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Travails of a working, breastfeeding mom

Our daughter’s laughter is a reward we will not trade for anything
/ 05:01 AM August 01, 2018

I gave birth on the day President Duterte met Vice President Leni Robredo for the first time. I was having a caesarean section, and perhaps to make me relax, the nurse at Asian Hospital asked if I chose the date to celebrate the occasion.

The answer was no. I chose the day because my baby was exactly 38 weeks inside my tummy. It would have been a week earlier, had my OB not listened to my pleas. I had reproductive-
immunological disorder Category 1, 2 and 3, which, in layman’s term, meant my body was attacking the baby inside me.

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My husband and I consider ourselves very lucky that we waited only two years to have a baby. That’s why, when our tiny bundle of joy was born, we made a conscious decision to make changes in our lifestyle.

I told my husband that I was not quitting a job that I loved. He understood, so he was the one who quit his BPO job to become a freelance writer. It was a good decision, because the pay now is equivalent to his previous salary, if we deduct the expenses incurred from eating out, gas, parking fees and toll.

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I have yet to hear anyone mock him for that decision. If anything, I’ve heard envious statements of friends who wished they could do the same. Even my parents supported it, maybe because my father did almost the same thing when I was born.

Being a stay-at-home dad meant that my husband could look after our child 24/7. He could watch her grow. It meant that there was always someone to read bedtime stories to her. It also meant that there was someone to keep an eye on the nanny.

Nanny issues

Finding the perfect nanny for our family was a challenge. We went through three people in a span of six months. The first one was kind, but set in her ways and didn’t follow our instructions. The second left without permission. And the third one had to go back home to her own sickly baby. Thankfully, the fourth is an angel whom we have come to trust and depend on.

Our daughter turned 2 years old this month. From birth until now, breastfeeding is one of the constant challenges that I have to deal with. Before I gave birth, I honestly thought breastfeeding would be easy. It isn’t. It is exhausting, sometimes painful, and even mentally taxing, because of the sleeplessness that comes with it.

Reading posts from the Facebook page Breastfeeding Pinays gave me comfort. The stories of fellow moms have made me feel I am not alone on the journey. It is okay to sometimes feel frustrated, but moms have to keep going for the sake of our babies.

The mothers in the page have also taught me to be braver. That I should feed my child whenever and wherever needed. I have become an advocate of normalizing breastfeeding without realizing it.

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Aside from the mommy support groups that I frequently visit, work has become a refuge for me. To write again has given me the breathing space I need.

Don’t get me wrong. Having a daughter is one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened to me. I love her with every fiber of my being.

I just did not know that motherhood could take so much from me. That I could lose myself to the point that I would start to wonder who I was and what I would be after. Work reminded me there were other things that I liked before collecting cloth diapers or singing the theme song of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Priorities

I also set my priorities before I returned to work. I knew I have to take a leave every time there was a nanny issue or when our daughter is sick. It is clear to me her needs will always take precedence over mine.

I also decided that Sundays would be all about my little girl. It’s the day I make spaghetti for her. The day we make our own pizza from scratch, though the flour ends up mostly on her legs. It’s the day we take her out to Tagaytay for fresh air, or to play areas that she loves so much. We try to end the night with a bubble bath with Sebastian and Ariel.

Parenthood is not easy, but hearing our daughter’s laughter is a reward we will not trade for anything.

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