Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On becoming a mother... well, almost. Still getting there... Excitedly waiting

When I found out I was pregnant, and I was still single at that time, with plans of our wedding still in the works for the date was still very far, the very first thing that I thought of was, "How in the world am I going to tell my parents?!" and then "Is this for real?!?!?!?" and then lastly, "Oh, my. There's something alive inside me." I was in a rollercoaster of emotions. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad, to announce it to the world or keep it to me at first. Of course, I told my husband, fiancé still at that time, about it and he was ecstatic. I wanted to tell him, "Shush! Can't you tell how conflicting it is for me?" But of course I didn't. We both wanted a baby. But not at the moment as we're still preparing for our wedding and our current budget wasn't focused on rearing a family yet. Besides which, we wanted to enjoy having each other to ourselves first before spreading our love to a fruit (or fruits, because I seriously want five) of our affections.

But anyway, my emotions changed the nearer it got to our new wedding date, because I don't want to have a child out of marriage (with all the legalities and papers attached to it when we finally do wed and then have the child's name changed, etc), and getting near to our wedding date means securing my baby a future with less paperworks (birth certificate needs not be changed, surname needs not be changed, just sign and fill-up on the appropriate blanks, etc) and just waiting for him/her to come out.

The wedding came and went and while I was being somewhat extra cautious on what I eat, where I go, how much I walk, etc. while thinking of how much do we have in our account and how do we manage an apartment by ourselves, I found myself really preparing for the baby when I started reading books and articles online on pregnancy and all the complications that comes with it. I even bought a book, What to Expect When You're Expecting which was really helpful and insightful as it describes week-by-week changes in your body and the baby's development. I also signed up at the WTE website for email. And as my pregnancy progressed, I started looking up on baby stuff: bottles, clothes, sterilizers. And then I started thinking how I want to raise our baby. I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers for my baby, reason being more eco and budget friendly. I also knew then that I wanted to breastfeed exclusively, and I read up loads of articles on breastfeeding and even cloth diapering, finding tips and warnings, mothers' experiences (both good and bad)...

My free time was spent looking up on baby stuff that I can buy online, what was good, what was bad, what was recommended. My first ever purchase was a sling and I could already imagine myself holding my baby close to me at all times, alert and aware of his/her every need or want, and being there to supply whatever it is at once. And then I was looking at bottles, Onesies, tie-sides, socks, baby legs, sterilizers, breast pumps, and any other pieces of merchandise related to having a baby and breastfeeding.

And little by little, my stock of baby things grew. We now have a few clothes (tie-side ones), booties, caps, mittens, two dozen chino pinos (courtesy of my line manager), five 150ml bottles, three 260ml bottles, and an electric sterlizer. We're also going to receive a box-ful of baby stuff, courtesy of our godmother in Australia who seemed to be more excited in baby-shopping than us. Hee. :)

And as my little pile of baby things increased, so does my thoughts on parenting. Or rather, on being a mother. The choice of exclusively breastfeeding was a major one. I want the best nourishment my baby can have and breastmilk is the best for infants, especially the first few drops that will come out immediately after delivering for those tiny drops contain enzymes/chemicals/whatnots that would help jumpstart, boost, and strengthen the baby's immune system. It's tailor-fit for a baby's changing needs. It'd establish a close bond between the baby and the mother. And a lot more other benefits both for the baby and the mother. Plus, breastfeeding is closely associated with attachment parenting, something I want to practice on my baby when I give birth.

Attachment parenting, on the other hand, promotes practices that creates strong bonds between parents and children. It promotes breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing, or something I call going-back-to-basics type of parenting. I wanted to breastfeed, I wanted my baby to sleep between me and my husband, and I certainly want to wear my baby. When I read about this, I immediately became a follower, and while I don't read up on it too much that I'm becoming a fanatic, I think I got the basics of it. It's basically going with your instincts, going back to what was practiced long ago when technology and science weren't that advanced. When nurturing and raising a child was something instinctive and comes naturally. You do what you feel is best for the baby and consequently, for you.

