So long! It’s been a year :)

Wah, ternyata sudah lebih dari setahun saya tidak menulis.

Selain dari kesibukan membesarkan sang buah hati, kehidupan saya benar-benar berwarna-warni. Senengnya buanyaaak banget, sedihnya haha yaaaaa juga buanyak bangeeeeet selama setahun ke belakang. Membesarkan anak berdua sama suami itu seru banget lho! Semua energi dan emosi berkumpul jadi satu yang semakin memaknai kami menjadi keluarga. Alhamdulillah.

Saya baru mikirin tadi malem sih. Tapi rasanya sayang sekali kalau blog ini hanya dijadikan tempat curahan hati aja yang dapat di baca orang, tapi tidak memberikan manfaat apapun untuk yang membaca.

Jadi, setelah dipikirkan beberapa hari, saya ingin membuat tulisan-tulisan yang santai, informatif, dan untuk beberapa jenis tulisan akan berdasarkan artikel ilmiah yang saya baca.

Sekarang, saya mengumpulkan idenya dahulu sebelum aktif mulai nulis lagi ya! Semoga nantinya bisa bermanfaat.

Aamiinn. 🙂


Belajarlah dari anak bayi

Beberapa bulan sejak memiliki bayi kecil yang bikin hidup dan emosi lebih berwarna, saya dan suami sering memperhatikan beberapa hal signifikan yang dilakukan oleh bayi. Menurut kami, perilaku bayi ini sudah seharusnya dilakukan oleh orang yang telah dewasa pula. Berikut adalah beberapa pelajaran hidup yang kami tangkap dari perilaku bayi.

Belajarlah dari anak bayi. Saat ia sedih, ia menangis. Saat ia senang, ia tertawa. (Pelajaran yang dapat diambil: jujurlah pada apa yang kita rasakan. Jangan banyak berpura-pura dan menutupi apa yang kita rasakan).

Belajarlah dari anak bayi. Saat terjatuh atau terluka, ia menangis. Tapi, tak lama kemudian ia tertawa seolah-olah ia lupa rasa sakitnya tadi. (Pelajaran yang dapat diambil: merasakan sakit kemudian menangis itu adalah hal yang normal. Tapi jangan lupa untuk bangkit lagi).

Belajarlah dari anak bayi. Saat belajar tengkurap atau berjalan, ia membutuhkan beberapa hari untuk berlatih agar ia dapat melakukannya sendiri. (Pelajaran yang dapat diambil: gagal sekali dua kali itu biasa. Teruslah berlatih dan berusaha. Jangan pernah menyerah).

Belajarlah dari anak bayi. Saat ibu atau ayah membuat keteledoran dalam memperilakukan bayi, ia menangis. Namun kemudian, ia tertawa kembali pada ayah ibunya. Tak butuh waktu yang lama untuk tertawa kembali baginya. (Pelajaran yang dapat diambil: memaafkan kesalahan orang yang engkau sayangi adalah hal yang mulia).

Belajarlah dari anak bayi. Ia melihat ke sana kemari, ke atas ke bawah, ke kanan ke kiri. Ia memainkan satu mainan, lalu mainan lain, dan kembali lagi ke mainan awal. Seolah-olah semua adalah hal baru untuk mereka. (Pelajaran yang dapat diambil: ah saya kira harusnya orang dewasa jangan berhenti untuk bertualang dalam kehidupannya. Never settle down sih katanya hehe).

Untuk sementara, mungkin itu yang dapat saya tuliskan. Saya menuliskan ini hanya dalam waktu 13 menit. Jadi belum terlalu komprehensif. Nanti, saya akan mencoba untuk mengobservasi lagi dan menambahkan beberapa hal lainnya yang dapat di ambil pelajarannya dari bayi.

Yuk, Mariiii….


When moving is thrilling yet difficult for me

Two weeks ago before I moved to a new home around my husband’s university, a friend of mine was asking me “Is moving hard for you?”. I thought about it for a while and I answered “Not really.” She replied, “Really? Cause I think moving to a new place is hard especially when you have got so much memory with your existing place.” 

I thought about what she said while thinking of the amount of times I have moved to a new environment and how I felt about it.

What she said was right. Moving is actually difficult. I remember when I was in Australia and had to go back to Indonesia after a year of wonderful experiences. I could not wait to see my family and friends again, though I felt it was hard as well to leave my amazing host family, friends, school, and daily activities I had. I cried so hard at the airport that I had to hide myself in the toilet. I never knew that farewell is one terrible thing.

