Vanessa Matsunaga On How To Take Care Of Yourself During And After Pregnancy
Pregnancy and motherhood can be challenging, but Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga proves that with the right perspective and attitude, you can find so much happiness and peace in being a mom
Motherhood is one of the most life-altering things that can happen to a woman—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But instead of lamenting on the changes in your life that you can never get back, what if you use your pregnancy and transition to motherhood as a chance to transform and become a better version of yourself?
Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga saw her life change before her eyes as she went through two pregnancies. But as she sat down with Tricia Centenera for Talk With Tricia, she shares that this transformation helped her become a better person. While not all pregnancies and motherhood experiences are the same, there are ways on how to improve your life and your family’s with just a simple change in perspective.
Here are some of her biggest takeaways on how to take care of yourself and your family during and after your pregnancy:
Stress less; be as peaceful as possible
“When I was pregnant, I became more aware of my feelings and how the hormones play a big part about everything in your life. And I want to be as peaceful as possible when I was pregnant,” says Vanessa.
Challenges are a natural part of life, but stressing out about it is an option. That’s why Vanessa advises to be more in tune with your feelings, but process each situation in the least stressful way as possible. There’s always a solution to every problem, and you’ll get there easier if your head is not clouded with stress and if you're not overthinking things. So find that inner peace, channel that love for the growing baby inside your tummy, and use it to fuel your day-to-day.
Listen to your body
Pregnancy takes a huge toll on a woman’s body, mind, and emotions. That’s why Vanessa says it’s important that both you and your husband know how to honor your body and let it heal and rest if it needs to. Vanessa’s husband, Jun, for example, has been very vocal about his desire to have four kids. But when asked when they’re completing the family since they’re just at two kids right now, Jun would always say that it’s up to Vanessa, if she’s ready to go through pregnancy again.
“There’s a right time for everything and your body will let you know when it’s the right time,” says Vanessa. So if you want more kids but feel like you need to pace it, that’s totally your call. Your husband should respect what your body can do.
Choose your self-care routines wisely
Vanessa admits that she has little to no time left to take care of herself because taking care of her kids is her priority. But while it’s easy to lose yourself in the process, she reminds moms that they just have to be wise and picky about the self-care routines that they choose to stick to.
“Before, I would spend a lot of time taking care of my skin, going to the derma, hitting the gym once in a while. But now, I just have to be picky with what I want to do,” she says.
One of her tricks in terms of taking care of her skin is that she would now stick to skincare products that work best for her skin even though they can be a bit more expensive. This way, she doesn’t have to go to the derma as often.
Love your stretchmarks
Especially for a model like Vanessa, seeing stretchmarks all over your body after the pregnancy can be distressing. But for her, there's definitely more to the physical aspect of it. The stretchmarks are not just stretchmarks; they’re proof that she survived pregnancy and came out of it wiser and stronger. In fact, it’s a small price to pay for being blessed with another human in your life.
Vanessa says, “I try not to look at my stretchmarks as a physical part. Those are my battle scars and I really try to make them beautiful in my head. You created a human being; you should be proud of yourself.”
Have a parenting strategy with your husband
While motherhood feels like a heavy burden, you don’t have to do it alone. Parenting with your husband makes things so much easier because you have another person to draw strength and wisdom from and learn through experience with.
Vanessa says that she and her husband continues to be very open with each other, especially when it comes to their kids. They’ve also devised a parenting strategy to discipline their kids without fighting over it.
“We have this agreement that we can never disagree in front of the kids,” she says. So if she’s disciplining her daughter but her husband doesn’t agree, Jun would talk to her about it privately, but not argue in front of their daughter. This way, their kids trust in their parents’ partnership, and them, as a couple, are still able to resolve their issues.
Keep your faith strong
Doubts will always be part of pregnancy and motherhood. Vanessa says questions of “Am I doing it right?” would always cloud her mind and heart. Her patience and body would be tested during those sleepless nights after the pregnancy where they have to keep waking up to tend to their baby's needs.
But her secret to overcoming all the doubt, the insecurities, and the anxieties that motherhood brings: keep Christ as the third person in the relationship. Keep your faith strong and know that there is someone out there who won’t give you challenges that you can’t handle.