First-time moms on the joys and challenges of motherhood
By Patricia May P. Catan, with Christian Jay B. Quilo
Profile Photos: Contributed
MOTHERHOOD is an exciting yet pressure-filled chapter in a woman’s life. From positive confirmation and nine months of carriage to labor and raising your own little one, being a mom presents its own set of precious moments and challenges at the same time – it’s a life experience like no other, for sure. Read on and get to know these first-time mothers and their sentiments on motherhood.
Learning that she would soon become a mother scared Hilda. The uncertainty got the best of her and she often questioned herself if she was going to be a good parent to her child especially since she will be raising her baby alone. The thought of this terrified her but nonetheless, Hilda was brave enough to give birth to her son on the 16th of November in 2016.
The day she gave birth was sort of unexpected because she thought that it was only her usual check up at the doctor, but that was actually it. She was going to give birth. She even shared that she was the only one who went to the hospital to deliver her baby, but good thing her aunt showed up later.
Being a first-time mom was challenging for Hilda especially when it came to breastfeeding because she had a low milk supply, which was depressing for her. “As a mom, I wanted to provide what was best for my baby that’s why I’ve been giving it my all with breastfeeding despite having a low milk supply.” Up until now, she still breastfeeds her baby.
As a single parent, Hilda also had her troubles and worries. In times when her baby was sick, she considered it as a real challenge because there was no one she can share her worries with and going to the doctor alone with her son was difficult too. But she was also thankful for the company of her parents during the first few months since she wasn’t really familiar with what to do yet.
And although motherhood is financially challenging for her, nothing beats the reward of getting the best hugs and kisses from her baby, which make all her worries go away in a flash. Zach, who is now one year and five months old, is Hilda’s main source of happiness and strength.
Karla was ecstatic and beyond ready when she learned she was going to be a mother because having her own beautiful family was something she always dreamed of. This dream was then realized on March 3, 2017 when she gave birth to a baby boy who she named Karlos. For a first-time mom like her, she initially thought that taking care of a baby was just a walk in the park. “When I was already in the situation, I realized that every woman should be mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially prepared before having a baby.”
She could mention all the challenges she had to face after having her baby, but if she were to focus on two, one would be waking up every hour to attend to the needs of her son. She shared that Karlos cried a lot and it was tough for her because before she had him, Karla slept for eight to 10 hours straight. Sharing that she is a hands-on mom, Karla didn’t want to depend on other people to take care of her son. “I want to do everything by myself even if getting up seems unbearable. I don’t want a nanny to take my place. I want to do everything on my own because I am the mother and it’s my responsibility.”
Another challenge she had to face was breastfeeding. Karla had no milk when she gave birth and out of her desperation, she did everything she could to produce milk because feeding formula milk was never an option. All these, however, are temporary challenges and they are nothing compared to the rewarding feeling you get as a mother.
For Karla, the most rewarding part is witnessing his son grow and achieve the developmental milestones of a baby. “I enjoyed all the firsts of my baby. I even have a list of the date and what he accomplished. The first word, smile, laugh, grasp, sit, stand, crawl, roll over, walk, dance, name it all.” Karla added that although taking care of a baby is really tiring, God still blessed here with the sweetest and clingiest baby any mom could ask for.
Catherine was 27 when she got pregnant, and upon learning she was going to be a mother, she was overjoyed and excited. She even got emotional during her first ultrasound when she saw her baby-to-be and heard his heartbeat. Even on the first month of her pregnancy, she was already super excited to buy baby stuff, but of course, that didn’t happen until she was six to seven months pregnant.
At 28, Catherine gave birth to Alexander, and with the coming of her baby, challenges presented themselves, too. Every first time mom has her personal challenges to face, and for Catherine, lack of sleep and time management were two of them. “I know it is normal to have sleepless nights when you have a baby, but being a first time mom, I really had difficulty in juggling my time for my baby and work.” Catherine added that she only got two to three hours of sleep every day since she needs to wake up early for work.
Despite the lack of sleep and some troubles with time management, moments with her son always shines through and instantly makes everything worth the sleepless nights. “So far, the most rewarding part is when he flashes his sweetest smile at me and calls me “mama” – a very heart-warming moment for me.”
CJ was in a state of euphoria the moment she knew she was pregnant. She and her husband shared tears of joy knowing that they will be having a baby soon. And on the 20th of August just last year, CJ gave birth to her first born.
It was on that day when she knew that big changes will transpire and that she is ready to take on challenges along the way head on. “Being a first-time mom is like trying to bake a cake for the first time, I need to be more patient.” With the new role she had to take, CJ read a lot of articles and researched about how to take care of a baby since she never tried holding a baby before she had her own.
“It was such a huge adjustment, and to think, I was a graduating student. I continued to strive and do the best I could to be a responsible mom, wife and student.” She made a lot of sacrifices and had to endure a lot of struggles but at the end of the day, seeing her child smile takes all her stress and worries away. The biggest challenge and hardest one they had to face was when their sweet baby Earlie was recently diagnosed with PDA and required surgery. Thankfully with the power of prayers, the operation was a success. “Being a mother during this episode of my life made me become more caring, understanding and patient. I will do anything just for the sake of my child. It’s part of ‘the big change,’ and it’s not the end to meet more challenges in my series of being a mom.”
Hardships come and go and the only thing that matters now for CJ is being able to witness her child grow. Everything her baby does from her smiles, giggles to everything that she is now and every moment spent with her will remain as the most rewarding part of being a mother.