Now that I have moved from Leiden to a town called Rijswijk was also a bit weird. I know that I am happy cause me and my husband found a bigger place for Aira to play as well as no stairs that it’s easier for me to recover. However, I am also a little bit sad. Leiden has been such a wonderful place for us to live in. We have created so many memories. I did my master degree in Leiden and I have met beautiful friends over there. Even Aira was born there as well. Therefore, it is kinda hard. I think Leiden will always be in my heart and my third home (as I call Medan my first home, melbourne my second home, and Leiden the third one then ;))

Fortunately, these past two weeks in our new place have already treated us nicely. We are happier and I can see Aira is happier as well. For some reasons, maybe it’s true that people said happiness is created. We choose our happiness and we decided to be happy by finding a better place to live in, better for my husband, better for Aira, and better for me :).

Being a mother: A new and endless job till I see my baby(ies) again in Jannah

To be called as a mother is a new role for me. Not even a word could describe how I really feel. It’s all mixed in there, in my heart and in my brain.Therefore, I am totally going to write this in an honest way, to describe what I really feel, though.

Okay, I might only have started to become a mother for 2 months. And, I know the tide is high and the road is long. I have a long way to go and a bigger challenge later. However, these past two months have changed me.. a lot. Like, super massive high change in my major life.

  1. I am happy. I am really happy. The first time I saw her face, I felt really new and sort of like “Whaat? Really this beautiful baby came out of me?“. She makes me laugh with all her cooing and gurgling. The nappy change has always been something hilarious for me and my husband. She would sometimes decided to pee or poo on us. Yet, we were never angry. Instead, we were laughing at ourselves. Everything. Every little things make me so happy about her.
  2. I took less care to myself. Yes, I wore an unmatched pyjamas. My hair is greasy. I eat a lot. Like really, I am always looking for food at home. I am always hungry cause I am breastfeeding (people said breastfeeding is the most natural diet for the after birth. It does not work for me, unfortunately). I forgot to put my cream again cause I ran out of it and I keep forgetting to buy a new one.
  3. I am crazy about her. Yes, crazy. Crazy like I do not want anyone to touch her cause “your hands are full of germs“. Or, crazy like when my neighbour decided to redecorate his new house (he just moved in) and started nailing his wall and fixing his bathroom or whatever. It was super noisy that I was so cranky and asked my husband to see him and lower the sound. Or, crazy like when somebody (if you are not my mother) decided to give me some suggestions (when I do not ask one) about “how to treat your baby better and I know it all” to me. No, I know about her better than you (speak to those who seem to know it all about my baby).
  4. I have less time with my husband. No more watching dramas or Marvel movies together in bed. Although, we are working on it. Today, we watched this Korean variety show called Running Man and we finished an episode. Yeay! Hmm.. no more lazy days in bed. Either him being busy with his uni study since this is his last year, or me and him busy changing nappies and playing with our baby. Like my husband said, “Everything is now about Aira”. Yes, it’s true. However, we knew that we needed our time, just the two of us. Therefore, we are currently working on some rules and regulations to manage the time between Aira and us. For example, no phones are allowed in bed when there’s the two of us as we need to talk about our days or stupid silly conversation between us 🙂
  5. I am grateful.  I thank Allah for giving me such a huge responsibility because all in all, I never resisted of being one. I am enjoying this journey, the good times and the bad times. And, I am still learning. So, I make mistakes and it’s normal. I know this journey is going to be hard. But, I just cannot wait to experience more. I cannot wait to see her laughing at my stupid jokes, her first step, her singing a song, and her trying to use my make up to look like me.

Alhamdulillah for everything, Ya Allah. And a special kiss for my husband for his patience and understanding of his beloved wife that sometimes might change from a cranky tiger to a spoiled cat in a flash. I love you, I really really do. 


When I was in labor (at least that’s how I remember it)

They say “It takes a village to raise a kid”. I say “It also takes a village to deliver a baby”.

It was Saturday, 3rd of October when I sort of had a feeling that Aira was nearly there. Yes, I had a feeling she was about to arrive in this world just when both of her grandmothers were present in Leiden. My mother came two weeks before that particular Saturday. And, my mother in law arrived that Saturday morning.

We had a huge festival in Leiden called Leiden Ontzet (again) on that particular Saturday. Streets were filled with food trucks, games, and attractions. Me and my husband were there at 10 pm, enjoying our Poffertjes and Warme Chocolademelk while I thought ‘This might become the last day of just the two of us.’ (And, yes I was 39 weeks 3 days and I still enjoyed a huge festival with my super big belly).

Afterwards, we decided to go back home since I got tired and thought I needed a rest. When we arrived home, I took a little exercise that could trigger the contraction to happen. My husband helped me with the exercise with the hope that Aira would come real soon.

Around midnight, I felt like I was having a mild contraction. I woke my mother up and told her what I felt, but then she said “I am sure it’s a false contraction.” (Yes, infact, a real contraction was waaaaay worse than that). I then woke my husband up and he accompanied me till I went back to sleep.

