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  • 'Kinaya Ko, Mas Kaya Mo!' This Mom Gave Birth The Day She Received Her Master’s Degree

    "Habang ang mga classmates ko umaakyat sa stage, ako umiiri for a normal delivery."
    by Maika Bernardo .
'Kinaya Ko, Mas Kaya Mo!' This Mom Gave Birth The Day She Received Her Master’s Degree
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF RUTH PARAGOSO SUMAGUE
  • What pregnancy brain? For Ruth Paragoso Sumague, LPT, MAEd, a mom of three and a school principal, her second pregnancy did not make her forgetful. Instead, she believes it gave her brain a much-needed boost. 

    In her second year in graduate school—as if juggling the duties of wife, mom, and student weren't already enough—Ruth got pregnant in the middle of thesis writing.

    "After a few weeks sa stage ng paglilihi ko, parang iba—biglang ang talino ko na! 

    "Dati ang research subject ko laging rejected, but when I got pregnant, ang bilis ng function ng brain ko. At isang himala talaga na natapos ko with flying colors ang thesis ko!"

    Ruth at 35 weeks
    PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH PARAGOSO SUMAGUE

    Challenges accepted

    When her firstborn was just two years old, Ruth started pursuing a graduate degree: master of arts in education, major in educational management, at Lipa City Colleges.

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    "'Pag isa palang ang anak mo, the struggle is real para [pagsabayin] ang work, studies, and being a wife and a mom," she says to Smart Parenting

    The Sumague family in front of the house they’re building
    PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH PARAGOSO SUMAGUE

    "Umiyak talaga ako kasi hindi talaga madali, pero I prayed and asked the Lord for guidance kasi hindi naman Niya yun ibibigay kung hindi ko kaya."

    If you began managing the family business at 21 and started your own family at 25, you could do it. And witnessing your parents take on the challenge of entrepreneurship instead of simply enjoying their retirement could inspire you further. 

    In their sixties, Ruth's parents, Clemente and Leila Paragoso, established His Care Christian Institute in their home in Darasa, Tanauan, Batangas.

    Ruth’s parents, Clemente and Leila, with His Care Christian Institute teachers
    PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH PARAGOSO SUMAGUE
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    To help even more families who couldn’t afford to send their children to private schools, the Paragoso family opened two more branches, both in Batangas: in Tanauan and in Sto. Tomas.

    Making time for what matters

    Ruth shares her schedule as a multi-hyphenate:

    "Monday to Friday, I had to manage three schools as the academic head. And before Saturday, dapat nakapag-grocery na ako for our weekly menu at nakaplano na ang activities ng eldest ko na maiiwan sa yaya niya: mostly CDs, blocks, and Lego dahil hindi pa uso sa bahay ang internet at Android phone.

    "Every Saturday, my heart got broken kasi dapat bonding time namin yun ng eldest ko. Good thing she fully understood why I had to [study for a master's degree]. 

    "I always tell her that learning never stops, discovering new things is endless, and dreams can be made into reality kahit mommy na si Mommy. And Mommy would be so happy if she could be my number-one fan."

    Ruth also has a morning and evening routine with her husband, giving him at least "one hour a day to... hug him, massage him, and listen to his dreams para maganda lagi ang mood niya at maging fully supportive siya sa graduate studies ko." She jokingly calls it "suhol," but you can call it filling your spouse's cup.

    Back in school—with a bump

    Ruth needed all the support she could get, especially when she got pregnant with their second child. "Sabi nga nila swerte ang buntis, which I believe kasi sunod-sunod ang blessing sa akin," Ruth says.

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    "First, na-approve ang thesis title ko. Second, I already had a connection with my thesis adviser, Dr. Elenita Bathan: sobrang bait, sobrang galing."

    In her second trimester, she embarked on yet another adventure: commuting all the way from Batangas to Metro Manila with a classmate to conduct research in the libraries of Philippine Normal University and University of the Philippines Diliman.

    "Nakatulong din ang pagiging buntis ko, since 'pag punuan ang bus, gumagawa talaga ng paraan ang driver o konduktor para makaupo ako—perks of being pregnant."

    Ruth says that during her third trimester, "malaki na ang tiyan ko pero akyat-baba pa rin ako sa hagdan habang bitbit ang maraming copies ng thesis, naghahanap sa mga prof na dapat mag-sign."

    She thanks her husband, who drove her from their home in Tanauan City to Sta. Teresita for thesis consultations with Dr. Bathan "sa liblib niyang bahay."

    "Highlight ko na rin ang parents ko na very supportive sa 'kin financially. Sa kanila galing ang tuition ko, baon ko, pamasahe ko, at all expenses ng thesis ko since medyo mabigat talaga," Ruth emphasizes.

    "And by God's grace and favor, I finished and was able to defend my thesis with flying colors!"

    Graduation day and D-day

    Ruth was excited to go up the stage to receive her hard-earned diploma—and then she learned that her due date coincided with her graduation day.

    "Ready na ang lahat. May toga at outfit na ako for graduation. Paggising ko noong March 28, 2015, 4 a.m., pumutok ang panubigan ko. Habang ang mga classmates ko umaakyat sa stage, ako umiiri for a normal delivery."

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    Ruth eventually gave birth to another girl.

    With her second child as a newborn
    PHOTO COURTESY OF RUTH PARAGOSO SUMAGUE

    Dealing with haters close by

    "Kapag meron kang na-achieve na goals, many people would congratulate you and some might say to you, 'Sana all,'" Ruth shares with Smart Parenting, "pero during the process [of achieving those goals], lalo na 'pag wala ka pang napatutunayan, what hurts the most is the people close to you are the first to judge you.

    "They judge ang pagiging nanay mo: gaano kaputi ang mga nilabhan mo, gaano kaganda ang suot ng anak mo, gaano kaganda ang ipit ng buhok niya, gaano kalinis ang bahay mo...

    "Nag-uumpisa palang akong humarap sa salamin para sabihin sa sarili ko na kaya ko ang buhay may asawa at magli-lipstick palang ako ng burgundy red para 'Roar!' may naririnig ako na agad na nega.

    "At doon [ako] nag-umpisang lumaban at mangarap sa buhay!

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    "[Kidding aside,] motherhood is not a battle against other mothers. Motherhood is your journey with your children and your spouse."

    You're next

    Looking back, Ruth says, "I am thankful to the Lord for everything. It's been seven years since I [earned] my master's degree, and now I have three kids and am planning to pursue doctorate programs. 

    "Kaya to those momshies na may asawa na and kids, don't stop dreaming and making things happen. Kinaya ko, at mas kaya mo. Ikaw na ang next!" Don't let mommy or pregnancy brain get in the way.

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