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Ayuni Ayatillah

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I was once a rebellious teenager who chose to be different in expressing my ideas. However, I must say that there was also a hormonal, sappy part of me that secretly enjoyed hopelessly romantic love songs. A chunk of my playlist was dominated by Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza’s songs.

In retrospect, I practically went through my teens with Siti Nurhaliza’s songs, which naturally made her one of my favourite Malaysian singers of all time. Even as a mom, every now and then you’ll catch me karaoke-ing to her songs while doing house chores, much to my kid’s annoyance.

So yes, it must be clear that I have Malaysia’s beloved songbird close to my heart. But it isn’t only me. Siti Nurhaliza has touched many lives through her beautiful songs and melodious voice. She has become a national treasure, one to be cherished for her contributions to Malaysia’s music industry. Malaysia’s sweetheart is an inspiring icon who came from humble beginnings and rose to fame with her pure talent.

Journey through infertility and TTC

In 2006, Siti Nurhaliza tied the knot with renowned businessman Datuk Seri Khalid Mohammad Jiwa, better known as Datuk K. Her decision to marry an older and divorced man caused some uproar among fans and followers, and there was much scrutiny into her personal life.

Nevertheless, the marriage stood strong. The couple found themselves on a TTC (trying-to-conceive) journey for a grueling 11 years. Year after year, Siti Nurhaliza’s struggles with infertility became even more apparent as time went by. Being under the spotlight must have been challenging during this time, especially with so many curious, prying eyes on her.

Even during such a challenging period of her life, the soft-spoken star never lost her grip and faith. She spoke of her infertility issues openly, admitting that she had been going for fertility treatments. She talked about facing the challenges she had to go through with a strong heart and mind.

The singer became the face and voice of the struggles with infertility, a topic that was still largely taboo in Malaysian society.

In 2015, there was a spark of hope when fans heard about her being pregnant. Sadly however, Siti Nurhaliza then shared devastating news that she suffered a miscarriage two months into her pregnancy. She then carried on with her TTC journey and moved on to a 3rd attempt at In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Good news and the nation rejoices

In October 2017, the good news everyone was hoping for finally arrived. Siti Nurhaliza called for an exclusive press conference to break the news – she calmly announced that she was 4 months pregnant. There had been plenty of speculation as her professional gigs had dwindled months prior to the announcement.

In the press conference, she admitted that her baby was conceived through IVF. The 38-year-old stated that it was the most viable option for her as age was catching up on her and she could not risk waiting any longer. Finally, Malaysia’s Number One singer received the ultimate award she had been waiting for – the chance to become a mother.

The months that came after the announcement went by like a breeze. After 9 months and a very cautious and healthy pregnancy, Siti gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on 19 March 2018 via Caesarian section.

Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk K watching over Siti Aafiyah . Photo source: @ctdk (Instagram)

After years of struggle, Siti Nurhaliza has now become a mother, and the nation rejoices. Malaysia’s sweetheart has her own little sweetheart, and she is aptly named Siti Aafiyah, which translates to “health and strength”. They were words that her mother never ceased to mention in prayers throughout her pregnancy.

A symbol of hope

Looking beyond the celebration of Siti Aafiyah, Siti Nurhaliza’s journey in TTC and infertility has become a symbol of hope for many couples who are struggling and trying for a child of their own. Her openness about her journey and willingness to share her struggles has given a new voice to the TTC community. She has helped raise awareness about the realities of infertility.

“There’s no shame in admitting it. Many have been through what I have experienced. Some waited even longer. I want to share my experience with them,” she once said during a session with the media.

Her experience has also inspired her to open a fertility center under Yayasan Nur Jiwa, which will provide affordable fertility treatments to hopeful couples. The center is now being built and due to be launched early next year.

 

A heartfelt congratulations to Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa on the arrival of Siti Aafiyah, from us at makchic! May there be an abundance of happiness and love around her always. 

