That’s about how long I’ve been a married woman (and him a married man) and I now totally understand why (some) bride-to-be / wedding planning bloggers ‘disappear’ from the blogging scene after their big day. Regular life (read: work) plus marriage aka having someone around to entertain and vice versa takes up so much of your energy, attention and time that blogging just seems like something you did years ago when you were an angsty teenage kid (which is true, I did blog when I was a teenager and stopped some time in uni, then picked it up again here).
So forgive me if any of you had been dropping by for updates and kept seeing the same old post (was it a reblog about feminism and being offended? I can’t remember) and found my blog even more boring than it already is. Yeah I know, I’m not the typical wedding planning blogger who provides useful information about the latest dreamy or gorgeous or trendy wedding ideas or companies aka ways to waste your money on (see how cynical I am?), for that you can always move on to that oh-so-famous kakak kahwin blog or other blogs in the like. I
am was the pengantin pelik for a reason, and forever will be a perempuan pelik because I believe there is more to life than planning a wedding and better ways to spend your my hard-earned money.
But I digressed. (See, what is it with me and my super long preambles?) Why am I here, blogging again? Because once again I’m awake on a Saturday morning (I’m quite the morning person) while my husband is snoring away beside me. Well, that’s not exactly the reason, that’s just the circumstance that’s allowing me to be blogging now. The actual reason is I’ve got something to say which is something I can’t say on my FB, because I don’t know, I have my family there and people who may not agree with me on this and might even be offended if I say this because, well, it goes against their views about the purpose of marriage. Not that all those people can’t come here and still read what I want to say, but this is my space and I can choose to publish and respond (or not to) to any comments so I find it safer, somehow.
So here’s the thing. Last weekend I went across the sea with my mom, sister, two aunts and two cousins. It was a ladies’ day out, for (replacement) tailor-searching, shopping and eating. We agreed to meet at the border town bus terminal before going across together.
My mom, sister and I reached first. The moment my aunts came, the first action and question that one of them did, after the usual round of greetings, is to reach out to my tummy and ask, “dah ada isi ke“? Or something like that, which means she asked if I was pregnant. I just nonchalantly responded with a “takdelah, mana ada” (no, of course not) and smiled.
Later on, after insisting on treating the whole group to the late lunch we had since it was my cousin’s birthday, they thanked me and the same aunt said a prayer for me to be blessed with a child quickly. I only smiled and could not find it within me to say ‘amen’ to her prayer. I was amused at the whole situation because it was awkward for me to respond appropriately to what must have been a well-meaning act for her but just a teeny bit annoying to me.
I have had a colleague whom, after I returned to work a few weeks after my wedding, jokingly ask if I felt nauseous or if I had gone through vomitting. To such colleagues I could just respond off the cuff and say “eh janganlah” (god forbid) because we’re all cool with the concept of agreeing to disagree. To such elders in my family, though, they would not be able to fathom or comprehend why I wouldn’t want to conceive so quick (or at all). It would be almost like blasphemy in their world and the way they see things.
Although I did admit to a close cousin that I had eased up a bit on my stance of not wanting to have children and would not freak out so much if I found myself pregnant so soon after the wedding (because the idea of a honeymoon baby is oh-so-romantic haha), I still am 80% in the ‘I don’t want kids’ camp.
I see on FB ‘friends’ that are popping (or baking in the oven) babies like nobody’s business, some have even given birth to or are expecting baby no.2. Heck, I have one cousin the same age who’s got the cutest 1-year-old, and another two years younger who couldn’t attend my wedding because she had just delivered her firstborn a week or so prior.
I see all these baby-making around me and what do I feel? No, not pressurised to catch up or envious that I’m not blessed yet with such bundle(s) of joy, but what goes through my mind is: Is that it? Is that all there is to life after getting married? What about just enjoying life and each other? What about travel and seeing the world? What about reading, writing, discovering? Please note, I’m asking all these for myself, and not wondering this for all those out there happy with their kid-filled lives.
Of course, I do know it’s possible to do all that living, enjoying, discovering even with a kid in tow. In fact, children can bring amazing new perspectives and insights to life and the way you see the world. But you’ve got to get past all the hard work of feeding, burping, cleaning, putting to sleep, etc etc etc before such amazing things happen.
Let’s not even talk about all the work you have to do when they get past the cute kiddy stage and become adolescents and teenagers that you can’t quite control how they turn out. I’ve seen enough of such young people nowadays that scare me off bringing another human being into this world because I can’t stand the possibility of being the parent imposing disrespectful, malicious monsters onto another person’s charge for 7 hours upwards a day.
It’s not just all the hard work involved in raising a kid to firstly, survive the babyhood and come out of it alive, and secondly to nurture and educate them to become decent human beings that is behind my fear or apprehension or reluctance to have kids. It’s also all the societal pressures that comes with being a parent. Society, your relatives, your family, your parents. They all would think that they have some kind of say as to how you have and raise your kid. Heck, even your own spouse may not be supportive of your ideas on that matter (not that I have discussed this properly with the husband)
So if I ever decide to have kids, how would I want to have and raise them?
Firstly, I would like to travel even when pregnant. Add to that exercise and yoga or pilates.
Secondly, I would like to give birth at home in the presence of a midwife and doula. Transfers to a hospital only when necessary.
Thirdly, I would like to leave that decision about circumcision to my children when they are old enough to make an informed decision about their own genitals. I prefer not to decide what to do with my children’s bodies if it’s not a life-or-death matter. Which means vaccinations for diseases that typically kill children in their infancy is okay. Circumcision is not something that prevents life threatening diseases.
Fourth, I would like to emphasise the understanding of the Quran to my children and not mere recitation of it. And when I say understanding, it’s not the understanding of some male religious teacher who studied from another male religious teacher and so on and so forth. I mean personal understanding, because God says He made the Quran easy to understand (44:58). Which means I will have to go through reading it from start to finish first, which I have yet to do.
The fifth needs more time to explain.. This post hasn’t really addressed the purpose of marriage like I said it would. It’s more like ‘the criterias that must have the guarantee of support before Zakiah decides to have children’ haha.
Now I’m hungry. Time for breakfast! Blog again later, whenever the mood strikes.
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