Back on Our Feet

“We’re back on our feet!”

This was what my husband said a few days ago, as he successfully closed new projects and observed that I’m busy doing several design projects (and didn’t have time to blog).

Aside from our savings (which is still in replenish mode), I think could agree. ^_^

My freelancing took a back seat when Olive was born. The problem with being a freelancer is that nobody gives you a maternity leave. You earn great, but if you are impulsive and spoil yourself with a lavish lifestyle, you might end up zero. I had savings on my oDesk wallet to cover a month that I won’t be able to work. But since I delivered via CS, it wasn’t enough and ended up being used as payment for our hospital bills. We were broke after out discharge.

The first few weeks felt so chaotic and depressing.

I had to nurse Olive. We have additional people to feed in the house. I felt like I NEED TO GET BACK TO WORK ASAP. But attending to Olive took up most of the time in my day, I can’t even do anything else. I notified my clients, beforehand, that I’d be away for a while. But although they were supportive and understanding, one by one, most of my contracts ended. Google was no help when I looked up any tips for pregnant freelancers. I guess there really was no advice but to prepare even for the unexpected.

Thankfully, Lauren of Flavours Catering, who’s been my long-time client, sent me a job that kept me busy. I had to send back PSD files of the materials I’ve done for them so they could archive everything. In the end, there were a total of more than 700 PSD files since I began working from them last year. (Come to think of it, I’ve been working with her for a year now) I sent the last batch last March 19.

Having nothing else to do, I applied to open jobs again. Despite being experienced and with good client feedback, not even 1 of the 25 job applications I’ve sent ended up with a job offer. I was anxious. I know that if I can’t meet my self-imposed quota, next month’s vaccination, christening and credit card bills would be a problem. God was probably in the works though, ‘coz the next morning, I had like 4-6 job invitations and has been piling up til now. Like oDesk acknowledges that I’m back from my maternity leave.
Loving My oDesk Clients

As eager as I am in getting new projects, I quickly responded and landed with 3 new tasks. It felt like scoring my first job again on oDesk!

I took on a fixed-rate project with Edie – a motivational speaker/author, who needs a double-sided flyer for a book expo. She’s happy with the draft I sent so far and even recommended me to her colleagues. I like that she’s smart and sweet despite her level of being an expert and that.

On hourly jobs, I got on board the team of James – who’s into promoting Youtube SEO. I’m doing his monthly newsletter using iWork’s Pages. Its actually my first time doing a task out of it, but it feels great that I’m able to deliver and meet his expectations. This is also the first time that I’m actually also able to converse with other outsourced member of his team.

Last but not the least is Jennifer. I’m so glad to have met a client who’s also a fellow work at home mom! Did her flyers and postcards and am exploring MailChimp for customized templates. She’s my second client who needs a template done and I think its about time I learn about it.

Busy with oDesk

Happy to have my hands busy

For the first time, in a long while, I felt happy with getting stressed. My to-do list was full, and I’m juggling with office work with HVPC. I could only manage to whip an experimental snack for a break. Try champorado + Coffee Mate + Corn Flakes, really yummy!

nom nom nom

Quick Snack: mix left over champorado with Coffee Mate and Kellogs Cornflakes. YUM!

But if isn’t for Fahima, I wouldn’t have my first freelance job and my first client feedback. A 5-minute business card was my first stint into the freelance world. She was always patient with me despite my shortcomings when I get loaded with work. She and Lauren are my long-time clients who gave me a badly needed pat on the back! (After a long while of working in the Philippine Government).

Preps for Olive’s Christening

Christening Event

Saved money from not printing invitations

And as projects keep coming, Mr. H and I are busy on the side preparing for Olive’s christening. We’re targeting April 13 at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where her dad was also baptized. I’m quite sad that my family and friends couldn’t come due to short notice. Anyhow, we’re also on a limited budget, so we’re not planning anything fancy. We might just take the few expected visitors to a restaurant for dinner.

Last night, we bought her a outfit for the rites. A white dress with cap & frilly socks from Metro Ayala Dept. Store and this super cute headband from Celestina & Co. (The Maze at Ayala Cebu).

Celestina & Co Headband

Really happy with this head band! 🙂 planningtobuymore

Olive's Christening Dress

Cotton dress with bloomers for our princess

I’m super satisfied with what we’ve bought! I might actually wear it myself if I were her size! So glad to have found the headpiece! The dept store at Metro Ayala ran out of stocks. But I think I found a treasure trove at the Maze. They had so much to choose from that I didn’t have to check out online stores to buy from Manila.

