Friday, 1 October 2010

My Journey to Motherhood (Part 3)

At first, I though of writing something about siblings-rivalry for this part.. but I could not put my heart & mind in place, probably due to many distractions at home... I then realized that I'm now in the final week of confinement, how fast the time has moved, indeed! These few final days before 44th remind me of own experience when having my Affan and unforgettable events during months of expecting his arrival; which marked the turning point into the present fate of our family. Truly.. as Allah says in the holy Quran.. "..they have made their plans; while Allah has also made His.. verily, Allah is the Best Planner!.."

When I looked back .. my life was like a very fast spinning wheel starting the day when I received my LL.B degree, that I felt no time for myself what more to reflect things happening to my life. Starting with adapting with working environment upon joining the Kulliyyah on March 14th, 2001.. then with additional responsibility as a wife on May 27th, 2001.. when Abang planned to pursue his Master in UK in October, the Dean strongly signified his expectation on me to pursue ph.D at the same time. So, I tried to make myself prepared for this in 3 months time.. a very short time to prepare for this very long journey.. within this limit, I forced myself to study & look for research-able area, prepare the proposal, apply for scholarship, search & contact few potential supervisors, register for TOEFL, attend research method course in UKM; while at the same time teaching 4 sections in the Kulliyyah. Imagine how depressed my life was!

Winter 2004
  On September 25th, 2001, we left for Loughborough, UK where we had a great life ahead for another 4 years. Abang registered as a full-time student for Msc in Islamic Economics, Banking & Finance; while me as a full-time advocate housewife cum research assistant! I was supposed to register my ph.D at Manchester University in April 2002, that is about 2 1/2 hours journey by car from lboro; but I had to defer it coz of my pregnancy. Later, JPA had blacklisted Manchester, so I had to secure other places. During my confinement period after delivering little Ammar, to my relief, I was offered as the first ph.D student in Islamic Banking & Finance under the twinning programme between Loughborough University & Markfield Institute of Higher Education. So, that's how both me & Abang ended doing ph.D at the same time & in the same school, alhamdulillah.. After 3 years of hard work, we finally completed our responsibilities on time without applying for any extension. Few friends did suggest to us to have such extension, looking at how hectic our lives had been.. our focus was mainly doing research to the extent we didn't have time to visit beautiful  Scotland which is just 2 hrs journey to the North! But, knowing Abang, he hardly changes his plan.. what more to take unnecessary relief.. (unless during darurah!) that's one of many reasons I struggled to complete my research by end of the allocated study leave.

Completed study leave 2005

At home in Malaysia, our time was fully occupied with teaching, research, training & consultancy.. I realized that ph.D is not the end but rather a beginning to endless struggle. For us, the new title is no more than another Amanah by Allah to continuously serve in His cause. We completely happy serving the Kulliyyah as educators and researchers in the area we love most. Having been endlessly hunger for more knowledge, I decided to make 'a U-turn' in my study, completing the LL.B (Shariah) which I was supposed to finish it 6 years before. In December 2006, I registered as a full-time undergraduate student undertaking 12 Shari'ah courses in 2 semesters. Fortunately, the Kulliyyah reduced my teaching load to only 6 hrs; so I became an ordinary student in the morning attending lectures from 8am till 1pm, and then at 2-5 in the evening, back to my routine giving lectures to my students. Despite of hectic schedule, I admittedly enjoyed & cherished each moment as student. I recalled the moment when we had group discussions in the library, classrooms & even in the Mahallah; also active discussions and presentations during tutorials with our dear lecturers like Us. Yaacob Ismail, Dato' Mohd Salleh, Dr. Said Bouheraoua, Dato' Hashim Yahya, Dr Badruddin, Dr. Muhd Naim, and Dr Zulkifli. My heartiest thanks to all my classmates who have made me feel belonged to the group & made the journey a successful one, alhamdulillah... During this study period, I was again expecting for the 3rd child which will be due in January the following year. I became more energetic & highly in spirit and can't wait to finish my study and then receive the new addition to the family.

6-mths pregnant (Sept. 2007)

After 11 months of hard work, I was finally going to complete my LL.B(Shari'ah).. I still remember, it was Sunday, November 18th 2007 where I was on my way to sit for the final paper -- Legal Text II (Mughni Al-Muhtaj) by Dato' Hashim Yahya. As usual, my Abang become the loyal listener to my revision while he drove to the university. I was 8 months pregnant at that time. I said to him that I can't wait to complete the study and then focus to our research. We laid down many plans, like producing more journal articles, writing books, presenting in the conferences, applying for more research grants and everything within our capabilities to excel in our carrier. Somehow, Allah the All-Knowing has other plan for us...

