Probably one of our greatest fears as a Bagong Nanay is to be far away from our baby. I cannot imagine the pain and the longing of having to sleep without her by my side, or miss out on her milestones.
In our experience, my baby spent her first 20 days in the NICU, away from me. After visiting her and spending time with her in the hospital, my husband and I will go home to an empty house. Those were the hardest days for us. I asked myself: Why can’t we be with our baby? Did we do something wrong?
That’s why I live to share stories like this: a Bagong Nanay who had to be far away from her baby because of circumstances. I personally witnessed some of her struggles – because our daughters were born two weeks apart.
Here’s the #KuwentongBagongNanay of Marie Tzarina Go-Gaoiran, on how a mother’s love could be so patient and so kind and so enduring that even with the distance and the pandemic effect – she strives to find ways to show her love for her daughter. A love that is out of this world – to the moon and back.
Ilabas na ang tissue. Nanay tears will be shed.
1. What were the circumstances that led you to be in a long-distance relationship with your little one?
Two months before I gave birth to my daughter Dani in 2019, I flew from Singapore where I work – to my home in the Philippines on my obstetrician’s strict advice. At that time, I was approaching eight years as an S Pass holder in Singapore. Our long-distance situation with my dear daughter began after my maternity leave.
The Singapore government only allows non-residents to visit a maximum of a month, regardless of age, even for family members of S Pass holders. I asked about how to apply for a dependent, but I came out ineligible, after an assessment.
The solution I came up with was to bring Dani to Singapore in alternate months. In the months that she had to stay in Manila, I would fly back for a couple of days to be with her.
But our situation worsened when the pandemic started in 2020, which led me to decide to come home to the Philippines for good.
2. How did you manage being far away from your baby? What are the three things that helped you cope with it?
Postpartum depression (PPD) + long-distance relationship (LDR) is the worst formula for a Bagong Nanay. I cried myself to sleep – every single night. My husband, who was with me in Singapore, was very supportive and understanding, and for that I’m grateful. We talked things through and came up with ideas that could help me cope.
Nightly video calls, sometimes even during office hours, made me feel as if I’m next to Dani. Before her bedtime, we read storybooks, which was so comforting. On weekends, calls were much longer. A couple of other stress busters in my routine are cooking and baking. I frequently sent photos of the dishes I made.
Lastly, I put up Bunny Dani Dresses, where I sewed cute clothes and a quiet book for Dani. I surprised myself that I was able to make dresses for my little bunny.
3. What was it like when you finally hug her again after a long time of being far away?
My trip back home to the Philippines in November 2020 was unannounced. My parents and my friends didn’t know about it, except for my husband. It was nerve-wracking because it was my first time to make such a big surprise.
When I opened the door, my mom shrieked. She couldn’t believe that it’s me. Dani cried, wondering what made her Granny scream. My heart was beating fast, I thought I was going to cry, but I felt so much happiness. I was smiling the whole time. It was a joy to see Dani again after a long time.
4. What activities do you enjoy doing together now that you have each other? List the top 3.
Somehow, the lockdown lets me spend more enjoyable activities with Dani. She’s my little helper in baking. When I tell her that we’re going to bake, she hurries to the kitchen and grabs the wire whisk, rolling pin, muffin pan, among other things.
I also enjoy bathing her in her mini tub. She imagines swimming in the pool with her rubber duckies and other toys.
And at bedtime, I tell her stories from when she was just a baby, sometimes about our family, and stories from her books.
5. What can you tell moms who are currently living far away from their children?
I want to send a message to long-distance moms to follow their mother’s intuition. When it comes to our children, nothing can be more important than being with them. I had to battle my nagging fears for months, but my final decision to fly home to Dani was worth it. Regardless of your decision, don’t let anyone’s judgment burden you.
6. In only six words, describe what kind of Bagong Nanay you are.
I am more confident and contented.
I am Marie Tzarina Go-Gaoiran from Pasig.
I am the Bagong Nanay of Daniele Marina or Dani, who just turned 2.
I love watching Korean dramas and Netflix, and do some crafts when I am not busy with being Dani’s playmate, cook, and mom.
Are you in a long-distance relationship with your child too? Share your experience in the comments.