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Saab Magalona says she once blamed herself for son Pancho’s congenital illness: ‘I felt like I should have asserted myself’

By Hannah Mallorca Published Mar 28, 2022 1:29 pm

A mother’s love is truly the purest form of love.

Saab Magalona’s eldest son Pancho Bacarro celebrated his fourth birthday in February 2022. While he’s living proof that miracles do happen, Magalona admitted that his journey toward survival has been a “depressing” time for her.

In an interview with broadcast journalist Karen Davila, Magalona admitted that she blamed herself when she was informed that her son Pancho would suffer from disabilities due to cerebral palsy. 

“60 days siya in the NICU. For the first three days, he was diagnosed with a heart condition called pulmonary hypertension. On the third day, it just magically disappeared,” Magalona shared.

Magalona thought “everything will be fine,” however, she was told by the doctors that Pancho would suffer from disabilities due to cerebral palsy a week later.

“I remember na I broke down. That was something na I cried it out and it was from then on, ‘that’s fine. We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna make it work.’ And we’re gonna give him all the tools and opportunities to bring out the best in him,” she said.

Magalona revealed that she blamed herself for Pancho’s condition when asked by Davila, adding that she also went through “depression.” “I only found out a year ago that I was actually suffering from depression. I didn’t know. There was no time for me to process how I felt,” she shared.

“I just couldn’t trust myself in making decisions. When I first went there and they were not really doing all the tests that I feel like they should have, I trusted them. I felt like I should have asserted myself and said, ‘No, there’s really something wrong. You have to check it now. You have to do something.’ I think there was a lot of self-blame sa akin na parang, ‘Why didn’t you do it,’” Magalona said. 

The actress-podcast host said she’s still “in the process of healing,” saying that it’s an effect of “post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“It’s still a struggle, especially for me. I was also diagnosed with adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) so that comes with it, and sobra siyang na-trigger nitong traumatic experience na ‘to. And I’m still learning to trust myself,” Magalona said.

When Pancho was finally allowed to go home, Magalona and Bacarro made sure to “take it one day at a time.” “It was so magical. Hindi ako makapag-complain about sleepless nights or whatever, because I had 60 days without my son so I’ll take all of it,” Magalona shared. 

Magalona revealed that raising Pancho brought out “so much patience in me” as a mother. She added that the couple has also been taking up special classes to help attend to their son’s special needs. 

“I don’t think na I was a horrible person to start with, but I think he has brought out so much patience in me and it’s just pure love. I am not watching out sa next milestone, next expectation, and whatever. It’s just really supporting him, being there, and giving him opportunities,” Magalona said.

Magalona announced that she was expecting twins with her husband, musician Jim Bacarro, in September 2017. Sadly, she suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby girl Luna, but Pancho survived.