Becoming a parent does not come with instructions or a manual. From expecting a child and to rearing one, this journey can be overwhelming, frustrating, tiring, and fulfilling all at the same time. Many parents say that having their first child is one of the best moments in their life and the journey may not be perfect but experience teaches them to be the best that they can be.
Sasha Zandueta of Chalan Lau Lau recalls being a first-time parent to a boy who is now 5 years old. “To be honest, my husband and I were not really prepared for parenthood but, as soon as our baby was born, our ‘parental instinct’ began to come out naturally. …We were both so excited and happy to meet our first baby boy and we couldn’t stop staring at him , holding him and feeling such immense joy,” she said.
“My husband and I did not talk much about playing roles but we did our parts and one example is the husband would do laundry while I stay at home and take care of the baby. …There were many challenges we had to face becoming new parents, which meant we were on our own now as a family and my husband and I teamed up on responsibilities and we learned not to do things on our own but work together for our family,” she added.
Experience taught Zandueta that first-time parents should always be there for each other. “Split the responsibilities…help one another… accept the responsibilities and make adjustments. …There are moments when mothers go through ‘post-partum depression’ with their first child and my advice to all the fathers is to be there to help ease the situation and realize that new mothers are not overreacting in these moments. …Be a team and work things out.”
Zandueta said that her son and husband inspire her to keep going. “…We started our life together pretty young and, with a son, our life is pretty much a handful but we are moving forward every single day. …Just to see our son grow is very rewarding. …Seeing my family together and happy pushes me to be a better version of myself despite going through PPD. …My husband inspires me to never give up,” she added.
Alisa Baquilles of Gualo Rai said she and her husband cried tears of joy when they saw their baby girl for the first time 14 months ago. “We were both so happy, thankful, and blessed. …Just like many parents, we did not really appoint who will do specific tasks. It just happened and parenthood will push you that way but in a good way,” she said. “Breastfeeding was a challenge at first and I still do this until today. I thank God for being able to provide ‘liquid gold’ for my little one.”
She said their daughter keeps them going through many challenges. “Giving up is not an option, especially if you are new parents. Always pray and do not forget to take care of yourself for your family,” she added.
Parents like Kristine Galang and her husband from Chinatown did a lot of research when they were expecting their first baby girl 15 months ago. “We read a lot and talked to other ‘first-time’ parents. We were scared and nervous but the moment we saw her, it was pure joy and love. …I have always loved babies but knowing that this baby is mine, the feeling is just amazing,’ she said
“Every day, my husband and I inspire each other. Life can be challenging but we are a team. Both of our mothers would give us advice and help guide us. I am learning every day as I also talk to other first-time mothers and listening to their experiences is enlightening,” she added.
Galang echoes what other new parents also go through—that the transition to parenthood can sometimes be overwhelming. “Aside from the lack of sleep and worry if what I am doing and decisions that I call are right, breastfeeding was my biggest challenge. …I was not producing enough and I beat myself up thinking I have failed my baby. …When my baby reached 4 months [old], I finally let go and accepted [that] it is not about me. I did what I could and supplementing her with formula is not bad as my baby now is happy, healthy, and growing,” she said.
“My advice to new parents is [to] learn as you go. Not all babies are the same and only you know your child and what is best for them. Communication is key to my husband and me. …Be open to one another and never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when needed,” she added.