That evening, I invited my LL.B(S) classmates & few close friends to a 'small kenduri' at home. After Maghrib, papa called Abang asking him to come over to his house because DSAM was about to visit the family that nite. Feeling exhausted, Abang initially refused and was going to bed early. Then, at about 9.30pm papa called again; Abang mumbled, "Hai.. malasnyer nk pegi jumpa mlm2 mcm ni."... I said to Abang, "Pergi la kejap... mungkin papa nak Abang teman dia borak2 dgn tetamu kot..." Reluctantly, Abang left for papa's house which is only few blocks away. When the clock struck 1am, while Abang was not home yet, I began to wonder.. Only at 2.00am, Abang appeared before the door & looked puzzled with mixed feelings.. my instinct made me asking curiously whether he was asked to do something difficult... Abg helplessly said that DSAM asked him to contest in the next GE! Astaghfirullahal 'Azim... I could feel my heart stop beating!! Of course, Abang turned the request down realizing of the political scenario during that time; either way, the path is of no certainty.. what more, that was not in our plan at all; at least for the first 10 years in the future!!

Since that day, we didn't hear about DSAM. We continued our lives as usual. Abang was fully occupied with his Microfinance project with Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia which required him & his team (Dr Norma & Dr Jarita) to travel to selected rural places like Bagan Datoh, Perak & Tumpat, Kelantan; while my research team (Dr Rusni, Dr Uzaimah, Dr Fuad Sawari & Dr Akhtarzaite) were working on the Shari'ah advisory project. Somehow, I knew that Abang was not at peace & felt divided... because since that day, he performed istikharah continuously, asking for guidance, help & forgiveness from Allah the All-Mighty. Often, when we were together, stucked in the traffic jam in  LDP.. he would talk about few possibilities that could happen in our future.. I tried not to listen to him, reminding him about our plans that need to be worked out together... I remembered him once saying.."If we looked back to Allah's bounties to our family, we won't be able to count it.. Allah has made ease to us in many ways.. we should always be grateful to Him & accept any of His test with an open heart. We cannot be selfish, complacent & thinking about ourselves in many ways.. so one way to evident our gratitude(shukr) to Him is to serve others in good cause.. maybe if I am destined to be involved in politics, this may be a way for us to contribute to the society directly!"... but I tended to disagree, "There are so many other ways to contribute to the ummah; what we are doing now, educating students is also our direct contribution to the future of ummah!" .. while my heart saying that there must be other ways, not in politics please.. at least not now, I am not ready & our family is still growing...

After a long pause, Abang continued, "I love what I'm doing now; educating young generations, doing research, training the practitioners, writing my thoughts in papers & journals, presenting my ideas in conferences.. Yes, being an academician is very peaceful for me & gives us satisfactions; we are surrounded by many intellectual people who are honest & sincere to us.. but in politics, if so destined by Allah, the path is very thorny ... for we are going to be surrounded by people whose hearts and minds are not predictable; exposed to fitnah & negative perceptions even among our own friends; more people will hate than those loving us.. our hearts must be as strong as an iron steel for it's going to be a very very difficult  life  ... somehow, the satisfaction of working & contributing directly to the people in the place I love most is truly beyond words ..! Hearing these words, my heart cried & cannot any longer deny one fact.. that is.. 'politics' is in Abang's blood & I have to accept & be with him all along if Allah wanted us so.

Affan (Day 1)
By the passing of time, I tended to forget of the previous days & eagerly waited for the new arrival. Our dear 'Affan was born on Friday, January, 18th 2008 at 4.47am. It was the shortest labor experience.. the contractions started at 3.30am which I did't believe initially that I was in labor until I realized it became more regular & shorter. I thought of waiting for Subuh prayer coz feeling sorry for Abang who seemed deeply asleep. Somehow, my breathing way of relieving the pain woke him up. In a double-quick time, he was ready & insisted to go to the hospital immediately. Upon arriving at the hospital & then checked by the nurse on-duty at 4.15am, she nervously said that it's over 8cm already! I was directly moved to the labor room; my gynie arrived at 4.30am.. then shortly later Affan was safely delivered, alhamdulillah.. We were discharged on the same day.

