Thursday, April 28, 2016

Untuk Anakku (Yang Masih Rencana Tuhan)

maaf, ibu membangunkanmu. 
dari tidur panjang, 
mimpi teduh, 
dan damai milikmu. 

karena kecewamu. 
dan biarkan aku menangis, 
karena sanggup melahirkanmu. 

menangislah, nak.. 
dunia memang jahat, 
darah memanas dan bumi meranggas. 
karena disisa untukmu setempat, 
untuk memijak tanah keras. 

karena takdir manusiamu. 
aku ibumu, 
dan pria yang mengasihiku, 
berdua menjagamu. 
mohonkan restu, 
dari Penguasa Marcapada Yang Satu. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

10 Things I Didn't Know About Pregnancy

Hello, Baby.

Sorry, I missed writing to you for a couple of days. Work has been tough lately.

So... I have carried you for a while now, I can't believe days gone by so quickly - but also so slowly! Oh, the anticipation. And since you are Population Number One in my womb, so that makes me a rookie in being pregnant. Yes, I had spent quite a long time getting my body ready for being pregnant. But when I did find out that I conceive you, I was not prepared at all. I'm sure my mom must have dropped a memo about this, but to feel every single bit of pregnancy ups and downs by myself is truly a surprise for me.

I am no expert, but these are some of the things I learn during my pregnancy up to this day. To share with you and probably other rookie mommies out there about what to expect when you're expecting, here's my list of 10 things I didn't know about pregnancy.

1. Morning sickness is not a myth.
Fire-breathing dragon is a myth. But morning sickness is as real as it gets. Because in you-and-me case, it was an all-day sickness. During your first trimester journey, I named myself The Toilet Face just because I had to 'face' the toilet ever so often. I am still having this symptom nowadays, even though it has lessened a lot - now it's about once every one week. It's basically because you're getting bigger and bigger inside, so your movement seems to affect my gastric acid (that's a clever term for 'sour tummy juice') to go up onto my neck and create a burning sensation.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Always carry with you some plastic bags even until you've graduated from the first trimester, they surely come in handy. Avoid greasy/oily food; gorengan, sambalsayur tumisan, and even kerupuk - I ate lots of warm, clear vegetable/noodle soup (less oil) during this period. Drink lots of warm water or tea to calm you down after the sickness storm hits you over and over again. Some times fruits help, some times they don't - especially when your tummy is already too acidic. Make sure to choose 'neutral' fruits like apple and banana instead of orange.

2. Nothing cures morning sickness, except...
Sleeping. And more sleeping. Lots of sleeping.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Have a day-off from work whenever possible and try to sleep early at night.

3. Wait until you invest on maternity clothes.
During the early days, I woke up every morning thinking about what clothes to wear to the office. Every piece of clothing in the closet seemed to make me look like a whale, no matter how tight or loose it was. I used to cry a bit and felt like I had to go to the nearest mall to buy every cute maternity clothes available. But honestly, until today I only own two pairs of maternity pants - they cost a heaping lot than regular clothes and I rarely wear them!
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Don't rush for online shopping even if they send you voucher codes. Even if you have to, it doesn't have to be maternity clothes. Just buy regular clothes but go one or two sizes bigger gradually. I suggest to prioritize on bras and undies - you need them at the right sizes. Remember, it's important to stay comfortable in whatever clothing you wear.

4. Drink milk.
I saw the Gyno when you were around 12 weeks old and he said that your femur length was a bit behind. It got better during your 15 weeks check, but in another month the problem came back. I realized that even though I have taken calcium supplement, I tend to skip drinking milk. Short femur length may be one of the soft indications of fetal restriction growth or other worse dysfunction. But as long as your mommy stays healthy, I hope we have nothing to worry.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Choose any milk brand of your liking and stick to it. I do mean "any milk". Seriously, you don't need to limit yourself and hop into the pregnancy milk bandwagon just because the advertisements told you so. Milk contains calcium which is really important for the baby and the mother. Pregnancy milk may contain additional vitamins and ingredients which are good for expectant mother, but it is really the calcium that you need. In case you are worried about your baby's short femur length, there are many health journals on this topic - just Google it. Or better yet, consult with your Gyno.

