A New Mama’s Survival Hacks for Conquering Postpartum Depression

Hey there, new momma!

You’re tired, sleep-deprived, frustrated, and confused–and you think you have the symptoms of Post Partum Depression, just like I did. And while it may be tempting to wallow in your emotions because of how real and raw they are, your baby needs you and can’t wait forever.

Now what? What can you do about it?

Here is my own tried and tested survival guide against the raging hormones and the pileup of emotions to get you through your days with your newborn.

1. HOPE: because this too shall pass.

“This too shall pass” was my lifesaving mantra for the challenges of breastfeeding with an inverted nipple, to the mysterious cry fests, to the poop blunders and to my lingering thoughts that it would last forever.

I clung “forward thinking” because I knew that if I persevered through these hardships, it would be well worth it. I knew it was possible because I had seen in many of my older mom friends who had endured hardships worse than mine and lived to tell their stories. Their advice to me was to always: persevere because it will get better.

It also helped that I didn’t count the days until that time came because counting would just lead to impatience and hopelessness. Yes, do hope! But don’t give hope a timeline. It won’t help to hold unto unrealistic expectations… like getting your post-baby body back immediately after giving birth. Remember too, that each mother’s body, baby, and circumstances are different so don’t compare your progress or regress on other mothers and their babies.

Be reasonable with your hope and be happy with the small successes too because every success leads toward everything getting better.

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This is one of the best photo reminder of how much breastmilk my baby could take!

2. Track your progress and make lists.

There are just six things baby needs to do in a day: bathe, eat, poop, pee, sleep and cuddle. Even if there are just six things to select from, it can still be difficult for the sleep deprived parents of newborns to figure things out.

On a small whiteboard that hung above our headboard, my pragmatic husband wrote the following:

Baby: “Why do I cry?”

1. I pood/peed.
2. I want mommy’s milk.
3. I need to burp.
4. It’s cold. Please fix my swaddle.
5. I need love/cuddles/carrying.

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As I discovered, a newborn is impossible to understand without getting to know his routine. At the height of my depression and after repeatedly hammering my husband with “I don’t know what to do anymores” he sat me down and said: “You just have to track everything that goes on with this baby. I know you may be lazy and you think it might not work. But trust me.”

He printed out a Baby Care Log he got from Baby Center. (Here is the Sample Work Sheet and here is the Blank Log Sheet) I wasn’t just logging in my baby’s feeding, diaper changes, sleep, crying and fussiness, I was encouraged to log the activities of my day, my medications, feelings about breastfeeding, emotions, diet and even the status of my relationships.

With the popularity of bullet journaling and the studies on the correlation of making list to one’s work efficiency, I don’t doubt that this is a technique that helps the first time parents get by feeling like they’ve got the whole baby thing down. These logbooks also work as great references for baby’s upcoming doctor’s checkups especially when new parent amnesia kicks in.

3. Declutter (inside and out!).

Every mother has her own way of coping with this new role in her life. This was mine.

There I was, with a copy of Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Art of Tidying Up. I felt like Kondo knew what I was going through and she knew how I could get out of this depression and be a better mom. I was sold to her idea of the connection between the things I owned but can’t let go of to how it was holding me back from who I wanted to become.

I realized that this depression made me so in denial that I was even a mom at all. With Kondo’s words: “The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important (than the sentiments we felt about these objects in the past.)” I set out to embrace motherhood with this book as a personal project.

I heart-wrenchingly started with my clothes because they are my favorite way to show creativity and style. When I faced my closet with the intention of keeping only what sparks joy in my life now that I’m a mother, I was fighting against my high school, college and work me. While decluttering my clothes, I faced the reality of my new motherhood and was able to sift through the worries and thoughts that needed to be reasoned with.

This may not work for you but do find a way to ease yourself into this acceptance because acceptance is the first leap to take mothering head on.

