Metro.Style #HipAndHappeningMoms 2019: Bangs Garcia-Birchmore
Transitioning to being a mother is challenging as it is—imagine how much more difficult it becomes when you would have to go through this phase with another major change in you and your husband's life, such as migrating to another country to start anew as you start your own family. That was exactly the situation social media influencer Bangs Garcia-Birchmore had to cope with when she and husband Lloyd decided to live in the UK.
With this decision, Bangs not only had to leave her family behind in Manila, this former actress also had to turn her back on the limelight. Although life as a showbiz personality was exciting, she has no regrets giving it up for now to focus on her new roles as a wife and a mother. Besides, motherhood is proving to be an enjoyable experience for this first-time mom, with her one-year-and-five-month-old daughter Amelia delighting her with each and every adorable milestone.
Every little thing little Amelia does nowadays puts a smile on her mommy's face, but those smiles weren't always there; Bangs used to cry buckets of tears. Many women go through postpartum depression, but the case was different for Bangs. She was completely fine after giving birth, and she had no issues about dealing with changes that come along with becoming a new mom. What deeply saddened her was finding out she wouldn't be able to breastfeed her baby for as long as she hoped she would, because she acquired an infection during delivery that affected her milk supply. That really broke her heart, but Bangs thought it best to compensate this instead with all the love she can possibly shower Amelia with. While it hurt her to not be able to provide sustenance to her child, she realized there's a lot more she can do for her.
Taking care of Amelia made Bangs realize that she's capable of raising a child in a way that is making her own mother proud. "I'm confident to say that I'm a good mom to Amelia," she says. She draws strength and courage from her little girl; just seeing her grow takes away whatever negative thoughts that try to put her down, and makes her want to be a great mom.
There's a lot she still needs to learn, so she's welcoming each day as an opportunity to become better. With how hands-on she is now, she sure is training herself well for when the time comes that she needs to take care of another bundle of joy and eventually navigate through the complexities of raising kids. Good job, mama!
How much did motherhood change your life?
"I have always been an independent type of person. Even though I grew up with a yaya, I loved doing things on my own at home. I chose to leave showbiz to be a hands-on mom. I realized I'm capable of doing things I never imagined I could do. Iba na talaga 'pag may naka-depend na sa’yo. So dati, sarili ko lang ang iniisip ko, ngayon may baby na.
"I became stronger and more resourceful... I found myself more fearless now. Mas natuto rin ako maging calm. 'Yung biggest difference sa'kin now that I'm a mom is that I'm more relaxed. Ayoko kasing ipakita kay Amelia na natataranta ako. I guess that's also why a lot of people tell me that my baby is calm, cheerful, and sociable."
What is the most challenging thing about being a mom?
"The most difficult experience for me was giving birth. I was in labor for almost two days, but I ended up having a C-section. In the UK, ibang-iba, they train the moms there to be more confident and independent, so 'di p'wede mag-overnight with you 'yung family members. I had to stay in the hospital for almost five days due to an infection. Kahit na may C-section ako, 'pag umiiyak 'yung baby sa cot n'ya, I had to get out of my bed to attend to my baby’s needs.
"I only breastfed my baby for three months. Only three days after giving birth, nagkaroon na ako ng problema kasi my milk supply diminished due to infection, but at least she was able to get the colostrum, which is the most important nutrient.
"Hindi ako na-depress after giving birth. I had baby blues after nu'ng wala na talagang lumalabas na milk. It was upsetting to bottle feed her that early, especially because my goal was to breastfeed for at least a year. Nu'ng nalaman ko na wala talagang lumalabas na milk, sobrang umiyak talaga ako. I had to give her formula kaysa magutom s'ya."
What pieces of advice on motherhood did you get from your own mom?
"According to my mom, better pa raw ako sa kanya. We grew up with yayas. My mom was so career-oriented, and my dad was working abroad as a civil engineer. 'Yun yung difference. My mom said iba raw 'yung bonding namin ni Amelia, 'yung closeness namin. She gravitates towards me. My mom told me, 'Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m so proud of you.'”
Is motherhood better or worse than you anticipated?
"Better. Motherhood is way better than I anticipated. Mahirap na masarap. In fact, I want to have a baby again, maybe next year, we'll see. Nakakatanggal talaga ng stress."
What pieces of advice can you share to first-time moms?
"I get a lot of questions on Instagram—how I maintain my body, how I raise Amelia, what I feed her because she looks so healthy. My advice for those asking how I got my figure back, if you’re planning your pregnancy, you need to workout even before you get pregnant. Before I got pregnant, I was working out hard for two years already, but you don't need to do it for two years, kahit ilang months lang.
"Watch what you eat. If you used to love eating rice, lessen it. I didn't have rice throughout the whole pregnancy. But I loved eating quinoa, wheat bread, and pasta. I stayed away from sweets until I was seven months pregnant. I ate a lot of vegetables and fruits specifically broccoli, carrots, and spinach.
"If you can't go to the gym, just workout at home. 'Yun 'yung pinaka-playtime mo with baby—carry your baby while doing squats.
"Stay calm and relaxed no matter what the situation is. Don't listen to everything other people are saying—remember, different strokes for different folks. Mas kilala mo ang baby mo kaysa sa ibang tao. When it comes to breastfeeding, don’t pressure yourself. Don’t think that you’re a bad mom because you couldn't breastfeed. Iba-iba ang moms."
"The most rewarding thing about being a mom is seeing your baby grow up very healthy and very smart. It makes you think you're doing a good job, you’re doing the right thing, and you’re teaching her the right stuff"
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Art direction by Butchie Peña
Makeup by Mikka Marcaida
Hairstyling by Brix Batalla
Styling by Patty Yap (all clothes by Twilo)
Shoot assistant: Cara Tirona
Shot on location at Pottery Barn Kids - Central Square in BGC, Taguig
Visit Metro.Style again for more #HipAndHappeningMoms Mother's Day special features.