Maktub Series: I'll Put This Love in a Bottle

Saturday 18 April 2020

Hi all,

I've met plenty people on this journey and we will be forever bonded by the similarities in our stories. I've always wanted this one person to be a special guest on my blog. I was over the moon when she agreed. If you relate to the post at all, know that you are not alone... and we are here for you.



I’ve been meaning to put this all down. I told myself I would, because I wanted to remember what we went through to become parents; all the ups and downs, the insides and outs of it all. Lo and behold, out of the blue – I get the opportunity to share my story here as a guest blogger. Thank you dear, FN <3 I dedicate this on the most part to you, because your kind heart shared valuable information that would change the course of the path I would walk on in this life.

The year was 2017. We had been married for over three years and of course, as many married couples know, that ONE question would play like a broken record – “alum kamu beranak?” The alternatives would be, “alum ada kah?” / “alum kau berisi?” with judging looks or smirks; comparing us to other couples that have been married a few months and were already pregnant.

Some would go as far as, “inda kamu mau anak kah?”. Trust me, there were much worse questions I’ve been asked, but that’s a whole new topic to write about. Yes, it hurts to be asked those questions. To the point where you just want to avoid going to functions or skip Hari Raya completely and fly off on vacation, because there’s a 100% chance you’ll be asked that. It doesn’t help to see that somehow everyone around you were having babies or they could just trip and get pregnant. Sorry, I really was that bitter and sad back then. I gained a lot of weight as well and was at my heaviest maybe 1-2 years after getting married, from emotional eating and feeling depressed.

Truth of the matter is, I always wanted to be a mom. Even as a teenager - I knew that I always wanted to have children one day, and have them as soon as possible after getting married! Scratch the honeymoon phase! We tried and prayed to be blessed with our own children. All the prayers, the doas to be blessed with your own offspring – I can recite them all by heart. Things didn’t go as we planned. We even took fertility tests around a year after getting married (yes, I was that desperate!), but it was taking a toll on us financially and with work and everything else going on, we just decided to take a break from it all and focus on ourselves and our health.

August 2017.  My mother heard someone wanted to give away their newborn baby boy and introduced me to the idea of adoption. I had never really thought about it. My plan all along was: Get married, get pregnant and give birth to our babies. Work was busy at the time, so I kind of shrugged it off and didn’t process it all properly… but I asked my husband what he thought, his reply was, “If you want to, then I’m with you.”  I know how badly my mother wanted grandchildren, feeling the pressure, I told her, “Bah, mana saja, Ma…”. I was feeling 50/50 about it all, but began to prepare myself mentally. I was going to be a mom. Not the ‘conventional’ way and definitely not the way I planned. I was starting to feel excited and found myself smiling like a fool, driving alone in my car lost in my own thoughts that this could finally be happening for us.  I even started looking up male baby names, possible names for our son.

A week later, my mom called me. The birth mother changed her mind. I was speechless. I felt like a ton of bricks were dropped on top of me; crushing me instantly. I guess I just realized how badly I wanted this child. I remember crying in my car on the way home and the rain was pouring (yes, sounds dramatic, but it’s true!). Maybe so that people driving passed couldn’t see me ugly cry that hard in my car. A song was playing, with these lyrics blasting so appropriately:

They say there’s one chance you get
They say there’s one life you live, but there’s only one you…
Don’t want to think about it right now
I’ll put this love in a bottle and I’ll go to the beach,
Lose this pain and sorrow as it flows out to sea,
And if it’s you, if it’s you, if it’s you…you’ll come back to me
But for now I’ll be right here with the memories

All my emotions in this pre-chorus. The thought that my husband and I would become parents was only lent to us.  Then, just like that, it was taken away from us. I told myself, I guess it’s not our rezeki, maybe it just wasn’t meant for us. To cope with my grieving, I kept myself occupied and busy. With that news, I cried it all out then dove into my work, went to as many spinning classes I could go to, to just forget about it all. Don’t even get me started on my mother - she was just so upset, she just deleted the photos she received of that newborn baby boy from her phone and she would go on and on about how upsetting it all was.

