Friday, September 3, 2010


Somebody said that changes in our lives are perceived differently by those around us. To others it may seem to be the death of your loved one or a triumphant event that changes you. However, the significant moment for you could be the simple shutting of a door, the glimpse of a small, secret smile or a leaf falling. For me it was a small strip changing color that rendered my universe virtually unrecognizable to me.

This is Oona, my first born daughter. She celebrated her 3rd birthday last August 15 and as she blew out her candles, I couldn't help feeling that my baby seems to be growing up too fast for me.

Was it only a few years ago that I was “Boss Laya”, driven workaholic, weekend wanderer and tough bar regular?

With kindred free spirits!
My life has never been the same the moment I found out she was coming. I always felt I was too much of a free spirit until I met my husband, but it was only in 2007 when the home pregnancy-kit showed two pink strips did my world totally turn upside down. I actually never thought I'd get married, let alone have a child!

At first I felt numb, shell-shocked as I heard it to be. Then, nervous and not just a little afraid. Suddenly all these questions, insecurities and issues started popping out from nowhere! Would I be a good mother? Am I ready to be a parent? What do I DO now? I started to reach for a cigarette but caught myself in time. I quit right then and there, cold-turkey and sucked on a mint instead. Drinking booze and coffee went out the window too. Sooo many things to consider, adjust, change!

For pretty much the whole 9 months, I was in a state of mental and emotional upheaval. Not to mention the physical changes that terribly upset me. I felt that I lost all sense of control. My world had spun off its axis, I was at such odds with myself and my body had betrayed me: the dizziness, the mood swings, the bloating, the aches and pains, ad infinitum, ad nauseatum.  My morning sickness did not just attack in the mornings, by the way, nor did it limit itself to just a month. Bleh.

surprise baby shower at the office
My beloved hubby RF and I had been married two years, living on our own in a small apartment in Makati. Life had a hectic regularity of work, home, occasional breaks and more work from our BPO jobs. It was an awakening for me how sharply the feelings of isolation this new state of being could bring me. At work I was surrounded by kids just out of college and most friends my age were like me, worked hard and partied even harder. All self-possession and confidence deserted me as I could not find anyone to relate to and I felt so alone even as I felt the tiny being grow inside me. I think it would have helped if I was closer to family but it was impractical given my delicate condition and unforgiving working hours to be commuting everyday.

Make no mistake, though, we were really happy to find out we were pregnant. It was all just so unexpected for me, so unforeseen that I, the girl scout, was caught unawares.

I was also so very hungry and thirsty all the time! It was horrible when the food cravings or paglilihi started because not only was I very picky, the mood swings coincided with whether or not I got what I was craving for at the moment. Blame it on the hormones and the intense feelings these new changes brought about, but I truly craved the wholesome, home made comfort food of my childhood. You know how it is at times of uncertainty when you hark back to a simpler, uncomplicated, secure time, right? Home, childhood, the warm womb of family...What I remember was that I craved Dinuguan like my granduncle in Mindoro made, the Sinigang Na Baboy only my mother makes and the Nilaga my grandfather used to cook when he was still alive. Tall order for my poor hubby or the Kuya I asked to find me lunch everyday! They would try to find these in the nearby restaurants or eateries but it wasn’t everyday that any of these choices would be available.

Goldilock's Pasong Tamo, my saviour!
Strolling home one evening I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a nearby Goldilocks branch. I remembered their Mamon and decided to buy some. When I entered, I found out that Goldilocks not only served cakes, pastries and breads, they had also begun serving full meals! At first I was skeptical but I couldn't resist when I saw right up there among the food choices were the meals I had been hungering for. Sinigang! Nilaga! Dinuguan! There was even Kare-kare! Oh, I was so very HAPPY! I couldn’t make up my mind what to try first!

Nilagang Baka
After what seemed like forever, I went with the Pork Sinigang, being pregnant and wanting something sour! I was happy with how much their servings were and my first spoonful of that soup sent me reeling back to a warm, happy place! Happy me! Happy belly! Happy baby! I ordered Dinuguan and puto (and extra rice) next (yes, I pigged out!) and for my take home baon, I had Nilaga wrapped up. Perfect for when I woke up at 3am, hungry for something warm and soupy!

I went home with a bellyful of happiness. I know, I sound unbelievably shallow when I say that food stabilized my teetering world! But it did, that night. All was right again. Imagine, I could have a taste of home any time I wanted to now! Apparently, on a deep psychological and emotional level, I equate food with comfort and security (like every other creature! Haha!). How the universe provides for us, doesn't it? It was a big bonus for me too that this branch in Pasong Tamo closed late so every time I was on night shift, I'd buy enough food to last me until the wee hours of the morning! 

Of course, it was still different when it was my mom's cooking or my grandparents', but Goldilocks gave me a sense of what a home away from home is like, giving you comfort, a sense of security and that everything will be alright through all the changes you may go through. 

Oona, Olly and Daddy
So all throughout my pregnancy, Goldilocks nourished not only my baby, that little girl Oona, but also nurtured my sense of well-being and reminded me of family. The family that surrounded me, reaching through time and distance and the family I was about to have, assuring me that I wasn't alone, I would be fine and that these changes are part and parcel of the celebration of life.

My beautiful, intelligent, spunky little daughter is the spice of our lives! (She's now a doting Ate, by the way!) She's got as much personality as the Sinigang, warms your heart up like the Nilaga with her sweet ways and is as incredibly interesting as the Dinuguan is to a foreigner who's never had that dish. Hahahahaha! :) 

Thank you, Goldilocks! We probably should have named our daughter after you! :D 


Mec said...

love this... and pareho tayo ng gist ng entry to this contest sis... eh ganun eh :D