This October, I am one with the thousand others in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wether it be in remembering every cancer patient, family, relative, or friend who has lost their battle to breast cancer or honoring the survivors and those who are still courageously fighting with the disease.
I know first hand how physically, emotionally, and even spiritually trying this disease can be both for the sick and her family. My only daughter, Bianca, was diagnosed with a different kind of cancer, Papillary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer in layman’s term) back in 2012. Sometimes the memory of her difficult experience during surgery and RAI treatment still knock the wind out of me. The fear alone that this lifetime disease would recur in the future is enough to stress the life out of anyone.
My daughter is not cancer free yet but we are certain in time, she’ll be. I am sure a lot would agree with me when I say that when you have invested enough in this fight, you’ll do everything to achieve victory. That’s what my daughter as well as the other cancer patients, survivors, and care givers I know have been doing. And it is for this reason that I have nothing but deep admiration for them for remaining positive and strong in the face of this dreaded disease. Their tenacity, will power, and faith during and after the ordeal are truly inspiring.
Despite the heartache, I still must say that I would always see cancer as a blessing rather than a misfortune in my family. It is because it has become a way for us to receive God’s amazing grace and boundless blessings. It also continue to serve as a great reminder for us everyday to celebrate life and its many big and even little yet significant victories.
My dear Bianca Angela,
Quite frankly I really do not know where your talent in music comes from. It can’t be from daddy, he’s tone deaf or from me, I can’t carry a tune. But then you being good at it is no surprise considering how earnestly you danced and moved inside my womb before everytime you hear sweet beatiful music play. It must be that your ears were trained early to listen and respond to the melodies of your heart or my heart. There’s a certain kind of music, a certain kind role in the world that only you can play. I hope you will always find the passion to express and fullfill it.
I think 14 years later, I still haven’t gotten this motherhood thing right. I still haven’t done the whole baking, cooking, arts and crafts, and wash/laundry routine that would make me a qualified homemaker just yet. I probably would have, had tragedy didn’t struck early. The most I’ve done so far are drive my kid to school, teach her how to be a self-starter, and bring her to the best places where we can score good food and great dessert. You could say that I am more close to mastering fatherhood than motherhood. But then again, there are moms and there are single moms. While every woman can be a mom, I guess it takes a badass mom to become a dad too. And yes, I’m badass.
Much has been said about motherhood being the toughest job in the world, but then ask any mom and you would be surprised to know that at any given time, the task of mothering is less of a burden but more of a joy for most of them. In fact, some have even wholeheartedly embraced the calling so much that they have took it upon themselves to nurture the community as a whole. They have continuously work to ensure that the needs of other children in the coummunity are provided and met. They have also empowered fellow women to become good mothers to their children by sharing what they know. This month in Working Mom magazine, I interviewed six amazing moms who have dared to make a difference through their chosen advocacies while staying loving and devoted to their own family. Here they are:
Down Syndrome Advocate
Michelle has been championing the cause of children with special needs since giving birth to her youngest, Evangelina. She chronicles her experiences as a mom of a child with Down Syndrome in her blog, mommanmanila.com. She is active in organizations such as the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) and The Center Of Possibilities whose programs caters to children with special needs and their families.
Breastfeeding and Natural Parenting Advocate
Jenny is a peer counselor for LATCH, Inc., an organization that provides breastfeeding classes for pregnant women and their families. She supports organizations such as Arugaan, a grassroots community based organization in the fight for the strict implementation of the Milk Code and Filipino Association of Babywearers, a group who strongly advocates the babywearing lifestyle. She is the blogger behind www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com. She actively promotes the natural parenting lifestyle by giving talks on cloth diapering, breastfeeding and babywearing.
Women and Children Causes Advocate
Janice is the reigning Mrs. Philippines Globe 2014 title holder who represented the country in the recently concluded Mrs. Globe World Finals at Shenzhen, China. She bagged The Philanthropy of the Year award and made it to the Top 16. She’s 37 years old with five kids. She has been involved in different social and charitable activities in Subic and Olongapo as past President and now Secretary of Rotary Club Subic Pearl.
Likhang Bata Online Gallery
Teacher Dindi is the founder and art teacher of Likhang Bata. She was a graphic designer, marketing image consultantant, and advertising teacher before she decided to concentrate full time in sharing and cultivating appreciation for the unique Filipino culture through her online arts gallery, Likhang Bata (www.likhangbata.weebly.com). She continues to organizes art workshops, festivals and summer camps in partnership with other institutions.
Teacher Tisha has been a childhood educator since 1991. She founded Kinder Project which provides teacher training support and quality teaching materials to the poorest kindergarten classrooms in the country. A class project with her kindergarten students way back in 2002 brought them in Miarayon, Bukidnon where the lack of learning materials fuelled her desire to create teaching tools for classrooms that needed them most. She shares her mission to help in her website www.learninglion.ph.
Joy T. Mendoza
Joy is a homeschooling mom who blogs at Teach With Joy (www.teachwithjoy.com), a webpage devoted to faith, marriage, parenting, and homeschooling. She is married to Edric Mendoza, who shares the passion for homeschooling with her and together, they have five children. All homeschooled.
Check out the inspiring stories of these six amazing women in the Mother’s Day issue of Working Mom magazine.
“Don’t let yourselves be shaped by the world where you live, but rather, be transformed, through the renewal of your mind. You must discern the will of God: what is good, what pleases, what is perfect.”
