My body, my pregnancy

The author celebrating pregnancy and the life within her.

By Danielle Vania Bonus

A little over a year ago, I went on an exciting trip to Siargao, Philippines for my best friend’s wedding. In writing the story for The FilAm, I left out all the romantic details of the trip. The romance continued and transferred itself over to Hawaii where he is from and the adventure eventually led to my next article entitled, “Reckless in Oahu.”

A few months later, I found out I was pregnant with my first child.  Yup, I know what you are thinking: That was quick. I was living in New York at the time and the uncertainty of my future lingered in my head.

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Time passed and what seemed like a blink of an eye, nine months went by.  My baby girl was born. I was a mother at 34. My editor reached out to me with a request for an article on my pregnancy. The task seemed emotionally challenging due to the countless angles to consider and reflecting on some of those moments seemed daunting. However, I was not going to let a mere request for an article rob me of my joy.  I went through a whole year of spiritual toughening and to revert to silly thoughts seemed counterproductive. But I will state this: there is value in the traditional customs of dating and marriage. My hardships are my own doing, and for those affected by my choices, I am sorry. Nonetheless, there is still a story to be told and lessons to be learned from my experience.

Once a woman becomes a mother, her world begins to change from the inside out. Her perception of life begins to shift as her heart gears toward protecting herself and her baby, leaving what once was important by the wayside. The first trimester goes by, and if she is anything like me, she has already spilled the beans to her closest friends and family. Then the kind and unsolicited advice begins. They all have an opinion about mommy and baby. Mothers, let me save you some energy and say that if this person does not have a vagina, is not a medical professional or does not have any children, don’t even consider what they have to say unless they are backing you up 100 percent. Protect your maternal space. Of course, we have the friends that think they are looking out for your well-being, but when a child is involved, everyone needs to respect mom.

Emmanuelle at 4 months. The name means ‘God is with us.’
Out for a stroll in an L.A. park.

Motherly instincts are designed to benefit and protect the mother and her child. Mothers need to listen to their hearts. I get it though, during these nine months a mother is only doing the best she can to keep it together. That is why when all else fails, you get down on your knees and pray.

My pregnancy was the dream pregnancy. No morning sickness or cravings. Maybe some leg pains here and there during my 3rd trimester, but nothing major. One time, I had unbearable stomach pains that turned out to be just gas. Luckily, my mother was there to diagnose the problem and burp me. My baby girl stretching towards opposite ends of my stomach was probably the most uncomfortable feeling, yet I found it overwhelmingly satisfying to know she was alive and well. At times I thought to myself, I am completely undeserving of such an easy baby, but that is what made my experience incredibly powerful and beautiful- I was walking to the rhythms of God’s grace. Comfort in my pregnancy flowed out in abundance. Considering the battles, I had to face, I knew someone up above was fighting them for me.

A few weeks before my due date, I found out that my baby girl was growing at a much slower rate than most babies. Her movement and heart rate were evaluated for abnormalities and fortunately, everything was normal. There was a huge possibility that my placenta was not giving the nutrients my baby needed to grow, so, the doctor scheduled me for induction on my 38th week. The news came at me like a pile of bricks.  I was already mentally managing so much; I did not need the excess weight, but the unsolicited advice came as hard as the comfort and support.  Once again, I had all the power in the world to choose how to respond and that time, I chose to worry.  For nothing! From the time I started pushing up to the time my baby girl came out was 36 minutes. She was itty bitty weighing in at 5 lbs 2 oz.  She was perfect — so perfect that any pain or exhaustion caused by over 24 hours of induction and labor combined was depleted. I named her Emmanuelle, meaning, “God with us.” She is my constant reminder of God’s grace upon my life.

I want to acknowledge my biggest supporters all the way down to the one person who offered to keep me balanced as I struggled to put my shoes on. It really did take a village.  Thank you.

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© The FilAm 2020

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