Caesarean is a Gift

I feel called to write about this. Caesarean, a way to deliver a baby that’s usually a second option, the least preferred, the most avoided. Always, caesarean is perceived as an unlucky event for mothers not getting to birth the normal way. Always, we hear in our community, delivering normal is a rizq, a blessing for the mother so when another gives birth caesarean-ly, it’s really common for her to say or people say to her, “It’s okay, no rizq (chance) to give normal birth this time.” Or, we’re “thankful that it was all safe ‘even though’ it was through operation.” Always the case, right? I was also accustomed to that up to a point somehow I don’t feel right saying it that way.

Caesarean mothers, can we stop saying it that way anymore? Saying no rizq or even though… is like focusing on the things we don’t get and marking our labor journey as less fortunate than it should be. When actually, after being told that the operation was successful and our baby has been safely delivered, isn’t it a huge blessing from God? Of course. So when we’re feeling unsettled about not giving normal birth or they (the doctors) shouldn’t rush to decide to cut us open or they should’ve waited a bit longer so the baby might be out vaginally; isn’t it like we overlooked the actual rizq that God has given us which – the chance to go through caesarean process?

Yes, giving birth by caesarean is a rizq. It is a chance for us to experience being cut open to welcome our baby to the world. It is such a wonderful and miraculous process happening on our body while we’re lying safe and sound. In a matter of an hour, the world is shined with the arrival of our baby, our tummy is closed back and we’re forever marked with a golden scar of love. Of course after that we have to endure the post-op pain and restrictions but to me, either it’s SVD (Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery) or Caesarean, each has its own fair share of ease and pain. So when we’re chosen to undergo this process, this is our precious journey and we should be grateful that it happened the way it happened. And for that, rather than saying “It’s okay, no rizq for me to give normal birth”, I think we should be saying; “Thank God, this is a rizq for me to experience caesarean process. Allah has blessed me with the chance to give birth through caesarean. Caesarean is a gift.” Can feel the difference?

Am I trying to say that Caesarean birth is more special than another? No. SVD is definitely wonderful and miraculous. It’s a blessing, it’s a precious journey and it’s also a gift, absolutely. Know that I’m not differentiating these two. I’m differentiating the way we look at things. This is just my opinion and this is what I’ve been holding to myself since a while after the post c-sect of my first born. If you can see, the difference of saying “It’s okay” and “Thank God” is the reflection of acceptance and gratitude; redha and syukur. Acceptance is good, but gratitude is another level to please Allah The Almighty for what He has planned for us. Indeed that how our labor journey took place was all already in His plans, right? Doesn’t He know best?

When I chose to be grateful on top of accepting this, my mind was brought to recall more and more blessings related to the birth of my babies. First was the blessing of getting married, and then getting pregnant, having smooth pregnancies and finally, the arrival of the new bundles of joy that I got to see, kiss and hold. There certainly were ups and downs but still this entire journey is too beautiful to be scratched by the little frustration for having been operated. We mustn’t want to scratch our precious gift, right? And there, a little change in our utterance makes a whole lot of difference.

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Ride Full of Messages

grab

Since a year ago I guess I can say I am a regular customer of the increasingly popular public transport – GrabCar, or UBER sometimes. Not a routine but quite frequently I’d rather ‘grab’ than drive just because I’m lazy. Do you usually chat with the driver? I usually only take short trips around 10 to 15 minutes to arrive so normally it doesn’t really spare time to chat. Being in cars without having to concentrate on the road is the time we should steal to do our little things or just – scroll the phone, right? But today’s experience was completely different.

Today I took the longest trip in my record – a 50-minute ride involving highways so I had set to read a book all the way to kill the time. But then, after 10 minutes of muteness I felt really awkward because it was so quiet, the radio was low volume and the driver seemed bored. It’s still a long way to arrival so I thought let’s say a word just to break the silence if it’s cold, I can continue with my reading. Little did I know, from just a typical question “Hey do you do UBER as well or just totally Grab?” it turned into a conversation about life!

