Most Indonesian women are blessed (or cursed, for some) with the involvement of their mothers in their post-partum period. Unlike Western-ers, Indonesian women habitually involve their mothers in taking care of their babies without being considered as lame or spoiled. I got my mom visiting me twice a month now and offers assistance every once in a while. However, this woman right here does not have that advantage. Erma Engelien came all the way from the Netherlands in 2009, got married to a local not so long after, and gave birth to a baby boy last year. When asked about being overwhelmed by all the craziness she said, "Nah, I'm a woman enough to do this."
Boom! Alright, alright, alright :)
I first met this momma about 3 years ago, in a club somewhere in Jakarta, when I was celebrating my 22nd birthday. She was with her husband, dancing around like couples you'd see on movies like Step Up. "Who are these two?" I asked. It turned out that her husband, Subhan is a well-known street baller (founder of Jakarta Street Baller - JSB in 2003). Erma is a dancer and choreographer.
But there's more to them than just dancing around. They re-named JSB to PEAZMAKERZ and established a dance crew of youngsters (many are less-fortunate) who are trained to fight the growing negative influences in Indonesian youth through performing arts.
"Peazmakerz is not just a crew it’s a character that can grow inside all of us," they state in their website. Together, this couple inspire young people to channel their creativity and passion on a more positive outlet. How cool is that?
After getting married for about a year, Erma got pregnant and gave birth to a handsome baby boy named Kairos.
Kairos is an Ancient Greek word that means 'the right moment'. Erma and Subhan believe that although it was premature, the timing of Kairos' birth was ordained by God and it was perfect. Today, with flexible working hours that they can manage themselves, the couple can take care of their baby while doing what they love and serving the next generation. An expat who has no nanny and no mom/mom in-law around to help, Erma still manages to juggle family as well as work and ministry. She breastfed Kairos exclusively for 6 months and cooks meal for him while still teaching dance classes and performing here and there. The road hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, but this young family has made it this far, thanks to their persevering faith in God and their support to each other.
When I asked her about spending quality time with her husband, she said, "Last December, since Kairos is already sleeping through the night (he just turned 1 a few months ago), we could already ask our friend to babysit him while we went out dancing when Jazzy Jeff was spinning at Blowfish!" - that sounds fun right? they are not drinking that much when they go out of course, cause they are in a different season with different values now!
I am so inspired by how they manage to enjoy life, without looking at having a baby as a burden, and taking it a step further, they even make something meaningful out of their lives by inspiring young people to do positive things!
If she is woman enough to do it, we are too.