4. Mommy 911: Phone a friend.

A friend who I sat side-by-side with at the OB-gynecologist office and gave birth two weeks ahead of me was my Mommy 911 Hotline. We exchanged many sad, crying emoticons and shared with one another our difficulties in breastfeeding. We talked about everything. We helped each other talk through accepting that we sounded like we had postpartum depression. We also talked about how our husbands were blooming into fatherhood so well and laughed about how we felt like we weren’t blooming in any way at all. We were both new moms so we had each other to talk to even late into the night. There was so much comfort in knowing that I had someone to talk to who wouldn’t belittle my situation because we were both just as confused as the other.

You’re not alone. Sometimes, you need to feel and experience that truth.

Find someone you can trust to listen to all of your new mom woes and triumphs with. It can be your mom, OB-gyn, an older mom friend or a group chat of your trusted mom friends. Have them as your go-to and never forget to thank them with a gracious heart.

5. Prayer.

Normally, when we pray we ask for help for anything as mundane as finding a missing object to help in something out of our hands as saving a life. New motherhood may feel like you’re desperately reaching for the heavens for strength.

I believe that God is good and He listens with the heart of a Father. I would tell Him everything in my heart, because He knows them even before I uttered them and knows better than anyone how to help me nourish my soul. Apart from everything else that I could physically do for my newborn, my prayer is the only way I know could help her strengthen her soul today.

Whether you’re Christian or not, prayer or even a simple meditation or reflection is worth it to inspire thoughts of humility, gratitude and an optimism you need to get through each long day.

Originally written for Mom Center Philippines

I added some of my personal photos to this post. 😉

The One Thing I Wish Someone Warned me About Motherhood: Post Partum Depression

No one really knows what goes on behind the scenes after birth, when mom struggles to breastfeed, when mom has to be accompanied by nurses to the bathroom just so she could pee or shower, or when mom goes home to be alone.

No one ever told me what would happen after I gave birth to the complete stranger that was my baby. Many of my friends who aren’t mothers yet have asked, what in the world is it like to have a newborn? How does it feel like?

Admittedly, my story is different from others. I’ve heard of moms experiencing depression during pregnancy or only experiencing it after having their fourth child! I had post partum depression during the first month after childbirth. If there’s one thing I wish someone had told me before I gave birth, it would be about the reality of post partum depression and how common it is among new mothers. New moms who are reading this, my message is that you’re not alone.

Here is my story.

At the Safe Haven

I lay on the bed in the birthing room. I was no longer pregnant. I felt like I had been completely deflated. I thought, “It’s just me and my body, all to myself again.”

Baby and I were then wheeled out of the birthing room to go to a regular room. Each nurse, patient or passersby beamed in delight to see the newborn baby. In my melancholy, I felt I was invisible that I was merely the passageway for this baby to be in this world.

In the regular room, I was being coached to breastfeed. I thought, “Wait a minute, my body is back to being just mine again, why should I be breastfeeding? I mean, she just came out of me right so she should have had enough food to eat in there to at least give me like a day to rest. Gosh am I tired.” I really was no longer pregnant but my body, this body, was not all for myself… Ever… Again.

The hospital room was my safe haven. My family and friends visited me and congratulated me. My husband took care of her so that I could sleep. Nurses and doctors checked up on me and baby regularly. I didn’t have to worry about anything but myself because these professionals had my small family covered.

I counted the hours to the day we went home.

At War

Home was a war zone. I had my firearms ready: my breastfeeding capacity, my arms to hold my baby and a great will to make her sleep. It felt like a war against my baby but really it was a war against myself.

There was that breaking point that I’ll never forget. It was the day I couldn’t go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom three times and I just couldn’t go. You know what I mean. Why? I was in pain because of the stitches. I was afraid of walking and sitting. For some reason, my body was telling me, no. That one natural thing that every human could do was something I couldn’t do on my own. How could that happen?

Then, all of my enemies showed up with their deadly arsenal. My enemies were my emotions. Emotions who seemed determined to make me fail.