Daddy H also INSISTED we buy her pairs of short pants and toys. She’s just always wearing a diaper at home. I bought her pajamas but we don’t dress her with those since its always humid. And the father wants her to have a variety of things to look at at home aside from Ate’s wallflower and our photos and glow in the dark stickers posted on our bedroom wall. While at that, I also bought her extra hooded towels. Olive’s grown out of the ones Mommy brought from Dasma. ^^

Baby Shorts

Assorted colored baby shorts on sale!

Care Bears hooded towel

Care Bears hooded towel

Stuff Toys

Chicken & fish plushies

So we got her these shorts which were on sale, a mobile set from Fisher Price (T_T so expensive), a blue birdie and colorful fishie stuff toys. I insisted we drop by Comic Alley for my choice of stuffed toys. Thinking of cute plushies but they’re out of stock.

Tiny Milestones

My credit card sure got smoking, but its worth it when we saw Olive’s curiosity and enjoyment. Playing with her makes me feel like a kid again! ^_^ And what do you know, from the last time that I’ve posted, our tiny bee also learned some new skills!

She’s beginning to turn to her side, do the caterpillar crawl and, oh, what a loud solid crying voice! XD

Olive learns to turn

Olive learns to turn

She’s also more talkative and responsive compared from the last month. We just have to capture it on amateur video for when she grows up! 🙂

Missing Dasma this Holy Week

Its the start of Semana Santa and we might just stay at home. Its my second Holy Week spent here in Cebu, and I’m missing Dasma a LOT! The last time we were there, we went to Calaruega to inquire about the wedding venue, dropped by Sonia’s Garden and roadtripped to traffic.

McDonald's spotted on our road trip

McDonald’s caught on traffic at Tagaytay

Sonya's Garden

Fantasized our wedding reception to be held here, if not for the vegetarian menu and price tag that’s way above our budget!

 

Calaruega, Batangas

Me and my then-boyfriend at Calaruega :3

In the following days, I know I’d be scrolling down to newsfeed of family outings or friendly get togethers on Facebook. I wish we’d be there next Lenten Season and be with family on Visita Iglesia.

But actually, just being at home with them and Olive. That’s more than enough.

A Day Out in the City

I WENT OUT OF THE HOUSE ALONE LAST THURSDAY!!!

Yes that’s BIG NEWS! The last time I went out alone was for a checkup when I was a few months pregnant and I had to go back home right after because I had so many weird goings-on in my body. This time its to complete my SSS requirements, buy some office supplies and canvass a dress for Olive. We’re planning to have her christened next month.

As usual, the heat and the crowded jeepneys of Cebu were killer factors. I rarely opt to bring an umbrella, but I HAD TO lately. 1 year mahigit na akong di gumagamit ng whitening soap! And though I appreciate the traffic flow in Cebu City, hate ko talaga mag-commute sakay ng jeep. Pilit pa ding pinagkakasya ng mga kundoktor yung isang dosenang pasahero sa jeep na sampuan lang. Siguro kung batang maliliit kaming lahat keri lang. And I don’t know why people still ride a jeep na obvious namang punong puno na if you look from the outside. Meron kahit dulo na lang ng pwet ang nakaupo poise pa din. Talent siguro yun. >_> Dati sa Dasma, kapag nakitang madami ng nakasakay, maghihintay na ng kasunod na jeep yung mga pasahero. Kahit hindi nagsisinungaling yung barker nung sinabi nyang 2 pa yung kasya. Hehe.

Moving on, I unloaded at Maternity (version ng Fabella dito sa Cebu minus the scent of lochia you could smell from outside), crossed to the opposite side of the road para maglakad from Osmeña Circle to Cebu Doc. Oo nagtitipid ako ng pamasahe. Plus I was planning to enjoy the stroll despite knowing its 1:30 PM at walang kaulap-ulap sa siyudad.

Fuente Osmena

Hello City! We meet again!

One thing I appreciate about Cebu is that, unlike Manila, they have wide and clean sidewalks. You wont get paranoid about the people around because there’s a policeman stationed at strategic spots. Hindi naman ganun ka-crowded sa streets ng Cebu on an ordinary day. Compared din sa Manila, controlled naman yung peace and order dito kaya hindi ganun kahigpit ang hawak ko sa bag at hindi din ako nagbaon ng heavy duty cutter.