Around 7 in the morning, I woke up and tried to sit on my bed. Suddenly, i felt a running water went down there. It was super warm and I was pretty sure I was not wet my pants :/. It turned out my water broke and I had to call my midwife to make sure what to do afterwards. My midwife told me to count on the gap between the contractions, take a shower, and prepare my hospital bag as well as the car seat for the baby. She sad if the gap was 3-4 minutes, she would come immediately. Otherwise, she would come around 10. I then took a shower and counted on the contractions gap. It truly was between 3-5 minutes. I called her again immediately and she came to my house to check on my dilation.

Apparently I was only 1 cm dilated at that time. My midwife told me to have some rest and not to waste so much energy, and she would come again around 1pm. I was in bed the whole time while counting on the contractions. Surprisingly, it was 8-10 minutes apart. It went backwards from 3-5 minutes to 8-10 minutes apart. My midwife was also confused when I explained her this.

Around 1, she came again and checked on my dilation. I was still 1 cm dilated. She then decided to give a massage from the inside to provoke the contraction and the dilation (and, it hurts like craaaazyyyyyy btw). She hoped that the massage would trigger more dilation before she had to decide to put me an IV (intravenous therapy) at the hospital. At that time, she said she would come again at 5.30 pm and checked again on the dilation. However, whatever happened, we all had to go to the hospital at that time since the water already broke and the labor would have already gone for almost 12 hours by that time.

Yes, as I would guess, nothing has progressed until 5.30. The dilation was nearly 2 cm. But, 2 cm for 12 hours was not a good sign. I was already tired as well. My midwife then decided that I needed to go the hospital immediately and the midwife in the hospital would take over me instead of her. Everybody was super busy. Both of my mothers were busy checking on all the preparation to bring to the hospital. My midwife called Alrijne hospital, a hospital that I wanted to give birth at. And, my husband went outside to order a cab. I just sat there and enjoyed my contraction.

At the hospital, my midwife took us directly to the delivery room and we were greeted by the midwife at the hospital. She was super nice (well, all the midwives are supposed to be nice, I think). She explained thoroughly what she was going to do and how the delivery was going to be conducted. I thought it was really nice to have things explained at the first place. I would know what to imagine, whether it was gonna hurt or not, and what if it were not work. She then put a thing for the heartbeat of the baby and the contraction on my belly for45 minutes before she put an IV to my vein (before everything was started. 😉 haha)

The midwife came back again after 45 minutes and she explained about something. She discovered that I had been through the labor for 12 hours without any progress. She stated that it was a medical necessity to have an epidural as I was already tired and I still had more to go (well yes, with the IV, hormones, contractions, and the push push push). I remember I clearly explained to my husband that for my first labor, I would not take the epidural. I wanted to feel ‘the real pain‘ of labor without having to omit the pain itself during the labor. However, reality did not go as well as I thought it would be. I was in pain for 12 hours already and with 1 cm dilation was not a good sign to keep up with the rest of another 12 hours. I then agreed to take epidural. Around 8.30, the midwife and nurse brought me to a quiet room with a lot of medical equipment  and two anaesthesiologists to put me the epidural. The midwife told me that it would not hurt to put the epidural. No, it hurt a little bit. I felt like something stung my spine simultaneously every time the doctors put the thing in my back. After a while, I could feel that the contraction pain went lower for the left side of my body. But, not for my right side of my body. Apparently, the epidural was only working for my left side, but not my right side. Later on, the doctors increased the epidural dosage so that I would not feel the pain on the right side as well. They then asked me, “Now, do you feel any pain?”. I then said, “No pain. But I can feel my rectum is sore. It’s like something is pushing there.” They then smiled and said, “Good then. You will need that feeling to push later on.” Well, they had me unexplained as I did not understand what they meant to say to me.

After spending two hours inserting the epidural, I came back to the delivery room. It was around 11 pm and my husband and both of my mothers were there waiting in the delivery room. My body was shaking so hard and my husband was worried. Though, the midwife told him that it was normal because it was a sign of a delivery. After a while, I started to feel the push toward my anus was getting harder and harder. There was a point that I could not handle it any longer and I felt like pushing. Though, my mother kept on saying ‘Keep praying. Do not scream. Keep praying.’ I kept on praying but I still wanted to push.  A few minutes later, the nurse and the midwife came in and checked on my dilation. Good Lord, I was 8 cm dilated around midnight. That explained why I felt like pushing already. The nurse and midwife asked me to wait until I was fully dilated. I was super happy when they said I was 8 cm dilated. Even the contraction went harder, I was so excited that it meant my beautiful baby was gonna be there really soon in my arm. The nurse then said that the epidural effect was already expired that I needed to keep on struggling by myself. I kept my pray inside my head while reciting it once in a while with my mouth to shift my attention. I realised that it was not only me who struggled there, it was the baby as well. She must have put a lot of efforts to be out of the birth canal to see the world and her family :). So I needed to stay strong and stronger.