It went on and on to talking about doing it full or part-time, to his current other job, to his job prior to this, to why he’s doing this. This guy was really a talking personality he talked talked talked so openly. Haha. But of course because I also kept asking from one question to another just to relate anyway. He told about a major accident he involved years ago and that now he’s wearing an artificial backbone! It was so incredible that he broke his spine and not paralysed? MashaAllah.

After the accident, a series of drama happened in his life from having to quit from a governmental job, on how unfair the employer treated his situation, the tough recovery process, the devastation of not able to do his favourite thing before – cycling, he was an active cyclist by the way. After he somewhat recovered and found himself jobless, he went to Perth, Australia to find luck. With his brother and cousin, first they got cheated of 15 thousand dollars, which was another drama, but still managed to get there. The trials of getting a job there was another hardship so his brother and cousin couldn’t survive, because they have families, so they went home leaving him alone. It was really a rough journey he even told that sometimes he cried in shower. Erp, my God. An astonishment not because of the crying-in-shower thing but for telling a stranger so!

He managed to secure a job, and worked and lived a life for I’m not sure how long but earlier this year he returned to Malaysia to urgently settle his insurance case pertaining to the accident. It involved lawyers to fight for his rights but in the end, for what he’s gone through since then it only compensated an undeserved amount of money for him. How awful.

So there he was. Starting over in Malaysia with this GrabCar service almost full-time and also another job. With GrabCar was another challenge as well but I’d rather not continue here or it’s gonna be a novel, haha.

The ride was one of a kind. It left me reflective with a deep thought that how life can be so tragic for some people. Everyone in this world is tested, we all are. But for certain people we somehow would say they’re the chosen ones. Some tests happened once and they changed the person’s life completely after that. But some tests happened in a way to generate problems after problems like a never-ending story. Either way, that’s what life is! This life is a test for the believers and from time to time it will be difficult. And for as long as we live we in fact don’t know when actually the turning point of our life is. We could think we have been tested enough and that made us stronger but do we actually know Allah’s plans on us? Who might not know for one day people will look at us and say we’re ‘the chosen ones’? Honestly it’s scary to think of.

It was coincidence that we, husband and I, came across this ayah just two mornings ago so when I had this conversation in Grab, it instantly reminded me to what we just tadabbur. Allah mentioned in ayah 214 of Surah Al-Baqarah; “Or do ye think that ye shall enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Yes! Verily, the Help of Allah is near!” – Telling us how difficult the trials of the believers (may Allah bless them) were for Allah to let them into paradise so what about us? Wanting such an easy life with a trial or two, getting over and expecting paradise? Shame now. We actually just forgot what we were here for.

2,214

To the driver, I may be just another passenger that came in and out of his car like the others. But to me, the ride was full of messages that still left me thinking about life.

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Dream Job You’re Wishing For

BP

I received this letter last week unexpectedly, just because I forgot my anniversary with the company that I stepped in 5 years ago. 5 years! A complete set of fingers to tell me that I’ve been here for such a significant duration. 5 years of undeniable blessings I can say. Having a job, a solid source of income is really something we can’t take for granted of that we should be thankful every day, not only on paydays okay. In total, I’ve been working for 8 years since I graduated and this is the second company I work for. 8 years and 2 companies – pretty loyal, no? Hehe, or maybe just unaggressive in finding opportunities.

I began my career journey in 2009 and what I can say is it was not a good start. The first company I worked for taught me the harsh truth of working life. Unreasonably heavy work load, bad boss, stupid system and sickening people surrounding me every day. It was so stressful and in fact the most stressful period of my life making me traumatic if I throwback the moments. Driving to work felt like handling a cable car – so heavy and the weather was always gloomy all the way to the workplace. In those 3 years, I lost appetite badly and turned from an originally thin girl to almost anorexic. That’s how ugly a bad job could make of me and that’s a true story.

Of course there were still good things I should be thankful for – the knowledge, the experience and there were still nice people I could talk to – and yes I did, thanked God for every little thing I gained from the company. And thank God I have my mom, she was there listening to my whine every time I came home crying. That was all my motivation when dealing with the depression with the hope that things would change for me even though I thought it was impossible. It was my first job and that concluded an impression that working life was never a good thing. I wanted to go back to my wonderful and happening university life but that was just impossible. And it was also impossible for me to not work because I am an adult already, so adults work, adults must work, we have bills and loans now, a pile! So all I thought was, then on and for as long as I’m w.o.r.k.i.n.g, my life is miserable. Nuff said.

