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Writing her way into motherhood

How new moms can lean into a much-earned break

The first few times baby could finally sleep in his crib, I did not know what to do with myself. I had daydreamed about getting this solid two-hour break for so long, and when I finally had it, I had no clue where to begin.

I had intended to do so many things, like doodle in my journal, write a draft for a mama article, edit a piece of Filipino fantasy fiction, message back other friends on Whatsapp, call my mom. Do pelvic floor exercises. Before I knew it, my two hours had come and gone. …

Cutting out comparison in the first year of motherhood

As I blundered my way through motherhood, I discovered that there was nothing as life-giving as community. The more I spent time chatting with other expat moms in Switzerland and beyond, the more I saw how different we all were. And it struck me that that was all right. Most of the moms I met did not bat an eyelash at my own child-rearing choices. They seemed aware that every mama was doing her best, no matter that some of our parenting styles were worlds apart from each other.

From breastfeeding to sleep, a gazillion subjects can divide or unite…

Helpful thoughts for postpartum mothers.

I’m going to borrow from the Day of Love and use it as inspiration to pay tribute to every mama and her body.

These tips go out to all the new and expectant mothers out there — I’m sure the seasoned ones have already let motherhood teach them all these approaches to loving and appreciating their bodies! Those busy caring for newborns may need reminding how well we can love ourselves too.

Step 1. Get into the shower and run your hands over your postpartum tummy, which looks somewhere between sixteen to twenty weeks pregnant still, despite the baby having…

As this strange Covid-restricted year comes to a close, I am mindful of how my initial goal to breastfeed baby for at least a first year is nearing its end as well, and what that means.

My internet research had taught me that my uterus, from having expanded to the size of a large pumpkin, would slowly shrink back to the size of a pear as I continued breastfeeding. Every session during those first days would trigger it to further contract to its original size. Each convulsion were memories of the earthquake of birth.

Information and frustration

As I entered…

Expatriate families such as ours have been left stranded on their own parental islands during this pandemic, without much contact from grandparents who either live on the other side of the globe, or across borders which the virus had caused to shut down.

Still, CoVid restrictions have had a strange way of becoming a blessing for new parents like us. This I discovered on several occasions, just before a second wave of red numbers was to hit Europe.

The first lesson revealed itself during my favorite time of year, when the trees had deepened into a fiery crimson — we had decided to greet the cooler weather with a week-long trip to Baden-Baden and Freiburg in Germany.

May what I pledge to you be a lifeline for me as you grow up, my baby boy.

The dictionary describes the word “manifesto” as “a public declaration of one’s intentions”. These are some of my hopes for you, baby boy, that have been brewing in me as your first months of life go by. May they serve as a guiding beacon when my view of parenthood becomes foggy. And may they inspire every mother (and father) out there to ponder their own promises for their own babies.

~ ~~~ ~

Dear baby,

There are several things I wish to promise you as I parent you. May what I pledge to you below be a kind of lifeline for me…

This piece isn’t for the faint-hearted. But as I write my way into motherhood, I realized that I ought to write about birth, for without it, I would not have become a mother.

The following is my birth story. A part of me is frightened to write about it…it involves sensitive body parts that I’ve been afraid to name as I pored over drafts for this article, fearful of writing the obvious — that babies come from vaginas.

Why do we not use that word more often when talking about birth, as if it were matter-of-fact, a part of the whole experience?

Perhaps your birth story, or someone else’s you know, is different.

But here is my attempt at sharing something that is at once personal, and yet universal and powerful.

Take from it what you will at the end — the beauty and pain involved in delivering a child into…

Twenty-eight people had shown up to our Baby Meet & Greet, and one mama asked me that afternoon, “So how is it going, juggling a six-month old and so much of us to entertain?”

I paused and millions of answers ran through my head. I selected one that felt weighty to me. “It teaches me about letting go.”

Many to-do’s were awaiting my attention that afternoon, being the obsessive-compulsive host that I was — light the candles, offer everyone meat for the barbecue, bring down milk for someone’s coffee, greet people arriving, get baby’s napping and nursing done on schedule.

Has parenthood changed your perspectives and priorities? What’s next after a baby’s arrival?

As a new mom, caring for baby was taking up a lot of my time, mental space, and energy. I was aware I had to care for myself if I wanted to have quality love to give my boy.

So I began asking myself these questions:

What creative outlet could I choose through which I could tell stories and keep my soul satisfied? What was next? Should I start a podcast? Write a new blog that wasn’t about travel? …

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