Metro.Style #HipAndHappeningMoms 2019: Expectant Mom Divine Lee-Go On Parenting In The Age Of Social Media
Soon-to-be mom of two Divine Lee-Go kicks off our #HipAndHappeningMoms campaign. On Divine: Suit and shorts by Vania Romoff
“Ganyan lang ba s’ya? Walang ginagawa?,” Divine Lee-Go recalls the questions she would ask husband Blake Go when they brought baby Basquiat Delfin (or Baz) home from the hospital. “Every minute I kept on checking kung humihinga s'ya. Minsan hinihipan ko ‘yung mukha ni Baz to make sure na buhay pa s’ya.” Divine laughed as she recalled how the first few days as a mother were like for her. Now that Baz is about to turn one, she can joke about those memories while beaming with pride upon surviving a year as a first-time mom.
But back when her bundle of joy was more fragile, the fear to commit even the smallest mistake when it comes to taking care of her newborn was so real, and a lot of new mothers can absolutely relate to this. That singular moment, “what-ifs” understandably lingered on her mind—What if I did something wrong? What if I hurt my baby? What if I missed something I should’ve done? What if I’m forgetting something important?—but really, all she needed to do was relax, breathe, and calm down because her child was simply peacefully asleep.
In this era of advanced technology, motherhood is still among the top human experiences that neither has any algorithm for nor a single, ultimate guidebook written about, and that’s because every baby is different and every motherhood experience is unique. “Iba-iba ang motherhood. Kaya nga walang guidebook kasi walang absolute rule. Walang tama o mali basta your heart is in the right place,” Divine tells Metro.Style when asked to share a piece of advice to her fellow first-time moms. “You just really have to wing it and you have to always put your baby first then everything will follow. That’s motherhood. You do your own version.”
“Iba-iba ang motherhood. Kaya nga walang guidebook kasi walang absolute rule... You do your own version"
Slip dress by Mango
Realizing her being maternal
In the case of Divine—who tied the knot with Blake in Cebu last 2017, wearing a gold wedding gown by Rajo Laurel—what opened up her eyes and heart to the rewarding feeling of being a mother was something truly unexpected. A career woman, television host, social media influencer, and society personality, Divine also gained popularity as the so-called “Becky Queen” on Becky Nights, a talk show for the beckies (gay people) and beckies at heart. The show gathers a group of Manila-based fashion and beauty stylists, such as Jake Galvez (beauty artist), Matt Gozun (fashion stylist), and Buern Rodriguez (hair expert), where they feature stimulating conversations about love, sex, boys, relationships, shopping, fashion, beauty, and pretty much anything under the sun!
In this group, Divine serves as the go-to of her gay friends every time they need an ally, a supporter, or merely a shoulder to cry on. This role that she plays in their lives has taught her tons of lessons that give her confidence and strength in raising Baz and, soon, her baby girl that’s expected to arrive on October.
“I honestly think that being a 'Mother Becky' will also help me further on because ang dami ko ring dinisiplinang mga bakla,” Divine explains in her typical raw, real, and relatable tone. “Every time magsusumbong sila sa akin, I make sure na nasa tama naman tayo. I always put my logic over it. So, I think eventually, when Baz grows up, [I can teach him] the idea of the consequences of his actions as well as discipline and respect. Na-train na ako ng mga bakla how to deal with them because they’re like my kids.”
"I think eventually, when Baz grows up, [I can teach him] the idea of the consequences of his actions as well as discipline and respect"
Leopard print gown by Vania Romoff
“I-Google mo na lang”
Being a mother in the digital age is both a blessing and a curse. In a way, mothers today are fortunate to have easy access on all the useful information that can guide them in their motherhood or parenting journey. However, the flipside of the coin shows that this technological breakthrough has also exposed mothers to social pressures often masked in Instagram-perfect snaps that typically filter out the ugly truths and realities about being a mom.
The “Mother Becky” role is proof that the universe is kind enough to not leave one totally clueless when dealing with life. Being surrounded with people who have been through what you’re currently experiencing is also a big help in overcoming challenges. Divine is grateful she has a close relationship with her mother-in-law, who is always willing to lend her a hand. But since being a mother decades ago has become significantly different from what it means and takes to be on top of the motherhood game today, Blake’s mom would advise Divine to turn to Google to read up on some backgrounder and pick up on modern tips and hacks.