But who actually said so? It was just a blind assumption of a hopeless young girl who just began to ‘live’. Who just hasn’t realized and truly believed the power of the Lord who can do miracles. After three years trapped in such a destructive environment, I married my husband and moved to KL. A few months of job hunting, I finally secured a position in here where in the beginning I brought with me the assumptions from my previous work life to the new one, just to be ready to face the “norms”. Amazingly as the days went by, my guesses got all wrong. This place is bliss! The people, the environment, the culture and the boss are all so nice I never thought they existed. Things totally changed as different as night and day. I turned to a positive person, happier and fatter! Haha.. that was due to another reason as well –  being married, exactly.

Alhamdulillah I’m happy here. At the moment, I’m surrounded by the people whom I can call friends, not just colleagues. Work-life balance is something really necessary for employees and this company has it ready. Flexi work arrangement and tolerant superiors who understand our commitments at home, not just all work. Some days are bad days and some people are unpleasant which can’t be avoided anywhere but I choose to focus on the good. This place is my comfort zone.

Of course not everything is perfect and I’m not telling those means to brag that I am the lucky one to have the best job ever. No, I’m still at a moderate level of the career ladder and in fact I am not a good employee enough so how could I boast? What I’m trying to tell is, guys, if you’re having a hard time at your work place or have been going through such a disappointing journey to find the right job I truly, truly understand the feelings, because really I’ve been there. If you could see, Allah tested me for three years to grant me with such a wonderful gift I couldn’t ask for more. If you’re tested even longer or harder, imagine what’s awaiting for you in the future! Allah’s arrangement is beautiful. When He tested me with the stressful job, I was single and had less commitment. My focus and weekends could all be spent at the office and no one got affected. Now that I have a family to look at, He gave me a work-life balance job, a company that’s so supportive towards mothers. Our stories are different but believed; the best is yet to come, right on time.

Two years back, the oil and gas industry was having downturns and that affected the company as well. As a result, it worked through a few cycles of retrenchment that impacted even some of my lunch buddies from other department. It’s so devastating to know that from a steady position you held for years, suddenly being told that you’re out of place. It somehow threatened everyone’s security and belief on the company’s stability, including mine. Things improved after that but the incident somehow serves as a constant reminder to me to rely everything on Allah because anything could happen and that a good job does not guarantee a fine end. While I’m cherishing my time here on this anniversary, I pray that if you’re seeking, soonest Allah will bestow you with the dream job you’re wishing for. Ameen.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Moving House

I never, ever thought this was gonna be one of our agendas this year. After 5 peaceful years of living in our first rental house since we got married, without any calls from the landlord, no rental fees increment, no nothing no problem; suddenly we gotta move out. One fine evening a message came in from Hubby intro-ed by; “We have a problem”. Is that how you announce a bad news? Come on Hubs, it’s not a problem. It’s a BIG problem!

2 months’ notice and that’s it. True headache. I know it’s a common thing in life, people come and go from one house to another before they finally settle down at a proper place for long term. We do look forward to it but we thought it’s gonna be an exciting well-planned experience moving to our own house, not out of the blue like this! But our future house is still way under construction and there’s no chance to extend the tenancy of this house anymore. In an instant my brain was loaded with the hassle of this moving house thingy. The house-hunting, packing unpacking, spring cleaning and whatsoever. I was in denial for a moment trying to tell myself this is not happening.

No point. “This is really happening”. And so house-hunting began. From Googling, to annoyingly driving slowly, to loading the Whatsapp with home pictures – the rooms, the toilets, everything – to viewing and declining; we finally secured an apartment in just two weeks’ time. Booking done, move-in date confirmed.

After this one issue resolved, I told my Husband : “Can you imagine? In two weeks’ time, our life will change!”. 