 

Photos: Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza

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My son Khaleeli is a classic example of an energetic toddler. Ever since he was younger, he seemed wired for physical play. There was plenty of knocking and tumbling, rolling and jumping, wherever and whenever.

I believe that physical play is part of a healthy child’s development. My husband and I, however, worry about my son’s safety as not all places are suitable for his rough play. As such, we decided to try out a few kids play gyms to let him use up his energy.

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Parenting can sometimes be overwhelming for new and old parents alike.

Some parents choose to prepare as much as they can for their children’s milestones, while some take it easy – they cross the bridge when they get there. Either way, a strong support system and reliable sources for reference are essential for parents.

Fortunately, the digital era has made parenting support and references easily accessible for all. Here is a handy list of our favourite and helpful Malaysian parenting sites:

LEARNING AND EDUCATION WEBSITES

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Sensory play is one of the important elements of a child’s early learning process. Littlest Hands offers classes and workshops for a fun sensory play, as well as ideas and inspirations for parents to create their own sensory play session at home. The messier the playtime, the more fun it is!

 

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Parenting Times is a one-stop centre for information on educational enrichment programs, events and useful resources to help with your child’s school activities.

 

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When it comes to early learning, there are different school of thoughts worth exploring. Dr. Afzan Maria is an expert and advocate of play-based learning, where young children learn through play in a structured and organised learning environment.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT WEBSITES

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Do you have a burning question or need support for your breastfeeding journey? The Breastfeeding Advocates Network FB group, also known as TBAN, is one of the favourite places for mothers to get tips, information and moral support.

 

Some of us face challenges in our parenting journey, including the journey of conceiving a child of our own. This group is the place for TTC parents of Malaysia, where a group of parents-to-be and couples find comfort and support in their TTC journey.

 

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Parenting is Heart Work is an FB page where parents share their experiences and the ups and downs of parenting. It is probably the best place to get virtual hugs from fellow parents once in a while.

 

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This FB group is run by supportive mothers and experts who offer advice, support and references for a healthier and natural pregnancy and labour. The community shares tips, advice, events, expert advice and moral support for pregnant mothers who often have a myriad of concerns during pregnancy and labour.

 

REFERENCES/SERVICES/SHOPPING WEBSITES

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This FB group is the biggest bento-making group in Malaysia. Their members inspire each other with wonderful cooking and bento ideas for parents who love to prepare healthy food for their children and family.

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This group is run by the IBU Family, a non-profit organisation which aims to provide information about anything related to parenting. They also bring together a community of parents through volunteering programs, support groups, free clinics and seminars.

Running out of wholesome meal ideas to cook for the children? Join this FB group and learn wonderful recipes from fellow mothers. Everyone in this group shares their recipes and resources to cook delicious, healthy homemade meals.

 

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Sometimes we don’t need to splurge on baby items when there are plenty of preloved items out there for the taking. This group is where parents sell and buy preloved baby goods ranging from toys, breast pumps, strollers to kids clothing. You’ll probably easily find what you are looking for over here.

 

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This site is run by the Malaysian Paediatric Association, and offers expert advice and guidance by healthcare professionals. Their aim is to provide unbiased, accurate and practical information to help parents make the best decisions for their children.

 

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This brilliant FB page is the page to go to when you need to find support and services regarding parenting. This is where stay-at-home-mums are able to offer their skills and services for a side income. Working mums can also find help when it comes to taking care of their children. It’s a healthy and supportive community where mothers support each other.

 

By Ayuni Ayatillah

Ayuni is a mum of two bubbly bubs, a freelance writer and a stationery hoarder. When not writing, she’s busy running the household, daydreaming about travelling the world or playing with her fancy colourful pens.

 

Photo credits: Littlest Hands, Parenting Times, Dr Afzan Maria, TBAN, Parenting is Heart Work, The Gentle Birthing Group Malaysia, Kelab Bento Malaysia, Ibu Family Resource Group, Preloved Baby Goods, Positive Parenting, JOBS for Caring Moms.