It was a Sunday morning in October of 2014. I had woken up earlier than my husband, and decided to use the pregnancy test kit I had bought upon my ob-gyn's advice. My period was delayed, so she said it’d be best to get a test.
Slowly but surely, two pink lines appeared. I was pregnant! I woke my husband up to tell him the good news, and we celebrated by having an impromptu breakfast date. We were so happy to share our happy little secret, just the two, or should I say three, of us.
The beginning of a new life When we got married in December 2013, my husband and I decided to wait a year to have a baby. He was still finishing his fellowship training as a pediatric pulmonologist, while I was busy as a professional singer and recording artist.
After I found out I was pregnant, I was going to continue working, do shows, and TV appearances. Unfortunately, I had a delicate pregnancy and was put on bed rest for the two months of my first and second trimester. By the time my pregnancy was stable, I couldn't do gigs anymore because I was already “showing.” So I just focused on my nail salon business.
Little did I know that those subtle lifestyle changes were just the beginning – the beginning of a whole new life.
Even before I became a mother, I was already a worrywart. Some might may even call me pessimistic, "nega" or "praning" because I would always think of what could go wrong. So you can just imagine how I was during the pregnancy.
I was so scared of what might happen to the baby and was concerned of what will happen to our family in the future. How we will provide for our child? How we will raise him/her in this ever-changing world? There was a whole new level of worries and fears reserved especially for parents. Suddenly, I was more conscious and aware of my own safety and health because there’s this little person who will depend on me to take care of him until he can do it on his own.
It was a good thing my husband is my opposite. He would always allay my fears and worries, remind me that we are a team, and that tell me that help comes when we need it. With his help, these new fears made me braver and stronger. I found myself rising to this challenge, and it was amazing to discover that “a mother’s instinct” is definitely real.
Pushing limits My doctor advised me to give birth via an elective cesarean section (CS) because my son, Kobe, was "LGA" (large for gestational age). I started to prepare myself by researching about CS birth and what to expect after the procedure. I knew that it takes twice as long to physically recover compared to a normal delivery.
I wasn't prepared, however, for the actual physical pain after the pain medication wears off (24 hours after the CS)! I discovered that I had a low tolerance for pain. It took quite a huge amount of determination and emotional motivation (and extra pain meds) to will my body to be strong and recover quickly so I could take care of my newborn boy.
After we went home from the hospital, I took care of Kobe round the clock. My husband was working, and he would be on nappy duty at night. But I still woke up during the night feedings.I pushed myself to nurse him every two to three hours, enduring the pain each time I would position my body to feed him and each uterine contraction when he would latch and suck.
My concern was during the first week of breastfeeding Kobe. He would fall asleep at my breast only a few seconds after latching, so he lost a lot of weight at that time. It was a good thing I had a handful of breastfeeding "cheerleaders" that helped me through this bump—my husband and a couple of his pedia friends who were also lactation consultants.
Being a mom definitely pushed my physical limits, but it also tested my emotional well-being.
Courage zone When I started singing professionally again (five weeks after I gave birth), I found myself pumping backstage before singing, pumping inside the car while on the road, and even pumping at the airport and on the plane when I first flew out for a gig! There were times when I would go home really late and tired. And instead of resting immediately after getting home, I would nurse Kobe and put him back to sleep.
Last February (the busiest month for singers like me), I got sick from the daily and out-of-town gigs, and instead of resting in between gigs, I would nurse Kobe because he refused to take breast milk from the bottle when he knows I am in the house. I had to wear a mask while breastfeeding and even in bed because he sleeps with us. I would pray every night for physical strength and recovery, so I would not lose my voice because of the lack of sleep and rest.
All these things and more though have made me see how blessed I really am. I am grateful that I was able to go back to work and get gigs again. And I am lucky that singing professionally requires me to be away from my baby only a few hours at most. (I only started accepting out-of-town gigs when Kobe was eight months old.)
Indeed, motherhood has given me a new perspective in life. I became more detached from material things, and I now place more value on relationships.
I guess you could say that becoming a mother helped me to trust more. To fear the unknown less. To step into my “courage zone.” To “let it go,” as Frozen’s Elsa would belt out.
I am no super mom, but I am committed to be the best I can be for my baby. I find myself praying more, praying harder. This gives me strength to face my fears on a daily basis.
To end, let me share this “love note.” I pray that he—and all the kids of my fellow parents out there—will realize one day how they have changed our lives forever... for the better:
Thank you, Kobe, for making me braver and stronger. I always wait for you to wake up in the morning so I that the first thing you see is me gazing at you. I will always be here to take care of you. I love you, my boyboy. --Mommy