Hubby replied : “Mom, nothing. will. change. We’re only moving house. The new house is just 5 minutes away from here, walking distance. We’re still working at the same places, route to work no change, the kids will still be sent to the same babysitter, it’s not that they have to change school, it’s not that we gotta do new registration for them. Nothing will change.” *No sweat face*

Hahahahaha. I’ve been making a big deal out of all these!

Hey! I’m a homebody okay. My home is my life. So when my home changed, my life changed. How could you not understand that? But I didn’t even try to explain it. Slowly absorbing his points and for a second I was like, “yeah..nothing change”. Fairly agreeing and calming myself at the same time.

Truth is, I am so bothered with uncertainties. Living in comfort zone sometimes will make us forget that nothing remains forever, or for as long as we like it. This is like an alarm for us to always be thankful for the everyday thing, before anytime it can be taken off from our clutch.

Moving house like now now was never in my programme, but it’s definitely already well-planned by Allah. It looks rushed and head-aching but He made it easy for us. The new place is much better than the previous one. Nicer view and better facilities. Only that, it’s affecting our financial commitment more than the existing as we couldn’t get any better offer than what we secured 5 years ago. It’s just impossible. Believe, and hopeful this will still be within our abilities. May Allah ease.

I am foreseeing 2 years of living in this new place before moving out again as we’re so looking forward to stepping in our own house, soon. Oh, forget it. 2 years is a long way to go we don’t even know what’s gonna happen next week!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Winning & Losing

“Playing sports prepares you for life.” The quote that I came across only in my 30’s just to spank me that I’ve never really played sports so I am never prepared for life! “There’s a discipline, there’s a force to it. It created certain habits that I still follow today. I had to go to practice. I had to run suicides. I’m not going to let myself get tired. When you challenge your mind and body like that, it tends to bring out the warrior.” – Common @ Rashid. Well, kudos to those who have been living life sporty! I guess I’m too late already so let’s just survive.

We ended our April with hubby’s racing competition. The whole weekend was spent at the Sepang circuit cheering for Ayah. The kids had fun running here and there while I almost fainted chasing them. Well it’s still fun, babysitting in a different environment. Haha. The race was fine on the first day but contrary on day 2. My husband crashed and did not finish the game, injured a bit.

We went home and chit-chat about the race – our usual postmortem where Hubby recalled his performance and mistakes he made. To me, getting involved in rough games like this is just troubling yourself. That’s why I don’t play sports, let alone competitions. Or even examinations by choice. You gotta deal with the stress prior to the match or test, and afterwards, if you lost or failed it, you’re down to frustration! And shame some more.. Losing is embarrassing, no? It’s like having a big “L” stuck on your forehead anywhere you go. This is not my thing.

Anyways, that’s just my say. Conversely to my Hubby, he has an opposite idea of what competition is all about. Firstly he said, racing is his passion. He loves Motorsports so much he could just enjoy himself by going for a ride hitting cool corners or joining open track days if he really wants to whip on the circuit. But, entering competition is another thing.  If I said dealing with the pressure is all the fuss, that’s what he wants – the pressure that he can’t gain from any fun rides. Only in competitions, he learns to deal with the pressure and the way he copes with it determines his performance. If it’s not a competition, he could hit his target time and apply all the skills he’s learned but in real game? It’s not that easy. The challenge that it’s not only about winning over others but actually more to building strength in yourself to defeat the pressure in YOU. Yea.. I did see him isolating himself minutes before the race began. The do-not-disturb moment, the pressure-coping moment.

But then, what about losing? Yeah you learnt something but isn’t it frustrating going home empty handed after all the effort and investment? “The point is to Never Give Up.” His all-time motto that he always pronounced in arabic – “La’ Tai-asu”. Winning or losing; it’s not the end of everything. Winning is good, but you also can’t be on the cloud nine for too long or it will just build up ego in you that ‘I’m the champ, I’m the best’. Losing? Grasp these words – “I never lose, either I win or I learn”. There’s always next time to do better and try harder. The way he deals with it is always by reminding himself that this is a give and take with Allah. Getting the chance to join the race with sponsorship is already a blessing, not getting a place and collided some more is just something he got to tolerate and redha. I guess, it’s a balanced mindset to be moderate in both situations, for both results. After all, things weren’t worse and there’s another coming game he’s looking forward to!

