Pregnancy, politics and the Philippines

Election period in the Philippines has always been colorful and circus-like but it has become even more controversial this year. The use of social media to campaign for and against candidates has reached epic proportions, and has blurred the lines between the political and personal. I, however, made a conscious effort to be apolitical on social media, because I don’t want to be confrotational towards anyone who might oppose my views. I have to say though, that I am more nervous than excited about the results of the elections. I try to be nonchalant about politics, but deep inside, I know that I am affected more than I let on.  Or else I wouldn’t spend so much time online, reading and searching, and trying to decipher truth from propaganda, fact from fiction. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it seems (at least for us consumers of social media) that more people are involved, or want to be, in deciding the future of our country. It may be a bandwagon, but it’s one that I welcome, even if I chose not to be part of it.

I did choose to exercise my right to vote, and it’s my second time to vote while pregnant. Some people say that everything – thoughts, emotions, hormones – are exaggerated during pregnancy, but somehow the future seems more immediate when one votes thinking of the baby inside her belly. Three years ago, when I was four months pregnant, I was chastised by many for coming back to the Philippines from the US. My child could’ve been a US citizen, they said. I don’t really consider myself to be nationalistic, but for some reason, other than the convenience of having a lot of physical and moral support when I give birth, I wanted to give birth in the Philippines. Last month, I went back home to the Philippines again, and now, I am almost seven months pregnant, and I also wouldn’t want to give birth anywhere else. I sometimes kid that my child might be the next President of our country.

Whoever wins in this election, and whatever impact this may have on our lives, on my family, I refuse to believe that the future is brighter and life is necessarily better elsewhere. Maybe I AM nationalistic. Some might even call me idiotic for saying so. I am nervous, yes, but I am also excited to see what’s in store for us in the next few years. I have hope in uncertainty; I have faith in the unknown. Pregnancy has taught me to trust and be patient, then to push and let go. Similarly, the birth of a nation does not happen without labor pains. Especially now that Filipinos seem to be more politically conscious and ready to take action. We push if we must. We labor, we push, we push some more, until we see and hear and breathe the kind of life we hold dear.

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