I can’t recall exactly, but maybe a week later, whilst in a meeting, my phone rang. I excused myself to answer this call; there was news that the birth mother changed her mind again – she was quite young with financial difficulties and wouldn’t be able to support her son. They asked, “Can you pick him up this afternoon when you’re off from work?” Another moment of being speechless, but I asked them to give me a few minutes while I called my husband. My husband, again replying, “If you want to go for it, then I’m with you.”

I was shaking. This was it. Just like that song, if it was meant to be him, he would come back to us. This was really going to happen. Over the phone, they told me that they had some essential baby items to last the next few days, so we didn’t need to rush or shop for everything immediately. I got off work as soon as it was 4.30pm and hurried to meet my husband. We drove to the address where our future awaited us.  

When we entered the house, they asked us to sit down while they prepared his items and were going to bring him out. I felt like I was holding my breath waiting for him, I just kept fidgeting and tapping my right foot. The birth mother brought him out and I could see from her face that this wasn’t easy for her. Without a word, she placed a 12-day old baby boy in my arms with a sad, yet relieved expression. I could feel that she was entrusting me to raise this boy as my own. As I awkwardly adjusted my arms to cradle him, she looked at me with earnest eyes and said, “Thank you for doing this.” She smiled at me, wiping away her tears...but I was the thankful one! I was receiving a priceless gift; a child, a human being! I told her that my husband and I would do everything in our power to take the best care of him and raise him; that she wouldn’t have to worry. She nodded and smiled at me again. I felt like she was reassured that she was doing the right thing, even though it could very well be the hardest decision she would ever have to make.

I observed that he was bundled in a thin, ragged and discoloured towel which broke my heart. In that moment, I made my heart speak to this baby and tell him that I would be his mommy and I would give him everything that he needs and more. I still keep this towel that we received him in from that very day, to serve as a constant reminder that I would always do my best to give him everything he needs and deserves.

So, there he was in my arms. Is this what it feels like to be a mom? You look at them and you just know they’re yours, that they’re the most beautiful thing you have ever laid your eyes on. Is this what women feel after they give birth, to see and hold their babies for the very first time? I really do hope that I got to feel even just an ounce of that, with this boy in my arms that I just couldn’t take my eyes off and never wanted to let go of.

It was almost 6 o’clock – you know what that means – Maghrib was approaching, and with a baby in tow, we needed to go home. I was anticipating bringing our baby boy to my mother, I hadn’t told her the news and wanted to surprise her. Unplanned, we walked into the house and found my mother in the kitchen standing with her phone in her hands as it was plugged into the wall. “Hi Ma,” I said casually, waiting for her to notice. It took a few seconds for her to yell, “ANAK SIAPA KAU AMBIL ANI?!?!” I told her, that this was him; the baby we were going to be given all along. She cried, taking him from my arms, “Ya Allah, lai… anak ani yang inda besalah inda bedusa…panggil dorang adi beradimu, suruh tia turun!” – my sisters came downstairs and so to cut the story short; it was a crying fest in the kitchen.

After our crying ended, it was the baby’s turn to cry. Almost two hours had passed and he was hungry. Earlier on, we were given a blue basket with his items, containing some clothes, towels, a bag of diapers, two baby bottles and his formula milk. Since we had no experience and didn’t have a clue what to do, my mother quickly went into action to make his milk and started verbally listing out things we needed to buy. With not much time to think and digest that we welcomed a baby home; we rushed out to buy what we could because we only had less than two hours before shops closed for the night. 

Exhausted from the shopping and setting up the cot and other essentials, we finally lay our baby down in his bed for the night. I gave in early and lied down with the baby’s cot right next to my side of the bed. I would jolt up every now and then just to check on him, but my husband was already there, leaning on the side of the cot, just smiling and watching our son sleeping peacefully. Babies are truly breathtaking; they really are such a blessing and we were definitely feeling this even during our first night with him.

Being totally new to this experience, we came to find out how frequently babies need to be fed and what any parent mean about ‘sleepless nights’ within the first few months of a baby’s life. Bear in mind, all of this was unplanned and unexpected, so I didn’t apply for leave beforehand and still had to work the next day even though I was sleep-deprived. As tired as we felt, we knew evermore so how blessed we were, Alhamdulillah. We adjusted to this new routine and lives with our baby boy the next few months.

[End of Part 1]


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