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  • Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo on Being a Mom at 42

    Celebrity mom Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo on being a busy mom at age 42 and making smart choices for her son Jacobo’s nutrition.
    by Stephanie F. Esguerra .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Dawn Zulueta-LagdameoMotherhood may be the best job in the world but this does not mean that it is perfect and easy all the time. On the contrary - and as all mothers will attest – nothing prepares you for it. Especially now that kids seem more advanced and their needs different, motherhood can be overwhelming, especially for moms who hold 9-to-5 jobs on top of their domestic responsibilities. Not, though, when you play it smart.

    Celebrity mom Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo knows this first-hand, having to balance her showbiz commitments with caring for her five-year-old son Jacobo and two-year-old daughter Ayisha. She is also involved in socio-civic organizations and is, in fact, a board member of Bantay Bata.

    When we asked how it is to be a mom to a big kid and a toddler at age 42, she says, “It’s tiring! At my age, it is tiring. As I tell my friends, have babies sooner, because when you’re already nearing 40, for some reason, you cant’ seem to catch up as fast as you’d like to. But it’s fun. It’s so much fun. I think my kids keep me young and keep me on my toes.”

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    Reproductive Autoimmune Failure Syndrome
    The challenge for Dawn and her husband Anton was to get pregnant. “Both were difficult pregnancies, but my pregnancy with Ayisha was even more difficult. I think it really has a lot to do with age,” Dawn shares.

    It was after Dawn got pregnant with Jacobo that she had herself checked and was diagnosed with a condition called Reproductive Autoimmune Failure Syndrome (RAFS). “Your reproductive immune is giving you problems to conceive or you can get pregnant, but you can’t seem to keep the pregnancy. There are five or six different kinds. You can have two or one or all,” Dawn explains. “But that has treatment already, you can be treated for that.”

    Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo

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    Dawn is aware just how many women have problems conceiving, so she encourages these women to get themselves checked. “It is a simple blood test. You go to your O.B. and get a blood test to find out what your reproductive immune problem might be,” she urges.

    “Aside from that, of course you have to live a healthy lifestyle,” Dawn encourages. “That’s really first and foremost … but come on, I lived the healthy lifestyle already and still I had a problem so the next step was to get myself checked for reproductive immune. That was it pala.”

    The problem with RAFS, Dawn adds, is that it just happens. There’s no way of telling if you have it. She says she had the same condition during her pregnancy with Ayisha, so she required more medication. Unlike her pregnancy with Jacobo, her second pregnancy also had more complications such as hypertension.

    This is why Dawn and her husband have decided to stop trying for another child. “Wala na, okay na. And besides, 42 is kinda risky already. I would like to have more kids, but my husband and I have decided that you know, we have a boy and a girl already. We’re so blessed. That’s it. That’s it already kasi it’s too hard to keep the pregnancy in my case. But if we have another baby, thank you! That will still be good, and I’ll still get treatment.”


    On parenting, discipline and priorities
    Now looking after two energetic children, Dawn says she lays down the same set of rules for her children, despite the different personalities of her kids. “It’s really true what they say that every child is different,” she says. “No matter how similar you try to raise them, they are really just different. Temperament, character, it’s just different. Jacobo is so outgoing, he’s so ma-PR. He’s not shy at all! He just talks to anybody. Ayisha’s not like that. In the beginning, she looks like an introvert, but she warms up. Ayisha seems to be a little bit more observant and quiet.”

    Because Anton is constantly away due to the demands of being in Congress, Dawn makes sure to let the father and kids catch up with each other when he’s home. “When the husband arrives I get to rest and he’s going to do all the policing because I am just the bad one all the time. I am the police, the one that’s screaming all week!” Dawn says with a laugh.

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    Dawn Zulueta-LagdameoThe trick, according to Dawn, is to know your priority. “It is important that you know what comes first and, for me, that’s my family and their wellbeing.” Dawn, for instance, takes time to bring her children to their pediatrician and takes advantage of her visits by asking information about nutrition, health, and medicines. She even keeps a medical journal for both Jacobo and Ayisha.

