Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
If I were to be honest, motherhood was never something that excited me. I didn’t even think I’d want to get married, but the universe works in funny and mysterious ways. I will tell you now—I am not pregnant. Just in case my mom is reading this article and starts getting butterflies in her stomach after reading the headline.
I am talking about my good friend Kris Landrito, who shares the same outlook on life as I do. We both love to travel light and are self-professed free spirits. We’re the types who would spontaneously decide to go on a road trip; the types who dream of living by the beach. We crossed paths at a timely point in our lives—in our mid 20s where we were both at the cusp of real adulthood, getting married, and weaving out our careers. We always met up in tiny cafés and wondered about the future—and trust me, a baby was never in the picture.
But now, Kris is healthy, pregnant, and popping in a month’s time! I could not be happier for her. One day, I got curious and asked her what changed. From someone who would not even want to discuss pregnancy, Kris has turned into someone who is happily (and excitedly) expecting. I wanted to know more about what clicked inside of her and made her want to enter the universe of motherhood. Initially, I wanted all this information for my self-knowledge, just to put me at ease with what I was going through internally (I won’t lie and say I don’t feel the pressure, but I am slowly welcoming the idea of motherhood, while always telling people who ask that I will have a baby when I am ready because there is still so much I want to do). The stigma has always been that having a baby will prevent me from living my fullest life—and that scares me sh*tless. I know I am not the only one who feels this way, so I asked Kris if it would be alright if I share our conversation on a wider platform. I’m beyond thankful that she agreed, and just to provide some context, this is not the first time Kris got pregnant.
Mikka: Can you talk about your first pregnancy? I know it wasn’t planned, but maybe you can share what you felt as you were expecting [your first child] and how you felt?
Kris: My first pregnancy was a rollercoaster of emotions. Prior to finding out I was pregnant, we kept telling people who asked that we never wanted to have kids anymore. We talked about it after traveling to a few destinations, and we just had so much fun traveling as a couple that we felt like having kids might just get in the way of everything and alter the life we had planned for ourselves. However, when we found out I was pregnant, we started crying, and we were genuinely happy. I can’t explain why but we just were.
The whole pregnancy (even if it was just 11 weeks) was a rollercoaster for me. One day I’d be happy, and then some days I’d be crying my eyes out. I felt like I wasn’t ready, and I haven’t done everything I wanted to do before becoming a mom. I felt like the baby might hold me back from pursuing the things I still wanted to pursue.
We lost the baby at 11 weeks, and to be honest, it was heartbreaking. What was even more heartbreaking for me was seeing JB (my husband) cry on the way home from the hospital and being even more broken than I was. It had been a tough year, and we thought having that baby would be like a turning point, but it wasn’t. To me, the miscarriage felt like a failure on my part. I know people say it wasn’t my fault, but at that moment, I felt like a failure as a woman. I should be able to nurture life in my body, yet I wasn’t able to.
The odd thing about losing the first one, though, was that I was genuinely okay after a week. I can’t explain it, but I felt like things were back to normal. I was happy and we were back to our silly selves, and to be honest, I really think it was just God who kept us sane because the whole thing just happened too fast. I was changed, though. I suddenly wanted a baby unlike ever before.
M: Kris, I know you are a super free spirit. What are your thoughts about people saying “how can you travel now that you have a baby?”
K: I hate it. I absolutely hate it. Most people wouldn’t even be tactful about it. They would outright say “O, bawal na yang travel travel ha. (Now, you can’t just travel for the sake of it, okay?)” To me, it just feels like settling down, which I never understood why getting married and having kids is referred to as that.
JB and I had the greatest and biggest adventures after we got married. It wasn’t just because we traveled to far places like Africa (although that was fun), but we just lived our lives full of adventure and spontaneity. I don’t want that to change because I want to show our future kids that life is the biggest and best adventure there is. I don’t want them to look at our life before [we had] them and make them think, “Oh, our mom and dad used to have such a great and fun life before us.” That’d be so sad. I know there would be adjustments, but to give up what we love would be crazy. Instead of leaving this world of adventure, I want our kids to be part of it, no matter how hard it may be. I can hear the titas groaning and saying “Sabi mo lang yan ngayon (You’re just saying that now)”, but I’m really determined to prove people wrong.
M: Do you feel motherhood is going to be more of an adventure or a setback?
K: I feel like it’ll be an adventure. In my wedding vows, I promised JB to give him a life of adventure and not of comfort, and I plan to stick to that. I know it’ll be challenging, and it’ll require adjustments on our end (like not being able to sleep in the car when we go to La Union), but I think it’ll still be an adventure. I guess it’s just bringing the baby along and sharing our love for exploring to him or her—we still don’t know the gender, haha!
M: What flipped the switch? What made you realize that you were ready, and that you wanted to have a baby?
K: It’s such a horrible sounding thing, but when we lost the first one, that’s when I realized I wanted to have a baby. It sounds like wanting what you can’t have, but that’s really what it was for me.
M: What are the top three things you are most looking forward to with motherhood?
K: Oh man, I don’t know! I feel like I’m too chill about everything, but it would probably be 1) Birthdays and the cooking and the decorating that comes with it—I love DIY-ing stuff so I’m looking forward to themed birthday parties, no matter how shallow that sounds! 2) Meeting the baby is really something I’m excited about. 3) Playing with the baby and smelling his or her head.
M: I know you can never prepare for motherhood or having a baby, but what are a few things you feel you need to have before jumping into the commitment?
K: Aside from the long lists that websites have online about things mothers need to prepare for their babies, one thing I know I need to have before jumping in is gratitude.