Before we put Bianca in Woodrose, we made it clear to her that we have our own way of doing things in our family and our own set of rules which may be different with other families. It was important that she understands that what maybe the norm in some households, may not be in our own. It is very difficult to raise kids nowadays especially that the dynamics in certain families they are in close contact with are changing.
I guess as parents we should never get tired of teaching or reminding our children of the timeless family values and virtues we’ve learned as a child. This way, no matter how totally different the dictates of their own generation are from what the family upholds and practices, our children will not find themselves confused. Instead they would automatically decide and act based in what is good, what is pleasing, and what is perfect for God.
Two weeks ago, one of our colleagues in the faculty was looking for breastmilk to give to her three-week old granddaughter who was in the Neonatal ICU. The mom was unable to produce breastmilk which the baby needed so she can be strong and fight the pneumonia that has afflicted her. I wasn’t sure if they were able to get enough for her though because last week we learned that the little angel succumbed to death.
I was unable to produce my own breastmilk too when I gave birth to my daughter so I really envy moms with newborns whose only problem is how to properly store and handle their own breastmilk. When my daughter, Bianca, had cancer last year, it did occur to me that perhaps she wouldn’t have it if I had breastfed her when she was a baby. But then of course that’s more like my guilt talking to me than Science. Anyway, I know the importance of having a good stock of breastmilk and a proper storage kit that would keep it safe until it is ready to be consumed by the baby. I have heard it enough from my mom friends to know that pumping breastmilk is one thing and keeping it from getting spoiled is quite another.
My two best buddies recently gave birth and we were just so thrilled when I received a package with Honeysuckle breastmilk bag inside. I just had to share it to them. They have been looking for one that is handy so they can pump and store their breastmilk easily especially when they return back to work. And of course something that is proven safe to use for storing their oh so precious mama milk. We were so glad to know that HoneySuckle® which is 100% tamper-evident, BPA-free, Oxo-biodegradable and recyclable is already available in the market.
HoneySuckle® is the more enhanced version of the popular reclosable breastmilk bag Lansinoh® which inventor Nossi Taheri created in 2002. HoneySuckle® as compared to its predecessor, has wider side seals, double zipper and ribbed gusset to protect and prevent breastmilk from leaking during storage. It has a pour spout that would eliminate spills when transferring breastmilk in bottles and an outer write-on tab to help mommies date and organize their breastmilks. It doesn’t take much space as it can lay flat in the freezer and can stand on the counter too when needed. It is the strongest and most economical breastmilk storage bag in the market today.
With HoneySuckle® babies need not take alternative food when mom is not around and mommies need not worry about how to save their precious breastmilk after working so hard to pump them. Two less worries for mommies if I may say so. To know more about HoneySuckle®, you may check honeysucklemoms.com.
Inviting all active and aspiring Mompreneurs! The next Mompreneur MeetUp is going to be this Saturday, June 28, from 9 am to 12 noon at The Crib, Fun Ranch in Pasig.
With no less than Success Coach, Jackie Caniza as the workshop speaker/facilitator, this Business By Design workshop aims to provide interested mompreneurs the necessary know hows when it comes to designing one’s own business according to target goals and needs.
Based on the book, Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, this is designed specifically to teach momprenuers, business owners, and teams, how to view their business through a one-page framework that captures all the critical components of a business model. Workshop fee is 800 but free for all past attendees and Mommy Mundo Passport Holders.
To register and for more information, text 09176272425 or clike the link here. Hurry as slots run out!:)
“Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you, so that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The hardest thing about being a single mom is deciding on your own what is best for your child. I remember just before Bianca’s surgery, a couple of well meaning friends urged me to seek second, third, and even fourth opinion first before rushing into things. Their actions, sad to say, made me doubt my own decision. The day before Bianca’s hospital admission though, a colleague called me anxiously to her office to ask how things were. She has always been close to Nan and I and so I couldn’t help but asked her, “Am I doing the right thing?” And as if on cue, she launched into a long speech on how I shouldn’t doubt myself even for a second because first it was a long prayed for decision and second, the fact that everything fell swiftly into place means everything were going according to God’s plan. That day I didn’t hear her talking, I heard God. You see, the Lord has appointed people who will make us see the wisdom in His decision in the event that we become lost and confuse. They will come to us in the form of friends or even strangers. You will know if you’ve been blessed with one if after talking to this person, you suddenly feel good about your decision and your decision finally sits well in your heart. And who knows, we might be God’s chosen one for some too at some point so when we get the chance, we should always generously share the faith to anyone willing to listen.
I am happy to share that my daughter and I are in this month’s issue of Working Mom magazine. In this article, I shared a letter I wrote for my daughter, Bianca, when she celebrated her 13th birthday last month.
To know more about our story, please grab a copy. It is available in National Bookstore, Book Sale, Watsons, and Ministop stores.
“Where did he get this wisdom and his special powers? Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t Mary his mother…”
I am the sum total of both my parents. I’d like to think though that I am more of a successful fusion of two complete paradox rather than a genetic experiment gone wild (just kidding). Tender and tough, gentle and rough. That’s how my parents were. Those are what best describe me as well. What we are and how we deal with life right now have so much to do with how our parents raised and taught us, and how they lead by example. This is what makes this whole parenting thing truly wonderful. Being a parent is a gift from God. A gift that should not be wasted. A gift that should be used to serve His purpose. As parents, our challenge now is to be that amazing gift to our child every single day.