• What We Know for Sure: 'Motherhood Is a Learning Process'

    Find support, stop judging, and 12 useful tips for new parents.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
  • When Camille Prats recently held her princess-themed bridal shower (those of a certain age, ahem, will always remember her title role in Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa, of course), we got a chance to chat with her friends, most of whom happen to be veteran moms. So we had to ask: based on their experience, what piece of advice do they have for moms-to-be or parents of newborns?     

    CAMILLE PRATS
    The movie-TV actress and co-host of the lifestyle program Mars is a widowed mom to only son Nathan, who’s almost 9 years old, and will tie the knot for the second time in January. Her advice to moms: relax.  

    1. Try to keep calm. 
    “It’s very normal for new moms to be frantic and worried all the time about the little things. At ang tip ko talaga na unang-una is to relax. Kasi kapag na-praning ka over something, parang mag-iisip ka, mago-overthink ka. Akala mo, masama na ’yong nangyayari. Magpa-panic ka na. It’s not actually helping. 

    2.  Stop judging yourself.    
    “Ang bilis ng panahon kapag lumalaki ’yong bata. [Try to] embrace it every day, and be kind to yourself. Kasi sometimes you tend to judge yourself as a mom. ‘Am I doing good? Am I doing enough.’ Take it easy on yourself. Kasi you have to think na hindi ka rin perpekto. At inaaral mo din ’yong anak mo…It’s not easy job. It’s really a lot of work and if it gets into your head, you tend to be emotional and you go crazy. That’s the last thing you’d want to happen, lalo na pag nag-aalaga ka ng bata.”

    ISABEL OLI
    The actress, who welcomed her firstborn Lily Feather with her actor-husband John Prats on April 18, 2016, agrees with her sister-in-law.

    3. Never stop praying for wisdom and guidance.
    “Always pray to God. Siya lang talaga ang makakatulong, and siyempre, ’yong comfort, especially when they get sick. Hindi mo na alam ang mangyayari when they cry. Oh, my God! Wala na, so you just pray. Don’t get nervous agad.

    4. Enjoy every minute that you can.
    “Just enjoy taking care of your child kasi sobrang bilis lang talaga nila lumaki. Cherish every moment kasi sooner or later, di ba, parang hindi naman forever sa ’yo sila. Just enjoy lang talaga.” 

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    SHERILYN REYES
    The actress and restaurateur, who has three children, the eldest of whom, Ryle Santiago, is a member of the all-male dance group Hashtags, is practical in her advice.  

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    5. Rethink the 'bigkis.'
    “Ewan ko kung hanggang ngayon uso pa rin ’yong nagpupusod [bigkis]. Kasi ako, hindi ko na ginawa ’yon. Sabi actually ng doctor, huwag nang gawin… It’s not necessary. At saka ’yong healing mas mabilis pag naka-expose lang sa air ’yong wound.  

    6. Rethink the mittens, too. 
    “Hindi na rin ako nag-mittens. [Sabi nila para] hindi makalmot. E puwede mo namang i-cut ’yong nails. At the same time, mainit na, e. Sinasabi din no’ng iba na nagkakaroon ng thread sa loob, naiipit ang fingers ng bata. So hindi na rin ako naniniwala sa mittens. Isa pa ’yon [tinatanggal din ng baby]." 

    7. Go for natural medicine.  
    “I’m more into using natural medicine. In fact, ’yong Parenting Emporium, bumibili ako do’n ng kung ano-anong medicine na puwede sa kids ko. ’Yong mga food, hindi ko masyadong sinusunod talaga. Kasi ’yon ang nakasanayan. Going back to organic, tinray ko, to be honest. Pero medyo nahirapan. Siguro hindi ’yon ang nakasanayan sa loob ng bahay. But, of course, it’s okay to try. Lalo na kung ’yong mga magulang, nasanay.”   

    YAYO AGUILA
    The former teen star, whose eldest child is already 30 years old, has only one thing to say: you don't perfect parenting skills overnight. 

    8. Know that motherhood is a learning process.  
    “Parati ko lang sinabi na i-embrace niyo ang motherhood. It’s something priceless. It’s very tiring, but it’s very fulfilling. Kahit matatanda na ang mga anak ko...iba ang joy na nabibigay sa buhay mo. Ang sarap ng pakiramdam ’tapos makikita mo ang mga anak mo na okey sila, napalaki mo sila nang maayos, masaya. It’s a learning process, though, pero masaya.”