I'm still far on the long road to becoming a real mother. I'm still pregnant at this point and while I may seem to know a lot about being one, I'm pretty sure nothing beats the actual thing, when I'm already holding my baby in my arms and trying to practice what I've read up on and what I feel is right. There surely would be rough roads ahead, with thunderstorms and hurricanes making the path more difficult, and I actually am anticipating just how and what I'd do when the time comes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Of married life and everything that comes with it

So it's almost four months since I got married and settled in quite comfortably in our new house, an apartment on loan(?) by my parents while we save up and buy our own. It's been exciting, frustrating, liberating, and a whole other round of emotions all packed into one. Especially since I'm already pregnant.

We started living in the apartment immediately after our honeymoon, when we got back here in Manila last April 21. We first went to his house to get his bags of clothes, then to mine to get my own... plus we unwrapped a few gifts that we would need in the apartment, like an electric water boiler, pillows, and bedsheets. We cleaned up the cabinets we would be using for our clothes, covered the foam mattress with our new bedsheets, and slept.

The next day was spent going back to my parents' house (which, thankfully, is only 5 minutes away), to unwrap our gifts and then shop for appliances (with our cash gifts) we would be needing. We spent almost two weeks without a ref (because I was a bit picky and the delivery date was after one week, but we deferred it further to a Saturday, May 1, so we would both be at home to receive the appliances) and a washing machine. We had our clothes (from the honeymoon) washed and dried via a laundromat, ate out (or ate at my parents' since I was slowly getting my clothes), and just relaxed and slept at our new house.

When we finally got our appliances, we immediately went to the grocery store to stock up our pantry. And I was poring over recipe books to see what cooks quick and stores long since we generally only eat at home during dinner time and on weekends. I love cooking for him, serving him, and plainly doing things for him when my pregnant belly wasn't a hinder yet. I'm not the best cook and there had been failures in the past three months but his appreciation of my efforts (even if I still think he's just being biased) makes me feel very pleased.

Laundry day is Saturday and this has been a point of argument for the two of us since, as we still don't have a household help, we have to do it and Saturday morning is the best time to do it. And when I say morning, that would be around 8-9AM, not 10AM, when we usually do it because he sleeps so soundly I don't want to wake him up and his sleeping habits make me want to sleep in, too. But we get the job done, even as my belly grows big. I separate the clothes (white/not so white and colored), place them in the machine and let the machine finish the cycle, then he'd hang them up outside.

What we need improvement on is keeping the house clean. Especially the bedroom and bathroom. We rarely sweep the inside of the house, and we ask someone else to clean the bathroom every other week. It's still livable, but our house is quite chaotic. Hopefully, when we already have a helper (which we're planning to get a few weeks before my due date to get the house ready), the house will be more in order and clean.

Living by ourselves wasn't much of a transition. I didn't have to adjust too much or felt alone or bored (well, at first since we didn't even have a tv nor radio... hee). The transition was very smooth for me and even until now, I kept thinking why I adjusted very well to my new life. My life as a wife. Things I'd like to do for him and around the house are only hindered by my bulging belly and bouts of tiredness (which seem to be at its peak lately). We're surviving on our meager salaries. I do get frustrated at times when there's something I want to buy, especially for the arrival of our little one, but we have a budget to stick to and even if it's hard, we manage. It is quite hard, admittedly, to let go of some of the luxuries I've been used to, even him, I suppose, but it's something I've already foreseen before so it was easier. Besides, I haven't really lived a life of comfort so the few inconveniences I've experienced were easy to let go.

We're starting from scratch, quite literally, I think, as we don't have the essential things when we first moved in and the cash gifts that we received were enough to let us buy what we don't have. So we're living on our salaries, both of us trying to save for the future, for our coming baby, and we're just thankful our parents are happy enough to help us out for things that we need.

We're setting our sights to have a helper by next month, to clean up the house and ready it for the baby. It'll be heavier on our budget but easier for us. Hopefully, the things we're praying for will be granted to at least ease up one of our worries.