“I’ve always felt na it’s the best and worst advice because Google will make you panic,” shares Divine, who couldn’t help but laugh at her mother-in-law’s gem of a hack. “But Google is also your fastest resource hub. The basic information is there but how you filter things out is up to you.”
"The basic information is there [in Google] but how you filter things out is up to you”
While technology, the internet, and social media have given Divine all the comfort and luxury of time and information she needs in fulfilling her new role, the same things have also caused her immense pain. “Apparently, [motherhood] is not as natural as I expected it to be,” she explains. “Kakanood ko siguro ng mga YouTube videos, nagkaroon ako ng expectations, na when you see ang mga nanay sa commercial, parang Kodak moment—paghawak mo pa lang, alam mo na ang gagawin. Paghawak ko [kay Baz] hindi ko nga alam e. I-breastfeed na ba ‘to? May nakukuha ba? Ba’t wala akong nararamdaman? It wasn’t natural for me.”
She also shared that she got mastitis, a breast inflammation most common in breastfeeding mothers that causes swelling, fever, and extreme discomfort. Her case was so severe she almost had to undergo an operation. The culprit? Social media.
“Apparently, [motherhood] is not as natural as I expected it to be"
“It will show you [photos and videos] of moms na grabe ang galing mag-breastfeed, napupuno ‘yung ref. So I’m like, wait, gagawin ko rin ‘yon!,” she talks about the pressure to fit into what the society paints as the ideal mom and how that changed the way she deals with social media and technology. “So I started pumping early and I was overworking myself. Baz was latching and I was pumping. Kung puro latch lang, hindi ako makaka-store so I kept on pumping until mapuno ko ‘yung ref ko.”
Photos of refrigerators filled with bags of frozen breastmilk are a sight to behold, but for some moms, these could also ignite the bad habit of comparing oneself to other moms. Divine warns her fellow moms of the unnecessary pressure that that adds to one’s shoulders. She urges them, too, to not get affected by the oftentimes unrealistic picture social media paints, because they can do more harm than good. “Moms should just relax. Nu’ng na-stress ako, feeling ko hindi na ako magaling na nanay. ‘Paano ba ‘to kung kulang pa ako ng milk?,’” she says. “Pero sabi ko, ‘Let Go.’ Kung meron, e di meron. Kung wala, e di try again later. That’s when I started to enjoy the process of being a mom more.”
Social media can get so toxic, what with all the bashing from people who are hiding behind their mobile phone or computer screens. These kinds of people would leave negative comments on Divine's social media accounts and express their thoughts nastily about how she should go about parenting her child. "Mom shaming, I get it a lot kasi kita talaga na hindi ko binibitiwan si Baz. They'd say, 'Naku, baba mo 'yan, masanay sa buhat 'yan.' E ayoko nga ibaba, ako nga 'yung clingy, hindi naman 'yung bata. He didn’t sleep in the crib for, I think, three and a half months, sa chest ko lang, s'ya 'yung umangal. Okay pa ako sa ganu'ng arrangement e, but it came to a point na ayaw na n'yang matulog sa chest ko. Gusto n'ya na may sarili na s'yang space. So ako 'yung na-sepanx."
With Divine's happy disposition in life, she doesn't wallow in what her bashers are saying. She's confident that she's doing the best she can to be a responsible and doting mother to Baz so there's no reason for her to doubt herself or feel bad and guilty.
"I get mom-shamed a lot, even CS-shamed (Caesarean section). 'Di daw nanay 'yung mga nag-CS, half lang daw. Dedma na lang. I don’t need that negativity in my life"
Growing as your baby grows
Learning more about the personality and the quirks of your baby is probably one of the most interesting parts of the entire process of motherhood. It also shapes your personality as a mother and defines what parenting style works best for you and your baby, to later establish the dynamics between the two of you. Every day is an opportunity to learn and become better, and every day, simple joys of and realizations about motherhood manifest themselves.
