Monday, November 21, 2011

Unplanned but never unwanted

It's open topic today at Marriage Monday so let me repost my previous article which I haven't shared to MM yet.

I and hubby got an unplanned child but we always tell everyone, "unplanned but never unwanted!".  When I learned that I was having that late pregnancy, I was not ready to accept the reality because I had closed my mind to have only 2 kids. I was then happy and contented having both genders, 2 adorable kids who could always make my day even at the toughest time at work or the most pressing challenges in life so never did it cross my mind to have another one as I was already 40 then. But reprocessing my mindset was not really hard for me especially that I never go for the idea of abortion. My 2 kids who were then 10 and 9 even cried when they learned of my unexpected pregnancy so we explained to them that if we consider abortion, what if it's not successful? We asked them, "would you like to have a sibling who has deformity or handicap?" And they got our message clear. Now, our unplanned baby has grown into a wonderful toddler. He is our glue, our music box and above all, our health-booster and anti-aging secret.

Our unplanned baby is  our glue because he sticks us together. Everyone wants to go home early excited to play and bond with him. Instead of going somewhere else or hanging around, everyone in the household hurries to go home all because of him so we all bond together as a family.

Our unplanned but loved baby  is our music box because strangely, among our 3 kids even if the other 2 are highly inclined in music, our unplanned baby started to sing with the right tune and with a very good expression at an early age. He could sing "Twinkle, twinkle little star" perfectly even before he turned one. There are times that he starts singing the moment he wakes up and he fills our home with music. Just listening to him drives the stresses in life away.

Most of all, this unplanned baby has turned out to be our health-booster and our anti-aging formula. Hubby and I have to stay young, fit and strong as we always think of our late baby. There are even times when I get some minor illness and I think right away of my little boy. I must really get well as I have the fear in mind that if my illness gets worse or if I die, what about my baby? This kind of fear has made me take care of my health all the more. I think that my 2 older kids can already survive without me and will understand the situation, but not my toddler yet.  And he's too young and innocent to be left behind. We have to be strong to play with him and to sustain his needs until he is grown-up. So, he's not only our health-booster but also our main anti-aging  factor. Yes, he truly keeps us young and healthy!

So we thank God for our unplanned baby who turned out to be a great blessing to us all. He is never unwanted; in fact, our late bundle of joy is dearly loved by us all.

More interesting Marriage Monday posts over at Chrysalis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Learning from Monster-in-Law

To ease the growing tension while waiting for the flood to come to our area when a 3-day holiday was declared in Bangkok last week, I and my SIL (sister-in-law) did enjoy movie marathons including Monster-in-Law, a comedy. Mother-in-law-to-be, Viola (played by Jane Fonda) turns the life of Charlotte or Charlie (Jennifer Lopez) into a nightmare. I appreciate how Charlie did her best to still try to be submissive at times to her fiance's mother despite all her cunning schemes to drive her away from her only son, a famous surgeon. Viola, whose TV talk show has just been canceled, thinks that her only possession left is her only child, Kevin, so she does everything to catch his attention and solely possess him. But in the end, both women come into terms giving the movie a happy ending. The title character, Monster-in-Law, Viola, has a big heart after all and is just carried away by the uncontrollable circumstances of her life. Charlie also tries to understand how her MIL got affected by the loss of her job and she's forgiving enough so settling their differences seems easy. This is very encouraging for women who are struggling with their mother-in-law (MIL), that's why I thought of sharing it here in Marriage Monday over at Chrysalis, where thinking Christian women meet every first and third Monday of the month.

Personally, I'm thankful to God that I didn't have big issues with my late mother-in-law including the family of my husband as they are nice and unique from each other. Although at the first month of our marriage we had some minor issues having lived with my husband's family, we resolved such issues by deciding to leave their family compound and live on our own. Probably, if we continued to live with my husband's family, it would have taken longer to settle our own individual differences as husband and wife. Well, it's prevalent in Asian culture to stay with the extended family but I have seen a lot of troubled (some broken) marriages due to interference of in-laws, especially MIL. That's why the Biblical principle really makes a lot of sense:
For this cause, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh... (Genesis 2:24-25)

A close friend of mine lost her marriage due to interference of both side's in-laws. They never got the chance to strengthen their union and settle their individual differences on their own because they stayed with her husband's family and they saw just her negatives. If the couple got a fight, the husband's family would side him and he would  listen to them instead of protecting his wife until such time that my friend's mother took courage to confront the husband's family. And the situation got worst until they separated with their innocent child getting affected with both side's conflicts until now. I asked her recently if the situation would have been different had they lived on their own. She said it could be but it's too late now. She told me that her husband's mind had been polluted a lot by her in-laws drawing a very bad image of her that they thought such marriage would be unfair to their son they love so much (or his big income they also need?). Had they lived on the Biblical principle of leaving their own families early on to establish their own marital relationship, they would have not been torn apart. Although there are a lot of marriages that have been broken even if they live on their own, in many Asian cultures, staying with the extended family or allowing in-law interference has been recorded as one major factor.

While it is our culture to take care of our old folks in which we are bound to keep, it is advisable that  at the early stage of marriage, couples should stay away from them to allow the building of a strong marital bond. It is also reasonable as the parents are still strong to take care of and support themselves so that when the couple is already well established, usually when their own kids are already grown-ups, it is the best time to take in the grannies to stay with them. At this stage, they are too old to criticize and the marital bond of the couple is already strong enough to get affected.

As to the ending of the Monster-in-Law, it's only when Viola, the mom-in-law, left the new couple alone that her beloved son found true happiness with his union with Charlie. But if the couple chose to stay with such a situation and Viola persisted to pester them, they could never have peace and happiness. Since it's not easy to control our parents, taking a big step to stay away from them upon marriage to work things out as a husband and wife is a great way towards the establishment of a blissful marriage. Unselfish parents should be happy to see their children with a happy family, but because there is this tendency for the parents especially the mother for attention rivalry for a son she dearly loves against the daughter-in-law (DIL), then DILs should be more understanding.

Happy Marriage Monday everyone!