Overwhelm: My baby, she’s a stranger. Who is she? I don’t know anything about her. I don’t feel bonded with her. She’s just using me… I just can’t do this, I’m never going to be able to do this. I can’t handle this. I can’t even go to the bathroom, how could I possibly take care of this little person.

Guilt: I shouldn’t be handling this new motherhood like this. I’m better than this. My baby doesn’t deserve this version of me. She deserves someone who is whole and not broken and can take care of her the right way.

Loneliness and Sadness: No one understands me. No one could possibly understand what I’m going through. I am just so sad… no one can know how deep this sadness is. It’s creeping at every part of my soul. I can’t stop crying. All I can do now is cry maybe it’s the only way for me to feel better. But it’s not helping. I can’t even explain it. I have no words… I don’t even know if I should be crying about it.

Resentment… towards my husband, my baby, my friends. These thoughts, these feelings, they’re out of control!

Fear and Confusion: Why is this happening to me? When will this end? Will it ever end? Is this my new reality? Will I never go back to being the old me? Is the old me lost forever?

Numb: I don’t feel anything anymore and I can’t think of anything anymore. I can’t even make a decision. Everything is a fog.

Milennial Mommy Woes

For around two weeks (although it seemed longer than that), I took the bullets brought by changes I could not understand.

It didn’t help that I come from this millennial generation with all the awful qualities of being entitled, recognition hungry, and subscribed to the ideals of social media.

As a new mom, I thought I could figure everything out or feel better because I was smart enough to use technology to be more informed and aware of what to do. I knew I wanted to be recognized for doing a good job and I believe I was looking for the affirmation from my baby which was ridiculous, of course.  I wanted to look and feel flawless as a new mom just like all the post pregnant bodies of international and local celebrities.

The reality is that no study, article or inspirational video online can ever prepare a mother for the immense responsibility or rescue her from the feelings of lostness and confusion.

Recognition? Affirmation?

How about survival?

This is what I wish mothers had told me before I had given birth. This is what I wish they had been honest about.

Why didn’t I ever think that post partum depression could happen to me? For one, I was too concerned with being pregnant and the experience of giving birth. Honestly, how my life would shift and transform completely because of tiny human being never crossed my mind. I simply and proudly thought that I’d just have it in me to be a mother. I didn’t think there would be such an internal battle. I never thought it would break me. However, my “breaking” turned out to be essential in forming the kind of mother I am and want to be because I now look back at that month with serenity and a will to be stronger in the upcoming challenges I have yet to face.

The most important realization I gained from my experience was accepting that a baby comes with no manual.

That a baby is a person I should never “get used to” or “perfect” because she will continue to change until we’re both old and gray.

I’ll only have these small pockets of time to savor everything about her, and might as well live them in the best way they can. Because there is no way social media will ever completely capture her immense and blossoming beauty. There is no way social media will tell me what I need to hear, see, and know as a new mom.  That security, that peace…comes with time, experience, and personal growth.

And I guess that’s the one thing I want to be able to tell new moms too.

Originally Written for Mom Center Philippines

The One Thing You Need to Do to Stay Sane as a Mom: Get Creative

Don’t get me wrong. I am a lover of the arts. I love to read, listen to music, and appreciate art from paintings to sculpture to photography up to fashion and interior design.That was all it was to me though, appreciation. I believed I was not capable of creating anything on my own. The best that I could do was copy a sketch. That is as far as my creativity went.

Before I gave birth, I figured that as I progressed in my pregnancy I would be too huge and too heavy to move around so I decided to try my hand at creating—something I knew I could do at home. So I signed myself up for a basic jewelry making class, and fell in love with beading and jewelry making.

The experience of creating something throughout my pregnancy and after as a stay-at-home mom was one of the most important discoveries for me as a way to sane.

Here are 3 good reasons why you should get creative too!

Fulfillment

I think that every mother will agree with me that the first few months of newborn care feels a lot like a dreamy, foggy, illlusion. Every day we are high on our confusion and questions—asking ourselves, what do we do? what’s wrong with us? and what’s wrong with our baby?

