No one will ever understand how powerful a mother’s love can be better than a mom. Her love can endure all even those circumstances she thought she couldn’t. She would do anything for the love of her precious children—the ones she loves more than herself and more than life itself.
We take a look at seven different moms to find out what motherhood means to them and what being a mom is like for them.
‘Starting our own family had less to do with further challenging the norm, than it does the enormity of being parents.’
Meghan Israel, 29, and Kim Lao, 36, from Sydney Australia
They are moms to one-year-old Franco.
“Motherhood and Mothers’ Day are words that we never thought we could associate ourselves with. It is, after all, distinctions reserved for women with children. And how could we ever imagine having children when we are both women in a long term, same-sex relationship? While we hardly endured the discrimination that goes along with being an LGBT person back when we were in the Philippines, thanks largely to the unconditional love of both our families, starting our own family had less to do with further challenging the norm, than it does the enormity of being parents.
But on May 18, 2016, we have officially become just that—parents to a baby boy we named Franco Oliver Lao-Israel. He has his Nanay Meg’s eyes that opened wide for his first photo, five minutes after he was born. But everything else about him was grown and nurtured inside his Mommy Kim’s womb. This year, we celebrate our first of many Mother’s Day celebrations. As we look back to the last 12 months, we have come to appreciate and echo every other mother’s sentiments on what motherhood means. Motherhood is exhausting, but exhilarating. It is exciting, but terrifying. It is everything you wanted, but nothing you expected. It throws your life into a state of chaotic perfection punctuated by endless nappy changes and thousands of milestone photos. You often wonder when you’ll have a night off away from the little one, only to find yourself missing him dearly the second you step out of the door. As same-sex parents, we don’t see our family as being particularly different. We are two parents raising a son together. But it is important to acknowledge that we are somehow unique. And as Franco grows into the man we envision him to be, we can only do our fervent best today to set him up to walk the streets being proud to be the son of lesbians.”
*Their son Franco was conceived through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) through a special process called egg sharing. This process is an option made available to female same sex partners where one becomes the birth mother (Kim), and the other becomes the biological mother (Meghan). This is done by collecting the biological mum’s egg cell and fertilizing it with donor sperm and then transferring the embryo into the womb of the birth mom to carry to term for 39 weeks.
‘Having had three children and bringing them up almost single-handedly taught me to be prepared and open-minded under all circumstances.’
Tes Garcia, 65, from Quezon City.
She’s a mother of three.
“I became a first-time mom under circumstances where doctors would agree that were not conducive—my husband and I were assigned in the field—he in Tarlac, and I in Ilocos Norte. It was both a surprise and a welcome change in my life.
Having had three children and bringing them up almost single-handedly taught me to be prepared and open-minded under all circumstances—usually under unexpected events. Working full-time, I had a lot of doubts but mostly I was conscience-stricken since I had little time for them.
At this point in my life, nearing the ripe age of 66, there is a lot of pride in what my children have achieved.
I have never said that their respective successes were due to how I brought them up. Rather, it was because their individuality and personalities were developed under positive circumstances.
Now, I am the doting grandmother to a two-month-old baby girl Ysabela. I see and consider my role as a part-time yaya. I’m very careful not to be considered as a mother and mother-in-law who exerts unwanted advice/influence on her upbringing. My goal is to enjoy her company and for her to enjoy mine.
After years of being a mom here are the things I’ve learned: 1. Quality time is whenever your child needs you, not when it’s convenient for you; 2.You are a parent, a mother not a friend.
‘I realized that I was seeing everything as a problem and so I changed my perspective on everything.’
Jannica, 21, from Cainta.
She’s mom to one-year-old Castiel.
I was always the person who loved children but I didn’t think that I would have my child the way I did. I got pregnant on my third year of college, right during the hardest term of my whole college life. I felt drained and de-motivated. I was worried about how my parents would react but when I finally got the courage to tell my parents, my father said one thing that hit me—“he’s a blessing.”
Then I realized that I was seeing everything as a problem and so I changed my perspective on everything and decided that the unborn child in me is my world now and it’s up to me if I should see my world as a problem or something that would inspire me and ignite a new flame in my life.