This conversation changed my all-my-life perspectives on competitions and sports – just another view to agree with the quote above. So, any contest I can join to challenge myself now? Hahaha… Better not! I still need time to process this new thought because I’m a bit old already. No, not too late but please expect slow progress. Haha.

For now, let’s aim the kids. This conversation also stroke me that, it’s good to encourage the kids to join competitions from the early school years and all the way growing up. Real life is full of challenges and failure is something humans cannot avoid at some points – of course, nobody wins all the time. And by being in competitions, we parents can teach them motivations to cope with the stress, deal with disappointment and manage winning excitement – so they can apply everything in their life. A way to discipline and build up confidence in them and also to know their strengths and weaknesses, interests and dislikes. Wow I speak like an expert when it’s actually not my forte. Surely when the time comes, I gotta push everything to Hubby to handle the kids, and mom too!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Disconnecting…

During my Umrah trip earlier this year, I disconnected myself from the world – pretty much, the entire time. I wanted to focus myself and my mind totally on the most precious journey of my life visiting the holy lands and performing obligations. Now that Ramadan is coming, I am thinking of doing the same too.

You know, I have this sort of serious addiction to the phone, or social medias, in particular. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What’s App. These four icons are just enough to shove away my time without I realized it. Sometimes, or most times actually, I just wanted to check something on the phone but that something usually turns to many things. Just so many things coming my way and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Though I can excuse myself that there are many beneficial things I gain from the social medias as well, I can’t deny that time has been wasted so much. Scrolling and scrolling, that is a syndrome already.

Knowing myself well, I was determined to log out from everything and uninstall the apps at all for the whole 12-day trip – except What’s App, with the restriction to only respond to family groups just for quick updates. Time was extra precious I couldn’t afford to miss a thing, just because my eyes were on the phone and stole all my focus. So we weren’t best-friend for a while and one funny thing I found out was that, all the while prior to this trip, I always complained that my phone has grown too old that the battery could only last for less than an hour! When I was in Mecca & Medina, the battery lasted up to 2-3 days before I needed to recharge it. Haha I laughed at myself, amused and shamed at the same time.

And there I had the most splendid time ever. The view, the sound, the serenity were just so indescribable. I think I blinked less than usual. Not only mesmerized by the natural surroundings, I also paid good attention to the talks by the Mutawwif every time we gathered for briefing and on the bus going for ziarah. My mom said that I was lucky to have this Ustaz conducting our Umrah because he is so good. He didn’t only lead us but also instilled the elements of soul fulfilling, which is not what she experienced with other Mutawwif in her previous Umrahs. Ustaz Bakri, may Allah bless him and his families.

Divorcing myself with the phone for some time did not harm. I don’t regret not having a single picture with the two most beautiful mosques, I captured the views in my memory. I did snap more pictures at the hotels and ziarah places. Since I came home, there’s no single day goes by without me re-imagining myself around Masjidil Haram and Nabawi. Sometimes I am at the rooftop, sometimes right in front of Multazam. And I believe I will return some day, InsyaAllah.

Well, my Umrah as a whole wasn’t perfect, there were times I got tired and so sleepy I couldn’t sit straight. When I remember those times, I wish I could repeat my Umrah and patch the flaws I made. That’s what I can hope for but better off, I should look at what I have now – which is the incoming Ramadan the holiest month of all, if Allah wills me.

I plan to disconnect myself as I did and devote myself to more ibadah and related. Its a bit longer then the umrah duration but its still no harm, self, won’t harm. With the list of things ready for me to-do during the month, I think I’ve overbooked myself. Haha.. Being ambitious as always not considering the glitches I might surely have at some points of time. But the intention is there! Hehe..And truly I wanna better myself, even if it after all will only result just an inch of betterment from my current state.

I will always keep in mind these words by Nouman Ali Khan from one of his videos I watched. He explained the Quranic concept on improving ourselves and this is how he put it.. “Allah tells us to pray, all the way to closer – and I’m using ‘all the way’ on purpose. To Allah, you’re getting closer – not the closest, not to the end. You’re making it closer to guidance is the eventual goal. And for human being dies pursuing betterment – not perfection, just betterment – they’ll have, later, a successful life.”