It can be a boring and tiring routine. For those like me who have experienced postpartum depression, you understand that there is a deep need to feel fulfilled in those months because you are constantly doubting yourself and wondering if you are doing anything right.

Completing one piece of jewelry provided me with a sense of satisfaction that filled up the well of my chewed up, “new mom” self-esteem and self-worth. Even if I received a lot of encouragement from my husband, it was still very different from witnessing the appreciation of someone for one of my own creations. Creating something made me feel like: “Hey, I’m not just a milk machine, butt washer and baby hugger! I’m way more than that! There is so much more to me than that.”

Focus

In a woman’s brain, everything is connected. This is why we are such great multi-taskers. We are able to think about the menu for tomorrow while bathing our babies. While this ability is pretty amazing, it can also drive us crazy. For example, you could be thinking about the list of things that need to be done for the house and then you’re worrying about when your parents will come and visit because then what would they think about the state of your house oh and then you’re worrying about your kid’s next playdate all while you’re looking at yourself in the mirror thinking whether or not your shoes look good with the rest of your outfit. Phew! That has got to be super tiring

I found that creating and crafting helps me to focus on one task at a time. This is a practice recommended by many psychologists for mental health and overall effectivity. I’ve discovered that this is true.

When one focuses, one relaxes a and when one relaxes, one does each activity well. Creativity is a win for practicality as well.

Fresh

Did you ever feel like everything in your life was so monotonous and that the routine has numbed you? Truly, using your creativity is a sure way to dispel all those feelings of inner decay.

In any creative outlet, you’ll be forced to do something out of the box, something new or something you aren’t comfortable doing.

Embrace it!

Embrace the newness of the challenges, the initial fear of failing, seize the moment and execute! If you fail, don’t let it discourage you. Try again. Ask advice from people who you think are better than you. That always works. Create new friendships in those moments and cherish them. Research, read and study. Those are wonderful ways to train yourself yourself. You never stop learning anyway.

I hope those three reasons will encourage you to try new things to make your creativity come alive. You could take a pottery class, painting lesson, or join a photography group or a contest even – drag your husband too and see whether it can double as a bonding activity between the two of you.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom (aka SAHM) or a working momma, every woman’s got some sort of creative outlet in them that’s waiting to blossom. It could simply be through anything in the home like decorating, re-arranging interior, picking out art pieces, flower-arranging and of course, cooking and baking. It could also be a love for crafting, writing, playing a musical instrument, creating art pieces, sewing, even re-purposing old items and making them like new or dancing in your room like no one’s watching. Just be creative.

Originally written for Mom Center Philippines

A Mother is Born

Pregnancy. Having a baby. Just happened. Now that it’s almost been three months since our bundle of joy, Maria Caeli (pronounced Ma-ree-yuhh Che-lly) was born, I’m looking back at how I was thrusted into motherhood through those crazy and exciting months.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy was a beautiful understanding of my body. It was a short nine-month anticipation with our family members of the new life that will give lots of sparkle and (chaos) to our lives. Pregnancy is the celebration and birth of the mother. Her body is literally keeping another person alive! It’s amazing. If you take care of the mother, you immediately safeguard the life you will meet soon enough.

I considered that nine months as my time with my husband to cherish the few months for us to be newlyweds alone together. I was very particular about this to the point that I stressed it to him almost everyday. (Geez, right?) I would even count down the months before the beginning of our family and the final days of being just the both of us as a newlywed couple. It was a period of getting to know each other better than before and ‘enjoy’ just the two of us. We even went on some trips together. Although I admit, we took extra precautions because of all the cravings and the heaviness of my body.

Because we were newlyweds and doting soon-to-be parents, we had to balance those stages of our lives well.

Our new role as parents to our baby were slowly taking its place as my unpredictable hormones, cravings and growing baby bump were taking centerstage.