I passed by the Cebu City Public Library or the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum. Its structure is a bit overwhelming. I learned that the library is only housed in the ground floor. Upstairs probably served as a museum. There was a poster outside about an art exhibit. I’m hoping that its spacious inside, mentally picturing something like APD. Somewhat missed that place. I hope I could bring Olive to the Children’s section when we get home. Oh the huge storybooks and the puppets!

Rizal Memorial Library & Museum

Cebu City Public Library

A few more steps and I’m at my first destination. I went back to Cebu Doctors University Hospital to get my OB and Operating Room record as a requirement for my SSS claim. I just recently had the focus to fix the requirements. Partly because I feel like I need the refund since I couldn’t focus on freelancing lately. I liked the male clerk at the Medical Records Section.  He’s probably around 40-50 years old, but very accommodating despite his intimidating appearance. Plus points that he spoke in Tagalog when I told him I’m can’t understand Cebuano that much. He even checked my SSS maternity claim requirements if I missed something. For my OB record, I had to leave the form with Ms. Arlene, Dr. Larissa’s secretary, and call back if its ready for pick-up. For a while, I kinda missed having my prenatal checkups. Dr. Roa is very reassuring and kind throughout my pregnancy. I’d recommend her to anyone who needs and OB. 🙂

Medical Records Section

Waiting for my OR Records @ Cebudoc

I walked towards the Provincial Capitol after I’m done at CDUH. Mainit pa din. Pero tinamad na ko ilabas yung payong ko. Yung bitbit ko na lang na document envelop pinangsangga ko sa araw. The commute to Ayala was much better. Hindi puno yung jeep and wala ding kundoktor. I went to Broadway Gems first. Kelangang kelangan ko talaga bumili ng pony kasi nawawala yung kaisa-isang ponytail ko na bitbit galing Dasma. Nakakahinayang kasi may sentimental value yun. Tas long hair na ang lola mo, e sobrang humid ngayong mga nakaraang araw mga te. I really need to buy another one and a spare, in case ma-misplace ko na naman. Side effects ng General Anesthesia! So ayun nga. I’m not a fan of fancy hair accessories but I chose a candy colored spring type pony (14 pesos) and a simple black one (8 pesos) (pang serious mood). Namamahalan pa ko dun kasi alam ko sa bangketa makakabili ako nun ng tag-5 lang. Pero sobrang natuwa ako nung napadaan ako sa Marcella & nakita ko yung mga kapareho nun na mas mahal ang presyo. Bargain pa din yung nabili ko. Sinulit ko na din at bumili ako ng dangling earrings, a sparkly heart-shaped fancy diamond and a simple black teardrop pearl at 20 pesos each. Mura na din! Sa bahay lang din naman ako mag-eearrings habang nagtatrabaho. Hehe! I feel like dressing up sometimes kahit nandito lang sa bahay nagtatrabaho no!

Ponies and earrings

Ponytails and earrings from Broadway Gems

Next, I window shopped for a toy para kay Olive. I was thinking about a puppet or a mobile to hang at our bedroom or on top of her crib. Nakaka-respond na kasi siya if she hears a sound. Madaldal na din siya and BabyCenter was recommending the toys for her speech, eye and audio sensory development. Window shop lang kasi I have a strict budget in mind for her toys and christening dress. I found several dresses for Olive and a matching pair of shoes. We’ve decided though, na hindi namin siya pagsusuotin nung makati sa balat yung tela. You know what I’m talking about. Those dresses na parang pang-abay. I’m sure you’ve been forced to wear one before. I saw some that fits our budget pero pretty din & masusuot pa niya on other occassions.

I have my eyes on YOU!!!

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Kikay bib

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Olive's Christening dress?

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Kaso eto na, napansin ko andaming nakabalandra sa hallways. Sale pala sa Metro until March 18! I really not an impulsive buyer, but after seeing so many pretty dresses napakuha talaga ako! I also found a toy for Olive. Just a simple pink baby rattle, the cheapest in the infant toys section. Pero kahit ordinary lang siya, hindi talaga nawala ang attention ng bruha kapag naririnig at nakikita nya yun. ^___^ SULIT!!!