At one point, I knew that I was fully dilated as I could not hold my need to push any longer. But, I stayed there, trying to hold and waiting for the nurse and midwife to come in the room again. My mother kept on praying while my mother in law kept stroking my back and said “Sabar ya Nak..”. A few minutes later, I realised that both of my mothers were not in the room anymore. It was only me and my husband (whom his hands had been squeezed continuously by his wife). Then, I said to my husband, “Please call the nurse. I can’t wait any longer.” He pressed the button and the nurse with the midwife and the intern ( I forgot to mention there was an intern as well) came in the room. The nurse checked on my dilation and yes, I was fully dilated. They then said, “You can push whenever you want, Mam. Three pushes in one contraction. And, do not lift your bottom up.”

I then tried to push and push for almost two hours. I tell ya, I defecated a few times I was pushing. I did not care. Hahaha. Well, I could not control it anyway. The feeling was the same :p I also fell asleep between the contractions and the pushes. I just felt a huge desire to sleep, like supeeeer huge. They let me though. I heard it was not allowed to sleep during the pushes. But, I did anyway. And, I was okay :). I tried so hard to push again and again. The only thing they said was “Yes, we can see her hair already. Keep pushing. Harder and harder.” It’s almost 20 hours already and I got really tired. A few minutes after that, I saw a gynaecologist came in the room and explained why she was there. Apparently, Aira’s heartbeat went faster and it was not a good sign for the labor so I needed to make my push faster and faster. However, they realised I was really tired that I could not push any harder. Suddenly, when I gave another push, I felt like they cut me down there. Then my husband said, “Darling, the head is there already” ( I did not really hear this and I wanted to keep pushing). Suddenly the nurse and midwife said, ” Do not push anymore” (And yes, I kept pushing that this might resulted in a lot of stitches I got to my bottom. Oh well.. I could not really differentiate between ‘push’ and ‘do not push’ anymore).

There she was. Born in October the 5th, 2015. Crying. Only a little cry. I was worried because it was not a loud cry. But, the midwife said it was normal. So, I was okay. The midwife gave Aira to me. And, she was in my chest. Skin to skin contact. The first thing I said to her, “Assalamualaikum Mahira Shaliha Agahari. Semoga menjadi anak sebaik dan seindah namamu. Tiada Tuhan selain Allah ya Nak.” My husband kissed me and hugged me. Then, he was asked to cut the umbilical cord before he was given the baby to perform the Adzan and Iqamah :).

This is truly a new beginning for us, our little family, and our big family. We promise to shower Aira with love, kisses, and hugs everyday. We promise to teach her to be strong and capable even if the world will turn her life upside down later in her life. We promise to teach her the faith that will bring us together again in Jannah, that will always pray for us when me and my husband are not in this world anymore.

We love you Nak, more and more everyday. 



Memasuki minggu ke 36: Apa rasanya?

Tidak terasa, alhamdulillah kehamilan saya memasuki minggu ke 36. Artinya, beberapa minggu sebelum dapat dikatakan sebagai full-term. Di satu sisi badan ini tambah berat di bawa jalan kemana-mana, tapi di sisi lain kaki ini rasanya kepingin melancong terus. Tulang pubis juga semakin sakit karena shaliha semakin besar dan menekan ke bawah. Jadwal ke kamar mandi juga semakin sering. Apalagi kalau shaliha mulai menendang-nendang kantung kemih. Rasanya pasti gak bisa nahan pipis bangeeeet. 🙂

Alhamdulillah, shaliha juga semakin lincah. Suka gak bisa diem sampe jam 2-3 pagi. Alhasil, bundanya juga jadi lumayan susah tidur. Kalau udah susah tidur, pasti yang digangguin ya ayahnya. 😉 Memelas minta ayah supaya bangun dan ngelus-ngelus punggung yang tambah ngilu sejak trimester ketiga (Terima kasih ayah atas kesabarannya ya hehehe).

Kemarin, shaliha juga baru di USG lagi karena BMI saya yang diatas rata-rata. Ternyata shaliha berkembang sangat pesat! Kata midwife, berat shaliha di atas rata-rata anak Asia. Consider bundanya orang asia, Shaliha termasuk anak yang gede. Hwaa…jadinya aku mulai ketakutan dan mulai diet. Tapi, midwife emang paling jago untuk nenangin hati ibu ya. Melihat wajah saya yang khawatir, midwife langsung berkata ‘Don’t worry. You totally will have a huge opportunity to have normal delivery.” Insya Allah. Kalau saya sih sebenernya yang penting shaliha sehat saat keluar nanti. Bagaimanapun caranya 🙂

Tentang berbelanja (yang belum juga di tulis sampai sekarang), sebenarnya kebutuhan persiapan shaliha lahir belum rampung. Insya Allah akan diselesaikan dalam minggu ini sebelum perut tambah berat dan saya tambah mager buat kemana-mana. Apalagi cuaca di Belanda juga udah mulai dingin dan berangin kembali.

