Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BORN LEGACY



I have to admit this story is one of the most difficult that I’ve written. I sort of held back tears as I established the storyline in my head. It’s not that I found the subject too complicated for my brain cells to absorb. It’s actually the opposite of difficult, knowledge-wise. 

The book authored by my mother,
written in Filipino.
As much as this article is both convenient and informative, the person I am writing about reminds me so much of my mom. My mother lived and breathed every single day of her life, preaching about natural childbirth via Lamaze method, until the last few months before she passed away.


My mom dedicated her weekends to expectant parents, to share with them all the wonders of pregnancy. She was driven to empower mothers with knowledge, and to contradict the horrifying images a new mom would have after having watched movies and heard horror stories of childbirth pains. It seemed as if it was my mom’s calling to help families and to foster a community of learned moms. I’d say her legacy in this field are the success stories of her students, and the book she authored and wrote in Filipino, to further raise awareness on the Lamaze method. Her life may have ended at the early age of 44, but it’s heart-warming to see her advocacy being carried on by one of her own students in Davao City.

Alex Morris Hao and her beautiful family.
Alexandra Morris-Hao was my mother’s first pupil in her Lamaze childbirth preparation class, which began sometime in the year 1997. Alex was in the middle of her college years when she stepped in my mom’s classroom at home, pregnant with her first child, Amber. Still labelled as boyfriend, Bion religiously supported Alex throughout the 6 sessions of the class, and coached her during the physical exercises and breathing techniques. I remember Alex never even sensed that she was already centimeters away to pushing, as was focused on shopping for baby clothes on the day her contractions became more frequent. Mom assisted the couple during labor, and was able to document the dramatic entrance of Amber in this world. The rosy pink baby girl became my mom’s first claim to success, being the first baby born via Lamaze method under her tutelage. Bion married Alex soon after she finished college. As a gift, my mom gave them a life-time worth of free Lamaze classes for their future babies, which came in handy with their second child, Ashley. Alex was left to do self study / review with her 3rd and 4th babies, due to my family’s migration back to Manila in 2002.

Years after we left, Alex opened her mind to the possibility of becoming a Lamaze teacher, herself. “I just came from an accident at that time. I used to bake and sell cakes to some coffee shops in the malls. One detested mishap with my oven led to a phobia over baking, and I had to look for other options in order to earn my own income.”

Not that money was a huge problem. Her businessman-husband is more than capable in providing for their family. However, she longed for a profession she can proudly claim as her own. Out of a casual conversation with one of her trusted doctors, she picked up the suggestion of accepting a one on one tutorial with some expectant parents.


“My Lamaze teacher was already in Manila at the time the opportunity came in. The first couple referred to me was a power duo made of a lawyer-wife and doctor-husband. I was intimidated, knowing what perfectionists they are. The whole thing went smoothly, though. The success of that experience helped build my confidence in pursuing an educational course on Lamaze for other interested couples.”

What started as a one on one tutorial eventually grew into a class of 6 couples per batch. Then came the need for a bigger space to accommodate her students.

“My husband saw that I needed a proper and convenient venue for my classes. I used to rent out a conference room in Brokenshire Hospital, and I had to carry all my teaching gears to the hospital every time I have a class. I also wanted to put up a special place where moms can go, grow, and glow. I developed the same passion as my former teacher had in advocating motherhood. The Pod became the answer to this question of venue. It was built for women. It’s a conducive environment where mommies meet and learn more about their pregnancy. With this new chapter in my teaching, I also touched on other areas in childbirth preparation such as prenatal yoga, breastfeeding, educating nannies, and other mommy concerns.”

To sum it all, she has added more to what she has learned from her own episodes in the delivery room.



“Primarily, we have the Childbirth Preparation Class which is offered to 6 couples per batch. We meet for 5 sessions, and we have a hospital tour which serves as the 6th session. During the tour, we try to simulate the scenarios in the labor and delivery rooms, all the way to the post-delivery conditions for mom, dad, and baby.”

“I also teach Prenatal Yoga for women, which runs for an hour and half. Then there’s a session called Mommy Meet Ups, which I organize once a month. In these gatherings, moms get to meet other moms, and voice out their experiences and significant tales in caring for their family. Even babies are welcome to join us in these gatherings. For the most recent Mommy Meet Up we had, we were lucky to have Jenny Ong as guest speaker, as she is a breastfeeding advocate and peer councilor of the Chronicles of a Nursing Mom.”



Her program also intends to nurture a closer relationship between mom and dad. “A husband’s moral and physical support is vital when a woman goes on labor. The same extent of understanding and assistance should carry on even after the baby is born. Pregnancy has 3 trimesters, but your baby's first 3 months counts as your 4th trimester. A mother needs to rest it out. A dad should consider the sensitivity of a mom, and try to be nicer to her. The mom, in turn, should try to appreciate dad’s little gestures.”

From the birth of her mommy school in 2004 to her present day growth as educator, she has this to say about her crusade in life.



“I meet and interact with the parents before the expected delivery period. In a way, I relate to them as friends. So far, it has been amazing. I hope I have more years ahead of me, so I can continue doing what I love. I feel a sense of fulfilment when I see the babies of my students. I am looking forward to seeing them again when they get older, so I can have a chance to share with them how their parents showered them with care and attention, even before they were born.”

For more information about childbirth preparation classes, please visit The Pod, Door 4 of Plaza del Carmen, Loyola Street, Obrero, Davao City. You may also call (63 82) 302 2737, or visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-POD/108125289254274.


HERE'S A SPECIAL GIVEAWAY FROM THE POD!

Win a free 6-session course on childbirth preparation for you and your partner by simply doing the following:
*Offer is exclusive Davao City residents only.
1. Contestant: mom/ couple must like The POD on Facebook.
2. Leave a comment on this photo link. Indicate the batch you wish to join (example: Batch 6). Take note that the last day of your class must end at least 2 weeks before your expected date of delivery.
3. Each applicant can only leave only one (1) comment. Anymore than that won't be counted.
4. This Class Pass giveaway is Transferable, so the couple/ mom can give this special treat to any other couple. Invite them to join The POD on Facebook and comment on the photo by stating the batch they wish to join.
5. Alex shall pick out three (3) winners on June 16, Saturday. The list of winners will be posted on The Pod's Facebook page.
6. If the winner has already registered for Childbirth Preparation Class, either for Batch 6 or Batch 7, The Pod shall then refund the registration fee in full. Please present your receipt to avail of refund.
Note: The Class Pass is not convertible to cash.

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Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
Page 18, A4 of INdulge section, Edge Davao newspaper, Vol. 5 Issue 67, 06 June 2012.




2 Comments:

At June 6, 2012 at 12:06 AM , Blogger Alex said...

Thanks for the including the Class Pass give away! Maybe I should do this class pass give away around your moms birthday. Meg, I miss your mom too! She was a strong person. I think of her and wish we had more pictures. I have a good one from Amber's baptism. I'll show it to you sometime...

 
At June 6, 2012 at 12:36 AM , Blogger Meg said...

Yeah! I remember that picture. Amber looked so cute in that photo. Her cheeks were so full! Sarap kurutin. Hehehe. I'm touched by the idea of doing the giveaway on mommy's birthday. Sniff again. Huhu. She would have turned 51 this coming June 28.

 

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