Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Relationship

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My birthday is coming up soon and I don’t think I have felt so jaded before.

Granted, I have never truly been big on birthdays (except perhaps my husband’s), but I did somehow look forward to it. This time around, I don’t even feel like I want to know it’s my birthday.

For one, I have not been feeling myself because it’s been ages since I last wrote for myself. As a matter of fact, I just realized that my last post on this blog was a year ago; just a few days before my birthday – just as how I’m writing this right now. There is nothing more I love in this world than writing and reading, but as I said, I have not been writing for myself for ages. It’s always been about work, it’s always been for other people.

Never have I realized how important it is to write for myself. I thought that as long as I’m writing something, I would be happy because I’m still writing.

You’ve heard how people say that if you love someone, you would always try to find the time for them no matter how busy you are. I guess that’s no different than when it comes to doing the things you love. If you really love it, you would find the time to do it.

Thing is, it seems almost impossible for me to find the right time for me to write. A friend who is also a mentor told me that I should just write each day, even if it’s just one paragraph each day. I tried, but it didn’t feel like writing. I couldn’t just write one paragraph. When I write, I want to be writing for a long time. But I know that to be writing for a long time, I need time.

And I just can’t seem to find that.

My kids are definitely more independent now than they were a year ago. But somehow, things seems more hectic and chaotic. There’s so much I want to do, but there’s just not enough time to do it. When I finally did find the time, all I want to do is rest, and during the times I did get my rest from my chores and work, I felt guilty for resting.

I feel like I’m burning out sometimes. I feel like I’ve been stretched to my limits even though I know in my heart I’m nowhere near my limits. I feel like my soul is tired and it’s starting to take a toll on how I see everything.

I understand now what Bilbo means when he feels like “butter scraped over too much bread.”

I don’t know.

Maybe I just need a really long vacation.

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Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting

Because Postpartum Depression Is Real

Last week, a new mother jumped to her death from the 16th floor of her high-rise apartment.

She had a 10-day old baby and the reason she jumped? She was pressured to breastfeed her baby, but wasn’t able to produce much supply.

This news shook me as well as angers me because she was pressured to believe that a newborn should only be fed with breast milk. The age-old debate about breast milk vs. formula is turning ugly day by day. All-natural mothers are quite vocal and expressive in making formula-feeding mothers feel insulted, shunned, and embarrassed over their feeding choice.

There wasn’t much information in the news about the mother’s background, mental state, financial situation and other telling factors, but the only thing I can think of is how a mother who has just given birth 10 days prior is a delicate person and she could be suffering from postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression happens not because a mother is too emotional or full of herself.

Due to significant drop of hormones in a mother’s body after delivery, it can affect their mood, temperament, and mental acuteness, among other things.

There are many women who suffer in silence because everyone expected her to be a glowing, happy mother. Many mothers bottled up her emotions because she doesn’t want to let anyone down or let them know she doesn’t know how to be a mother. Many women feel helpless and hopeless because this is her own baby, but she doesn’t even know how to take care of him or her. Many mothers, especially new mothers, feel pressured to perform, as though breastfeeding, changing diapers, burping, soothing a newborn, going through engorged breasts, feeling messy and ugly, should make sense to her the moment she returns from the hospital.

I know these because I suffered from postpartum depression 6 years ago.

What’s worse than feeling like a hopeless and useless mother, I was made to feel ashamed of how I feel, as though I didn’t want to be a mother, as though I only know how to procreate but ignore its responsibilities after that. I was made to feel incompetent because instead of taking care of my firstborn, I chose to ignore him when he cries.

The breaking point for me was when I felt everyone was right, that I was too pathetic to be a mother. I felt that everyone was right when they think I didn’t deserve to be a mother. I did feel like there was no reason for me to be my son’s mother anymore if I can’t even take care of him. I also felt that it was because of him that I felt this way. I harbored the utmost resentment towards my son. I felt that if I didn’t have him, I would still be me, I would still have my husband’s attention, I would still be able to figure out what I want instead of having this spewing, mewling creature shoved in my face.

That was when I had thoughts of harming him.

