30-Day Challenge

Blogging to me is just a hobby, so I only write as and when I feel like it. But for more avid bloggers, or those who make it a point to post their entries on a daily basis, knowing what to write about can be challenging at times. As the new year has just begun, I think I want to add one more thing to my ‘list of resolutions’ and that is to write more too.. not only because it’s a constructive way to fill my time -especially during consultation hours when students don’t come and visit me, but it’s also a great way to practise (with an ‘s’, right, as it’s a verb? I always get this confused!) my writing. To help me kick-off this new habit, I’m following the footsteps of my BFF Niza who decided to complete a 30-day writing challenge. I might as well say thanks to the fella who came up with the idea, so thanks Gil!

OK, I’m almost a week behind schedule in the challenge, but hey, better late than not starting at all, right? So here goes. The first day’s challenge is to write about something that I’m looking forward to this year. Wow, there are just loads! From the top of my head: living in our newly revamped house, buying furniture and other stuffs to make the place more homey, welcoming our second baby into the world, sending more of my earlier works for publication and taking a short break from work (when I undergo my confinement) for 90 days (yeay!!).. So, which one will I talk about? I think I’ll rule out anything to do with our home project ‘cos that’s about the only thing I’ve been yakking about in the last 2-3 posts. And no talking about work too -how boring is that? So that leaves baby talk and my confinement. Hmm, think I’ll choose the latter. Heh.

I’ve only been pregnant once before and that was over five years ago, so my memories of being in confinement are kinda blurry. But I can tell you this: the first few days was a sore in the a$$, literally, and it took a lot of my might to get over the aches and pains (I was in labour for almost 15 hours with no epidural), headaches, lack of sleep, post-natal blues etc that came along with our new bundle of joy . You know what they say about when you look at your new baby, all the pain goes away? That’s utter rubbish. Hehe, but only for the first few days lah.. When the horrid pains subside and I’m left with the more ‘bearable’ ones, the saying is indeed true 🙂

I was fortunate to have stayed with my MIL, who is a full-time homemaker, during my confinement. Every morning before breakfast and evening before Maghrib, she would come to my room and lumur me with oil and give me a nice all-over-body rub. Though she wasn’t much of a masseuse, the simple massages really made my body better as the heat from the oil absorbs into my expanded veins (yes, pushing does take a toll on your body!). I think she did that for a couple of weeks, or was it for 45 days.. I can’t remember, but it was great.

My own mom, a true Javanese lady, made me follow her simpler version of confinement during the entire 45 days. Here’s a list:

  • eat 3-4 types of jamu daily -thank goodness they come in tablets now. I can’t imagine downing ’em as liquid!
  • wear the pilis on my forehead. This is said to lessen the headaches and avoid new mommies from having blurry visions. I’m not sure whether it helps me on the second part as I’m already wearing glasses
  • rub the param on my abdomen just before wrapping myself with the bengkung (or corset). According to my mom, it is best to wear the bengkung for a good 100 days but I stopped at day 60 -can’t stand the hotness and sometimes itchiness. But this time around, I hope to have more willpower and complete that challenge of 100 days of bengkung-wearing!
  • bertungku every morning and evening. I didn’t do this the traditional way though ‘cos I didn’t have the batu tungku, but my MIL lent me her daughters’ spotlight so it works about the same way.
  • no eating oily food as it’s fatty and stall the healing process of my stitches
  • wear socks ALL the time
  • sleep in a semi-sitting position i.e. stack the pillows behind my back  so my body isn’t horizontal. OK, I wasn’t completely sure the reason for this exercise, but hey, she still looks great and healthy at 60, so why not just follow eh? Related to this, my Hubby is required to sleep separately from me. Hehe. Obviously, we skipped this one. We still slept in the same room of course, who else is gonna help me when the baby cries at night??
  • always keep the legs close together. NO mengangkang, bersila or fold the legs at anytime during the confinement! This is super crucial as it avoids us getting icky spider veins. If that doesn’t bother you, then just picture this: you’ve already spent all your might pushing a humongous watermelon out of your precious, the least you can do afterward is keep everything down there tucked close together, no?
  • eat loads of food with black pepper, ginger and garlic in them. No eating food that are berangin or ‘sejuk‘.
  • drink plenty of warm water, so obviously, cold and bicarbonate drinks are out of the question.

I also showered with some herbs and wash my precious with air rebusan akar kayu for a few days to top it all off. And at the end of my confinement, I went to a proper tukang urut where the old lady did the sengkak thing. That’s where she massages your V area and pushes up your rahim, a natural way of birth control, they say. All I know is that it hurts as hell ‘cos she pushed extra hard due to the position of my rahim that is, er, low and according to her easy to conceive!

So there you go, a long blab about my past confinement and very likely, what I’ll be going through again in a few more months. I know it may sound awful but really, it’s all for a good cause. Think of it as an investment for our body and health for old age. Hopefully, I’m more mature (physically and mentally) this time around and can embrace the whole process good-naturedly.

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