The balancing act was in enjoying my pregnancy with my husband and embracing motherhood while keeping my husband very much involved!

Embracing Motherhood

Part of parenthood was getting to know our baby. Every month, we would scroll to our Pregnancy App (MyBabyCenter) and read about how much she’s grown and how her body matured. My husband would talk and whisper to her every night and tell her what he did during the day – those conversations would always make me giggle! We both got so excited every time she would kick and make waves on my belly.

I also embraced motherhood by decidedly giving the both of us (me and baby) what I knew would be good for us. Even if all I wanted to do was binge on all the junk food I could scarf down and I allowed it for a while but I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at the tail end of my pregnancy (it’s a kind of diabetes that most pregnant women get due to the hormonal imbalances and would typically disappear after birth). That was an inconvenience but I knew that I had to be strict about watching my diet and made a point to exercise. I thought of it as the best way to prepare her for birth.

After every meal, I would have to prick my finger and have my blood tested to see if the food I ate caused my blood sugar to go up. Needles terrify me! During every blood test I would close my eyes and hint at the nurse to make it a painless extraction so I was really scared to have to do this 3 times a day but I thought of it as a way for me to get used to needles and seeing blood. Aside from that, I watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy to prep me for my stay at the hospital. I also walked and swam a lot!

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Me and Lance at our baby shower, I was 6 months pregnant

Birth

I woke up at 4AM on May 30 because I was getting contractions way more frequently than they were ever before. I noticed that the intervals were getting closer to each other. I knew that, that was it! I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I knew though that if I really let that moment sink in, I would be in total shock!

I considered it as a normal day. In my mind, it was a normal day, of a normal birth, that normal pregnant women go through when their due date was up. To stress how normal it was, I went to my mom’s room, woke her up and smiled to tell her “we’re going to the hospital… it’s time.” Insert that wide grin.

Other more important preparations before the big day were spiritual. My doctor forewarned me that we wouldn’t know the team of nurses and doctors on the day of birth. She also said we wouldn’t know if I would be getting a cesarian or giving birth normally (and boy did we want to have a normal delivery). Also, we didn’t know how my labor was going to go at all! So we just prayed for the best! I prayed for a good team – specifically for a good anaesthesiologist and for a normal birth. I prayed for a good labor. I prayed for our daughter’s birthday to be on May 30. I especially prayed for a healthy baby.

God was definitely there because the entire experience was filled with positivity and excitement. When we arrived at the hospital, I walked with a limp to the chapel to pay God a visit. I don’t even remember what I prayed about but I’m sure He was happy to see me besides He knew what I needed more than me.

I got to the labor room with a disposition to make the birth as relaxed and as easy I could possibly make it. So it ensued. Through all the pain, I desperately tried to inject humour when I talked to my doctors and nurses. Even if the labor room was making me claustrophobic, I was soothed by the messages my husband and mom were reading to me from friends and loved ones who were getting minute-by-minute updates of the progress.

And when I was in the delivery room, I asked to be blindfolded so that I wouldn’t have to see (and consequently freak out by) any blood or anything else that was happening down there. I even asked my doctor not to tell me if she was giving me an episiotomy. The TV was on and we watched Princess Diary 2 through the whole thing.

Baby Maria was born at 7 pounds and 11 ounces on May 30, 2015 (Saturday) at 3:21PM after an 8 hour labor and 1 hour delivery time. She came out crying her lungs out and pooped all over my dressing. What a happy sight.

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Hello, mum!

Practical Tips: How to Achieve Maternity Chic

Dolce & Gabbana’s Winter 2016 Women’s Fashion Show was a refreshing sight to see on my Instagram Feed. The hashtags were a show of love for moms and the family #dgmamma #dgfamily and those invitations were scribbled with affectionate yet simple words and drawings of family and lots of red hearts! It was clear that the inspiration was to bring forth the soul of the chicest, classiest, most unfazed woman there is – mom – into a runway show.

