?”

“I never find the toilet seat up”

“That’s because I always put it down after”

I immediately said “Auwww” and told him I found that very sweet. I asked him how he was so well trained – and he just answered that he knew it might be an issue with me so he just did it because.

Yes, Alhamdulillah, I’m a lucky girl. But let’s get to the more important point – if he did that, just because he knew I would (most) probably make a big fuss of the opposite, why couldn’t I do the same?

Why couldn’t I be more toilet-sensitive to my husband’s preferences?

When we talk about gender equality, we are, admittedly, spoilt for choice when it comes to the pro-women argument.

But, dig a little deeper, I think there’s a fair share that can be said for the pro-men side as well. (Granted, I think this actually applies more to the first world rather than other parts of the world; where women’s rights and the feminist movement is much more mature)

For example, when (some) girls talk about their husbands – more often than not, it’s complaining about them. And sometimes, it really does cross my mind, “Is he like that, because he’s like that. Or is he like that, because something triggered him to be like that?” Human beings are extremely reactive creatures – this is one of the most vital traits we have that has helped our species’ survival. Don’t like something, move away from it. Something threatens to endanger us, either fight flight or freeze kicks in.

That man that you were so in love with just a few months ago – he changed, yes. But why?

Is it really really really 100% him, or do you have 1.1% contribution to the problem?

Because I guess if you do, then it’s worthwhile working on that 1.1% before you harp on what’s wrong with him – because it’s only that 1.1% that you can actually control. Mind you, that 1.1% might just be you backbiting your own husband; how is Allah supposed to bless your marriage if you’re “eating the flesh” (Surah Al-Hujurat: 12) the one person you voluntarily took a spiritual covenant to protect and respect?

Please don’t get me wrong here; I understand there are legitimate reasons out there to believe that it is a man’s world. 

But what about the good ones? Are we giving them the second, third and fourth chances they deserve? I don’t know about you, but I’m SURE my hubs has given me at least ten.

Here are some points for reflection:

  • Have we now become overzealous with the feminist cause? At the expense of the well meaning men who are really just probably acting as any reasonable human being would? Should we really be picking on the fact that the toilet seat is up?
  • Are we women, also contributing to the population of entitled people; and claiming that we have the right to do so because the women before us suffered worst?

I once told my husband, “I’ve learnt to pick my battles”

His reply caught me off guard.

“Why do you need to see it as a battle?”

 

 

The Beginning

“What do you want to do?”

I love that question. Because it’s so hard to answer.

So hard, because unlike my old self, I no longer want to be trapped in a single role and be limited to the job scope imposed upon me. It was just 2 years ago that I would have been absolutely fine with a job. Even a career would be a little of a “OK, I’ll probably think of it as I go along”

So hard, because now being .a mother, it really is no longer solely about what want to do. It’s more of a juggling stunt, a really intense and long long juggling stunt, between the morning to evening shifts of being a mother and wife, the late night shifts of being a CA student, the constant shifts of being an ambitious, interested-in-everything-but-can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it person, and the on-call shifts of attending to my rollercoaster emotions that are mostly (probably) caused by the surge of new experiences that have been rolling in since 2015.

It’s hard, but I think, I now have to accept the challenge of addressing that question.

I used to have burning urge to help people. Don’t get me wrong, I still do – allow me to elaborate.

If you asked me that same questions “What do you want to do?” a few years ago, it would’ve been a no-brainer; “I want to help people” would have been my answer.

A pretty useless answer, huh? Yeah, I know.

Let me tell you why, it’s only now, a few years down the line and just a tad bit more mature, that I realise how incredibly useless that answer is.

It’s so ambiguous.

And ever since I’ve assumed the role of mother and wife I’ve realised that more often than not, in the “real world”, ambiguous goals don’t bring you very far in life. It’ll probably take up some ink from your pen for writing it down in that $50 Kikki.K notebook of yours – but really, it doesn’t achieve anything tangible. You don’t write “Be productive” in your notebook and expect to achieve (or even remember to do) the following tasks in a timely manner (forgive me for borrowing too much vocab from the business school textbooks; it’s a part of me now I can’t help it):

  1. Pray fajr
  2. Have coffee, read news
  3. Change son’s nappy, give morning milk, bath him and brush his teeth
  4. Make breakfast for son, husband and yourself
  5. (Try to sneak in time) to brush your teeth, hair and maybe even a shower
  6. Play with son, Pinterest search games to play with 11 month old, and try to implement
  7. Housework while son naps, prepare lunch
  8. Accompany son play, but he has his playtime alone, while I continue making lunch or tend to household administrative stuff
  9. Have lunch, pray, read Quran
  10. [Time put aside for whatever needs to be done that day, week; eg groceries, etc]
  11. Pray, dinner
  12. Get son ready for bed
  13. Clean kitchen once son has slept
  14. Study
  15. Spend some time with husband
  16. Sleep

You see why being ambiguous won’t help me achieve that above on a daily routine; not to mention the times that other miscellaneous things come up that need to be addressed.

So here I am. Finally, working on a blog.

I have decided to get over the fear of crowding the cyberspace with my unworthy opinions and thoughts. I have decided that it is probably worthwhile to help with my writing – at least the ones that make it through the selection process (God knows I have entries that make me cringe even just after 5 minutes of writing them).

Not only help others, but also to help myself.

Writing is therapeutic because it forces the writer to put his/her thoughts into a somewhat structured format. So you’re forced to face your thoughts head on; the ones that are were obvious, blazing in your mind, as well as those that you didn’t quite know were there.

So here it is. One unambiguous action point to my goal and a tangible daily to-do task

This blog, I hope, is at least a partial achievement of what want to do.

To help. Whoever.

 

Bismillah. The journey begins.