Life is filled with little miracles and challenges that can change the way we look at things and how to overcome it.
We were closing in on the fourth month of an endless lockdown when I found out that I was pregnant with our second baby. I ran to Raymond and we were both screaming in delight. In the midst of a pandemic, we found this piece of good news filling up what was otherwise a glass half full of uncertainty in 2020.
Until the sickness came, again.
One day I woke up, certain that I was ill with the same sickness that accompanied my first pregnancy.
Most people compare it to morning sickness. But morning sickness has nothing on this. I was throwing up countless times a day. I tried to take as much water as I could, but my body just wouldn’t let me. Orange juice was hard to drink. Ginger wasn’t working either. Days would start and end with vomiting. Food, no matter how appetizing, only made me sick. I would have the hardest time focusing and engaging with people. It had gotten so bad that my weight started to drop, which was worrisome because of the baby. Often, friends and social media followers comment on how lucky I am not to be putting on a pound, but luck had nothing to do with it.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is what it’s called. It’s a sickness that’s not common to expecting mothers, but to me, it was the exact repeat of my first pregnancy. What made it even worse were my compounded concerns about COVID-19. How would I give birth in the middle of all this? Am I safe? What if I get COVID? What if I pass it on to my baby? What if my family gets it? How will I protect myself and my family from it?
So I read up on COVID and pregnancy. I downloaded every imaginable app there was and found out all that I possibly could. In my mind, educating myself was a significant step towards allaying my fears and keeping us safe. But this borderline panic and ever-present fear also proved to be debilitating. I was in a state of constant worry. I worked less and enjoyed so little of what was going on around me. I was so anxious that I nearly — very nearly — missed out on what the lockdown has blessed me with: the joy of seeing Xavi light up the room with just one smile, or the mischievous twinkle in his eye when he is up to something, or how he manages to wipe away every tear with just one hug.
In the midst of a pandemic, we found this piece of good news filling up what was otherwise a glass half full of uncertainty in 2020.
The biggest irony of getting sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum once again is that it reminded me of how I felt seeing Xavi for the very first time. It made up for all that I had to go through to have him. Xavi is pure happiness and nothing, absolutely nothing, can equal what having him in my arms brought.
My second pregnancy also serves as a reminder that the often said “This too shall pass” adage is particularly true for women who go through a rollercoaster of highs and low just to survive their first trimester.
What I learned along the way may seem a given, but it is nonetheless true. Love your body.
Since then, I have slowly gotten back to working out. I discovered that Pilates is good for me. I’ve been easing back into work as well, overseeing my team at Stylized Studio and Mood. I started talking to friends and family again. I spend more time with my boys, Xavi and Raymond.
Somehow my life has settled into what I call an imperfectly perfect hum. Pregnancy has its good and bad days and soon enough, I may have to face yet another challenge: not producing enough milk for my baby. But motherhood has taught me that “worrying” is a default state. There is an endless list of “what ifs” and an even longer list of “I hope it doesn’t happen.” Even as I hope for the best, I cannot help but be in constant battle with my fears.
This pregnancy has taught me to embrace and share my life’s simple joys as well as struggles. Having a baby is a journey that shook me to the core, but its rewards are immeasurable, overshadowing every discomfort and burying all the pain.
As I move closer, almost to a full completion of this milestone in my life, I’m most thankful for the gift of family and friends. I have a support group of mothers who speak the language of pregnancy with ease and expertise. I have friends who are as excited as I am to take on new adventures that marry motherhood, fashion, work and home into one.
Best of all, I have a husband who makes motherhood an even greater journey. There is love, and there is unconditional love that I share with Raymond and Xavi, and soon enough, with our second child.
If motherhood this time around is even a fraction of how it has been with Xavi, then I am without doubt, most blessed.
Makeup by Lala Flores
Hair by Raymond Santiago
Dress from D.D.Daily
Photo by BJ Pascual