EXCLUSIVE: Bianca Gonzalez-Intal's Pieces Of Pregnancy And Motherhood Advice Are A Must-Read
Motherhood is life-changing. For first-time moms especially, there's a lot of mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned as one goes through the ups and downs of taking care of a baby. It's true, motherhood is messy—literally and figuratively. Couple that reality with the constant societal pressure to be this picture-perfect image of a mom, and you'll have moms who feel bad about themselves perhaps for not being as beautiful or well put together as the other moms they follow on social media.
Bianca Gonzalez-Intal with daughter Lucia
But one famous mom who has no qualms about sharing unfiltered MOMents on social media is Bianca Gonzalez-Intal. Her honesty, authenticity, and sincerity are among the many reasons why she is a well followed celebrity online. Many moms look up to her for presenting motherhood as it is: challenging and tiring, yes, but absolutely fulfilling.
With her incredible influence, JOHNSON’S® tapped Bianca to be their ambassadress, to help them encourage other moms to see the beauty in motherhood and celebrate its simple joys. No need for comparison with other moms, because the stories are never the same for everyone. As Bianca perfectly puts it, "Every mother is different. Every child is different." Beneath all the stress and mess, there are naturally beautiful moments that are sure to make any mom smile, happy, and at ease.
In this exclusive interview with Metro.Style, the gorgeous host, author, social media influencer, and soon-to-be mom of two talks about the realities of being a mom and why a mom must never forget about taking care of herself:
1. What are some of the challenges you experienced as a first-time mom? How did you overcome them?
Literally too many to mention! Everything was a challenge for me! I often say this to friends or when interviewed, that so many of the women I know are "natural" moms." And I have always felt like sobra kong "trying hard" to be a mom, because I feel it does not come naturally to me. Sobrang hirap na hirap ako for the first few months of my newborn, with all the crying, no sleeping, breastfeeding, exhaustion, lahat! The only way I really was able to overcome it all was to go through it one day at a time. I tried my best to learn from my daily mistakes and learn from friends who are also moms.
This is the BEST feeling in the world! So proud of you @iamsuperbianca for being so brave and strong for our little princess. Thank you Lord for the healthy, happy, safe, and normal delivery. It's been only a couple of hours, Lucia, but you already filled our hearts with so much love and joy. We love you!
2. What has motherhood taught you?
So many little things, but the biggest lessons are: Patience like no other and unconditional love—'yun pala talaga 'yun. And one super important lesson that I am honestly still trying to learn myself: to take care of yourself, even as you prioritize your baby. It can be as simple as sharing bath or lotion time with your baby! One of our bonding activities ni Lucia is taking a bath together, so we actually share JOHNSON'S Milk™ Bath and Lotion.
The clinically proven mild JOHNSON’S® Milk™ Range has essential milk proteins that help restore damaged skin and keep skin smooth and nourished. It has milk and natural rice and oats that make it 2x more nourishing vs. regular bar soaps. Both mommy and baby can share a naturally baby-beautiful skin that doesn’t need any filter.
3. What is the best piece of advice you can share with first-time moms?
That every mother is different, and every child is different. Not because this certain way works for this mom and her child doesn't mean you have to do it that way too. That, at the end of the day, no matter what advice you get from friends, or unsolicited advice you get from people around you, only you can decide what you think is best for your baby.
It's hard because of social media; we constantly compare ourselves and our kids. Are they hitting their milestones on time? Are they eating right? Am I doing it right?
But we have to—HAVE TO!!!!—remind ourselves that social media can be very deceiving. That it is mostly the good moments posted. But every mom goes through tough moments, and even if we don't see others going through a hard time, doesn't mean they don't go through it too.
That is why with my personal posts, I try as much as possible to show both the good and ugly side of motherhood, because that is my personal experience with it. It has not been a walk in the park for me, it has been very tough, but at the end of the day, like every other mom, what we do share in common is that for all of us, it is the most fulfilling role we've had to take on.
(Warning: long #mommydiaries post!) Being a parent has given me this love-hate relationship with social media. . . IDEAS. On the one hand, browsing social media gives me so many ideas of where to bring my daughter to make pasyal, cool new places or restaurants that are kid-friendly, insights of what to do for daily activities, even info on where to get certain books or toys or clothes. . . INSECURITY. On the other hand, social media has been very bad for my self-esteem. Oftentimes, especially during the first few months of my being a new mom, I would scroll down my feed and just.... feel bad. Feel sorry for myself. Feel like I wasn't good enough to be a mother. I would think, "wow, she doesn't look haggard at all" while I would be in my ratty clothes, walang ligo, at wala pang kain. Or, "wow, her son is so advanced and can already talk," while I would be wondering how come my daughter was only saying syllables. Or, "wow, her caption says nawawala pagod niya, ngumiti lang anak niya," while I would just be feeling so exhausted even if my daughter did smile at me. It was getting so overwhelming. I knew it was time for me to guard my heart. . . INTENTION. It took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that every mother is different, just like every child is different. I sometimes still feel insecure and inadequate as a mother, but I now know that giving my best is all my daughter needs. One follower commented on an emo post of mine: "God knew exactly what kind of mother your daughter needed, even before she was born." I remember crying, really ugly cry bawling when I read that, and its still a quote I keep coming back to when I feel down. I am exactly what she needs. Me doing my best for my daughter is all she needs, and other mothers are just doing their best for their babies, too. I often say this (only because it is well-deserved) a high five, a pat on the back, and a big hug to all other mothers! ? I would love to read about your stories, too, please share them. #alwaysourbestforbaby #johnsons125 #johnsonsbabyph