I wrote everything down about how I felt, what my thoughts were because I didn’t want to leave without any explanation should anything happen to either me or him because deep, deep down, I know this isn’t me. I know I could be a much better person. Because at that point, I hated myself. I hated for being so weak and not knowing what to do despite going to antenatal classes, reading and taking notes from countless parenting books and magazines.

I thought PPD wouldn’t happen to me.

I was looking forward to having a son. I was looking forward to decorate his nursery, I was looking forward to see him breastfeed, I was excited to start him on solid. But when I finally had him, it was different. I know I wasn’t too naive to think that everything would be pretty and butterflies, and taking care of a newborn would be as easy as breathing. But what I didn’t expect was the dark, sinister feeling clutching me.

One day when I thought I might really harm my baby, I decided to tell my husband. I thought he was going to laugh it off, telling me that I was being too emotional, that it was all in my head because I thought I wasn’t ready to be a mother. But when I told him everything I felt, his face changed and he knew we needed help right away.

Recovery wasn’t easy because I still feel inadequate.

I still feel embarrassed because I threw away what thousands of childless mothers would want. I still feel that others were judging me because what I ” really wanted” was to be one of those glossy magazines mom where she has perfect hair, Ray Ban shades, skinny jeans, cute floral blouse and pushing a stroller as though her life was a walk in the park. I didn’t want to face the ugly, nasty, dirty, smelly part of being a mother.

I lost the first 6 months of my firstborn’s life.

And knowing that nothing in this world could bring that back was what made recovery really difficult. I guess that’s why now I try so hard to be a good mom. Somewhere in me kept telling that I still wouldn’t do a good enough job to make up for the 6 months that I lost. But I’m no longer afraid of this feeling. It shakes me up every once in a while because I know what it feels like to be sucked into that black hole that all you want to do is curl into a ball and cry your eyes out.

My husband has been a great support. Where I expected him to be conventional and get me to do everything, he took charge and looked after our son. Where I expected him to laugh and tell me to get over it, he listened to me and held my hands, telling me we’ll get through it together.

This is why I take new mother’s woes and laments very seriously. I knew exactly what it felt like to feel alone, I knew exactly how it felt like to feel no one understands, I knew exactly how frustrating it can be when everyone sneered about how you should know how to be a mother.

My advice is, stop making fun of mothers who are struggling to make sense of motherhood. Stop comparing her to other mothers or your mother or your grandmother about how “last time they don’t have all this because they suck it up and do their job.”

Because what you really should do is stop and listen.

Bring her to a doctor or pray together or meditate together or anything that could make her feel less alone. Tell her that while you don’t understand how she is feeling and you probably would never understand, you’re there for her because you’re learning to be a parent as well. It’s okay to tell her that you’re afraid too, that you can’t figure out what to do as well. Because when she feels like she has a team, she will try to get better and share more feelings with you so you could prevent unwanted things before it’s too late.

Being a mother could be hard for some people.

Because they give you drugs to ease the pain when you’re in labor.

They don’t have drugs to make you understand motherhood.

Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Relationship

Sometimes I Need To Punch Something

I’ve been feeling extremely angry for the past few days.

I blame the heat because it has been seriously hot and humid where I am and I don’t function well in heat. I don’t. At all. I get irritated easily, I get pissed of at almost anything and everything.

But deep down, I know that it’s not really the heat. I mean, it helped to make things worse, that’s for sure. But it wasn’t entirely its fault.

It’s just that for the past few weeks I’ve been feeling like the lousiest mom on Earth. I’ve been yelling a lot, I’ve been really short with Mohen, and what I hated the most was, I even woke up feeling angry. Yeah, that was the first thing that I felt the moment I open my eyes. Then the whole day just went from bad to worse in like matters of seconds.

Of course my kids were at the ugly end. I can see it in their eyes and faces that they have no idea why am I yelling. I even felt that they distanced themselves from me.

It sucks. It feels like the worst kind of punishment I could ever face. And if it couldn’t get any worse, I felt like it was my fault. And I know it is.

I’ve been working so hard to make ends meet because most of the times we don’t even have two pennies to rub together. So my work has taken my attention away from my kids because I had to take in as much work as I can so that we’ll have enough to buy food and pay for bills at the end of the month. The suckiest part is, I hate the feeling of having to work while my kids are left to entertain themselves. I couldn’t even catch a break with my deadlines being really close between projects what more to sit down and play with my kids.