It didn’t end there. My heart fluttered when I saw a pregnant Bianca Balti strut her stuff and the other models carrying cherubim chubby infants or holding hands with kids.

Thank you Dolce & Gabanna for such a wonderful tribute to the most important people in our lives that we often forget are also the most beautiful.

Even if all of that haute couture prettiness just poured itself all over social media. Sad to say, we all cannot exactly afford maternity wear from Dolce & Gabanna. I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, my few tips on how to achieve maternity chic, I believe it also comes with being a very practical shopper and dresser.

Now here are my Practical Tips to Achieving Maternity Chic.

YOUR CLOSET

I’ve always considered myself to have an easy-going style so I kept putting off wearing a stretchy pair of boho pants until the “right moment” came – only it was too late! When I was putting them on, they only reached until the widest part of my thighs and there was no way it could journey to my hips.

I felt bad and awkward but I did learn the valuable lesson: Wear all the clothes that you love on your first trimester. 

Yes: Keep and wear clothes that you know will accommodate your growing baby bump. For the soon-to-be new mom, this added role also means it’s time to consider a piece of clothing’s possibility of helping you breastfeed. Keep loved pre-maternity/pre-baby clothes that will help you breastfeed!  

Since the goal is to get back to the pre-baby weight and figure: Keep all your favourite pre-baby clothes, especially the ones that will aid in breastfeeding, in a vacuum sealed container for safekeeping against dust. 

SHOPPING CONSIDERATIONS 

The Philippines has only two seasons: Summer and a more forgiving, rainier and/or windier Summer. The heat is more often than not piercing and blinding. It doesn’t help the pregnant lady at all because she’s more likely to feel warmer than usual due to the hormonal changes and increase in blood supply to the skin.

I can testify to this. While on the road at the peak of the noon sun, even when the air conditioning is on full blast, I feel drained and sweaty from the heat bathing against my skin.

1. Purchase lightweight clothes in cotton and cool fabrics. Warning: stay away from too thin fabric that can show your undies or that will need you to wear extra layers. It’s hot enough, why add more fabric?

2. If you are on your second trimester, buy clothing that you know will still be comfortable at the third trimester. Even if you are a Large now, buy that Extra Large. You can never be too sure.

3. Buy clothes that will help you breastfeed! Hello to button down tops and dresses and stretch tanks over oversized shirts. This will be your new look after the baby comes. What does this mean? For those who want to explore their style, be adventurous with your shoes and leggings.

super cute shoes

Remember: you don’t have to buy clothes from the maternity section. 

MUST HAVE’S

When you do, here are my must have’s:

1. Maternity Leggings 

I made the mistake of purchasing two pairs of leggings from one of the stores I usually go to in their largest size without trying them on. When I tried wearing them one day, I kept having to secretly and awkwardly stretch them because they were just so tight at the hips. (I had no idea that that area became so sensitive when pregnant)

I didn’t think that maternity leggings existed until I visited a maternity store and saw all the selections… Because I was traumatised by my earlier purchase, I made sure that the maternity leggings really looked like maternity leggings and had that cute pouch that outlines the tummy.

I loved it so much that I bought 3 – 2 in black and 1 in grey. I also purchased a white pair of maternity leggings that didn’t have a pouch but did stretch high enough to envelope my entire belly. The white pair became one of my absolute favourites because it’s such a fresh feeling to wear white bottoms without having to worry about stains. 


Dress your leggings up with plain or printed oversized loose tops. They’ll immediately make you feel dressy and ready to face a long day ahead.

2. A Good Pair of Maternity Jeans 

Jeans go with everything so invest in a good and comfortable one that will last you through the whole pregnancy.

3. Maternity Shorts

At the second trimester, when you’re at the height of feeling great, you’ll want a wardrobe that will allow you to be a little bit more active. I have a white and beige pair. Maternity shorts will make you look uber cute and casual along with a semi-fitted top and your favourite sneakers.

Don’t allow these must have’s to break the bank. Visit your favorite department stores and explore their maternity wear. For me that’s SM and The Landmark.

