BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Monday, November 19, 2007

(Published last November 18 for the Working Moms segment of the Philippine Star)

It's amazing how a mother's womb stretches to make room for another human being. Everyday for nine months, I witnessed how my womb grew bigger and bigger until it was time for my child to be born.

From a tiny speck, she grew to become the baby girl that she would be. And every single day, during that nine-month journey, I thought about nothing but her. I ate, drank and moved with her in my mind. I slept early, took lots of rest and skipped many night gatherings to protect the life growing inside me.

Much like the womb, my life expanded to make room for another human being. I believe that is what parenting is. Your life changes totally and it takes a 360-degree turn to make room for your offspring.

Before she came along, I lived a carefree and singularly single lifestyle. I was contented with my life, making a living out of what I am most passionate about – chasing and writing stories and traveling to the different corners of the world because of what I was doing. Really, I couldn’t ask for more.

And then I became a mom. Only then did I realize that nothing will ever be as good and as fulfilling as being a mother. Journalism, although it will always be that one true job I will always want to do, comes only second to being a mom.

At 10:58 p.m. on March 31, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I’ve seen my whole life. Her thick dark hair and striking big round eyes were the first things I noticed when the nurse put her on my chest. It was the first time I saw her and for several minutes, I just held her close to me, enjoying one of the most amazing moments in my life.

My daughter is now six months old. I am still chasing stories and churning out words everyday but I make sure there’s more than enough time for her and for her needs.

It’s not difficult because her father and I have become the parents that we should be. Our baby’s needs come first.

It can be physically exhausting. There are times when my already sleep-deprived soul needs to wake up very early in the morning to prepare food for the baby, bathe her and play with her. It can also be tiring to be taking care of her after work especially when you’ve had a busy day.

Being a newspaper reporter isn’t usually stressful but it can be at times, especially when you have to divide the time between covering a press conference, doing an interview and submitting around three stories in time for the 4 p.m. deadline.

It’s good that parenting is a shared responsibility. Two pairs of hands are better than just one and two minds are best when it comes to raising a child.

The difficulties, nonetheless, end at the physical level. At least for now that my child is still very young.

To be a parent is one of the best things that can happen to anyone. It’s true what they say – parents forget how tired they are when they see their offspring.

But I have no grand illusions. I know that parenting will be difficult along the way, judging from my own mother’s wrinkles and increasing number of white hair.

My simple dream is to nurture an individual who will never stop to struggle for what’s best for her and society. I believe that is what parenting is about.

When that happens, I can say that I have done it and I have done it well.

In the meantime, there’s a little girl to take care of, to grow, to nurture and to prepare for the great big world.