Motherhood is a choice you make every day, and who you are is formed by the choices you make. It is choosing to put someone else’s happiness and wellbeing over yours. It is choosing to do something the best way you can because you’re not sure what the right way is. It is choosing to be an adult and raise someone even though you’re still growing up yourself.
Motherhood is a journey of learning what your strengths and fears are. It is learning the strengths that you didn’t know you had and the fears that you never knew existed. Now I am constantly torn between wanting my baby Castiel to stay a little baby forever, and being excited about all of the amazing things he’ll do in his life.”
‘In times of despair and hopelessness, I just remember that there are those little spitfire versions of me, waiting to be loved and molded to be beautiful persons.’
Glorife Soberano Samodio, 40, from Manila
She’s a mother of two.
“I can say that my work as a university administrator helped me in preparing myself to be a mother. As I care for my two adorable daughters, I also look after an average of 300 students per year in their development as well-rounded students.
Motherhood has indeed changed me a lot. It gave me the opportunity to be in my mom’s shoes, (as she was a working mom, too). After giving birth and keeping up with the exciting milestones of my children while juggling a more-than full-time job and my advocacy for the arts, I truly realized how challenging this lifelong commitment is, especially if you are equally passionate in both living your life well and working well.
I came to realize how working moms can be ‘master multi-taskers.’ Only this time, any task either for work or the family is not just fulfilled as a duty, but with careful thought and love, something that I think automatically comes as motherhood sets in.
As I set my priorities now, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more selfless in my decisions, especially those that directly affect my family. In times of despair and hopelessness, I just remember that there are those little spitfire versions of me, waiting to be loved and molded to be beautiful persons. With my recent ordeal with breast cancer, (I am a recent breast cancer survivor) I now treat each moment with my kids as if it were my last: listening to their stories and insights, trying to inject some nuggets of wisdom, telling them a little more about me and my experiences, or just plain having fun.
I’m still on sick leave till this day, but I know that once I get back to work, I will try my best to live out my mindset to have that work-life balance, where work is 20 percent and life is 80 percent well-spent with my family.”
‘I had to give up the chance to work so I can stay home and prioritize my kids.’
Ma. Chona Emor, 33, from Las Piñas
She’s a mom of two
“I was 21 when I first became a mom. I chose to be a stay at home mom because knowing that I am the one taking care of them gives me a sense of security and peace of mind. I am happy and thankful to be given the chance to be hands-on with them and to be able to guide them and be with them all the time as they grow.
But some of you might not know that being a stay at home mom is tough, too. There are so many challenges aside from being the one to take on all the tasks at home, and the only one caring for the kids, I also have to deal with financial challenges since we are a single income family. It’s only my husband who works so I constantly have to be patient and find ways so we can provide our kids’ needs. I also had to sacrifice a lot to be able to focus on my children and my role as a mother. I had to sacrifice my own happiness, I had to give up the chance to work so I can stay home and prioritize my kids.
I think motherhood means being able to sacrifice your own happiness, putting aside your own needs, and being able to fight for your kids no matter what.”
‘Being a single mom forces you to be at your best, both for you and for your child.’
Maita De Jesus, 33, from Makati.
She’s mom to four-year-old Vita
“Being a single mom means being a parent 24/7. There’s no one else to take over when you’re tired, sick, or simply don’t feel like adulating on that day. Sometimes I think that the reason why there are two parents is for practical reasons, because it’s so tiring to be a parent and you need a few minutes of sleep!
But beyond the practicalities, being a single mom is difficult to put into words, especially if you were hardly ever to experience what it was like to have a partner. But, what I can say is that being a single mom forces you to be at your best, both for you and for your child. It forces you to work like crazy to be able to provide for everything you and your child need, since there’s no other source of income to rely on.
It forces you to learn how to be both malambing and strict, because you have to be the disciplinarian and the soother. It forces you to be fully present in all ways—physically, mentally, spiritually, mentally—because your child needs all of you, because there’s no other choice than to be at your best. Sometimes I seriously don’t know how I keep going, but I think just the thought that there’s no one else to depend on makes me stand up when I don’t feel like it. It’s the love of my daughter and God’s grace, and love that keeps me alive. He’ll know how to keep me going.”