Guilty purchase from the Metro Ayala sale

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Eye candy for Olive

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So this is really how it feels kapag mommy ka na. Parang lagi mo gusto uwian ng pasalubong yung anak mo. Lalo na kapag baby girl! Parang ansarap maghoard ng baby dresses sa mall at umorder ng sunod sunod sa mga online stores. Tough act for a frugal person like me! Nakakaloka lang yung price tags! Mas mahal pa yung mga damit ng baby kesa sa damit naming mag-asawa. At bakit kung anong liit ng mga laruan ngayon, kasing mahal na din ng damit ng baby?! I found a mobile as well with cute teddy bears. I just wasn’t really decisive on buying it (unlike the dress ^_^). I was thinking of bringing along Daddy H before buying. Well actually, its more of getting his approval kasi I’m also planning to buy another set of baby towel and beddings. Mahirap na baka mag-overspend. Hindi pa naman ako masyado nakakapag-oDesk ngayon.

So cute but so expensive

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Hanu ba yan! Pagka-gamay, pagka-mahal! >_>

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Unbelievable price tags! x_X

 

But there. I’m glad I’m able to get another dose of the outdoors. Hope I could go to a different place again next time. Maybe take a stroll again at the Ayala parking lot or the sports complex. Being alone is somewhat therapeutic. Kinda makes me feel like myself again or figure out the changes in my life and embrace it when I come home. I’m thankful my husband allowed me to go. Til the next time! As of the moment, I’ll go burn some keyboards for cash. 😉

Workstation

Work – work – work!

My Daily Routine… Lately

Olive turned 2 months old last March 5. Thankfully, she’s more predictable lately unlike in her first month. Changing diapers, nursing and cradling her to sleep seem more like a habit than a chore. I’m able to work again, although still not in the capacity to accommodate a variety of graphic design clients. I am even able to finish 3 months backlog of cash disbursements for our business. Feeling ko lalo kumulot ang utak ko dahil sa dami ng numero kelangan kong i-review. I admit, I have hard feelings to finish that one but it felt DAMN GOOD to balance accounting figures even though I’m mostly only good at creative stuff. And since I’m a writer ever since, I’m also stubbornly attempting to push blogging in between everything. Haggard, and unimaginable noh?

So what’s a day like in my life? LATELY this has been my routine:

  • Rise and shine at 10:45 AM
  • Breakfast at 11:00 AM
  • @ 11:15 AM — Substitute for a while for Janie (Olive’s yaya) so she could cook lunch
  • @ 12:00 NN – Lunch
  • 12:30 PM – Bring down my working bag (with my Mac, organizer, compilation of vouchers, notepad, wallet, cellphone and chargers) to the dining room which currently serves as my office desk. Love working in wide desks!
Kitchen Desk

My office… in the dining 🙂

  • 1:00 PM – Browse my Facebook, Yahoo Philippines, Bloglovin, Instagram and WordPress for updates before I dive into…
  • 1:30 PM – Work — Business concerns first (client follow ups, checking for scheduled collections and bills payment, coach our Sales Staff, review of liquidated petty cash and update on the accounting stuff) followed by…
  • 3:00 PM – oDesk — As of now, I’m only working with my long term clients. I don’t want to commit yet to new clients and be unable to manage tasks effectively
  • 6:00 PM — Nursing time for Olive as Janie prepares dinner
  • 7:00 PM — Dinner time
  • 8:00 PM — Second evening feeding for Olive
  • 8:30 PM — Move my working bag upstairs to our bedroom where I continue whatever I haven’t finished with oDesk or business concerns.
  • 10:00 PM, 12:00 MN, 2:00 AM — Nurse Olive every 2 hours and still work every hour in between since Olive would be asleep by then OR update my lists such as groceries, things to do, schedules, etc.
  • 6:00 AM — Olive’s bath time (still half asleep during this time. Mr. H & Janie usually does the baths). She’s bottle fed by her yaya from this time until 4:00 PM.

**NOTE: My bath time and blogging are inserted in random hours ^___^’ **

As you can see, I really don’t have time to go out and enjoy a change of scenery. I know. After reading it over, sounds unhealthy. But this is just for now, I guess, until Olive can feed less frequently and would be able to sleep on her own (hindi na kailangan isayaw pa at kargahin para matulog). Yet I know we can’t rush that. As Mr. H & I are saying, we should just enjoy each day while she’s still our cuddly little bundle of joy.

Book 2 of the Married Life: Childbirth and Motherhood

I finally got a chance to write a blog entry. This, while uploading files for my client on oDesk, babysitting, and browsing over an Emily Giffin novel. And these, I am only able to do more than 2 months after I gave birth.

