Whenever I see students toting books, laughing together, and rushing to their classes, I wonder what they’d become years later. I really can’t tell. I can’t judge them, after all. Some of them may go to this or that company, or maybe abroad. I’ll never know. Some may settle down too soon.
I had my baby when I was 25. That may sound too soon because I wasn’t married and was not eager to tie the knot. A shotgun marriage didn’t seem very pleasant. My pregnancy came as a surprise, but thanks to God, it was one good reason for almost everyone around me to rejoice. I was also happy, no question about it, but not as ecstatic as my parents, not as expectant as my boyfriend. Fears gripped me and anxiety sprang from almost everywhere. Everything was different from the time I learned about the life in my womb.
All of the informed people expressed delight and congratulations. But secretly, I was telling myself, “It’s OK. This is reality.”
In the first three months, morning sickness was a daily struggle. “All-day sickness” seemed more accurate. I threw up every day. Fragrances didn’t smell as good as before. The second trimester was a relief. I could eat meat again without feeling disgust. Chocolates and coffee were heavenly, but I managed to keep my consumption to a minimum. I gained weight and looked a lot better. My cheeks filled out and my complexion was lighter. I thought that was cool! I felt really happy, confident and loved. Though my boyfriend and I didn’t rush into marriage, he was very supportive, as were our parents.
One day in my fifth month, I was on my way to work when I saw some grade school kids walking with their parents. I realized how my perspective toward family had changed. The mothers appeared much more valuable than ever. I could imagine my daughter and me walking side by side, holding each other’s hand. The feeling, though new to me, was amusing and heartwarming.
When I delivered my baby, it felt like a brand-new life. I could see life from a different angle. But again I was gripped by fears and embraced by anxiety. The embrace was too tight, as though I could be choked to death.
I was beset by worries about the future, finances, marriage. The C-section. How to be a good mom. Career. Going to the toilet. Breastfeeding. Changing clothes. The pain of just getting up.
All of these almost knocked me down. Some may be small things, but they were magnified. The pain from the operation was excruciating. I could feel the thread clinging to my flesh. I was in such pain that I couldn’t even carry my baby in my arms. I became frustrated and felt like blaming everyone around me. I grew more anxious each day. They called it postpartum depression; I called it normal. I wallowed in that feeling for weeks, and then decided to snap out of it. I realized that it was the selfish side of me. I’ve always been like that, I guess.
Now, each day is a chance for me to discover greater things and truths I myself am withholding. Acceptance is so difficult because we are consumed by pride. We plan our life, our future, but sometimes we screw up. We don’t realize that some things are a blessing in disguise. We live like we are the only people in the world who are suffering. We sometimes blame our parents, our partners, even the One up there.
Whenever we face trials in life, may we not whine and point a finger at others. Remember that as we survive and surpass each blow, we are like coal being refined into diamonds.
Lenie Morota, 27, is QA analyst and ESL teacher at EPOST EduCenter, and a communication arts graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
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