4. Now that you're pregnant again, what maternity style tips can you share? What are your must-have pieces?
Dresses! I am a T-shirt and pants kind of girl, for sure. But I find it impractical to buy maternity pants because I will end up spending so much, but I get to use it only for a few months. So as soon as my pants don't fit me anymore, I simply switch to dresses. Dresses that are shapeless are not only give a chic and clean look for a buntis woman, but also when you're not pregnant.
(Note: Long #mommydiaries post!) Sooo grateful for the opportunity to travel for work and take a short side trip to visit family, but I also missed my daughter so much! . . It is only my second time to be away from Lucia since she was born (she is 2 years 9 months old already ?? -- I guess I am one attached mommy) and the longest at 9 days! I video-called her like 4 times a day, even setting my alarm in the middle of the night just to catch her waking hours, and everything I saw reminded me of her. (Of course I missed my husband, too! But we have both gone on work trips since we got together, and a bit of time apart for couples is healthy, too! ??) . . But to be perfectly honest, I have to say I enjooooyed the "freedom"!!!! To be on a long haul flight without having to attend to anyone else but myself, to enjoy meals without rushing, and to watch whole movies with my full attention.. what a luxury! To wake up everyday without worrying about other's needs but myself feels unreal. When I asked my OB for a medical certificate to travel, she even advised me, "Extend your trip! You deserve it! Things will get crazy when you have two kids so enjoy this time 'off'". . . To add to that, my husband and I have never been both away from Lucia at the same time since she was born. We always wanna go on a trip just us two, but we always feel bad about leaving her, so we never push through. Now that we are soon to be a family of four, we are seriously thinking that we need to finally go on that trip! Any advice for us in handling "mom-guilt" and "dad-guilt"? ??
5. In your experience, how exactly does pre-natal Pilates help a pregnant woman?
I've been taking Pilates for a decade now and it's really my favorite form of exercise! So much so that when I first got pregnant, and with this second pregnancy, I just switch to pre-natal Pilates, which is basically the same thing, but removing certain moves that are not allowed for pregnant women.
It has helped me stay strong as my belly grows bigger and heavier, especially now that my toddler still wants me to carry her despite my carrying a second baby in my tummy. It helps me stretch all the aching parts in my body—which, when you are pregnant, lahat masakit! I also have found my recovery from my firstborn to be quite quick, and I am hoping it will be the same with this second baby.
6. What's your diet like when you weren't pregnant and what's your diet like now?
Pretty much the same, except I don't eat bloody meat or raw egg or drink hard drinks. My OB-gyne is super chill and I am blessed to not be a maselan buntis, so I am still allowed my one cup of coffee a day, and other food and drink items that are usually on pregnant women's no-no list. The difference of this pregnancy from my first is all the vomitting. I vomitted very few times with my first, but with this second baby, I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum in my first four months and basically vomitted 8 to 10 times a day. It's a bit better now, I still vomit, but only once or maybe thrice a day on a bad day.
7. What words of encouragement can you say to moms who are undergoing postpartum depression and are not happy with the way they look?
Four words: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I definitely went through bouts of sadness after giving birth but was thankful for a strong support system in my husband, mom, and angels at home for keeping me sane. It is so difficult taking care of a newborn and there are so many times we don't get to take a bath, let alone fix ourselves to look nice, even at home. That it is okay to feel down but that we should try to pick ourselves up, for our own good! To not be afraid to accept help 'pag hindi na talaga kaya.
I suffer from mom guilt to this day. I get guilty going out to get a mani-pedi kasi feeling ko it makes me a bad mom to choose that over being with my toddler. But I constantly try to remind myself the advice that all other moms give me, that a happy mom equals a happy baby. That we need to take care of ourselves for us to be able to take care of our children and partners well.
Kaya super naka-relate ako with this recent campaign of Johnson's; it was a great reminder for me, and a great reminder for all other moms, that even with all the mess and stress of motherhood, it is those naturally beautiful moments we share with our babies that make us and our experience even more meaningful and beautiful. Still something I am trying to learn, but it is definitely a piece of advice I want to share to other moms.