    “I ask whatever I can when I visit my pedia and when I forget something, I just call her or text her. I also read up a lot when I have time especially on parenting and health. I’m a newspaper person and I love reading magazines, too.”

    Organization and time management is another key. You need to have a clear-cut schedule on when to do things. And she does not only impose this on herself but also on the people who work with her. Her household help, for instance, keep a bulletin board in their room with the schedule for the day. That way, she does not need to be there to tell them what to do, since it’s already there.

    “It’s really hard to manage your time.  Like with me, I have tapings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so everything I need to do for Jacobo and Ayisha and the other things I am involved in, I have to squeeze in the in-between days and weekends. Those are the days when I attend to their needs. I take care of whatever they need for school, take them to soccer lessons, children’s parties, everything. I even have to check on Jacobo’s assignments when I get back home from taping because we are required to sign their notebooks and can you imagine, he is just in prep, but my God, he has assignments every day!” Dawn exclaims in disbelief.

    This is not the only thing that has Dawn reeling. Kids’ lessons in school are also more advanced. Jacobo is only in prep but he already has basic math, science and spelling. It’s no longer just the usual reading, writing and drawing. He is even required to learn Mandarin in his school! Plus, with technology, kids are exposed to more information at a speed that adults are not so used to.

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    Dawn Zulueta-LagdameoOn making smart choices for Jacobo
    “When I look at Jacobo, I marvel at how he can easily absorb everything and how he has the energy for everything. His world has opened up already so much. He’s in school, he’s more inquisitive and you can have conversation with him already. Kids now are capable of taking on so many things all at the same time. He has soccer and taekwondo and of course, there is school and his Mandarin tutorial. He has time pa nga to teach Ayisha how to count in Chinese. He already knows computers and in a few more years, he will, for sure, know more than I do. I never dreamed of doing all these, I cannot even remember a time when I had so many things to do all at the same time. But as a mom, kailangan mo talaga silang sabayan,” she confides.

    Milk has always been an important factor in Jacobo’s diet, ever since Dawn’s pediatrician explained to her how vital milk is in brain development and physical growth. Her pedia even gave her a list of the nutrients that she should look for in milk: DHA, Choline, Taurine, Iron, Folic Acid, Linoleic acid and Linolenic acid, Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, and Nucleotides, and mentioned that all these are found in Abbott’s Eye Q Nutrition System. Being a smart mom, she researched and found out that one nutrient isn’t really enough for optimum brain development.

    Dawn believes that by making smart choices and smart moves, mothers can make motherhood easier, less stressful and better than best. And one of the smartest moves she made is making sure that Jacobo gets the best milk product fit for his age and development. She sees the fruits of that decision every time she spends time with her son or each time other parents would tell her how intelligent and bibo Jacobo is or how teachers would comment on his good manners and generous spirit – donating his old toys to charity on his birthday and every Christmas. Seeing her son grow up strong, healthy and wise is reward enough for all her hard work. Nothing can really make motherhood better than ever than having the satisfaction that your child is getting the best care that he can have.

    “You’ll see naman how it affects your kid. Nutrition really plays a key role especially at this time when he is learning so many things. It is not just an activity that he does in school. Every time you tell him something, whether to clean up after he plays or to respect elders, they are learning, absorbing. Without proper nutrition, they will be slow to understand, to react. No matter how often you tell him or how much you teach him, it won’t matter if his brain cannot take them in. Jacobo makes things easier for me because he already understands what he should do. For instance, he knows that he needs to drink milk. Ask him and he will tell you ‘because I need to make my brain stronger.’ He knows that people have jobs and his job right now is to study hard. So, he treats his studies seriously and does his homework first before he plays. He understands.”

    “Don’t underestimate children. Just explain to them and they will understand, provided, of course, that you speak plainly and you give them the proper nutrition. If Jacobo does it, so can your child.”


    Next Generation Gain School Advance is a milk drink for kids three years old and up that has the Eye-Q Nutrition System that combines a number of nutrients including DHA, Taurine, Choline, Iron and Folic Acid to support a child’s health and mental development. It is available in Vanilla and Choco flavors. For more information log on to www.abbott.com.ph.

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