I read somewhere that you should always choose your time with your kids because there will always be time for work.

But if I do that, I would end up doing my work when the kids are asleep and I will only go to bed around 5am and by 8am, they’re awake. I guess that is why I’ve been waking up feeling really, really angry. It’s not about me being angry that I don’t have enough sleep; I’m just angry because of the situation I’m in and I literally feel like I have to do everything and there’s not enough of me to go around.

I try not to yell at my kids most of the time, but sometimes, I just can’t help but lose it. And obviously I feel like the lousiest and most useless mom on Earth. I know I’m not the only one running a home on my own, but sometimes I feel how can other moms do it.

Most days, I feel like just curling under my covers and shut my eyes real tight and pretend I don’t have to get up and cook or clean or do my work. How can I do that? My kids don’t feed themselves. And once I decided to just sleep in, I heard my kids in the kitchen trying to get some cereal because it’s almost noon and they were hungry. At that very moment, everything in my just crumbled. I cried and cried I felt like stabbing myself. They don’t have to be pushed to that extent just because I’m the hopeless one.

Most of the time, I’m okay.

I can push on and get through the days without thinking how I feel. But sometimes, because I’ve been bottling it up for weeks, I just lose it.

It feels selfish for me to say this because I feel like I shouldn’t. But sometimes, I have been taking care of everyone I feel like no one is taking care of me.

Posted in Marriage, Relationship

Facebook me your twitter so I can WhatsApp you my Instagram

I had to take a minute to let that sink in.

I don’t know about you, but that didn’t sound weird to me at all. But then again, these words are part of everyone’s conversation nowadays that they’re hardly alien or weird at all.

It starts with that, doesn’t it?

Conversations.

One person decided to text a person and they started to talk for hours, ignoring everything and everyone else around them.

This is not a big deal if you‘re not seeing anyone. But it can get pretty darn annoying when it’s your spouse who’s doing it. He or she might spend the whole day texting back and forth with whoever it is, and you can’t even get a minute of their time. When you ask them about it, they say it’s just a friend.

Okay, hang on. Let me backtrack a little because even I feel as though I’m jumping the gun here.

I feel, ever since we’re more savvy with technology, many things have gone wrong with the way we live our lives.

Our kids are more glued to their tablets and smartphones than they’re with books or board games, many of us are hooked on online games that we spend hours and hours trying to win the next level, and one of the most common problems I hear from my friends is how their spouse spends hours on the phone talking to friends.

Isn’t this weird? I mean, you have your wife there, she’s watching TV with you and there you are on the couch, alternating between looking at the screen of your phone and the TV. Or your husband is watching the TV and you’re the one who’s playing Candy Crush.

Not a single word is spoken between the two of you.

Is it just me or I find there is something very wrong with this picture?

1 in 5 divorce cases in America was caused by Facebook and instant messaging. Arguments and fights between husbands and wives are most of the times caused by WhatsApp or some other instant messaging services. I’ve personally known 4 friends who were divorced because of affairs that started from instant messaging.

A friend, who recently went through a divorce not 6 months ago, bitterly said to me that nowadays relationships are just messed up – You can know everything about me there is to know but don’t ever touch my phone.

I don’t have to go far. I experienced it myself before. You just know that your partner is not talking to just “some” friends (read: guy friends) because

1. He’s on the phone from morning and checking it every 5-10 minutes and,

2. There’s that sometimes playful smile when he reads the text.

I can’t tell you how it drives me crazy while I pretended not to care. I don’t want to ask because I feel that it’s his space to talk to whoever he wants. But I feel like an idiot hanging around him trying to get his attention focused on me instead. Me. His wife.

Almost every other woman that I met has experienced this with their husbands. And when asked, they said he would almost always say, It’s a friend and we’re just talking.

I’m not just talking about guys. I know women do this thing too. I’ve done it as well. But just to see what it feels like to spite my husband by me doing the exact same thing he’s doing.

Of course, all hell breaks loose. I guess it’s all right if he does it, but not me.

But then again, thank God I hated it. It made me feel weird to be texting a guy at 2am in the morning and started flirting, because I know he knows that I’m married and I don’t want him to think that I’m being available that way.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe in changing the way I am once I’m married.

