Today's society often portrays motherhood as something that is so 'burdensome' that a lot of women are beginning to avoid it. Well, it's actually quite good to avoid it if you think you can't handle it just yet due to your personal maturity level, ongoing career, unfinished studies or difficult financial situation, because motherhood comes with a whole lot of changes that WILL turn your current world upside down, and if you ain't ready for it you might end up harming an innocent kid with the way you raise him/her (DANG, THIS WAS A LONG SENTENCE, haha !!). Anyways, but how about those who suddenly 'tripped' themselves into it? Are they 'doomed' to end up victimizing their child because of their 'un-prepared-ness' ? I sat down with my bestfriend, Nasya Badudu-Budiman, one of the very few young mothers who are very committed to her family, in spite of the 'complicated' circumstances when she first started.
It was my 23rd birthday eve, when my mom came home and brought the shocking news that got me crying in disbelief. "The baby is about 7 weeks old now," she said. I found the pregnancy news of this particular friend of mine to be impossible because she was someone that I, among many, looked up to since high school (and in our culture, this kind of thing is a big no-no). I was nervous for her and her family, I mean can they handle it well?
She was always that girl who's good at everything, gets the highest scores on the hardest tests (Humanities and Literature, she even nailed the 'bonus questions' !!), designs all kinds of awesome graphic stuff (my wedding invitations included), sings at church etc! She'd never been with anyone in her life (at least officially) and she'd never 'defiled' herself with stupid stuff like most young girls (me, included). /p>
Yeap, tough, dorky, smart, all in one person. she is not the type to cry in front of people (ever since she was a kid!), she doesn't even get moody during PMS (she thinks it's a lame excuse for girls to justify their mood swing).
Nasya had just turned 24 that year when she discovered that she was with child without a marital status yet, though she had planned to get married to the baby daddy the following year. Assumptions, judgements, demeaning comments were said here and there of course, and the news spread so fast that before long, I was asked about her pregnancy too by people who didn't even know her that well. But that time brought us closer than ever. I was in tears (again, gosh) when she finally walked down the aisle to the song "Great is Thy Faithfulness" in June 3, 2012 :')
Days prior to her big day, I was curious of what kind of mother she'd become. Will she stress out? Will she drown in regret and shame and frustration? But then again, this is Nasya we're talking about. She is good at everything, remember?
Well today, she is happily married with one beautiful daughter who just turned 1, Kharistia (derived from the Greek word 'Eucharistia' which means thankfulness) Nayyara (a Sanskrit name that means luminous/shining/joyful) Budiman. She quit her job, does not hire a nanny (in Jakarta, it's super common for middle class people to have nannies running around, taking care of their kids), she breastfeeds, she gave birth naturally, she doesn't have a maid, and on top of it all, she still manages to do freelance designing gigs here and there. Whoa! This is more than Sarah Jessica Parker in the movie I Don't Know How She Does It. This is a hardcore supermom right huurrrr!! When I asked her how she does it, she simply answered, "It's about the way you view and respond to your circumstances, it's about choosing between getting stuck in your 'incapability' of being a parent, or stepping up to learn to function as the parent you child needs you to be."
"To be honest with you, my husband (then boyfriend) and I had thought about abortion when we first found out about the baby. But we chose not to commit it and to adapt to whatever comes with having this baby. As my pregnancy progressed, I began to focus on how to nurture and raise my daughter in the best possible way," she explained. Well, what about shame, guilt, frustration? I mean, she wasn't ready to have a baby, this baby was 'unplanned'!
She said she is no longer battling those regrets. She had let them go for a long time, because what matters is what you make of you now.
Of course like many other great stories, it always involves a great team work, and in Nasya's particular case it involves her husband, Vedie. Today, by God's grace, they have thrived and turned what people saw as a 'failure' into an inspiration and so much more! She said, "Jangan jadi banci! We did what we did, now we gotta stand up tall and do what we gotta do."
Instead of making up excuses, they learned to forgive themselves, they stepped up to give nothing but the best for their little luminous miracle, Kharistia, whose light is shining brighter and brighter everyday :)
If they, who were not ready for a baby and who's got a rough start in their marriage, can step up and give the best for their kid, the rest of us who are blessed enough to have an 'easier' circumstance ain't got no excuse to be lousy in our parenting. It's our choice to stop making excuses, though it gets so hard sometimes. Let us learn. Let us be thankful. And make it all fun!