I was Manager and Head of a Research and Development Department, which I myself built. I had the liberty to experiment on all sorts of ideas to solve pest problems, come up with recommendations and see for myself the impact of such when implemented. I was making breakthroughs in real field and business situations. But what was inside my womb was also for real.
The first trimester was extremely challenging because I experienced excessive vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum. I endured the three weeks ordeal and immediately went back to work after I felt a little better. Episodes of premature labor set in during my second trimester. The daily drive of 2 to 5 hours, field work and the high stress level were not compatible with my physical condition, which was aggravated by frequent breathing difficulty and blue lips. This was later diagnosed as mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a congenital heart disorder that I didn’t know was there until my body can no longer hide it. Doctor’s advice was “take it slow and rest from work” while my husband’s pleading was “leave work and concentrate on taking care of us.”
After weeks of contemplation, a phone conversation with my mentor ended the struggle. This is what she said, “You are sacrificing your career for you family and I believe that it will be all worth it in the end. Sacrifice means giving up something good for something better, so it’s not sacrifice after all.” It’s like saying that the loss will never outweigh the gain. With those words, I got my much needed affirmation and made my decision. Despite the insistence of my former boss for me to continue working with special arrangements so I can fulfill work and family duties at the same time, I had come to the conclusion that having both worlds at this stage of my life is only a wishful thinking.
Few months after I gave birth, my husband and I ventured into business, hoping to address our financial obligations and have more time with the children, eventually. Apparently, since the business is just starting, it took much of our time and energy with very little left for the family. The challenge did not end there though. We have just opened our second outlet when I learned I was pregnant again and history repeated itself. I was again asked by my husband to stop what I was doing for the baby’s sake. Though vomiting was never an issue in this pregnancy, minor bleeding during the first trimester, premature labor and signs of MVP during the second and third trimesters were major concerns. I gave in to my husband’s insistence to close down the business for there was nobody else to take over my business task. This time the decision came quicker and easier.
All these events had taken a great toll on our finances but we remained consistent with our commitment to raise happy, healthy and well-rounded children that will make a difference in society when they grow up. We tried to cut our expenses to live within our means but the children’s health and education is non-negotiable. The first batch of our children who are now school-age stayed in a pure Montessori school, which command higher fees than any other private school in the area but provide a learning environment we believe in. The school provides an environment that promotes competition with one’s self and not with others; this will help them be the best that they can be. In that school, they are allowed to express themselves and be creative. I will share more about the school in another blog. They don’t get to wear nice, new shoes and clothes in school (they don’t wear uniforms) as they used to but they get the kind of education we want for them. Anyway, they look good in their old, undersized shirts, skirt and pants; well, shall we say, it helped that they are naturally good-looking.
Breastfeeding has been my advocacy. My children were all fully breastfed for at least six months from birth and mixed-fed for the next month or two, and this helped a lot in reducing expenses not only on the cost of milk formula but also on medicine and other medical expenses. They don’t get sick easily because of the immunity they get from breast milk. Other cost-cutting measures we did and breastfeeding issues deserve entirely new blogs.
Months have passed and I am still jobless, the family is struggling financially. But thanks to my husband who is taking good control of this matter so I can focus on child care and other household matters. A number of opportunities came my way including an exceptional job offer. Though tempted to grab an opportunity at times, I remained fully committed to my family and the agreement I had with my husband.
My children have become ‘delightful burdens’ in my professional growth and in our pursuit for financial freedom. But I felt so delighted that I decided to stay with the 'burden' and forget about the rest, making my children a burden no more. With this arrangement, my children are just so grateful. To them, everything is simple; ‘Mama quit her job to care for us because Mama loves us’, not mindful of the consequences of this move. But who cares about the consequences? They are what matters most in my life, anyway. My husband has always been so appreciative of me and with what I do for them. Being far from an emotional, I can see his conscious effort to show me his appreciation and that made it so sweet of him.
Now, as I see my children grow before my eyes, as evidenced by their undersized clothing, the sense of dignity and pride are immeasurable. The list of positive adjectives to describe them will be very long, but here are some. They are good-looking, smart, talented, confident, God-loving, well-behaved, healthy and happy. I have been blessed with four wonderful children, a blissful marriage and a happy family. Who needs a job? Not me, at least for now when my family needs me most.