I might be too available, or too promiscuous or too easy before I was someone’s wife, but now that I’m married, I feel I can’t be that way anymore. Especially now I have 3 kids. I believe in women being liberal and open about who they are or their sexuality, but I draw my own line about how I need to behave now that I’m someone’s wife.

My mother taught me to take care of my actions and my words, especially around other men, because I’m now a married woman. I have an obligation to my husband and I can’t be embarrassing him by being flirty with other men. My mother said it’s okay if people think I’ve changed drastically or that I’ve become boring, as long as I don’t do anything to jeopardize my marriage.

To be honest, I personally feel all this secret texting and late night Facebook chats can jeopardize a marriage even though a lot of people that I talk to say that it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the intention to cheat.

I mean, I find it disturbing that your partner is sleeping alone in the bed and you’re talking away to someone until the wee hours of the morning. When asked, It’s just a friend. It’s not like it’s anything. Can you just trust me?

Ah, “Trust me”. That’s another phrase I feel it’s being overused in marriages and relationships.

With trust, I’m supposed to be okay if you’re talking to someone on FB chats at 4am. With trust, I’m supposed to be okay with all the comments you make on someone’s Instagram photos that are rather provoking. With trust, I’m supposed to ignore how I feel and agree with you that I’m overthinking.

You know what, maybe I am. Maybe because I’m a woman so I distrust my whole species for talking to my man. Maybe because I’m a woman, I feel that my man can easily fall for some other women that he spends hours talking to every day.

But before you think I’m on a men-bashing crusade because of my experience, I know for a fact women do it too.

My guy friend, also just went through another divorce, because his wife was always on the phone with a long lost schoolmate (who also happened to be an old flame) and ended up falling in love with her old friend all over again. My friend was devastated because they had a daughter and he thought he was being nice to her, letting her talk to her old friend. *Yes, I read his message with my husband next to me so there’s no secret messaging there, mind you.*

See where trust gets him?

I know it’s probably the wife’s fault that she abused his trust, but he did wonder if things would’ve been different if he told her not to text her friend too much.

This kind of things takes two to tango. If one person keeps on sending messages, but the other person never replied or replied curtly with one word replies, I don’t think it would’ve gone too far. People that I spoke to tend to say that, Oh, I can control myself. I know what’s the limit and I don’t flirt. It’s nothing.

But can the other person have as much control?

Say if I were to flirt with another man on the phone, then he would probably see it as an open invitation. Suppose he doesn’t flirt back (because he knows I’m married with kids), but never fail to reply me anyway, I would feel encouraged to continue texting him. And it goes from there.

People probably get thrills or something from this kind of thing. It’s exciting to know we’re texting someone that our spouse doesn’t know. Or that person says something your husband or your wife doesn’t say to you. We start to see other people as more interesting than the one we married.

My friend (the one who said modern relationships are messed up) told me that when she asked her husband what was wrong with her that he had to find someone else to talk to, she said he told her that she has started to bore him. That she’s no longer interesting.

In my heart, I felt this unreasonable anger toward her husband. Was it so hard for him to tell his wife this? Was it so hard to tell his wife that he wanted her to try something new? Or that she’s become so tied up with work and their kids that she’s no longer the woman he remembered her?

When a married couple starts to feel that other people is more interesting, more exciting than his or her own spouse, this is when the cracks start to happen.

One of the things that I’m really terrified of is how I might be boring to my husband.

How I wontbe able to excite him the way I did when we first went out. How he won’t get the butterflies anymore while thinking about me at work. This paranoia is worse when I’m running around the house with 3 kids while trying to squeeze in my writing projects, because I know when I’m this hectic person, I become snappy, sarcastic and spiteful toward anyone. I’m afraid this behavior might drive my husband away because he sees me as this annoying housewife that blabbers and bickers all the time.

My mom always says, When we start to feel our spouse is boring and no longer attractive, even the slightest temptation is enough to drive us away from them.

I can’t stop technology any more than I can stop the Sun from rising. But I honestly feel a lot of couples are affected by this and it’s completely unhealthy. I bet things were greater when technology wasn’t that advanced for married coupled now who were going out then. Couples actually talk and spend time together. They actually look into each other’s eyes and laugh while they share stories.