For the 1st 2 weeks, I has my confinement in PJ, then flew back to KB with Ammar, Affaf & Aan. My mother looked after me very well. Everyday, as early as 7am she would pick Makcik, the best 'tukang urut & tungku' up from Kedai Piah and send her home at 12.30pm. My daily routine started with suppressing milk for the baby, then washing up with  'air rebusan daun2' like pandan, serai wangi, limau purut etc. which really resfreshing. After light breakfast, I had the 'berurut & bertungku' for nearly 4 hrs. Finally, by lunchtime Makcik will help me wearing 'bengkung' which will only be taken off on the following morning. During weekend, Abang would be with us.. hmm, not really because he was occupied with the Amanah Ikhtiar research project which happened to be in Tumpat during my confinement. I had a good confinement care until day 35... I recalled the moment where I was on 'berurut', Abang who had just arrived from KL, whispered to me saying that he became a parliamentary candidate!! I was very shocked & hardly heard him saying that he had to go to DSAM's house for the official announcement. After that, many things went very quick & unplanned like in a dream.... Abang tendered 24-hrs resignation on that very day; his classes were handed over to Bro. Mustafa & Us. Zaharuddin whom Abang was very grateful to, Abang also had to forget his promotion to DS54; and I had to cancel all arrangements with Makcik & moved to Kubang Batang on the same day too. My in-laws in PJ came to support us incl. our sis. Farah Alwani who was also in confinement. They brought my stuffs like presentable baju kurung, jubah & tudung because I only had necessary attires for confinement only!

I could not recall the date, I just remember that the nomination was on my 38th confinement day. Since then, I had to participate in the campaign because of Abang's time-constraint while the area is very wide with over 90k voters. It was impossible for Abang to go to all places. Our aim at that time was mainly to introduce Abang.. so, I went to one place, while Papa & Mi to other different places. My parents also came over to help me out with the kids whom I hardly be around them in that 2 weeks time. Even Abang was only home for 1-2 hours just to change attires. I remember my campaign speech was like giving 'ceramah' or 'usrah'.. I just be myself.. I'm an educator, teacher, da'i & murabbi! In my prayers, relentlessly I asked for Allah's guidance; if we are able to carry out this amanah, then please make ease for us.. but if this is only a test while we re not ready as yet.. then please make us among those who are patient & redha.... during my tour, I was brought to every inch of the place & got surprised by the level of poverty among the people here. Deep inside, I felt.. oh Allah, I think I am not ready yet.. the responsibility would be very big.. & I still have this tiny 'selfishness' inside for myself & not ready to give up my life for this huge Amanah... indeed, Allah knows the best for us.. as He said, "Allah will not impose any obligation on a soul unless within his capabilities.." So, we accepted Allah's will & wisdom with an open heart, alhamdulillah.

I returned to my normal routines without Abang around at the Kulliyyah, even I was all alone stucked in the traffic jam. Abang was unemployed for 3 months though there were offers from some learning institutions but he declined. For him, once he's into politics, it's unethical to mix it with academic. Only in June, he joined the present research intitution which was established on March, 26th... where he seems really fit into; doing research in the same area with added advantages of wider networking & research opportunities. Lives began to settle down bit by bit..

Few months after the confinement, I felt the edge side of both feet swallown that it's like walking with 2 big stones on it; but not as painful as the swallown urat keting before. My feet became badly strained, particularly in early morning. I went for foot massage numbers of time; though the pain was gradually healed, but my feet are often strained & cramped until today. All 'tukang urut' incl. Mak Ton who looked after me in the present confinement said, it was due to the long travelling & walking I had during the campaign period where I was about to complete the confinement. The 'urat' in both feet become like a stretchable rubber band which hardly return to its original condition... oh dear..!

My Affan 2 yrs (2010)
So, that's a piece of my experience during conceiving my Affan & its aftermath... anybody who knows Affan would agree that he is a terrific & colourful boy, who is very cheeky,talkative, intelligent, matured, and loving too.. he will not keep his feelings to himself, rather express it all to those close to him. Yet, he seems shy & timid before strangers. All that are explained by different colours of our lives that we faced before.. despite the pain & gloomy in our hearts, we will not lose our hope to Allah, coz we shall always search for the sunshine .. and hoping that Allah will always guide us in undertaking His tests & bless us in both worlds..amin!