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  • Phoemela Baranda's Daughter On Becoming An Ate: 'I Know I'll Still Forever Be Her Baby'

    Their mom-and-daughter relationship had a rocky start, but the two are closer than ever.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • Last month, TV personality and host Phoemela Baranda surprised the public when she announced that she is five months pregnant with her second child at 40 years old.

    According to an interview with Preview.ph, it was a planned pregnancy. She and partner Jason Choachuy had been talking about having a baby since they started dating.

    Since it’s been 20 years since she gave birth to her first child, Phoemela admits that she feels both excited and anxious for this journey, though she doesn’t feel like a lot is different.

    “The only difference is that I’m more mentally prepared,” she tells Preview.ph, “but [I feel] the same amount of excitement and love, especially that my partner and Kim are beside me for support.”

    Kim Nichole is Phoemela’s firstborn. At 21 years old, she is also looking forward to finally becoming an ate.

    “I know a lot of things are going to change, but I’m happy for my mom because this is such a big blessing for us to have an addition to our family since it’s always just been the two of us,” she tells Preview.ph.

    Phoemela as a young, single mom

    Phoemela gave birth to Kim in December 1998, when she was only 19 years old. At the time, she had a promising modeling career, so her mom advised the young teen to keep her child a secret for the meantime.

    It was only in 2013, when Kim was 15 years old, that Phoemela was finally able to introduce her daughter to the public. She also revealed that until she was 11 years old, Kim thought that Phoemela was her sister.

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    In a tell-all with the defunct talk show Buzz Ng Bayan, Phoemela shared that she kept her pregnancy and child a secret because of her mother. When her mother passed away in 2009, she finally decided to tell Kim the truth.

    Phoemela regrets being unable to tell Kim the truth while her mom was still alive. “Yun ‘yung pinakamalaking dagok sa akin. And I think it woke me up to be mature and to be responsible, at talagang akuin na kung ano ‘yung responsibilidad ko,” she shares in the interview.

    As expected, transitioning from sisters into a mother-daughter relationship wasn’t smooth-sailing. And Phoemela had to work hard to repair her bond with Kim.

    “Bago ko sinabi sa mga tao na ganito, inayos ko muna ‘yung sa amin. Kasi talagang hindi kami ganun kakumportable, ka-close sa isa’t isa,” she said.

    “Ilang talaga. ‘Yun talaga ang sinubukan kong i-work out. Although nagkaroon naman kami ng chance, I try my best na makabawi sa mga lost time,” Phoemela added.

    The mom also shared that she asked Kim for forgiveness for keeping her a secret. “I think, nag-away kami, like a year ago,” she recalled in the interview.

    “And then, lumabas din from her, na because siguro nga nung lumalaki siya, I wasn’t there for her. So, sabi ko, I’m sorry for that,” Phoemela said.

    Strengthening their bond

    In the 2013 interview, it was observed that Kim was able to talk calmly about the situation. She shared that at a young age, she was able to understand why her mom had to hide her.

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    “In-explain naman sa akin na they did it for security, and it was for her career, and kapag sinabi sa lahat, parang, ‘Whoa!’… I know naman how showbiz is when it comes to like that,” she said, adding, “I looked at it at a different perspective. ‘Cause I know naman na they did it for a reason.”

    Kim also said that she doesn’t feel the need to meet her father, since Phoemela acts as both dad and mom to her. It’s something that she still says years later.

    “You’re my mom, and you’re my dad. You’re my family and you’ve been there for me all my life,” she shares in an interview with ABS-CBN Lifestyle in May 2019.

    She calls Phoemela a “cool mom,” who “lets me decide things on my own. And that’s the best way for me to learn — through experience — to be more independent.”

    Now that she’s a young adult, Kim has no qualms sharing her mom with her future sibling. “I know I’ll still forever be her baby,” she says.

    What is it like to be pregnant in your 40s? Click here for a guide.

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