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Losses & Gains

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Photo by Joel Darwin

I really had huge dreams for this blog. I even jotted down in one of my notebooks all the interviews I wanted to do, apartments/couples/places I wanted to feature, and the recipes I wanted to shoot. I didn’t realize that pregnancy would put me in this sort of stasis. It’s like incubating a little human being also placed me in my own incubation. It’s all I think about and with my energy being so depleted these last couple of months, my outlets have ended up being naps, dinners with my friends, and walks in my neighborhood.

I initially wanted this blog to produce content my late-20’s, childless self would enjoy perusing. At the time that I started, I wanted to talk about things that mirrored my lifestyle. Now all that’s swimming in my head are things like looking at baby furniture for small spaces, parenting a feminist child, and feeling like shit when I cave in to my fast-food cravings. Does this mean that my blog will be a parenting/mommy blog now? I don’t know! I haven’t even adjusted to this role yet! My creativity has stalled and it’s due to the fact that I’m still in denial of this new identity I’m shaping into.

A big reason for this stall is also because of how I was clamoring for role models and guidebooks. I have none in my life and I’m in the process of accepting that and building the confidence I’ll be needing to become the mother I want to be. I’m thinking if I finally just come out and acknowledge this new shift instead of fighting it, then maybe I’ll have my voice back.

This is what my old identity is perceiving to be losing:

  1. My “Career”
    I was in the process of figuring out how to grow my business, not scale it down! I wanted to spend 2015 dolling up my graphic design practice. I wanted to unroll a huge Natural Selection Design Co. parade filled with confetti with me as the band leader! Then I had to hit the breaks on my career fantasies when I started spending my evenings peeing endlessly and spending the day recovering lost sleep. I can barely juggle my current job description right now and the thought of adding more to it stresses me out. I’m going to have to stay small for a while more. Maybe I’ll still be able to do all of this in the future, but my ambition is weeping.
  2. My family of 2
    This is my biggest heartache. Joel and I are a gross, clingy couple. We love the Joel and Marla universe so much that I feel like a total asshole for fearing that my little bundle of joy will be our new little bundle of unwanted intrusion. Say it with me again, “ASSHOLE!” Hey, but that’s what I’m feeling! I’m a bratty kid stubbornly clinging to the skirts of our movie dates, trips, and veg out weekends.
  3. My social life
    I already struggle so much seeing my friends. For all the alone time and holing up I do, I also happen to love spending time with people. I’m currently six months into this pregnancy with a sizeable bump, but the highlight of my weekend was watching wrestling (Shout out to PWR!) and chanting “YOU SUCK DICK! YOU SUCK DICK!” with my gang. My friends have been wonderful with their support and encouragement that’s why the idea of sitting out on the things we like to do together hurts me even more.
  4. Bible Study
    Most of our friends belong to a Saturday night bible study we facilitate. The evenings we spend together integrating politics, memes, philosophy, jokes, and our stories into the verses we discuss have been some of the most fascinating and enriching times of my life thus far. I don’t know what will happen to the dynamics of the group once baby Darwin is thrown into the mix and it scares me.
  5. Our little luxuries
    The money that we usually use for our vacations, dinners out, and clothes shopping are going to be relegated to baby things now. I’m trying to cut down on our future monthly costs by committing to exclusively breastfeeding and using cloth diapers, but an impulse Cebu Pacific promo fare purchase will still have to give way to a stroller or the baby’s education fund. I know these are beautiful, selfless things that we’ll be doing in the name of parental love, but I still need a moment to kick, scream, and cry.

Throughout all of those anxieties though, I began to realize that I haven’t put enough thought on the new things my identity as a parent can potentially gain. I’ve been so caught up with the terror of financial expenses and projectile pooping, I lost sight of why people decide on having kids in the first place.

Here are the things that are cheering me up:

  1. Being Unfiltered Mommy
    Joel and I, for all the manners we try to imbibe, simply cannot do away with our penchant for being blunt. I do try to watch myself around kids but I cannot resist opportunities for teaching life lessons. I was watching Blades of Glory with my 4 year old niece yesterday and I figured that since the scenes were slapstick and a lot of the vulgar dialogue was coated in layers of metaphors and slang, they would just go over my niece’s head. Boy, was I wrong. “Tita Marla! That boy just slept with that girl!”

    Guh. I don’t know if she already had linked “sleeping” as a euphemism for sex but I decided to stick to the actual plot. “No, Mariana. He didn’t sleep with the girl. The girl is his best friend’s girlfriend and good friends don’t do that to each other. He did the right thing.” “But he’s in his underwear!” “That doesn’t mean sleeping happened! People walk around in their underwear all the time!” And that was that. Then cut to the scene where Amy Poehler’s character was handcuffing Jimmy to the toilet and confirmed that no, Chaz did not sleep with Katie. “See, Mariana.”

    I discovered that her questions didn’t really fluster me and I imagine that it would come in handy someday. “Why is that boy wearing pink pants?” “Some boys like pink.” “Oh, ok! But not all boys, just some boys.” “That’s right, Mariana.”

  2. Being Feminist Mommy
    I’m a feminist wife married to a feminist husband, this only means that our values are going to cascade to being feminist parents. Take for example my refusal to divulge my baby’s sex. Initially I wanted the sex to be a surprise when I actually give birth, but the technician at my last ultrasound slipped. I got a pretty stoic doctor and boy, did her facial features start flaring up when she realized she made a booboo. Joel and I took it with a grain of salt (but we did tear up and were ecstatic at the news) and decided to stick to our guns and keep the sex a mystery still.

    We didn’t want people to box our baby into these gender expectations (ruffles and pink galore for girls and blues and sports for boys) and aesthetics-wise, I wanted to keep my house neutral-colored still. I’m also open to having a second baby and I’m hoping that the possible baby #2 would inherit its older sibling’s stuff.

    On a deeper level, I’m excited to introduce my baby to a world where LGTB rights are finally gaining ground, sexual fluidity has more awareness, and women in most parts of the world now have a strong confidence and voice that no moment in history has matched before.

  3. Being Creative Mommy
    I have crazy opportunity to show my child that we can challenge ideas and boundaries. Both Joel and I have unconventional jobs that allow us to be in control of our time. Because we’re not bound to a 9 to 5 schedule, we have lots of chances to spend time with our baby and to show it our world.

    I can apply the freelancer’s mindset to parenting and it’s opening up new ways of mentoring and modelling that I didn’t experience in my childhood. If my kid wanted to learn about graphic design, I can bring it to my meetings and visit my suppliers. If my kid is curious about a certain country, my husband actually has a chance to bring my kid to meet people of various nationalities because of his profession and missionary kid network. If my kid suddenly had an obsession with dinosaurs, we can download documentaries and simulate activities like dino digs. Our kind of access to information now opens up all sorts of possibilities.

  4. A Bigger Heart
    The last reason is something I don’t dare even speculate about because I really have no clue until I get there. I’ve been hearing from people that my heart will just magically expand and more room for the newest member of my family. I’m a huge romantic and the idea that I’ll be able to love someone even more than the love I currently have is just so mind-boggling. I’ll just have to wait and see, don’t I? There are so many new unknowns currently enveloping me right now but I have faith in love.
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