5. I miss coffee, sashimi, and Indomie.
I'm sorry, Baby. I perfectly understand that I need to eat healthy for your sake. But passing Starbucks in the morning, suppressing the urge to buy a tall latte was quite tough at the beginning. Skipping sushi and sashimi are also hard to do, and don't get me started on a bowl of Indomie kuah. But you know I love you more than life and I am willing to do every thing for you, including missing those things. Plus, I save more money now because I no longer buy overpriced coffee.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Try to find another craving. I find martabak manis to be a great (fattening) food that can cure any type of food craving. Be a good friend to food delivery guys or your nearby abang ojek, they can do magic - as in delivering any kind of food you are craving in less than an hour. 

6. I hate my husband's ... smell.
Yes, I hate your father's smell so bad since you were just a tiny dot. Every time he arrives home from work, I immediately ask him to wash up and change into clean clothes. I hate to hug him in the morning (so not me, I was all about hugging before). I even use an odor-neutralizer AND a super-power air freshener in our room to make sure the room doesn't smell like him. He used to frown at me for doing this, but nowadays he understands that I do this keep you comfy (always a good excuse, gets me out of difficult situation every time).
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: It's okay to let him know. He may be offended but he will accept the fact that you are not feeling that well. Thanks to the fluctuation of estrogen in your body which can make every little scent coming your way feel like a blizzard on the nose.

7. I love your grandma so much more.
She was soooo happy to know that you would soon be here among us. I know she wants a baby in the family as much as I do. She is truly a caring and loving person, she loves to take care of other people. She takes time to arrange your pengajian, it's like a baby shower without the frilly stuffs - reciting prayers for you and me. She had quite a troublesome pregnancy when she carried me and my siblings. Hearing her stories just makes me weep, I often reflect on how much she has done for me and how could I ever repay her. You will love her, no doubt.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Hug her, kiss her, tell her you love her every day 

8. Pardon my pregnancy brain.
I once left my purse in the office, I was already in the parking lot and had to go back up to get it. I got home later only to find that I also left my laptop bag in the office so I had to beg your daddy to drive me back to the office late at night. I occasionally take the wrong turns when I am driving. I forget my lines during a few important video conferences. I wasn't that good in remembering things (except your father's past mistakes) but this is surely worse.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Keep calm, being pregnant doesn't mean that your brain is shrinking. However, it may affect how sharp are you mentally. Not only because of the changing hormones, but you may also have lots of things in mind so it's harder to focus. Not to forget the backache and lack of good sleep. If you are working, this is a real challenge. Take notes, set reminder, try to keep every thing in writing to ensure you don't forget important task or dates. Get more sleep or short nap whenever possible.

9. I dream a very lucid, detailed dream.
During the first trimester, I kept having these weird dreams. They were quite detail, most of the times involving people I know. Gardens, flowers and every other thing seemed to be in colors. It was strange and disturbing.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: Again, blame the hormones. Some says it reflects the mother's anxiety - hopes and fears for the growing baby. Nothing to worry and do not overreact because it's just a dream. No matter how vivid it may be, you will easily forget it in couple of hours - thanks to your pregnancy brain!

10. I become a more positive person.
Even your father admits this. I used to give him a hard time, he used to complain a lot about me being short-fused and grumpy, but I have changed since I conceive you. We argue less and less. I am much more relaxed and spend more time being grateful.
Tips for rookie mommy-to-be: It's important to stay happy and positive to support the development of your baby. Unhappy mommies may have difficulty to take good care of themselves and the babies. Research has shown that babies born to mothers who are not happy during pregnancy may be less active, show less attention and be more agitated. If you feel unhappy, anxious, restless in any way, better to consult with your Gyno so he/she can refer you to have proper treatment.