Selain kebutuhan belanja, persiapan batin juga mesti semakin siap apapun yang terjadi. Menjadi seorang ibu pasti bukan pekerjaan yang mudah. Tapi, saya yakin Allah memberikan kesempatan di saat yang tepat. Allah Maha Tahu kapan hamba-Nya memang siap untuk menjadi orangtua. Maka dari itu, saya berusaha tidak khawatir (yah, walaupun pasti ada rasa-rasa khawatir yang kadang-kadang jadi ngubah mood saya sendiri hehe).

Insya Allah sambil menghitung hari, segala persiapan lahir dan bathin selesai sehingga ayah dan bunda shaliha bisa menanti shaliha dengan tenang. hehe Aamiin 🙂

Bapak Yohanes Surya: Tak hanya menjadi Sang Master Fisika

Beberapa hari yang lalu, saya menghadiri acara Indonesian Scholars Talk yang diadakan oleh PPI Belanda. Salah satu keynote speaker-nya adalah Bapak Yohanes Surya. Iya, bener, The Indonesian Physics Godfather. Sejak nama itu diluncurkan menjadi salah satu nama keynote speaker acara tersebut, saya langsung bilang ke abang kalau saya ngefans banget sama Pak Yohanes Surya sejak SMA. Sejak zaman fisika menjadi pelajaran yang kayaknya hampir tiap hari dipelototin di kelas atau di luar kelas karena guru fisika yang terlalu bersemangat mendorong kami para siswanya masuk ke universitas negeri terbaik di Indonesia. Dari dulu, saya penasaran banget gimana sih rasanya jadi seorang pak Yohanes Surya. Kebayang pasti kalo ngobrol sama pak Yohanes, saya gak bakal nyambung akibat intellectual gap yang terlalu tinggi di antara kami (baca: otak saya yang nggak mampu).

Alhamdulillah, pada acara IST, akhirnya saya diberikan kesempatan untuk bertemu beliau. Pada saat makan siang, saya cuma bisa bilang ke temen saya ‘Liat deh. Pak Yohanes lho itu. Gue dari dulu ngefans banget.’ Tiba-tiba, Pak Yohanes mendatangi meja makan kami dan duduk persis di sebelah saya. Kontan teman-teman tertawa sambil bilang ‘Wah, rezeki bumil nih!”. Muka saya merah padam, telinga saya panas, dan menyebabkan saya gak selera makan.

Sungguh di luar dugaan bahwa beliau ternyata adalah orang yang sangat humble. Beliau mulai bertanya dimana kami berkuliah dan jurusan apa yang kami ambil. Lalu, beliau bercerita tentang rasa penasarannya terhadap neuropsychology yang belum ada jurusannya di Indonesia. Beliau ingin sekali membuka jurusan tersebut, tapi sayang sekali hal ini belum dapat disetujui di Indonesia. Beliau juga bercerita kalau anaknya mengambil jurusan neuroscience pada saat strata 1, lalu melanjutkan neuroscience and fashion untuk pendidikan master dan diikuti dengan neuroscience and business sebagai pendidikan master yang kedua kalinya. Beliau juga berdiskusi tentang consumer behavior masyarakat yang jalan-jalan ke pusat perbelanjaan di jakarta.

Satu yang saya senangi dari Pak Yohanes Surya. Sungguh saya yakin beliau pinternya bukan main. Tapi, layaknya orang pintar yang sebenarnya, beliau tidak sibuk menggunakan istilah-istilah ‘pintar’ yang tidak dimengerti khalayak umum. Beliau menyampaikan kata-katanya dengan menggunakan bahasa ‘manusia’ kebanyakan sehingga dapat dimengerti and he definitely delivered his messages very well. 

Ntahlah, mungkin saya sedikit pusing sama orang-orang yang sibuk menunjukkan tingkat intelektual dengan menggunakan bahasa-bahasa istilah yang sulit dimengerti. Tapi, beliau.. berhasil bikin saya tambah ngefans! 🙂 *sambil elus-elus perut semoga dedek bayi nanti kalau diberikan intelektual yang tinggi dari Allah, tetap selalu rendah hati ya Nak :)’

Oh ya, waktu saya mendengarkan speech dari Beliau, ada satu pesan yang menurut saya sangat mengena di hati saya, yaitu:

“Tidak ada anak yang bodoh. Yang ada hanya anak yang tidak mendapat guru yang baik dan metode yang benar”

Terima kasih Bapak Yohanes Surya atas kesempatan bertemu muka dan saling bertukar pikiran yang masih cukup singkat bagi saya. Semoga saya memiliki kesempatan untuk bertemu lagi dengan Bapak. Saat nanti, mungkin ketemunya sewaktu anak saya ikutan kejuaraan olimpiade fisika ya Pak. Hehehe Aamiin 🙂

About you: Master Degree! (Part 1: the reasons why I chose you, Universiteit Leiden)

Sejak hari ini, saya (not official yet) mendapat gelar M.Sc di belakang nama saya. Alhamdulillah ya Allah. Semua ini terjadi karena-Mu ya Allah. 🙂 Setelah mengembalikan green card yang berisi daftar kehadiran colloquia yang wajib diikuti minimal empat kali dalam setahun, tugas saya selesai menjadi mahasiswa di Universiteit Leiden. Rasanya kali ini, saya kepingin cerita tentang perjalanan saya selama menempuh sekolah strata dua.

