"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face, you have to be fully committed." When I heard that line from Eat, Pray, Love before, I thought it was spot on. It was probably the coolest comparison of some sort I've ever heard. It was so true.
Nobody said it was easy. I didn't think it was easy either. I began thinking of so many things like how my life would be, what I'd look like when I'm pregnant, or if I could still manage to go to work even with a baby bump. And guess what?
Yes, I managed to work full time up until the last day before my maternity leave. Me? Worked full time for 9 months of pregnancy. Plus I was working at night, traveling at night, sometimes traveling early in the morning, sometimes with my husband, sometimes alone, sometimes I commuted, sometimes I took a cab.
Thankfully, people were telling me that I didn't look stressed and that I was still looking radiant even though I was pregnant. I hoped they weren't just being nice but I thought that my friends would be brutally honest if I already looked like a zombie!
Thankfully I was okay. But everything was just the tip of the iceberg. I never realized I had to sacrifice A LOT. And yes, that was my 22-year old self talking. What was I thinking?
1. GUILTY PLEASURES
I previously called these my vices, but I guess vices sounded so negative. When I first felt I was pregnant, I think I grabbed a bottle of beer with my friend. I think I was trying to deny that I was pregnant. I also used to smoke cigarettes a lot. And that time, I thought that if I was really pregnant and I kept on drinking and smoking, what's gonna happen to the baby in my tummy?
More than my suffering for some possible health issues, the baby would suffer more and I wouldn't want that to happen to someone who hasn't even experienced the world yet. I felt so guilty. So I stopped with one bottle, stopped smoking, and started a beer-free and smoke-free life.
And I was successful! Until now, I can only count the number of times I drink in a year. Never smoked anymore too. But I don't have anything against those who still do as I understand each one has her own way of dealing with things.
Okay, I've admitted several times here that I was really overwhelmed before that I was earning more than I thought I would and so I'd spend my money like there's no tomorrow! I used to buy so many things every payday. There was even a time when I splurged on a pair of sandals but turned out it's not allowed in the office so I went back to the mall the next day right away to buy another pair.
I'd throw more than a thousand a night on weekends of barhopping just for stuff that did not matter at all. Looking back to it now, I know I've wasted money so much but I think it was also a lesson learned. I also kind of splurged on food, kind of.
In today's day and age, airline promo fares are sold like pancakes! So I think I could probably afford to purchase plane tickets to experience the world. The only concern I had with this was that I couldn't bring myself to leave Reiko while traveling.
I missed my younger brother's college graduation because I just gave birth that time and although I really wanted to attend, again I couldn't leave a one-month old baby behind and it would be difficult to bring an infant with me when traveling.
As a working mom, this is already given. I used to sleep 12-18 hours or more everyday without having to worry about a baby crying because he's hungry or because he pooped. After I gave birth to Reiko, I averaged between 2-4 hours of sleep a day and if I got to sleep more than that, I'd wake up every 2 hours and in the wee hours to feed him or change his diapers.
That being said, the time for myself significantly reduced and even the time for my husband too, the time for everything else except the time for my son has definitely reduced. I suddenly felt that time was a luxury I couldn't afford anymore! And I guess it still is. But I try. I do my best to always make time for anything that matters.
True enough, no one can ever be prepared to be a mother. In a sense that you can only really understand the beauty and sweet pain of motherhood if you're already there. No amount of crash course or training can ever prepare us to be a mother. Yes, that's what I thought. Time flies.
Guilty pleasures, overspending, travel, time - these are just nothing compared to all other sacrifices I'd be more generous to make and risks I'd be more willing to take for my son. I'd give up anything even my own happiness but I'll do my best so that it doesn't have to come to that point.
I'd like to share with you this mother-daughter conversation from Eleanor and Blair Waldorf. I know I know, I'm a Gossip Girl fan but the words are so genuine that they touched my heart and even made me cry.