I think that's all for now. See you on your 4D screening this coming Thursday - hope you're all healthy and happy there!

Your mother.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Will I Be A Good Mom?

Hello, Baby.

How are you today? Your father and I just took you out for a quick splash this afternoon. Did you enjoy it? The pool was so full of toddlers, learning to swim. Their parents were waiting by the poolside, cheering for them. As soon as they were out of the water, their mothers handed them their towels and hugged them lovingly.

Then suddenly it dawned on me... What kind of parent will I be? Will I be a good mom for you? 

Society can be real challenging nowadays. Once a mother posts a photo of her kid in Facebook or Instagram, then she is officially out in the jungle - to be judged by others. Unfortunately, the others tend to stand and judge in two opposite corners; the good mom or the bad mom. There's no in-between. Motherhood has quickly become a fierce competition; to breastfeed or to give formula, to stay at home or to keep on working, to grind your own food or to buy boxes. The lists could go on and on.

I am concerned. No, I am scared.

Here's a Jodi Picoult quote that scares me even more:
"24/7 - Once you sign on to be a mother, that's the only shift they offer."
I am the person I am today, thanks to your grandma (she is lovely, by the way). She is the strongest person I know, yet she is so soft. Unlike her who is a full-time mom, I have always been working since I graduated in 2008. I enjoy working 9-to-5, it helps me a lot to develop myself and it earns me a better living.

I haven't considered to quit my job by the time you arrive - maybe I would change my mind over time, I don't know. But I know some good friends of mine who are still working but they manage to nurture and educate their children at their very best.

Dewi always tries to come home early from work and spend time with her cute toddler. She makes her own DIY toys to keep him busy - playing and learning, using different materials as creative as she can be. In the weekend, she takes him out for an adventure in a zoo or a park - away from the hectic malls.

Dewa is a mother of two cheerful girls. Every day she has to commute quite a long way to work by train. Lucky, her husband is an entrepreneur who can work at home and take care of the kids. But that doesn't mean that she misses out on her children's important milestones. She makes sure to attend her kid's school functions, helps her on her homework and spend quality time on weekends - to soccer practice, to do outdoor sports, any activity that requires a SuperMom energy.

I am also proud to see my friends who decided to dedicate their time to be a full-time mother.

Mega is a full-time mom from the very start. She likes to share funny photos and updates about her Energizer-bunny son. Somehow, her posts make me excited to be a parent. It really shows that no matter how stressful and tiring it could be, but to spend a good day with your child is totally worth it. 

Nita gave up her career to take care of her two boys and decided to take home-schooling in her own hands. She plans each day to be filled with educational activities, to replace formal education they should've received in school. She would take them to the zoo, to the playground, to the library, even take them on a train trip to Bandung.

Kudos to my mother, and my friends. I salute them.

At least they give me a hint on what kind of parent I want to be to you. On one level, I aspire to be just like my mother. She has raised 3 kids to be happy, reasonable adults but some times I feel she has sacrificed too much for us and she has less time to enjoy on her own (I wish I could make it up to her on this one). Still, she is a good mom. A great one, in my book.

Then I realize that nobody's perfect, therefore, no perfect child, no perfect parent. Every child is unique and every parent has their own parenting styles, that's what makes one family different than others.

I shouldn't be scared.
So what? I will not be a perfect mother, definitely will not live up to the Stepford standard. But I know for sure that I am willing to give you my all and never stop learning. I will made some (or a lot of) mistakes here or there, but I really want to learn and understand how to care for you and at the same time, how to push you to the limit to do your best. I want to know when to be strict and when to be lenient, when to be a (tiger) mother and when to be a friend.

Let's be a great team!

Your mother.

Friday, April 22, 2016

#FlashbackFriday: How I Met Your Father

Hello, Baby.