I really don’t know where to start telling what happened. Parang kahapon lang malaki pa ang tyan ko and its December, where I almost spent Noche Buena frustrated that my package of longganisa didn’t arrive on time. I was homesick and nilambing ko si Mommy na magpadala ng longganisang Imus. Yun na lang yung pa-Pasko niya sa ‘kin. It was 6 in the evening when the package arrived. The LBC guy should’ve been doomed had I been the one to receive the package. I was preparing my speech in a fit of rage. Buti na lang I was busy cooking the spaghetti, Mr. H got the box. I called back home in Cavite, just to confirm to them that I’ve received the package, along with a few groceries from Tita Mely, loose t-shirts, sleeveless shirts and a daster I’ve requested. Hearing my aunts’ voices and greeting Daddy and Mommy a Merry Christmas — it just made me miss them more…

New Year was no different. It was only Mr. H and me at the apartment. Mark, our stay-in staff and all-around utility went to visit his brother. Aidz was on duty. Ate celebrated somewhere else. We watched the night sky lit up through our bedroom window. But I didn’t watch for too long. Nalalanghap ko na yung pulbura galing sa labas. I was alert for any fire alarms as well. We’re in a neighborhood surrounded by apartments and houses made of highly combustible materials. I don’t want to end up in the hospital earlier than expected. Especially that Mommy’s arriving the next day.

Happy New Year

Mr. H & I goofing around SM, waiting for Mommy’s plane to touch down…

January 1st, Mommy arrived at the airport ahead of time. Mr. H and I picked her up, both of us wearing red shirts, a silly tradition I’ve practiced since I believed in Fengshui. At pinuna talaga ng nanay ko ang suot ko. Naaawa daw siya sa tyan ko cause my blouse (which was loose before I got pregnant) seemed too tight AND I’m also wearing leggings – expected as usual from my fashionista mom. And I was there looking like a suman.

Mr. H and I were actually nervous about her arrival knowing how meticulous she is! While waiting for me to go into labor, she spent the first few days doing our laundry, cleaning our kitchen and bathroom. >_> Despite my efforts, I can’t convince her to stop. She’s really out of her comfort zone. And believe me, I would have done half the cleaning and the laundry if I wasn’t THAT PREGNANT.

I had a scheduled visit to my OB on the first week of January. I was already complaining of back pains which go on and off. Expected naman kasi 39 weeks na ko nun. I remember the afternoon of January 4. Already carrying an emergency bag, Dr. Roa did the first IE on me. IT WAS FRIGGIN PAINFUL!!! Like she’s about to pull something out of my guts. I don’t get why some women talk about IE like its just a pinch in the skin! True enough, she told me I am 4 cm dilated and in the early stages of labor. She was suggesting that we get admitted because it could progress fast. Or we could go home and just return the next day so she could induce my labor since I’ve been complaining about the contractions for several days now.

But, expense-wary as we are, I decided for us to go home and come back later when I feel like I can’t tolerate the pain anymore. I brought Mommy to Ayala Cebu for a stroll. But I know that with her in tow, it wouldn’t be JUST A STROLL. Hehe! I’m keeping a secret of what she bought, but sometimes, women just need to splurge for themselves. Despite being tired, I took advantage of the situation since they say walking helps induce labor.

Mr. H & Me at Ayala

Mr. H & Me at Ayala the night before ako manganak

It actually gave me a higher dose of back pain. Dr. Roa was betting I’d deliver later that evening, but I slept through the night. The next day, the back pain was tolerable again, like I could tour Mommy around the city the entire day. But we went to the hospital that Saturday morning to have my labor induced. I was examined again and found I only dilated 1 centimeter from yesterday.

My stay at the labor room was funny and painful. I was hooked with oxytocin upon my arrival. I brought magazines with me since I got bored the day before, as the resident OBs observed my contractions for 2 hours and I was just staring at the blank walls and empty beds. But that Saturday morning, parang may quota sa mga manganganak. Around noon, the labor room was fully occupied. The resident doctors almost gone, and we’re left with only 1 male med student. I remember him going back and forth through beds, taking vital signs and getting even more panicky when an OB arrives. I was having pity on him. But my attention is split with amusement at the woman on the opposite side of the room. She was really loud, crying and wailing even in just a few minutes that she got in there. I was thinking how over-reacting she is. Perhaps very low pain tolerance, unlike me who’ve almost spent a day hooked with labor-inducing solution, and I could still read Zoren and Carmina’s interview on a showbiz magazine. I’ve already painted a picture of how easy I’d be able to deliver later on, or so I thought.