Bonus: Leather Flip Flops 

I am in looovveee with my leather flip flops that I can wear with anything! For some reason, I want my feet to breathe all the time so I use them every day that I noticed my feet started to sink into the leather.

How to Achieve Maternity Chic

Being pregnant, laziness and tiredness just took over my body and I just could not come to put that eyebrow pencil against my non-filled eyebrows. During the first trimester, I was always weary with morning sickness, so naturally, I didn’t go out. My husband even commented that he doesn’t encounter many women in the earlier stages of their pregnancy out and about anyway. Now that I’m on my second trimester, I’ve been feeling like a million bucks and I truly want to enjoy this stage of my pregnancy and life.

Since I am first and foremost a newlywed, I’ve read:

Keep looking your best after marriage, even as you have been doing before. When you look your best, you do your best.

‘After marriage’ can also be applied to ‘during pregnancy’! Although, every pregnancy for every woman is different. No matter how bad the circumstances and effects of the pregnancy is to a woman, her womb is a home to a growing child. As the mom’s belly grows, the more that she and everyone else realize how the baby is close to joining them in the world.

To know that my womb is the current residence of someone makes me believe that every motion that I make, every feeling I keep, every thought I have an affect on that someone. Besides the food that I intake, these feelings and motions are what sustain, furnish and surround this little one’s home and I have the obligation to make his home a bright, cheerful and peaceful one as best as I can.

I can’t think of a better way to do so than by starting with making the mother feel like she is the most beautiful woman in the world while her belly grows. Here are my top tips of How to Achieve Maternity Chic. 

Allow your clothes to love your belly bump 

Gone were the days of shabby maternity clothes. The trend is to buy clothes in your favorite stores but a couple of sizes larger to accommodate your lovely belly bump. Even before I got pregnant, I loved wearing loose clothing with unique styles so I don’t have to buy too many new blouses (yet).

This top is similar to what I have in my closet and I love how she styled it with tapered jeans and cute flats.

Loose top lovin’

I love these two easy-going looks that seem as if they didn’t have to look far from their pre-pregnancy closet to assemble them.

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I have been on the hunt for the perfect jean vest because of how well it dresses the neutrals that every pregnant lady relies on for her everyday comfort. Let’s admit it, pregnant ladies are adorable when they dress their casual outfits so well.

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that jean vest!!!

Another way to achieve this is by being creative in how to cinch just above your baby bump. You can use your pre-pregnant belts over a long and loose top and tie them neatly above your bump.

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba

Wear your chunky necklaces and bracelets before your baby starts gnawing at them 

Once you give birth and if you’re itching to accessorise (which I’m pretty sure I will be), there are chew-friendly necklaces/ teething necklaces (example: Chewbeads) in the market that are made of rubber but look like beads! If you don’t want beads to bother your baby while you carry them, you can start trying your hand at wearing colorful scarves or necklaces that are made of soft fabric and are washable.

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Get Inspired by the Maternity Queens

Blake Lively, Kate Middleton and Miroslava Duma… need I say more? I am so glad more and more style stars are loving their maternity bodies by wearing beautiful clothes. When I would see their street style photos posted, I would be in awe by the way they embraced their belly bump as part of them. Be inspired by them. Even if you aren’t a fashionista who needs to impress the paparazzi all-day, be beautiful for yourself, your baby and the people who see you.

Blake Lively

Blake Lively

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton

Miroslava Duma

Miroslava Duma

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Miroslava Duma

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Miroslava Duma

Goodbye High Heels (For Now)

Even if Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and the rest of the stars do wear high heels during pregnancy, I personally do not believe that wearing high heels is healthy for the pregnant lady. Pregnant ladies are so prone to imbalance since her center of gravity shifts while she gains weight. It’s better not to risk anything! Comfort and ease in walking are very important at this stage. So I suggest saying goodbye to high heels (for now).

Besides, I consider it a good challenge to look dressy in flats.

