Mother’s Day last year was like any other special Hallmark occasion. I greeted my mom, tita, cousin, and all the important women in my life.
But this year’s celebration will even be more special. My family and friends will all have to greet me as I join the ranks of my mom, titas, lolas, and cousin. I am now a mother just like them.
Before I became a single mom, my life was one hell of a roller coaster ride. Imagine accepting tuition money but not enrolling in school. I was that kind of a daughter. Are your eyebrows raised yet?
I was the token wild child, bad girl, black sheep, troublemaker—however you want to call someone who is constantly living life on the edge, perennially on YOLO mode.
So when my friends heard that I got pregnant at the age of 21, they were all shocked. And worried for me.
My relationship with my boyfriend, S started really good. We started dating in high school and because we were inseparable and clingy, enrolled in the same university.
Getting pregnant was definitely unexpected. We didn’t plan on getting pregnant at 21! We just wanted to enjoy our relationship but not with a child. It was super overwhelming. Thankfully, S stood by me as we prepared for the drastic changes .
While I told all my friends about it, I didn’t tell my mother anything. I was scared that I’ll disappoint her. That’s why I resolved to do all of this alone.
I gained weight just to hide it from her. I wore loose clothing—so not my style—to hide my baby bump. Everything went as planned.
On my seventh month, I got the shock of my life. My mom texted me asking how my check-up was going.
I realized that I left my Facebook account open on her phone, which was how she had access to all my messages to all my friends and to my boyfriend regarding the pregnancy. I didn’t respond to her text message because I was really scared of what will happen next.
When I got home, the normalcy of everything shocked me. My mom only asked if I wanted to eat dinner, how my day went. There was no mention of the baby whatsoever. It was weird.
I didn’t know what to feel. I asked myself, “Bakit hindi siya galit? Bakit parang wala lang sa kanya na buntis ako?”
As time went by, she started talking about the big elephant in the room. She doled out advice about giving birth, practical tips on breastfeeding, encouraged me to eat healthy, how to change diapers; all the necessary things that a first-time mom must know. There was no hint of anger or disappointment, just love in the form of practical pieces of advice.
I finally gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on June 2016. I was brought to the hospital by S and his mother.
S texted my mom, who was at work that time. She immediately rushed to the hospital to see us and arrived just an a hour after my normal delivery.
When I saw my mom, I couldn’t help but cry. She was very happy carrying my daughter and seeing both of us safe. My mom was crying the whole time, too. I saw in her eyes that she was crying for joy.
On that same day, my mom found out about my other secret: Not having enrolled in school, despite accepting tuition money. For one entire year, I left the house in uniform every single day, received my daily allowance, and went out to have a grand time, shopping, malling, going on dates.
To be fair, when I learned I was pregnant, I used the remainder of my tuition for hospital check-ups, as well as to save for the future needs of my baby.
Because I was about to give birth, my uncle was tasked by my mom to go to my university to take care of my school responsibilities. He was supposed to pay an internship fee, which is how he learned that I wasn’t enrolled that semester. He told my mom everything about it.
I know what you’re thinking right now. What kind of daughter am I? I know, I always ask myself that.
I’ve expected my mom to burst and release all her anger, but surprisingly, she didn’t. That’s why I asked myself once again, “Hindi man lang ba niya tatanungin kung anong nangyari at kung anong ginawa ko the whole time?”
But as I was watching her carry my little one, a big smile plastered on her face, I realized that maybe the baby brought a bundle of joy not only to me, but also to my mom. As I was crying and saying sorry, my mom hugged me tight and told me that everything will be alright.
Of course I still feel guilty about everything I’ve done. It doesn’t help that S and I broke up. But that’s why right now, I’ve been working real hard to be able to save money for my daughter and myself. I’ve been trying my best to be a good mom, and to be a better daughter to my mother.
Motherhood is no joke. Single motherhood, more so. I’m finally learning what Mother’s Day is all about: a celebration of overflowing patience and endless unconditional love.
Illustration by Madel Crudo