As they say, a baby is a blessing.
Businesswoman Mary Lou Briones – Tan remembers being so excited and happy when she found out she was pregnant last year. “It was a memorable moment for my husband, Hansel, and I. Our happiness was through the roof.”
“There were a lot of women who announced their pregnancy on social media during the peak of the pandemic. Although we weren’t rushing, my husband and I always wondered when we would be blessed with a baby. So when we learned we were pregnant, it felt like we hit the jackpot.
There’s just a different level of excitement knowing that as a couple, we’ll be embarking on another level of our relationship, and, in a few months, we’re going to welcome a new family member.”
Every pregnancy is different. In Mary Lou’s case, aside from experiencing a few physical discomforts and pains, she was navigating pregnancy during a pandemic.
“My whole pregnancy had seen the worst phases of the pandemic. We stayed home and avoided unnecessary human contact as much as possible. I just stayed in bed and worked on my online businesses, which also played well for us since that lessened our exposure from the outside world.”
The couple welcomed their son, Hunter Matthew, in January 2022.
Mary Lou shares the story behind her baby’s name. “I stumbled upon the name Hunter while browsing online. To me, it sounded like someone who is a go-getter and an achiever. I chose Matthew as his second name because it means ‘gift of God.’”
Mary Lou has been known for her motherly ways of looking after loved ones, even when she was younger. “My friends would always call me the mom of the group. I took care of things like our travel plans, bookings, looking after drunk friends, and calling them out on any bad behavior.”
Childbirth triggered a strong maternal instinct. “I feel I have become more protective. I make sure everything is clean and in order. I quickly jump out of bed when Hunter wakes up. Sometimes, I would catch myself feeling really confused about what he wants when he’s crying. I literally try different things to calm him down and put him back to sleep.”
“We now have a nanny who helps us take care of Hunter during the day, but I don’t leave all the nursing and childcare to her. I’m a very hands-on mom.”
While Mary Lou is open to adopting different principles in raising a child, she is also taking cues from her experience with her parents. “I think a lot of us in our age group were raised by the boomer generation, whose ideals, principles, and parenting styles are different from what most of us would personally want for our children. But I would definitely take some pointers from how I was raised. I like how balanced my life was growing up, and I owe that all to my parents.”
ROLE OF A LIFETIME
“To be honest, I never really made a conscious effort of envisioning what type of mother I would be,” admits the new mom. “It’s just something that I knew I wanted for myself after marrying since I always dreamed of having a big family.”
“I had, however, a perception about motherhood at the back of my mind—that it’s just a walk in the park, like an easy, inspiring Sunday morning. But boy, was I wrong. Since I became a mom, there have been a lot of sleepless nights and times I have to get out of the comfort zone—both figuratively and literally, because the physical discomforts are also an entirely different story.”
“Motherhood is the most challenging role I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely the most fulfilling. The simplest things, such as staring at your baby while he’s sleeping, already make you feel so fulfilled. It’s almost like magic.”
Asked what she has learned so far in her new journey, she answers, “Motherhood gives you a deeper meaning and purpose to live—not just for your child, but also for yourself. Motherhood has also taught me so much about myself. Every day, I discover so many things about me that I have never unraveled before having him. It’s profoundly beautiful.”
Like every parent, Mary Lou is looking forward to her baby’s firsts. “I’m very excited to see what kind of personality my son will have. I pray he will develop a strong sense of self and what he wants to become when he grows up. I’m fine with whatever he decides to pursue when he’s older. What’s important is that he grows into a God-fearing Christian with a clear direction in life.”