It sounds so cliché, but I really believe that being grateful for the life that’s being entrusted to us and for our growing family is one thing that’ll help us be not only better parents, but also sane and happy ones. Even if the nights get long, and we get to the end of our ropes, gratitude will anchor us, I believe.
M: How do you think your life will change after having a baby?
K: We definitely can’t sleep in anymore! But maybe, while the baby is small we can’t be as spontaneous as we normally are. Usually, if we decide to go on a trip, we decide on the day and just leave. I don’t know if that’s still possible. Also, I think about how JB and I will change. Like, how will our relationship be like after the baby? I’ve seen a few couples who are obsessed about their kids and don’t really have time to be a wife or a husband, and I don’t want that for us.
JB is my best friend and as early as now, we talk about how we plan to still be “us” while being parents.
Major change would also be thinking for someone else [apart from ourselves]. I mean, it’s a baby, and we would have to, at least for a few years, plan that kid’s life. It’s so scary when I think of it sometimes, but I’m excited.
At the end of the day, I think and I hope it won’t change that much. What I hope for is that it’ll just be like us doing our everyday stuff with a baby next to us. Next time we meet up to eat lemon curd waffles at Yardstick, I’ll be with a baby in a stroller!
M: On a personal note, your story speaks so closely to my soul. You know my thoughts on having a kid, and I haven’t felt that maternal instinct kick in just yet. I admit I have Type-A tendencies, and maybe it’s because I feel that having a child will prevent me from reaching my goals, but your story calms me and inspires me. It gives me hope. Right now, I see myself having a child (not children yet) in the next few years, but I still have that hesitation because, again, goals. I don’t like the idea of my life becoming “limited” and having things stop me from doing what I want. I hate it, too, when people say “oh, you won’t be able to do this or that once you have a kid,” because experiences that make me feel free, like travel, are so vital and important to me. I thrive on these experiences.
K: I know exactly how you feel, and when I was pregnant for the first time, these were the exact same thoughts haunting me and making me cry almost every other day. I remember conversations we had when we were still working together. You said you didn’t believe in work-life balance. Instead, you believed in work-life blend, and it spoke so much of doing what you’re passionate about that it just becomes a part of who you are and your everyday life.
Travel and adventure is such a big chunk of who I am, too, and I guess motherhood will also be the same. Maybe it’ll be similar to the work-life blend thing. I just see them as being part of who I am now, and I just have to do both and be both.
I feel like I’d be the worst mother for my future kids if I just gave up who I am to be a mom. I owe it to them to show them that we can still be who we want to be, pursue what we want to do, and still build the life we want to live, while loving and nurturing those around us. I want to say it’s a balance, but you were right, it is a blend. Some days will require me to be more of a mom, while others will require me to be more of something else.
Like you said, I’m a free spirit, and I’m not much of a planner. When people ask me if I’m ready, I always answer with ‘I guess so!’ because I feel like I should be worrying about something or be busy preparing stuff for the baby that’s coming, but I’m not! So for tips on traveling freely with a child, I don’t have any yet because I feel like whatever I say would fall on deaf ears because the baby’s not here yet. Ideally, though, I would love to pack light and not bring my whole house with me when I go out with the baby. We actually bought baby stuff that’s travel friendly like a really light and small stroller and a travel crib. I guess we prepared for what we expect, which is to still travel and go around.
M: Kris, you really have no idea how thankful I am I spoke to you about this. Sometimes, I feel like I want a kid, and I have the capacity to be a doting parent (because I’m such a doting dog-mom!), but thank you for this. It really helped be relax and calm my anxiety about having a kid. So, for the sake of the article, can you share with me five things that keep you grounded and centered throughout this journey?
K: 1) I’ve said it before but I think it’s worth repeating—having an attitude of gratitude. It makes the uncomfortable days of pregnancy bearable.
2) Taking care of myself—not in the skincare type of way (although I probably should get into this), but more of nurturing my health. I try to eat healthy as much as I can (with the occasional treat, of course), and I’ve been doing yoga almost throughout this entire pregnancy. I think it’s helped a lot. My future kids need a mom that loves herself so that I can love them well and not find them to be a burden to my life.
3) My relationship with God is probably what keeps me centered, sane, and most hopeful among other things. Life is so crazy and bringing a kid into the mix just brings a whole other wave of uncertainties and fears, but having God who tells me everything is going to be okay and that the future will be good keeps me going. My life and my attitude about it would be so different if I didn’t have God.
4) Having a great support system. I can’t imagine doing this without JB. I know some women don’t have the luxury to have a husband next to them in their journey, but that’s okay, too. I think having a support system that’s understanding and not demanding is so important. JB is just the best husband there is, and he has been so patient and so kind throughout the entire process. I don’t think I’ve been a crazy pregnant lady, but on the days when my mood would be off (like a few days ago), I can tell he would get a bit frustrated, but he would never take anything out on me. He’d be very understanding and patient, and we need that! I already feel nuts, and I’m glad he doesn’t tell me I’m crazy. So yeah, I actually look forward to seeing him as a Dad. I think he’ll be the best one to our kids.
5) Simply being chill about things. There are so many things we can’t control, and the sooner we let go of that, the sooner we can be more at ease. I don’t know about other moms, but I honestly don’t want to stress about everything. I mean, of course we prepare and of course we try, but there’s only so much we can do. I guess my “motto” throughout this journey is that lyric from that song—“don’t worry about a thing because every little thing is going to be alright.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Marian Hukom
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