Call me old fashioned, but that’s the kind of relationship that I want for me and for almost anybody who’s going through hell fighting over text messaging.

But then, maybe I’m just overthinking and being absurdly jealous.

I guess I’ll just text a guy friend to pour my heart out to, eh?

 

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Posted in Marriage, Relationship

Dear Some Women

Dear some women,
Give your man a break.

So much stereotype and expectations are put on them that it’s no wonder they feel like letting you down sometimes. He’s only human. Just as the way you complained that you’re only human when you feel like you have to do everything around the house.

Women always talk about how men need to please her and do things to make her happy, but most of the times, many of us are not doing half of the same effort we expect men to do for us. We want men to appreciate us, see us for the women that we are and notice little things that we do for them.

For all you know, men want the same thing too.

He too wants you to appreciate him, he too wants you to see him for the man that he is and maybe he too wants you to notice the little things he does for you, like buying that extra loaf of bread even though you didn’t ask him to.

Women don’t have the pressure to keep things inside because we can blabber to our men, or we can talk to our girlfriends. Men don’t usually have that luxury so don’t you think it’s more pressuring for them to keep it all in while at the same time try to be the man of your dream?

I’m not a man.

But I believe they need equal attention, equal affection and equal passion from us. I believe they want to talk to you, but too conscious to do something like that. I believe men are actually more sensitive than women, but certain things don’t allow them to show it.

So dear some women, when your man is not being all that you want him to, give him a break once in a while.

I would like to think that at least he’s trying.

Posted in Marriage, Relationship

Dear Some Men,

Dear some men,

 

I know you work hard to provide for the family. I know you have millions of things on your mind about where the money goes and you worry about how much you have left at the end of the month.

 

But take some time to look at your wife.

 

Look at her as a person that’s busting her chops to keep the house clean, look at her as a person that’s running around sending kids to school and going to the market to get groceries and hope she will be back home on time to cook lunch. Look at your wife as the person that wakes up before everyone else and sleeps only after everyone has gone to bed.

 

She looks to you as her support, but do you feel that you’re there for her as much as you expected her to be there for you? She looks to you as her rock, but do you anchor her to her feet so she doesn’t lose her mind or are you only weighing her down?

 

There are so many wives who are depressed because her husband don’t lift a finger around the house. There are so many wives that filed for divorce because she can’t take doing everything on her own when that one person she counts on doesn’t even say thank you for what she does.

 

If you ask her, she doesn’t really care if you make RM1000 per month or RM10,000 at that.

 

She works at the office just as you do too. She gets stressed out over a dumb colleague as well. She gets pissed off at her boss too. She gets caught up in the traffic jam just as you’re making your way home from the office as well.

 

She wants you to see her as a person, as a woman who dedicated her life to serve you and make you happy. She doesn’t want to be made to feel like a maid in her own house. She does the cleaning and the cooking out of love. She understands that’s her job and she understands that you expected her to do all that.

 

She understands what you have to go through and she expects you to understand her as well. She never complains she has to cook, she never complains she has to fold a mountain of laundry, although if you ask her, she would rather sit and do nothing. Of course she would not tell you this because she knows your expectations of her.

 

Just as she expected you to appreciate her. Just as she expected you to hug her and say thank you. Just as she expected you to give her 10 minute break once in a while.

 

Wives know that their husbands can change a diaper, wives know their husbands know where the broom and mop are kept, wives know their husbands can take care of the children and the house without them despite people always degrading men as caretakers.

 

She just wants to know that she’s not alone in this thing because marriage is about working together as a team. Not a one (wo)man show.

 

Just a thank you and a hug will do. And yes, please take out the garbage too, while you’re at it.

 

Posted in Relationship

Of Love or Lust

I recently spoke to an old friend whom I have not seen for several years.

Our conversations fell into place easily enough, assuring me that we’re closer than we think because despite not seeing each other for a long time and for the occasional random comments on each other’s Facebook status, we’re still able to chat as though we’ve just seen each other last week.

We talked about my kids (for she is not married), her new job, my writing career (read: attempts) and many other usual desultory things people who have not seen each other for a while talk about. She seems to be doing well and she looks happy from what I can see. I know her enough before this to know she had had series of unpleasant life episodes. But I guess from the way she was talking and laughing, I guess she’s doing fine.

