By: Diane Mendoza Balatbat
I’ve always wanted to have my own baby. It was the most ridiculous thing because I wasn’t the nurturing, “mothering” type. My younger siblings didn’t want me to watch them because I was too maldita. I had my nose buried in books or went out often with friends.
I left for the States a few weeks after I finished college. I stayed in California for a while but moved to Arizona where I found work in a home for the elderly. I met my husband through his mom whom I worked with at the home. We dated for just a short while but we fell in love. My husband (boyfriend at that time) and I had just started planning for a future for us. It was very simple: save money, get married, and live together. Children were not part of the plan until a few years later. But apparently, fate had other plans. I could not believe I was pregnant at barely 22 years old! We had jobs but we didn’t have enough to raise a family yet.
I was comforted by the fact that I had a partner to share my new life with but I had to pretend I was brave enough to tell my parents. I was going to be a source of disgrace to them. Disgrasyada. Malandi. These were words I knew were going to be associated with my name. I didn’t care about what was going to be said about me only about how much it will affect my parents.
I had to suck it up and tell them. My mother made arrangements as soon as possible to be with me when the baby was born. They never made me feel like I was a disgrace. What I thought was disappointment, was actually only worry. They were only scared for me and felt helpless as I was a long way from them. Every day since I prayed to God for help. I prayed for patience and forgiveness. I prayed for my baby’s health and I prayed for strength and guidance.
Every parent will say that the day their baby is born is momentous for them no matter if it is their first or their tenth. Mine came with a piece of clarity. I am a parent now. I am a wife now. I was also still a daughter. Cliché as it may be, you will truly understand your parents when you become a parent yourself.
I have no regrets becoming a parent and a wife so young. For now, we have things working out as smoothly as we could despite challenges that come our way. Soon my children will say hello to puberty and I don’t think I am ready for that yet. We will figure something out as we go along.
Diane Mendoza Balatbat is a wife and stay-at-home mom of 3 kids and 2 dogs. She is originally from Cebu, Philippines but is currently living in Utah with her family. She competes with her kids on Just Dance and annoys her husband when she intentionally murders Adele’s Rolling in the Deep at the top of her lungs.