Zianne Tremedal, 20, admits that she considers herself the black sheep of her family. “I’m the eldest of three children,” she shares in an email interview with SmartParenting.com.ph. “Matigas ang ulo ko. I always disappoint my parents.”
It felt like she cemented her status as the family's black sheep when she found out she was two months pregnant. She was 18 and was about to start her third year as a Medical Technology student at Southwestern University in Cebu City.
“Wala akong idea dahil irregular ako at normal sa akin ang ma-delay. Wala rin akong morning sickness,” she shares. But Zianne thought of taking a pregnancy test just to rule out the possibility. “Nung nag-positive ang pregnancy test, wala akong ibang nasabi kundi, ‘Hala, mommy na ako.’”
She went to a nearby clinic to get an ultrasound. When she learned the fetus was 8 weeks old with a strong heartbeat, Zianne broke down. “Naiyak ako. Hindi ko alam kung tears of joy or sadness. Pero ang sarap sa pakiramdam ‘pag narinig mo ang first heartbeat ang baby mo,” she tells Smart Parenting.
Zianne knew she had veered far away from the path her parents had imagined for her future. But she knew it didn't mean she could not have that future. In a Twitter post that has since gone viral, she chronicled her success story: how she went on to graduate college even after becoming a teenage mom.
“Alam ko namang may posibilidad na mabuntis ako,” she says. “Ayokong sundan ng isang pagkakamali pa. Ginawa ko, ginusto ko, so pinanindigan ko.”
Since her family hails from Mindanao, Zianne's parents found out about the pregnancy through a phone call. Zianne told us her mother refused to talk to her for two weeks while her dad became sickly throughout her pregnancy. “He was very sad. Sino ba namang hindi, e ‘yung anak mo nabuntis 18 years old pa lang,” Zianne shared.
But parents never banished her or withdrew their support. Zianne remembered that after calling her dad to tell him she was pregnant, he gave her permission to share the news with her friends. “He told me, ‘para lumaki ‘yung bata sa tiyan mo,” she recalls.
With one hurdle down, another loomed ahead. Zianne had to decide whether she wanted to continue her studies or go back to Mindanao. Pride won. “Gusto kong magtapos on time kasi ‘yun ang gusto ng parents ko,” she says. “Gusto ko ring maibalik sa kanila ang lahat ng binigay nila sa akin at sa anak ko.”
Zianne needed to get permission from her college dean and her professors to continue her studies and finish her last two years. “Sabi ko [sa kanila] desidido ako makapagtapos ng pag-aaral,” she shares.
The faculty was apprehensive but they eventually relented. “Tinanong nila ako kung kakayanin ko kasi lahat major subjects. Pwede raw akong ma-stress at kawawa naman ‘yung baby. Sabi ko, kaya ko talaga.”
Every day, Zianne would go to the library to study after her classes ended, so that she could get eight hours of sleep. Her classmates also did their best to take care of her, volunteering to carry her bag while they were in school.
Zianne refused to ask her parents for extra money for her maternal milk. She tried her best to get by with her allowance and asked for free milk and vitamins from her ob-gyn. “’Yung mga sample na bigay ng med rep,’” she shares on a thread posted on her Twitter account.
The hardest part of being pregnant and in school was ignoring the looks and hushed conversations whenever she passed by. “Masakit, nakakahiya, pero wala na akong pakialam kasi hindi naman sila ‘yung makikinabang sa mga ginagawa ko. Ako at ang baby ko naman ang makaka-benefit sa pag-aaral ko,” she says.
Zianne passed the first semester of her third year. Then, two weeks after her second semester started, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy whom she named Euri Aszher, meaning “blessed light of God.” She was grateful it was a normal delivery; it meant she could go back to school right away.
Unfortunately, Zianne had to part with Euri after a week. She took him to Mindanao, so her parents could take care of her baby while she continued her studies.
For four months, Zianne struggled to give her baby breast milk. “Nag-pa-pump ako habang nag-aaral,” she reveals in her Twitter. “Ilang bottles pinupuno ko tapos nilalagay ko sa freezer at pinapadala sa Mindanao through ice bucket. Cargo lang thrice a week.”
She also had to endure the pain of being away from her baby. Her parents would call her via video chat, but she couldn’t bear it at times. “Umiiyak ako parati. Every time na naririnig kong umiiyak siya, gusto ko nang umuwi,” she shares. “Kaso alam ko kailangan kong tiisin ang lahat ng lungkot, kasi para sa kanya ‘yung pag-aaral ko.”
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Thankfully, all of Zianne’s hard work paid off. On April 2018, she proudly shared on Twitter that she was able to graduate and get her Medical Technology degree without any delay and failed subjects. Euri, on the other hand, continues to be healthy and is turning 2 years old this year.
It has been a long journey, but Zianne is grateful that her parents were able to guide her and support the decisions she made for herself and her baby. “Regrets are inevitable, so are mistakes. Nagkamali ako pero hindi ibig sabihin ay uulitin ko ito,” she says. “That one mistake taught me a valuable lesson. Mahirap, pero worth it.”