Keinginan saya untuk sekolah kembali telah ada sejak lulus sarjana sebenernya. Tapi, keinginan untuk bekerja saat itu juga begitu besar. Mulai dari menjadi research associate di Departemen Psikologi Sosial, UI hingga menjadi training consultant di EXPERD telah saya lalui sebelum akhirnya saya memutuskan untuk kembali sekolah. Dorongan ini juga semakin besar sejak saya mengenal mister Agahari, suami saya. Ternyata kami memiliki mimpi yang sama, yaitu sekolah kembali (yang pada akhirnya menjadi salah satu alasan kenapa kami harus menikah lebih cepat. Kalau kata mama: ‘Ya masa mau sekolah ke luar negeri berduaan trus gak kawin dulu?’) hihi.
 Saya memang mengincar dua universitas yaitu University College London (UCL) jurusan MSc in Social Development Practice (info mengenai kampusnya bisa di klik di sini) dan Universiteit Leiden (info mengenai kampusnya bisa di klik di sini) jurusan MSc in Social and Organizational Psychology. Mulailah saya giat mencari informasi mengenai persyaratan yang harus dipenuhi untuk dapat diterima di kedua universitas tersebut. Awalnya, saya mendaftar UCL karena deadline yang lebih cepat ketimbang Leiden University. Alhamdulillah, hanya dalam kurun waktu sekitar empat minggu, saya mendapat surat dan email balasan yang menyatakan bahwa saya diterima di program master yang saya sebutkan di atas. Beberapa minggu kemudian, saya mendapatkan email yang turut menyatakan kalau saya diterima di Universiteit Leiden juga.

Mulai deh saya bingung. Yang paling membuat saya bingung saat itu adalah saya baru menyadari kalau mister suami mendaftar ke tiga universitas yang semuanya berada di Belanda. Saya inget kayaknya kita pernah diskusi kenapa bang Aga tidak mendaftar ke UK. Tapi, saya lupa dan tetap saja mendaftar ke UCL sesuai impian saya. Hal ini dikarenakan memang program-program yang ia inginkan ada di Belanda dan tidak ada di UK. Alasan yang sangat valid dan kuat sehingga membuat saya semakin bingung. Sejujurnya, dari segi praktis, saya lebih kepingin kuliah di UCL karena segala programnya bener-bener bikin saya naksir! Bahkan ada program field practice ke Afrika segala. Seruuu banget kan? Tapi, untuk segi riset dan karir, sesungguhnya Universiteit Leiden lebih pas untuk kebutuhan saya. Program-programnya mirip banget sama di UI. Dan yang bikin tambah menyenangkan adalah, kampus ini benar-benar mengedepankan riset. Jadi, memang saya punya banyak kesempatan untuk belajar di kampus ini. Alasan terakhir adalah, kalau saya pilih di UK, lah masa Long Distance Marriage sama mister Aga? Kan, disuruh kawin juga karena supaya sekolahnya deket-deketan. hihi (selain karena alasan cinta yaaa…:p)

Akhirnya, setelah pertimbangan dan perdebatan sama mister suami yang cukup intense, saya memutuskan untuk merelakan UCL dan mengambil Universiteit Leiden. Cukup berat melepas UCL sebenarnya. Tapi saya tahu, banyak sekali hal-hal yang harus dipikirkan dan dipertimbangkan karena hal ini juga berhubungan dengan keinginan suami yang kepinginnya dekat sama istri 🙂 (saya juga sih…hahhaa)

Kalau di inget-inget lagi, ternyata memang keputusan Allah itu memang yang paling baik. Terkadang saya mikir, kalau saya di UCL, mungkin saya jadi jarang ketemu suami. Trus, mungkin Allah belum memberi kesempatan untuk merasakan hamil si shalihah yang sebentar lagi insya Allah akan lahir ke dunia. Saat saya kuliah di Belanda bersama suami, ternyata jauh lebih menyenangkan. Dukungan yang diberikan suami terasa lebih nyata karena dilakukan dalam jarak dekat. Saat lelah kuliah, apa-apa ada si Abang. Coba kalo kita jarak jauh.. gak kebayang sih pasti kangennnn banget. Trus, karena dekat, kami juga bisa saling mengoreksi tugas kuliah masing-masing. Diskusi pelajaran dan pengalaman harian di kelas juga terasa lebih menyenangkan dilakukan saat makan malam bersama 🙂
Susah-susahnya juga dirasain bersama. Mulai dari menggenjot sepeda saat angin kencang sampai kita mau jatuh dan akhirnya nenteng sepeda sambil melawan angin, belanja bahan makanan saat hujan deras, susahnya cari tempat tinggal di Belanda, mengatur pengeluaran supaya jangan kelaparan di Belanda :p, hingga saling ngebangunin buat belajar atau kerjain tugas yang belum selesai di tengah malam. 🙂

