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The Upper West-sider

Monthly Heroines

family life & style blog

The Upper West-sider

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Now that I'm officially an immigrant mom in the U.S., I think it's wise to hear and share some of the stories of moms who have been here way before me and experienced the perks of raising a kid or two in a foreign country. This one right here has only been in the U.S. for less than a year,  but here's the thing --> She is fresh from Indo, facing the challenges of not having a domestic helper + not having a carrier at the moment (these 2 things must be causing a major 'culture-shock', right?) while adapting to her new role as a mom in the Empire State that is none other than New York!!
Here is the young, loving, and always-eager-to-learn, Yania Andarini.
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I have always been an active woman. With a degree from University of Indonesia in Dutch Literature, I have worked for a while as a media enggagement assistant manager at PT. Combiphar, before giving it up to accompany my husband in his studies in Columbia University, New York last year.
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At the start of our marriage, we didn't plan to have a kid yet to prolong our 'honeymoon' phase. However, we didn't try to postpone pregnancy either. We were just going to let it all happen naturally, according to God's will. Thankfully, He heard our prayers at exactly one year after our wedding.
When we found out about the baby, my husband and I were excited yet nervous at the same time. Why? because we were going to have an interview at the U.S. Embassy at the following week. Would they approve my visa if I've told them that I was pregnant?
Again, thankfully, it all went smoothly and we finally got to the Big Apple when I got to my second trimester, five months into the pregnancy to be exact.
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Soon after, in 9 January 2014, our little man Harsya Aryasatya Ibrahim was born.
Unlike other moms back home who might have got their family and relatives around during labor, I didn't have anyone but my husband. It was just the two of us at the hospital, waiting for Harsya to be born. It got more challenging when we were told that Harsya's bilirubin numbers went up and that he needed to stay at the NICU.
My first weeks of motherhood got even tougher when I noticed Harsya's inability to latch on while breastfeeding. The confusion kept on building up because I was just not used to having a baby yet. Even though I've read tons of articles on taking care of babies during my pregnancy, actually doing it is a different thing! Frankly speaking, I found it pretty hard to enjoy motherhood during those days.
But again, thankfully, my husband stood by me. He helped me a lot in taking care of baby Harsya, though he had to show up in class the next morning. More importantly, he was patient enough to handle my emotional cycle that went up and down a lot during that period.
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As Harsya continues to grow, I begin to find joy in my new life as a mother. I begin to take it slow and learn to keep it all simple. The absence of domestic helper is definitely a challenge, because I've got to do it all by myself! But I've learned to take it easy and to leave the chores when Harsya needs me. The washing and cleaning can wait, right?
I've realized that when the mom is not happy, the baby won't be happy. They can tell the difference! That's why I try my best to keep a positive energy around him although I don't always feel like it.
To say I do not miss my working days would be a lie. I miss them at times, but I try to embrace this season we're in now. I am grateful for the fact that I get to experience all of this now in New York! Raising a kid, having a little family, living abroad...I view this phase as my extra long leave from work :)
Later on when we have settled back to Indonesia, I would like to go back to work. Why? Cause I know it's possible to balance things out. My mother is a living proof. She is a doctor who could still manage to wake up at dawn to prepare exam preparation quizzes for me, before she left for work. A mom who was always there for me when I needed her, someway, somehow. A mom who is tough yet patient. And a mom who is also a bestfriend to me.
It is going to take a lot for me to get to that point, but for now, I aim to focus on raising Harsya, supporting my husband as he continues his studies here, and make the most of our time here in New York..New York..
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