The loud woman was eventually taken out and headed to the delivery room. After a while, Dr. Roa comes in finding me still in a relaxed state and with my dilation still at 6cm. My water bag isn’t breaking and I’m a bit sleepy. After an hour, she ordered for the resident OB to burst my bag. THAT’S WHEN THE TORTURE BEGAN. I felt the contractions getting stronger and more rhythmic. Like I’m attacked with intense dysmenorrhea every 5 minutes. I was counting the contractions — 5, 20, 30 until the pain was so terrible I just stopped. I felt like something’s gonna come out of me but it just wouldn’t. The most hellish part of it all was when they had to do another IE just to confirm how much I’ve dilated while I’m having strong contractions.

That’s when I heard the most unexpected of all. I had to deliver via CS. My birth canal just wouldn’t stretch for my 5lbs baby to come out. CRAP! I knew we had limited budget, but I couldn’t think of that anymore. Dr. Roa spoke to Mr. H and my mom. I saw the worry painted on his face. Scared perhaps of the pain I’m going through – I was hysterical at the things being injected to me. And anxious about how we’d deal with the bill and my recovery. We were very confident I’d deliver normally. BUT we were there, and there could’ve been more harm to the baby…

That was the last I saw of them before they sped me to the OR. The pain was beginning to be unbearable. I was growing tired and scared of the things they’re administering me. The last thing I remembered was the dull feeling of insertion in my spine and I was out. I remembered briefly gaining consciousness as I felt something touching my cheeks. I heard someone say “Eto na ang baby mo”. I only remembered the feeling of a wet hair on a small head. Finally!

Next thing I know, I was on the recovery room, someone asking me to raise my right foot and then the other. They were checking my blood pressure ‘coz they said it shoot up to 150/90 earlier. I slept again, gaining consciousness later on to realize that something was in my neck. I was horrified to see an IV hose! “Nurse ano to?!”, I asked. To which I was told it was for the epidural. I was assured it was not injected on my neck as they’ve probably observed my horror. The anesthesiologist on duty explained to me that I would be given another dose of pain reliever in the next 12 hours after the dose given to me during the operation has worn off.

I was rolled off to my room later on and reunited with my family. Yes. I was with family, albeit it was only my mother and my husband. It felt a little lonely to not have my dad, my brother and Tita Nelia around when I’m sick as I’m used to. It was also saddening that I wouldn’t be brought home at Cavite where 2 dogs and my small room awaits. Instead, I’d be back at the 30-year old apartment we’re renting with an additional little tenant in tow.

First time I held Olive

First time I held Olive

I can’t remember when I first held her. If it was the next day or 2 days after. All I knew was that I’m happy that the tormenting pain was over and she’s safely in my arms. We named her Olive, after 3 beautiful and kind hearted acquaintances we knew. But the wave of emotions didn’t stop there. We had to stay for 6 days in the hospital because her high bilirubin levels. She was yellow! It dawned on me that motherhood will never be easy. I remember crying from time to time back then, having pity at the tiny person extracted with blood from time to time. I was still in pain from the sutures, tired from being so heavy and uncomfortable with myself for the past 9 months, we’re financially in crisis, and I feel so vulnerable as a new mom. I don’t know anything about being one and yet I have to learn. And the first lesson was that there’s no manual on how to be a mom.

A lambasting to the Catholic Church’s propaganda against RH Bill

Today Mr. H & I went to hear the mass. Its a humid afternoon and I’m constipated, but we went as devotion to thank God for the blessings of the past week. We were, after all, spared from the disaster brought by heavy rains in the northern part of the country. Our trainee and helper also arrived, giving us an extra hand and allowing me to break my weekly oDesk working hours recorded, doubling this week’s earnings. We also won a fairly huge bid from one of our clients and my UTI is cleared (for now). There’s much to be thankful about!

Cebu is cradle of Christianity in the Philippines. Home of Sto. Niño, the Sinulog Festival and strict Catholic church values. We were just in time for the priest’s sermon. I was remember one of the Bible verses we were able to study back in high school. It was when Jesus summarized all of the commandments into two – 1) to love the Lord our God, with all our hearts and mind, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30 & 31). The mass was delivered in Cebuano and I’m quite amazed that I could somehow follow with what he’s preaching. However, I was lost in a sea of confusion when everything led to the issue of RH Bill.