Sekarang, tugas belajar master saya sudah selesai. Saatnya fokus mendukung Abang yang masih punya tugas belajar selama sisa setahun ke depan, fokus untuk mempersiapkan kelahiran serta mengaplikasikan ilmu belajar pada shalihah yang insya Allah sebentar lagi hadir dan insya Allah memberikan kebahagiaan untuk kami berdua 🙂
Alhamdulillah 🙂

Bismillah, Positive! :)

Kabar gembira untuk saya dan abang!
Saat itu, kami baru saja pulang dari Budapest. Selang dua hari, kami berangkat ke Prague untuk liburan singkat selanjutnya. Pesawat kami pukul sembilan malam. Siangnya, kami masih bersantai di rumah sambil menikmati semangkuk indomie goreng yang entah kenapa dibeli dan tiba-tiba ingin disantap hari itu. Tiba-tiba saya mencetuskan perkataan, “Bang, beli testpack dong. Kali aja hamil. Kali ini gak sedih deh beneran kalo pas di coba ternyata negative.”

Berangkatlah suami saat itu juga untuk membelikan testpack merk toko etos-nya negeri Belanda yang cuma ditempuh sekitar 3 menit jalan saja (itu juga kalo jalannya santai). Sesampainya suami di rumah, testpack langsung saya pakai. Hasilnya: Alhamdulillah positive. Kaget? Banget. Saya langsung teriak-teriak panggil abang yang lagi duduk di bawah. Bergegas abang menaiki anak tangga sambil bertanya, “Kenapa dek?”. Saya tidak mampu berkata-kata, hanya menangis memeluknya dan menyerahkan hasil testpack tersebut. Suami tersenyum senang sekali dan berkali-kali mengatakan alhamdulillah. Namun, selang beberapa saat, kami bingung. Lalu harus bagaimana? Mana tadi barusan makan indomie goreng pula. Hahaha.

Setelah berdiskusi langkah yang harus diambil selanjutnya, bergegas saya menelepon my host cousin saat saya berada di Australia dulu. Kebetulan ia pun tinggal di Leiden sekarang dan baru saja melahirkan bayi laki-laki yang lucu. Ia menganjurkan saya menelepon midwife untuk membuat first appointment kehamilan. Ya, di Belanda memang tidak memakai dokter untuk kontrol kehamilan. Disini kehamilan ditangani oleh professional midwife a.k.a bidan yang terdidik dan berpengalaman. Dokter hanya menangani kasus tertentu saja bila terjadi kehamilan yang tidak normal.

Saat itu, saya hitung sudah memasuki 8 minggu kehamilan sejak menstruasi terakhir saya. Di Belanda, first appointment dengan midwife baru boleh dilakukan ketika usia kehamilan sudah mencapai 8-10 minggu. Bila usia kandungan masih sangat muda, first appointment akan dilakukan pada bulan berikutnya. Di pertemuan pertama, midwife meminta data-data pribadi saya dan suami dan melakukan pengecekan terhadap berat badan dan saya sangat bersyukur karena kehamilan ini ditanggung oleh asuransi pendidikan saya di sini. Hal ini tentunya mempermudah saya dan suami yang dua-duanya adalah pelajar master di negeri Belanda.

Hello First Trimester!
 Perjalanan trimester pertama saya cukup seru. Di saat rasanya badan ini masih beradaptasi dengan kehamilan, di situ pula saya tetap harus berkomitmen untuk menjalankan kuliah master saya di Leiden. Saya merasakan mual muntah hampir setiap sore menuju malam. Yang uring-uringan yah si abang. Dia khawatir karena saya hampir tidak pernah mau makan apapun selain buah dan susu. Saya hampir gak pernah ngidam yang mesti dapet saat itu juga. Semua yang saya idamkan adalah makanan indonesia yang rasanya cukup sulit kalau dicari di Belanda. Misalnya, saya kepingin ayam anyang dari kampung saya dan ayam ciganea yang kecil-kecil tapi nikmat. Lah mau cari dimana? Spesifik banget permintaan saya. Akhirnya ada beberapa kali saya cuma bisa keluar airmata di malam hari saking rindunya sama makanan-makanan Indonesia yang beragam tersebut.  Tapi, mungkin karena saya tahu kalau yang saya idamkan itu sulit dicari, akhirnya saya belajar untuk makan apapun yang ada saja dan yang bisa di masak kalau lagi kepingin saja. Saya merasa ngidam ini sebenernya terjadi karena ibu hamil itu cenderung gampang lapar. Nah, kalau lapar ngapain? Ya mikirin makanan. Nah, mikirin makanan inilah yang memberi ruang untuk berbagai jenis makanan muncul di pikiran-pikiran ibu hamil. Hahaha. Tapi, ada juga yang bilang kalau ngidam itu terjadi karena adanya kekurangan zat-zat di dalam tubuh yang seharusnya dipenuhi. Misalnya, tiba-tiba kepingin banget makan jeruk. Ini bisa terjadi karena tubuh kekurangan vitamin C sehingga tubuh memaksa kita untuk memenuhi zat tersebut.