By now you must be really familiar with your mother. Of course, you can listen to my heartbeat even better than I do. I wish the sounds don't disturb your good sleep because you definitely need your sleep. Believe me, sleeping is a luxury when you are a grown-up.

Today, I want to tell you a story of how I met your father.

I met him back in 2012, that was 4 years ago before you. It was one afternoon during the fasting month and we got introduced by a friend. We met under the escalator in Grand Indonesia, just outside Magnum Cafe (famous for its ice cream, you will enjoy it later since in the womb you have made me crave for it so often). It was brief, nothing special, nothing striking. But who knows, lightning can strike another day, the day when you least expect it.

One Sunday, it was raining and lightning did strike. He, with forcible effort, took me out on a trip to Bogor, it was about one hour drive from my home (soon to be your home, our home). We had a decent time, he said he wanted us to be together and other grown up stuffs I shouldn't tell you by now, but that was it - I was expectation-less. Told you, I didn't think he was THAT special.

Well, he turns out to be THAT special...

He convinced me, with another forcible effort of not wanting to go home before I said 'yes', to stay together, to have a modest relationship. One that I really enjoyed because surprisingly, I had never been in one. Every thing seemed so easy (not easy for him, your mother could be a lot to handle) and unpretentious.

He is smart and geeky. He is the only person I know who told me a story about the just-deceased Galapagos tortoise, and we could talk about fiscal cliff (if you would date an economist one day, you would understand this).
He makes me laugh, genuinely. Some times (many times), he drives me mad badly.
We share a common love towards football - our first official date was watching our favorite teams battling against each other on a small TV in one mall's food court. Isn't it romantic? My team lost the game to his and he surely did mock my misery, but we've watched many matches after that and I'm pretty sure I've had my fair share of mocking him. It's all fair in love and football, you know.

We had our ups and downs for around 6 months before we decided that this was the real thing, the forever-and-always in the making. I knew it, I just knew it.

We got married on October 2013, just one day ahead of his birthday. This was his cunning plan, to make sure that he won't ever forget our anniversary - he said this would be a way to save our marriage from unnecessary fights in the future. It's been almost 3 years now, and up to this day, he is right. That's how smart he is. Our wedding was, again, very modest. It was not the wedding of my dream, it was not even close but somehow I could not care less. Starting a new life with him was the most exciting thing of all. You see, another lightning strikes.

The journey that led us to you was quite rough. It required every inch of my sanity to stay hopeful and positive, and optimistic, and to put up a smile every time someone asked about a child. He managed to pick me up every time I was on the low. He was there, through every doctor's appointment, through every other night I spent crying and longing, he never did stray. I hope we could be together for a long time, if not forever, and we would be there for you too. Who would've thought, lightning strikes again. God has decided to trust us as parents-to be, you are now growing in my womb.

So here's my little thank-you note for him:
Terima kasih sudah mengajarkan saya untuk hidup sederhana, cukup berpuas dengan apa yang dipunya, saat ini, di hari ini, selamanya dan selalu mensyukuri segala nikmat-Nya.
Hidup kita bersama, bisa sederhana. Tapi sungguh tidak ada yang sederhana dari cinta Anda, untuk saya, karena sebegitu melimpahnya.

I can't wait for you to meet him. You will be ecstatic. He will too, actually.

Your mother.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Letter To Baby

Hello, Baby.

You know, I have been waiting for you,
waiting for the day that,
you are resting in my womb.
Growing, thumping and twirling.

Oh, I wish you know by now...
You know, I have been waiting for you,
for the day that,
you are sleeping in my arms.
A sight ever so lovely,
a sigh ever so gentle.
A love ever so pure.

You should know, I have been waiting for you,
waiting for the day that,
you are calling me 'mother'.
Then you hold my hands,
like you will never let me go.

And maybe, just maybe...
The only reason I live is for the very day,
God gives me you.

Because if God made you, truly God is in love with me.

Your mother.
Images by Freepik