Worlds Apart

I sit amid their company. I try to wrap my head around their conversations. I ask questions to understand. Are they speaking a foreign language? There’s a heavy emphasis on motherhood affecting marriage, career, and freedom but what gets lost in the chaos is friendship. A woman will find her motherhood tribe (we’re like magnets, I tell you) but the friendships with those who knew pre-mom me, with those who aren’t on the same path yet tend to shake a bit.

The days are just too different. They see the ends of the world; as a stay-at-home mom, I see the same four corners of the house. They engage with adults, thinkers, movers; I read Runaway Bunny, practice animal sounds, make play dough. Their days start when the sun sets while I look forward to my bed and silence. They are updated with the events, trends, news of today while all I can contribute is what formula to buy, what parenting blog to read (or avoid), what play school to go to — is anyone really interested in such ordinary things? It can be an odd thing seeing both in the same table. We’re living parallel lives. We’re both alive but we’re worlds apart…

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My (Non) Breastfeeding Journey

I was afraid of sunsets. Once the sky displayed a light show of blue, red, and orange bleeding into one another, my body stiffened, my heart raced. I would stare at it from below, in a beautifully curated garden, bracing myself for a night of struggle ahead. The deep, dark night cast a spotlight on pain of all kinds: physical, emotional, mental. They all found their roots in the act that was supposed to define me as a new mother: breastfeeding. 

It was unbearable for so many reasons. First, the pain was excruciating. Even as I look back at it now to tell this story, a heaviness takes a hold of me. When my baby would cry, many times over, I had to take a deep breath, get up, and place him on my breast. Once he found it, I would silently scream, shed many tears, and look at my sleeping husband, resenting him and fathers everywhere. I had to go through it alone during the darkest hours of the day when everyone was asleep. The solitude magnified the pain even more. So I tried to find solace in Google, a modern mom's best friend and worst nightmare. While he was getting his milk, I was frantically searching for answers as I wondered if I was doing the right thing…

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Motherhood Year One

t was a spur-of-the-moment experiment. I saw my little one stumble and fall from cruising the furniture quickly. While I heard the thud, a part of me waited for the cry of pain; a part of me resisted the urge to run and help. What would he do? He laid there for a couple of seconds. I stood still. And then - to my surprise and relief - he picked himself up, smiled at me, and laid his hands on the couch to cruise once again. It's all right, Mom, he must have thought. 

Was it a showcase of bravery? Could it be credited to him being a boy? Maybe it just didn't hurt at all? I've seen this happen, over and over, in different contexts and situations. Then I figured it out. He's just doing what babies do: experiencing life and then responding to the newness, to the rawness of it all. Perhaps we need a redefinition of babies? In my one year of being a mother (oh so short but also oh so long!), my son has showed me that he is not a helpless creature. Yes, of course, they need to be carried, fed, bathed, and changed. But for all that they cannot yet do, they know how to learn…

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El Nido, Palawan: Islands Away

I stood in the middle of the boat surrounded by nature's masterpiece. We were adrift in the middle of the big cerulean ocean, the boat bobbing as we asked them to stop for awhile. There were only limestone cliffs as far as one could see, mountains so lush with green that is absent in the urban grit. This is what life looks like when it is stripped off of worldly dealings and ramblings -- so simple, so unadulterated, so quiet. In the midst of it all, I was not wife, not mother. It was just me as me. I am beholden to you, I thought to the islands that simplified the world at that moment…

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Classy Musings 2.0

I stared at the screen and struggled to wrap my heart around it. It did not fit me anymore. I tried to write on the blog that once was but it felt like it belonged to a woman that once was. It was beautiful; it was pristine. It was perfectly styled and classically cursive. Scrolling led to images worthy of social media virality. There was so much cooking and entertaining and traveling; there were clothes and flower arrangements and baked goodies. I scoffed at the blog, at the woman. Out of jealousy, perhaps? Or nostalgia? Both, probably. 

My days now consist of changing nappies, cleaning up baby food, and pushing a pram. I wake up to a baby that wants to be picked up and it is non-stop action from there. By the time I put him to sleep, it is time to be a wife and cook and clean…

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