The road to motherhood

CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
The road to motherhood
Aicelle Santos will soon give birth to her and husband Mark Zambrano’s first child.
STAR / File

The baby boom is reverberating with more and more expectant moms happily checking in, including singer-actress Aicelle Santos waiting for the stork’s visit. Like every first-time mom, Aicelle faces a lot of challenges on her journey to motherhood with the support of her husband, former GMA reporter Mark Zambrano.

“Do I sing to my baby?” asked Aicelle (who married Mark as soon as she finished her stint as Gigi the bar girl in the UK tour of Miss Saigon). “I guess she enjoys it kasi tumatahan siya, especially when I make her listen to classical music.”

Yes, the baby is a girl, announced during a gender-reveal affair hosted by Aprica (maker of baby products like cribs, strollers, etc.).

In this Conversation, Aicelle talks more about the difficulties she’s going through.

Such as what difficulties?

“Each trimester, merong challenges. The first one being the paglilihi (infanticipating), nausea and vomiting. I think that’s normal. During the second trimester naman, I had to take a bedrest. I had contractions that I didn’t notice, nakita lang sa scan na meron pero di ko nararamdaman. I also had bleeding so ayun, I had to take a bedrest.

“Now on my third trimester, a few weeks ago lang, I had my OGTT because my baby is so big. They found out that I have medyo high sugar, gestational diabetes. We’re managing it through diet. Thankfully, I’m okay already. There’s a lot of challenges but all for the baby’s health. The baby is really big now. Her size is bigger than usual for her age. I gained weight. I had to cut down on sweets and carbs. Napakasarap kumain sa totoong buhay. All the more, on your third trimester, para ka nang eating monster. I had to cut down sa mga bawal.”

You look good in the pictures.

“I went on a diet before the maternity shoot, nag-slim na ‘yung face ko and arms ko. I think I lost 10 lbs. Ganoon ako kalakas kumain, ibig sabihin. There are days when bigla ka na lang maiiyak, especially with the situation now, minsan overthinking, finding out that you have this pa. Can’t I just be happily eating? Pero okay lang, dadaan lang. I acknowledge that we are emotional right now. Dadaan lang.”

What are you infanticipating on (pinaglilihian)? Is it true that expectant dads ay naglilihi din?

“Bread. Nahilig ako sa bread. I was eating lots of fruits. Si Mark, parang he has lost his appetite. Feeling niya sa kanya ako naglihi. I always want him beside me and even if he’s already beside me I still miss him. Sobrang clingy.”

What’s the baby’s name and its significance?

Aicelle: “Her name is Zandrine Anne Santos Zambrano.”

Mark: “I’ve wanted that name. I like the way it sounds. If you spell Zandrine with an S, it means ‘protector of men.’ Feeling ko magmamana kay Aicelle, who is a level-headed, strong woman. Pag sumisipa ‘yung bata, malakas rin e, so I think the name suits her. I can already feel her strength of character kahit wala pa siya. Iniba ko lang ‘yung S to Z because the initials of my grandfather’s name are ZSZ. He in a way helped raise me so that’s a tribute to him rin.”

Aicelle: “Akin ‘yung Anne kasi Aicelle Anne ako.”

‘Mark is very supportive to a point that he helps me stand up kasi ang bigat na ni baby... Minsan naman, hinihilot niya ang mga paa at kamay ko... Sometimes, we talk about the baby’s future. Girl kasi so Mark is already worried about the manliligaw.’

As a singer, dapat daw kina kantahan ang baby while inside your tummy. What kind of songs do you sing to her?

“During the early months when I could still walk around, I would hum tunes to her. I still do recordings for All-Out Sundays for GMA. I still get to sing. Kaso ‘yung recording ko, may birit. Itong anak ko sinisipa ako. Feeling ko naiingayan siya sa ‘kin. Now, we talk more. I used to sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow to her because it has a nice melody. I also play gospel music. Sabi rin nila, classical music. I do that also kaso ako ‘yung inaantok.”

What kind of mothering books have you been reading?

“I read some books and I do research in Google. I also ask my sister who has just given birth. I ask my mom, Mark’s mom and my pregnant friends like Maricris (Garcia) and Chariz (Solomon), who has already given birth. We just created a Messenger group. Doon kami nag-chichikahan. Ang dami-daming babies ngayon!”

How supportive is Mark during this time, especially with the pandemic?

“Very supportive to a point that he helps me stand up kasi ang bigat na ni baby. Parang lola na, ganyan. Being there is really important. The pandemic made that happen because he is always here. Pag manas ako, hinihilot niya ‘yung paa ko at kamay. Gustong-gusto ko pag kinakausap niya si baby in my tummy. Those moments are very precious. We also get to talk about our baby’s future. Girl kasi so worried na siya sa manliligaw.

“Sabi ko nga sanggol pa lang anak natin, manliligaw na iniisip mo. I think that’s what men are worried about. Mark is 100 percent like that. He’s into sports, so he says she may be the next basketball or volleyball star. Sabi ko, yes, next basketball or volleyball star who can sing. We’re fine naman whatever she wants to be. Sabi ko expose lang namin to everything...sports, music. Then, let her choose pag malaki na siya.”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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