Then she dropped the bomb by asking me how should she come clean to her family about being a lesbian.

Now, if you have read my posts before, you know that I have absolutely nothing against homosexuality. If at all, I support gay rights just as I ardently support other causes I believe in.

What surprised me was that because I knew she was a straight.

But to be safe, I confirmed this with her because maybe, like many closet homosexuals, she pretended to be heterosexual just so she could fit into those around her.

She said that she was straight before, just as I knew her. But she decided to be a lesbian because she has had enough with men who always ended up cheating on her or treated her badly. I knew one of her ex boyfriends who used to hit her and I was the one who told her to walk away, which to my relief she did. But I also know that she had few other relationships after that boyfriend so it couldn’t be because of that guy she decided to be a lesbian.

I asked her why did she decide to be lesbian?

She said again she had enough of men who did nothing but treated her badly.

I told her that maybe she hasn’t found the right one yet. I mean, there are after all still a lot of men out there so it’s a bit early to rule out all of them.

She nodded, agreeing to what I say. But she said she couldn’t bear to take risk anymore by going out with men again.

Then I told her that women could easily cheat on her too. Because for me, who a person is, is genderless. They cheat because they want to. Not because they’re men or women. Switching to women just because most men she was with ended up cheating on her doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse for me to turn homosexual.

I explained to her that homosexuality is not about what happens or what has happened in a relationship.

A person is a homosexual because they know it in their hearts that they are not meant to love a person of a different sex. They know they don’t get attracted to someone of the opposite sex and they feel secure and comfortable with someone from their own sex just the same way heterosexuals find comfort and love.

I told her that you don’t turn lesbian because you’re tired of c***s. If she’s afraid that her men might stick it in someone else instead of her, get a dildo. It wouldn’t cheat on her.

You would probably expected her to slap me but thank goodness she knows me enough to know that I always tell the truth this way. So she laughed real hard but I could see the hint of tears in her eyes so I know this is also hard on her.

For me, she was nursing a broken heart. She thought she could take a break from men by being with women. I made no judgement on that because everyone heals differently. If she feels she could heal by being with a woman, by all means, she should do it.

But I don’t agree for her to say that she has turned into a lesbian.

It doesn’t take 5 bad relationships with men to turn a woman into a lesbian.

Okay, maybe it does. Heck, maybe it takes just even 1 bad relationship to convince a woman enough to never trust or love men again.

But somehow, I can’t get my head around the idea of “turning into a homosexual”.

I always believed it’s something you’re born into. Some of my homosexual friends said they know they’re different the moment they can think and/or remember. So when someone told me they have suddenly decided to be a homosexual, I get a little reserved. Of course I can’t make any judgement on that because maybe I have never had any bad relationships to convince me enough that men are just useless and decide to turn into a lesbian.

Most of my friends who “turned into a homosexual” are rather promiscuous. Please note that this is strictly from my observation. It may or may not have anything to do with it but it seems to me that they might be basing their relationship on lust. Because the ones whom I know are originally homosexual, for lack of a better word, are most of the times rather conventional. They may have one or two past relationships, but each relationship tend to last for several years. And the ones who just turned homosexuals, tend to have many brief relationships.

I’m not saying this as a general rule but I do believe in the balance of probabilities. But if I’m absolutely proven wrong, then I’m truly sorry.

I told my friend to do what she feels is right. I said that her instinct on who to love, a man or a woman, can and will not be suppressed. So I said that maybe, even if she is in a relationship with a woman, she will feel that something is amiss (and I’m not talking about something anatomical here) in the long run. But if ever she didn’t feel that way, then perhaps, her homosexuality is genuine.

She seemed conflicted after that. I wouldn’t want to be the one changing her mind because she is after all in a relationship with another woman. And that woman is treating her kindly. So if she found out that I told my friend to rethink her decision as a lesbian, I would probably be seen as a home wrecker. I told her to just trust her instincts.

I never had any experience the way my friend has. Although I can easily get attracted to beautiful girls, I know that is just my lust talking and not my heart. I know it in my heart that I love male and I don’t think I could love a woman the same way that I love men.

But then again, who am I to know that?