The Reproductive Health Bill has been a source of controversy and debate amongst politicians and the Catholic Church. President Aquino was so vocal in promoting the bill that he got his fare share of criticism, as well as those senators and congressmen who were the main proponents. In an overpopulated country composed of a majority of poverty-stricken families who depend on the Conditional Cash Transfer Program of the government, PNoy saw it as THE solution which would cause the vital turning point of our society like those among our neighboring countries. In fact the UN says that the Philippine’s economic progress would be hindered if this wouldn’t be made into a law. I’m not a PNoy fan but I commend his effort in promoting this despite the bullying of the church. (Well, until his SONA wherein he referred to it more modestly as RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD BILL. But, whatever!)

BULLYING! Yes! Numerous heads of the church have been vocal about opposing the bill, saying it hinders the right to life. They have this interpretation that abortion would be legal and thousands of children would be put to death even before they’re conceived. Everyone has a right to life they say. This is biblical they furthermore emphasize. More precisely, the priest even mentioned during the mass that it is WRONG TO TRUST THE CONDOM rather than to TRUST GOD. I know I was in church but I couldn’t help but utter some negative thoughts in my head. (Forgive me Lord).

I am disgusted at the negative notion they made of contraceptive options offered by obstetricians and family doctors. That these pills and devices are unsafe. I shake my head. I bet there are church attendees on their pills and IUDs. True there are risks, but that’s why there are also options. Its up to the couple to choose where they would be most comfortable with. Then there was the doubt of politicians making profit out of the funds to be allotted in the program. There would always be shadows like that. But if we wouldn’t start now, when are we going to place a belt on our hungry populace?

I think every mother in the congregation knows the hardship of raising a child. Anyone who came from a large family of 4 to 12 siblings know the challenges. I am even more disgusted at the mention of a text message (probably forwarded from priest to priest) wherein they warned that last week’s calamity was God’s way of punishing PNoy, even referring to the sins of the people which pushed God to cleanse the world through the flood. Even Pro-RH Bill Catholics weren’t spared. How discriminating after preaching to Love your Neighbors as yourself. I can’t stand to listen any further. Everything else that followed were lambasting of senators and politicians who were vocal on supporting the bill. This isn’t about Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbors. I was expecting that they would be expounding more on that. For the longest time, I think I missed our high school bible studies and the 2-hour Sunday service of the protestant church.

One of the many Pro and Anti RH Bill poster floating around Facebook.

…I don’t know if all the bishops and the priests met together and discussed to have this on agenda this Sunday’s Mass on all churches in the country. But I’m not buying it. I may share the same faith with Jesus but I am entitled to my own civil beliefs. I wouldn’t blame August 7th’s flood to PNoy and spread this chilling prophetical coincidence over the trauma suffered by our fellowmen. In scientific terms its the Law of Cause and Effect. An overpopulated community just happened to occupy and illegally settle along the waterways of Luzon, threw garbage and made obstructions. Collectively over decades, this disaster is going to happen. And it will continue to happen if we wouldn’t decide on a solution. Come to think of it, where was the voice (and funds) of the Catholic Church when all of the flooding happened?

Now there’s this what we call the separation of the Church and the State mentioned in our Basic Philippine Constitution class. Lawmakers shouldn’t bother with the Catholic church, but I’m seeing this manipulation over the Catholic congregation that they’re trying to impose. We are even requested to utter a prayer against RH bill before the mass officially ends. I JUST CAN’T PRAY AGAINST IT!

In the end, these priests and Catholic minions are stressing that THE 2013 ELECTIONS is near and they have power to influence over people’s votes. I beg to disagree though. The Catholic vote will always be diverse. Only INC maintains a solid opinion in electing leaders. So for those congressmen and senators who’re going in circles and letting themselves be bullied by the church – I’M PRAYING THAT AS GOD FEARING INDIVIDUALS, YOU VOTE FOR THE BENEFIT OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS. Those who are suffering from ignorance of choices in proper family planning, safe sex and unexpected pregnancies. As leaders of our country, know that the only victims of the failure to pass this bill would be the children born out of this illiteracy. Unplanned, unwanted or unexpected children born again and again to live regretful misery of poverty and hunger.