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Saturday, February 18, 2006


A week ago, I met a good friend after we didn’t have time to talk together for almost a year. She told me very good news: she got Fullbright scholarship to take Master’s Degree to America. That’s quite an achievement! She will go to America next August 2006. I am happy for her, of course.

Some days after that, I told a workmate of mine about that happy news. Instead of hearing his happy remark, he commented, “Doesn’t she think of having a baby first rather than to pursue her study? She has got her Master’s Degree from Diponegoro University, hasn’t she?”

I was speechless to hear that comment. This male workmate got married in /August 2005, and about two weeks ago his wife just got miscarriage. My good friend has got married for more than six years, and until now she hasn’t got a baby yet. (Nature’s secret why some women easily get pregnant while some others do not. Who is to blame?)

I remember this good friend of mine was always restless to wait for the coming of a baby in her marriage. She always feels uncomfortable to attend her big family’s gathering coz she is always unhappy when her relatives ask about that. An axiom saying “you are a true woman only after you deliver a baby” has been haunting her. Her understanding husband doesn’t really help comfort her restlessness.

Last year she sent me messages saying that she would apply for a Fullbright scholarship. She said, “I want to show people that I have ‘something’ to be proud of though I don’t have a baby (yet).” My comment was, “Good, dear, go for it!”

Now that she has got it, in fact, she finds some (conventional) people besiege her with questions, such as, “Don’t you think that having a baby is more important than pursuing your study coz you are a woman?” or “Don’t you think that in fact your husband is not really willing to let you go coz he wants to have a baby from you? And not Master’s Degree from you? Who knows he said that it is okay for you to go to America only for his lips service and not coming from his heart?” or “Are you sure that your husband is willing to see that you give more priority to your career than to give him a baby?”

In our country, people still stick to three things that they think will make their life ‘complete’ and ‘happy’: having a job, being married, and having a baby. This is so strongly stuck on everybody’s mind that it really bothers their conscience if they don’t have these three things. In my good friend’s case, her having a good career and understanding husband do not really make her feel happy. She was continuously worried. It was difficult for her to think that “it is okay to live without a baby. People will still be happy not to have one of those three things. Why should they care much about other people’s comment? And why do some of us nosily talk about other people? Why don’t we just feel happy for other people?

My good friend needed to comfort herself not to have a baby yet by getting an academic achievement. How about other people? Especially those who cannot comfort themselves and keep thinking of what society says about them (for example not married yet or not having a baby yet).

Feeling happy and ‘complete’ in our lives must be determined by ourselves. And be confident with that.

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