BY ANNE QUINTOS
I've always wondered why it takes so long for women to carry their offsprings in their wombs. Sure, other animals like dolphins and sharks have longer gestation periods. For perplexed young adults like me, however, nine months seemed like an eternity to bear.
Now that I'm pregnant, what I thought was an eternity seemed to move like a speed train. And pregnancy, like a speed train, has been exciting, nauseating (literally!), expensive, disorienting, and amazing! This is why I would like to share my story, hoping to shed some guiding light for overseas Filipino moms-to-be. Even though it can be quite a struggle to get pregnant abroad, it's definitely all worth the ride. (Read first trimester and second trimester posts.)
7th month: Shopping for the babyOur shopping list got longer. Who could ever blame first-time parents? We were so excited that budget seemed irrelevant during the waiting game. Looking back, however, this excitement of buying (a lot of) stuff was not a new feeling. And neither was it solely for newbie parents. For overseas Filipinos who have been away from home long enough, balikbayan shopping is also the way to ease the excitement and at times, compensate for the time lost.
Because we felt we're accumulating a lot of little things that will be easily outgrown, I knew that listing it down wasn't enough. I had to set the following:
- Priorities. Does baby really (I mean, really) need it?
- Time frame. Can it wait until our baby is one year old? Or does it really have to be now because it's on sale?
- Budget. How much money can we set aside from our monthly income to buy it?
I had wins and losses over this shopping for the baby challenge. We had limited toy purchases to a minimum. But lessons came as soon as baby was born. Baby didn't like to be in the nice crib that we bought. Instead, she often enjoys her time in the secondhand cradle we graciously received from a co-worker.
8th month: Anxiety AttacksBreathe in, breathe out. Will I be a good mom to this kid? Breathe in, breathe out. What if I turned out to be not ready for motherhood? Will this kid hate me for the rest of her life? Breathe in, breathe out. Help, I really don't know what I'm in for!
And then there were worries about finances and the biggest word ever: Future. Where do we raise her, abroad or back home? If back home, will our salaries and investments cover her needs? Breathe in, breathe out.
They say it's normal to be scared and worry about what's going to happen for you and your baby. I blame it on my pregnancy hormones, physical strain, and lack of sleep. And perhaps, it's my second nature to worry. When it got a little bit crazy, that's when I told myself to restrain from thinking to much and put my trust in God. Of course, my husband and my mom didn't fail to reassure me that everything will be alright.
9th month: The Real DealThe waiting game is nearly done and my husband and I are more excited than ever. We also have conquered some of our fears and managed to resolve most items in our to-do list. "Is this really happening?" I kept asking myself. "I'm officially a mom."
Speaking of being a mother, my mom graciously offered her help on our D-day. She said that while I'm on my maternity leave, she can help me with the baby and chores. Because Taiwan is just a few hours away by plane, she booked her flight tickets without hesitations.
My delivery was on schedule. Our daughter was born a day after the Chinese New Year. From the moment she arrived, all the pain and worries were instantly replaced with absolute happiness and calmness. Things were clear: We, as parents, want to give her the best.
And that is where we begin a new journey of parenthood.