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    DIANA ZUBIRI
    The actress who plays cursed beauty Lilasari in the GMA-7 fantasy series Encantadia is mom to a 7-year-old boy by her late first husband as well as to a 3-month-old girl with husband Andy Smith. She says she is struggling more now than the first time she was a mom to a newborn -- but that is okay.     

    9. Take it easy on yourself when it comes to breastfeeding and weight loss.  
    “Ngayon, very hands-on kami and at the same time, I’m working already. Nagi-struggle ako kasi nagpapa-breastfeed ako, ’tapos hindi ko alam kung tama ba ’yong ginagawa ko. Hindi naman ako actually nagda-diet. Sabi nila, huwag daw magmadali kung gusto mong pumayat kasi water weight sa katawan. I think ’yon ang major thing, to take it slow. Huwag kang magmadali kasi baka magkaroon naman ng complication, especially kung nagpapa-breastfeed ka. 

    “Do’n na nagi-start ang post-partum [or] complication with your partner. Siyempre parating mainit ang ulo mo. E minsan, nafi-feel ko ’yon pag nai-stress ako, may days na mahina ang milk ko. No’ng nabasa ko ’yon, dapat yata hindi ko i-pressure ang sarili ko. The more I pressure myself, the more siya na hindi lalabas.”

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    NIKKI VALDEZ
    The actress, a single mom to 8-year-old Olivia Isabel, encourages moms to listen to their intuition. 

    10. Keep an open mind.  
    “It’s not bad to listen to old tips. Oo [traditional] kasi di ba proven na ng mga grandma at mga datihan ng mga moms. Minsan kasi nakakatulong pa rin ’yong mga traditional way of bringing up a child." 

    11. Learn to trust your instinct.  
    “Based on my personal experience, I think it’s nice to go with how you want to raise your kid. Dati kasi ang hilig kong magbasa. It came to a point na parang nakakapraning. So payo ko lang…Hindi ko sinasabing not to get tips from reading or from the Internet, or from videos. Pero mas maganda siguro ’yong how you really want to bring up your child. Every pregnancy and being a mother is different talaga from each one. 

    11. Eat fresh.   
    “As much as possible, if you can, ’yong natural food ’yong ifi-feed. Based on my experience. I don’t know maybe because ’yong daughter ko, at an early age no’n, binitawan na niya ang jar food. Mas gusto niya talaga ’yong freshly osterized na vegetables. The fresher it is, the better.” 

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    SUZI ENTRATA-ABRERA
    The Mars co-host has three children by her husband Paolo Abrera, who’s also a TV host and entrepreneur.

    12. Find your breastfeeding support group.    
    “My kids are 13, 11, and 10. So it’s been a while. But I do remember feeling very overwhelmed at some points. Pero I guess one tip would be if you’ve decided to breastfeed is to make sure you probably have the contact information of all those who believe in it. It’s not an easy thing. Some people think it should be natural. Sometimes it’s harder than we think it is. So whenever you’re feeling challenged by the breastfeeding, make sure you get in touch with those people who’ve done it before. And all of us who’ve breastfed before are very supportive of those trying because we know that it’s not that easy." 

    13. Don't be afraid to ask for help.  
    “Sometimes as a new mom, parang you put too much expectation upon yourself as well and are afraid to ask for help from others, but please, if you have a partner, a husband, a mother, or a tita who’s willing to help you, please ask for help. Because sometimes when you get overwhelmed, and you’re so tired na, parang it’s hard to enjoy taking care of a baby pag sobrang kulang na kulang ka na sa tulog." 

    14. Read to make informed decisions.  
    “Arm yourself with a lot of information because siyempre it’s such a new thing to be a mother. So pag kunwari, ’yong baby, ganito ang iyak, para hindi ka rin masyadong mataranta. I guess in addition to that, if you can even research online, or prior to that, take parang first aid classes. It helps make you feel confident na pag may nangyari, at least alam mo ang gagawin na first aid.” 

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    All photos are courtesy of Goody Philippines, which hosted Camille's bridal shower.  

    Jocelyn Valle is a senior staff writer at YES! Magazine who previously worked as a freelance entertainment writer for various publications including the Philippine Daily Inquirer. If she's not running after celebrities or writing long pieces on entertainment issues and scandals, she practices yoga and defies gravity with aerial hoop. 

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