Note: Because comfort for the pregnant one is important, I believe it’s the same for the bag that you carry. It should never be too heavy that it could strain your back even more… so have that go-to clutch or go-to cute sling bag that can match everything.

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Embrace Colors Because (New) Life is Vivid with Color

Newborn babies are usually dressed in pastel and bright colors. Color keeps the mother-to-be absolutely glowing whether it’s a pop of red on the lips, a bright bag or your cobalt jacket.

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For Better or For Better

My husband and I were recently interviewed on a local television network called GNN (Global News Network) for the show called LIFE hosted by Marlyn Feliciano Lopez. Our episode was entitled Love, Courtship and Marriage. To be honest, each word in that title is a load to talk about for just 45 minutes. The beauty about it was that we didn’t have to exhaust every single topic. Instead, we revolved the topics around what we know best… our love story. 

On set with the host

On set with the host

Many things we shared to the host were actually everyday habits that we developed and never actually exposed to each other. They were like known secrets that made us more aware of what we were doing for the other person. These habits revolved around the theme of always being better persons together. 

Throughout our dating, courtship and especially engagement, I had to always take the time out to reflect and look back at all the conversations, events and fights that we went through and wonder: Am I a better woman than I was before? Am I closer to God than I was ever before? Am I looking for ways to reach out to others more? Am I a better daughter to my mom? Sister to my siblings? Friend to my friends? Student? Employee? 

My husband also stressed the point that while in a relationship, your relationship isn’t the most important part of your priority list. It’s the fourth where number 1. is God 2. is Family 3. is Work or School and 4. is Friends and Boyfriend/Girlfriend. He warned against making your relationship #1 because when you’re young there are so many opportunities that may be missed if you make your boyfriend/girlfriend your top priority. He had a simple gauge that he mentioned to his guy friends one night: “Dudes, if you don’t see me anymore. I’m probably in a bad relationship.”

Not to mention, there’s a lot to discover about yourself – from being a college student to a member of the workforce.

My husband and I knew each other when I was in my last year of college and he was working. He revealed (only) during the interview that he was watching how I was growing as a working woman.

There is a lot of wisdom in what he did.

In college, you’re exposed to people who you would see everyday and end up sharing the same values as you do because of the classes that you took together and every other shared experience within that university. But when you’re in the workplace, you’re forced to engage and deal with people of completely different backgrounds and consequently, perspectives and world views. Although it’s a wonderful experience to see things in a different light, there is also a huge possibility for you to change those values you once held so close in college. And eventually become a totally different person from who you were just a year ago. It’s the awful truth that your (college) values could just be fleeting feelings…

Which is why we were always on our toes.

The way we changed would always change our relationship, whether for better or for worse. For better was the gauge of how we knew we were “meant for each other.” (A lot of hard work, huh?)

Our relationship during the engagement period brought it to a whole different level where we had to tackle the daunting topic: finances. There were also those serious talks about living space and dealing with both families mixed in with the excitement of the wedding and marriage preparations.

Now that we are married, we not only see whether we are becoming better people together but it’s intertwined with learning about each other and learning to delicately deal with each other’s quirks, habits and moods well each and every day.

My husband talked about how he sought advice from a priest on how to begin the first few weeks of marriage and one was to:

Learn about each other, meaning, do not get annoyed by something new you discover (in her) but use it to learn (about her). Delight in it and learn how to deal with it.

This learning business is something we will never fully exhaust until the day we die. It’s something that allows us to delight in the positive and see the milestones amidst the difficulties. Just as what Pope Francis said during the audience with the families here in the Philippines: Do not stop dreaming (about your love, your spouse, your children and your family) or you will stop loving. It will remain difficult if all you see are the rocks and humps but when you see beyond it like the endurance muscle you will be strengthening for you and your marriage then… that’s dreaming. That’s loving.

After making our vows

After making our vows

A snippet from our honeymoon is Siena

A snippet from our honeymoon is Siena