Closer, better. Happy fasting everyone. May, in this month, we find the new contentment of life while striving towards betterment. Disconnecting…⁠⁠⁠⁠

Till the next post,
SALZY

Kids Away Time

It’s Mother’s Day and I’m just here at home with my younger boy. Hubby’s outstation and my elder one is away from home. This boy, he’s also outstation – at granny’s hometown a.k.a his most favourite place! We sent him off for two weeks so we’re just parenting one child at the moment. Less hectic.

Both of my kids are so attached to the kampung, my husband’s side. They got their grandma there, aunties, uncles, cousins and friendly neighbours. Those people who always pamper them with what they want and oh, not to forget the chickens, ducks, goats, cats, rabbits and all the pets you name it. How can it not be fun there?

The very first time I left my son there with my mother-in-law was when we’re welcoming our second born. I was off for my confinement and he was only 1 and a half years old. I missssed him so much I cried most of the time. This mother-child separation is never a good idea I promised not to ever separate with my kids anymore, even for a short time. It’s not only about missing him but of course I was also worried about him, right mamas? His health, his safety. Sure everyone would take a good care of him but the fact that he’s miles away and should anything happen, we’re hopeless!

But then, you know… I come to understand that this is like a family culture. It’s different from mine. My parents won’t request us to leave our kids to them but with my in-laws, vice versa. I was first confused whether or not we should do that because our kids are still toddlers. Like is it right to hand your kids over while you’re home, child-less? My husband is on the other side. He’s okay with the idea of leaving the kids for a while as he knew how his mother really wanna spend time with her grandkids. So I was alone. It’s not nice to say ‘No’ so there you go kids. Have some fun leaving your mom crying at the corner of the bed.

What? No!

The kids are partying with the animals feeling like the king of the jungle while Mom is crying at the corner. of. the. bed? “Come on, Mom. Have some fun too!” – I told myself.

Yeah, after a few rounds of having this child-less period, I learn to control my emotions better. The most important is to appreciate the time that I have for myself and with my husband alone. Rather than worrying the unnecessary things, I remind myself that I have sooo many personal things to do. Things that I can’t do if the kids are also ‘interested’ to join. Like, blogging? Hehe.. This is the time I can write longer posts without pauses. Reading? I do read all the time even when they’re jumping on my body but this is the time I can read in my quiet zone which is so peaceful. Shopping! Without having to rush home because the kids are waiting. I can go for a movie with my husband, try out new restaurants and even pray without being climbed!

Plus, I think, what kind of grudge is that when you don’t allow your kids to be with their granny? Especially the in-law’s side. Some might do that and they sure have their own reasons. But to me, when I flashback-ed the time when I was a kid, I also had these chances to stay at my grandma’s home (father’s side) for a certain period. What if, my mom didn’t allow me to just because it’s not what she favors? Adult issues, won’t it be weird to a kid?

And so I tried to view this kids away time in a more healthy way, not just for us parents. There, they can explore different things from what I cater for them at home in the city. The environment gives them more exposure to the nature. They’re boys! Go play more with natural dirt than just Lego. Both are good anyway. The animals.. oh, sorry. They can’t have this with Mom because I’m so chicken when it comes to approaching animals. Big-family bonding and also the flexibility to mingle with people other than just us the parents.

At home, I apply some rules in hope to discipline them and when they break it, I gotta teach them a lesson. When the time is not right, I become a monster. So sometimes yes, I admit that it’s not all the time fun with me at home. Grannies don’t parent the kids. We, parent the kids. Once in a while when they get to escape to a different atmosphere for quite some time, I guess it’s good for both sides too. After all, it’s only 2 or 3 weeks and then with the will of Allah we will be reunited, blissfully.

At the moment, only my elder son is away so I’m having an exclusive time with my baby boy. Yeah, 2 and a half years old and still baby! He clings to me and I cling to him, oh boy. Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

Till the next post,
SALZY