She was recently impressed with Baz, because he was able to identify an animal while flipping through the pages of a magazine. Divine shares, "I knew he always loved his stuffed animals, but I didn’t know he knew the difference between an animal and a person or a car or something because he doesn’t talk yet. We were in the plane and they had one of those free magazines and he was flipping the pages and then he saw a picture of a baby seal then he kissed it. Tawang-tawa ako. Oh my god, super animal lover pala s'ya. It's normal for me that he plays with Pompom our dog and then when we go out, aliw na aliw s'ya na makakita ng mga security dogs. But I didn’t know he could identify an animal on a page, not a toy or a live animal."
Divine had also recently discovered that that irresistible “baby smell” or fresh "amoy baby" smell disappears faster than expected. The hilarious Divine says, laughing, “’Di pala mabango ‘yung kids. Or baka si Baz lang? Pawisin kasi ‘yung anak ko so maasim s’ya parati. Now Baz learned how to do the flying kiss. But the only problem is dinidilaan n’ya ang kamay n’ya then he wipes it sa face n’ya. So when I kiss him, hala, ang asim talaga.”
"Before, I was so strict with time. I hate changes. 'Pag binigyan mo ako ng plano, 'wag mo nang baguhin kasi naka-set na e. With a kid, parang okay lang 10 changes of plans in one day. That’s how it goes, you just move according to his schedule"
When Baz would go to playrooms, being the malambing baby he is, he’d grab and hug his playmates. But given his above-average size, he’d unintentionally squish other babies who are about his age but are smaller than him, and the babies would cry and avoid him thereafter. Divine just laughs about it now but she feels sad at the same time, saying, “Baz is huge and he would try to hug the baby at madadaganan n’ya. Iiyak ‘yung baby to the point na ‘yung mga ka-age n’ya sa playroom, ayaw na siyang lapitan."
Just recently, too, Divine is noticing that Baz is starting to be more clingy and a little jealous when there are other babies around. She went out to visit a friend who just gave birth and just as she was about to try to touch and carry the newborn, Baz panicked. His yaya tried to carry the baby as well and he reacted the same. “Medyo alam na niya ‘yung idea ng ‘mine.’ I don’t know how it’s gonna be when the new baby’s there but I’m reading books now so hopefully I can get some tips.”
All throughout these experiences, Divine discovers new things about motherhood and gives herself a chance to refocus on certain aspects that she can still improve on.
“Moms should just relax... That’s when I started to enjoy the process of being a mom more”
“A happy mom is the best mom”
As a mommy influencer—who is in the process of figuring out the best strategies to go about residing in Cebu and working in Manila (there were times when, in her effort to juggle career and family life, she'd even go on day trips to and from Manila just so she could be with Blake and Baz at night!)—Divine hopes to be a good role model to other moms. Motherhood is not easy but it can be fun and fulfilling, too. And ultimately, it is up to you to make the most of it and make it an enjoyable ride.
In her blog and social media accounts, she highly encourages self-love and pushes it as a vital ingredient to becoming the best mother one can be. “Hindi ako naniniwala na if you take care of yourself e selfish mom ka na,” she shares. “Nagbre-breastfeed ako nang naka-facial mask. Nu’ng mas baby pa si Baz, puro tulog s’ya so nakakasingit ako ng workout in my son’s nursery. I was working out every time he was napping.”
Finding time for and taking care of yourself in the middle of mommy duties is not about superficiality. “If you feel like hindi mo pinababayaan ang sarili mo, you’ll be happier. A happy mom is the best mom,” Divine emphasizes. "Your priorities change [when you become a mother]. Now, for me, it’s him, him, him. Kaya important sa'kin na dahil ganu'n na nga 'yung priorities mo, 'wag mo naman kalimutan 'yung sarili mo. I was telling other moms na 'yung makapag-workout ka ng 30 minutes, happy hormones 'yun e, 'yung makapag-facial mask ka, hello, na-hydrate mo skin mo... You cannot give what you do not have. It’s also important for you to refuel.”
"You cannot give what you do not have. It’s also important for you to refuel"
Soon-to-be mom of two Divine Lee-Go kicks off our #HipAndHappeningMoms campaign. Visit Metro.Style again for more features on the moms we love following.
Photography by Andrea Beldua
Sittings Editor: Kate Paras-Santiago
Liaison Editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Makeup by Jason delos Reyes
Hairstyling by Red Echavia
Styling by David Milan
Videographer: Gian Escamillas
Video producer: Joan Ko
Shoot assistant: Cara Tirona