Neri: First-time mothers

·3 min read

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we asked two first-time mothers to talk about their journey to motherhood. Let’s hear from Joan Villaflores Cheng, wife of Marketing & Business Development professional Mark Cheng, and Crystal Faith Neri, wife of lawyer Jovi Neri.

Joan shares:

“Last May 2021, my dream of becoming a mother finally became reality when my daughter, Charlotte Isabelle, was born. It was a dream come true indeed, holding my little bundle of joy as she rests in the warmth of my bosom. Deep down I knew there were speed bumps in this new journey of mine, but seeing firsthand how my Mami made motherhood look so effortless, I figured I had this in the bag as well.

Little did I know that my life will change in that very instant.

Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever had to do, bar none—from the most painful breastfeeding journey to the bleakest trenches of postpartum depression—the sacrifice was all too real. However, looking back, I would have to say that it is also the most honorable calling one can ever have. The nights may be unbearably long and the wailings unbelievably loud, but I remind myself time and time again that very soon—she won’t need me as much anymore and someday soon, I will miss the days when I had a needy baby in my arms.

After all, motherhood may change my physical appearance—but certainly nothing can make my heart, my soul, as joyful, as warm, as loving and selfless the way motherhood can. My love for Charlotte is greater than my love for myself—and this, I believe, is worth more than anything else this world can give.”

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Crystal narrates:

“My journey to motherhood began like most mothers—a look at a pregnancy test and saw a positive sign. My knees got weak so I had to sit down. ‘That fast?’ I thought. It took me years, a course, some therapy, and lots of introspection to find out if motherhood was for me. But when my husband Jovi and I finally decided to try, I got pregnant so fast.

This was in February 2021, smack in the middle of a pandemic. Even though I work a demanding remote job in marketing for a US-based consultancy agency, I knew that this was just the perfect time to expand our family. Just like other passions, I approached pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum like a project with tasks, deadlines, and research.

“The more I know, the less I fear,” was my motto. I read every book out there, listened to positive meditations and asked advice from other mamas. Adding to that God’s grace and Jovi’s support, I gave birth to Jax Benedict on Oct. 5, 2021. My birth was my dream birth: Easy, fast and non-medicated.

Now six months old, Jax is a healthy and strong baby who loves people and being out in nature. Although I prepared as much as I could for life being a mama, there’s nothing like living it every day. It’s better a hundred times over.

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