On this year’s International Women’s Day, I’m happy to share the very first #KuwentongBagongNanay.
This series aims to tell stories and experiences of new and modern nanays so that they can inspire and empower first-time moms.
Our first featured Bagong Nanay is Ericka Mercado from Canada. I asked her to share how she is raising a preschooler (5yo) and a newborn (1mo) in their home. And I’m amazed that she sent her responses before the deadline! Wow. What a wonder woman! I honor you!
Read on to know some of her struggles, ultimate nanayhood hacks, and essentials that she swears by.
1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a Bagong Nanay, and tell us why you value it.
Never compare your kids or yourself to others.
This applies to my kids and my journey as a Bagong Nanay. God created us uniquely, and our journeys are all different. Sabi nga nila, comparison is the thief of joy, and there were times when I am not able to stop myself from doing it. This is especially true when people around you would do the comparison. Ending: you feel bad about yourself, and you feel inadequate as a parent.
This advice actually came from my husband. It is more of a constant reminder. It resonates with me a lot, and I value it because it has allowed me to be conscious of my choice of words and thoughts when I talk to my kids, when I talk to others about my kids and their kids, and most importantly when I look at myself and my journey as a Bagong Nanay. I am at my happiest when I focus on our own progress, and stopped comparing our lives with others.
2. Share a Bagong Nanay hack that you recently discovered that helped make your nanayhood journey a little bit easier (could be a new gadget, app, or tipid tip).
For the Nanays:
Two words. Pelvic physiotherapy. I recently went to a wellness clinic to prepare for Eden, my second child’s birth. I had a pelvic floor assessment. I had pelvic exercises and once a week sessions with the physiotherapist. This has helped me shorten my labour and delivery time, as well as recovery time, not to mention it helped minimize tearing.
I know it is not a hack, but if you are pregnant or knows someone who is, and you have access to a pelvic physiotherapist, please do yourself a favour and use it.
For the babies:
Gripe Water. Both my babies were gassy babies, or are all babies gassy? Anyway, for my firstborn Elon, I didn’t use anything. I burped him and did bicycle exercises and waited to let it pass. Eden’s gas is something else. I learned about Gripe Water, and on the first day of using it, I already saw the difference. She indeed slept like a baby. One teaspoon of this stuff, and it worked wonders for her. Now she sleeps even longer.
Just make sure you check with your pedia of course. It’s not a hack, but I think it’s been around for ages. If you find yourself needing help with your babies being gassy, this might be it.
3. What’s one truth about your nanayhood journey that you want everyone to know but you were too scared or embarrassed to share?
I love being a Nanay, and I always share these feelings of love and joy. But it didn’t start that way. My first child was not planned. We were married, but we were not expecting to get pregnant so fast.
When I had Elon, the first month was TOUGH. I was so tired. I love my son, but because of the lack of sleep and being tired physically, there were days I wished I could have my old life back. The first few weeks were truly a test. But then one day, it just got better. The first few weeks seemed like a dark phase that has already passed.
The truth is, having these thoughts doesn’t mean I love Elon any less. These feelings were part of my process into this wonderful nanayhood journey. It is not all rainbows and butterflies everyday. Sometimes it is rough, and it’s okay to feel frustrated and wanting a break. Admitting you need a break is okay. And sometimes putting yourself first before your kids is an important part of being the best nanay for your kids.
4. What’s the best part so far of being a Bagong Nanay of two?
“Best part of being a Bagong Nanay of two is [finding out] how much love you are actually capable of feeling and giving. This actually surprised me as I always had the question of “do parents have a favourite child?””Ericka Mercado, mom of two
Pre-Eden, I believed that there is no way a parent can really love their kids equally. When I had Elon, I gave him my 110%. Everyday, I made sure he felt loved and cared for. So I always tell my husband that I am not sure how to love a second child the same when we do have one. But then I had Eden, and it’s as natural as when I had Elon. All the love just came rushing in.
It’s true what they say, your heart just gets bigger with each additional child. Your heart becomes enlarged with so much love that it naturally flows for both of your kids. So yung 110% that I gave to Elon, ngayon meron na akong another 110% for Eden. I answered my question, there are no favourites, and it is possible to love your kids equally (there is so much love to give and share!).
5. What are the top 3 Bagong Nanay essentials that you swear by?
Infant baby carrier. It doesn’t matter if it is a sling, wrap, or structured carrier. Carriers are life savers. Moms and dads can either wear the babies and stay hands-free. The best thing is your baby is so close; it’s an instant snuggle too!
Stroller and car seat. Don’t feel like wearing your baby? Then there’s the stroller. We use the stroller for walks with the car seat (when it’s stroller accessible). It’s easy because you don’t have to carry anything, you just push it while the baby is safe and sound in the carrier. Instant snoozefest for both of my kids! They love bumpy walks. Plus is, I get to exercise outside the house while they sleep.
Diaper changing mat. How many poop blowouts did Elon and Eden have? Many. Can’t count them. Having the changing mat allows for an easier change of clothes and clean up. Not to mention, it helps you change diapers anywhere that has a flat and safe surface for your baby.
If you are breastfeeding, get a good nursing bra and lots of V-neck shirts para madali hilahin! Hehe!
6. In only six words, describe what kind of Bagong Nanay you are.
I am a “wear my heart on my sleeve” nanay. So all my emotions are out, felt, apparent and obvious.
I am Ericka from Canada! I am the Bagong Nanay of Elon, 5 yrs old and Eden, 1 month old.
When I’m not changing diapers, burping, cleaning, cooking, making baon, reading bedtime stories, I usually enjoy hiking, yoga, Kdrama, and photography.
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