Hello Second Trimester!
Nah, drama trimester pertama selesai di sekitar minggu ke 18 atau minggu ke 19. Saat itu, tubuh saya mulai bisa menerima makanan berbagai jenis. Mulai deh makan segala macem. Saya tahu suami saya bahagia banget di trimester kedua. Kalau kata suami, “Rasanya resah-resah trimester pertama hilang seketika pas lihat adek mau makan sebanyak ini. Apa aja abang beliin deh yang penting adek makan ;)”. Kasihan abang. Ternyata abang cukup tersiksa ya melihat trimester pertamanya saya. Di trimester kedua ini, saya lagi super lasak (grasak-grusuk). Perut belum terlalu gede, energi lagi maksimal banget. Di sini juga saya merasakan memiliki energi maksimal untuk menyelesaikan perkuliahan saya. Alhamdulillah thesis dan segala ujian perkuliahan saya juga terselesaikan di trimester kedua ini. Hanya tinggal melakukan internship yang harus terselesaikan hingga bulan Agustus 2015.

Hello Last Trimester! 
Trimester ketiga ntah kenapa mulai deh drama-drama (lagi). Mulai menyicil persiapan belanjaan bayi yang dibutuhkan (ntar ini diceritain di postingan lain ya) yang dipersiapkan oleh de kraamzorg, yaitu suster yang membantu ibu merawat bayi selama 7 hari pertama bayi lahir. Hingga persiapan penggantian visa, asuransi, dan pendaftaran bayi di city hall setempat. Menurut saya, sebenernya yang paling ribet itu mikirin persiapan belanjaan bayi. Karena opsinya terlalu banyaaaaaaak sampe saya nyerah buat nonton youtube untuk melihat pendapat ibu-ibu tentang kebutuhan bayi karena semuanya punya referensi berbeda. Apalagi, saya dan suami juga mesti memikirkan budget mahasiswa yang terbatas ini (maklum mahasiswa hihi :p). Nah, selain belanjaan, saya juga mulai merasakan kalau energi saya semakin berkurang. Perut tambah besar, jalan tambah lamban. Rasanya kalau jalan sama teman-teman, saya cuma sering bilang “I am sorry, I can’t keep up with you guys. Can you walk slower? Or you guys can walk faster, I am catching up with you.” Badan juga mulai sakit aneh-aneh. Kakinya ngilu, dadanya sakit, jemari tangan kaku, hingga heartburn yang terkadang datang disertai mual kalau saya makan yang terlalu pedas dan berlemak.

Tapi saya bahagia karena dedek bayinya nendang jadi super kenceng trus responsif banget sama suara dan sentuhan saya. Jadi, I think for now it’s all worth the pain.
Mungkin itu dulu cerita singkat ngalor ngidul dari saya. Nanti dilanjutin lagi dengan cerita yang lebih spesifik tentang persiapan belanjaan bayi di Belanda dan rasanya mengarungi kehidupan kehamilan bersama suami dan jauh dari keluarga.

Sekarang mau tidur dulu. Kakinya udah pegel karena nggak bisa duduk di kursi sambil ngetik lama-lama lagi. Hahaha…

This is your day, Mama Sayang.

Dear Mother,
Sometimes I wonder about the strength Allah gave you. In front of us, you always show that you are strong and as if you can conquer the world. Even though, there might be times when everything seemed hard for you. But, you never showed it in front of us.
There might be times when perhaps you just wanted to show your ego. But you never did. You always put your children’s need as your first priority cause you knew the rest would follow.
There is nothing I can describe how much I love you. You have raised me to become a woman like now and I still have no idea how to pay you back. Cause I can never pay you back.
I know I may not be as sweet as you wanted me to be. But, you should always know that I always think of you and you have a really special place in my heart.
I realize I still have a long way to go to become a woman like you. And sometimes I even ask myself whether or not someday I could be like you. Because you’re too amazing, you’re too strong, and you’re the best mother anyone could ever ask for.
Thank you Allah for sending me a mother like you. And, thank you mother for not giving up even only a second to raise me with your love and your patience.
Happy mother’s day, Mama.

I love you so much.