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Health And Family

Meryll Soriano: Being real as ‘Mama Meme’

BROAD CAST - Jing Castañeda - Philstar.com
Meryll Soriano: Being real as âMama Memeâ

To continue with our Women’s Month celebration highlighting #WinningWomen (our initial salvo included voice actor Inka Magnaye, Anna Meloto-Wilk and several other empowering women), our next featured wonder woman is award-winning actress Meryll Soriano.  

When the pandemic hit, Meryll decided to stop accepting acting jobs and took the opportunity to be extra hands-on in taking care of her children, Eli and Gido.  Since she opted to temporarily refrain from accepting acting projects, she decided to start doing content on her YouTube channel again. 

She began her YouTube content by posting bonding moment videos with then 11-year-old Eli, which she called The Curious Two. After two years of no update, Meryll started posting Dear Mama Meme video content, a series of videos focusing on family, motherhood, and parenting. Acting is still her passion, but Meryll says her online content allows her to be the real her. 

“I try my best na yung content ko ay very substantial  --- about motherhood, parenting, family … doon talaga ako nag-fofocus.  I really try to still have a private life kahit na ang hirap sa digital content creation,” admits Meryll who says that we live in a culture where the audience wants all of you.  

Meryll explains that she had always been called Mama Meme. It started back when she was part of the volleyball varsity team in school, where her teammates would always run to her for help.  

“Natural yata sa akin yung nurturing.  Kaya Mama Meme din yung tawag sa akin ng mga mas nakababatang co-actors ko, mga P.A., ganun,” says Meryll. 

‘Mama Meme’ as the hands-on mom

Meryll, a hands-on mom to son Eli and Gido.
Screenshot from Meryll Soriano’s YouTube video

Through ‘Dear Mama Meme,’ Meryll is able to combine vlogging, being a mom and even a bit of acting.  But being a hands-on mom is still her priority.
 
“Kahit naman noon, saglit lang kami kumuha ng yaya.  Nag-yaya lang ata ako noon para may taga-laba ng lampin pero ngayon, super hands-on. Kung hands-on ako noon, mas hands-on ako ngayon,” shares Meryll. 

Elijah, her 14-year old son with actor Bernard Palanca, helps her with taking care of baby brother Gido, Meryll’s 1-year-old son with actor Joem Bascon. 

During our program, Pamilya Talk’s F&B Live, when asked about the journey of her pregnancy with both sons, she pointed out a few differences. “Yung pregnancy ko nung bata ako (24 years old), napakadali ng lahat!  Walang complications and all that. Nung pinanganak ko si Gido, nagkaroon ako ng gestational diabetes because of my age (38 years old).  Pero ngayon healthier na ako kasi nagwoworkout ako and because I look out for my sugar at sa mga matatamis na pagkain.  Mas sexy ako nagbuntis ngayon kaysa noong unang panahon na wala akong ginawa kundi lumafez (kumain) ng maraming mga pagkain at matatamis,” says Meryll. 


Caption:  Watch content creator and award-winning actress, Meryll Soriano, on Pamilya Talk’s F&B Live

Though she admits that getting pregnant with Eli wasn’t something that she was prepared for, she had her mother and her younger and more vigorous self to thank for the more trouble-free parenting. Taking care of Gido in the midst of the pandemic has been extra challenging.  But she gives credit to everyone helping her at home, especially her panganay Eli, who apparently is also a hands-on kuya. 

Living with Bipolar Disorder Condition 

“When I stopped using drugs at that time, that was when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder,” admits Meryll, who is now 15 years sober from drugs.   She shares that she had a difficult time accepting her diagnosis because of the label attached to having bipolar disorder.  She found out about her condition by accident.   

“I left home, I got married, nawala yung family ko, tinalikuran ko sila, and then nawala yung aso ko. Noong nawala yung aso ko, I think that was the trigger na nagblackout ako. Wala akong matandaan. I woke up in the hospital. Luckily nasa household ako na merong mga doctor. I think I was sedated; I just woke up in the hospital,” she narrates. That’s also the time that she had herself checked by a psychiatrist, the same doctor that she goes to ‘til this day. 

After trying to educate herself more about her condition, she has learned to accept it and started helping herself. 

“It made me really free sa pananaw ko sa sarili ko; sa buhay ko. And I'm really happy to be able to share that to a lot of people and it made me kinder to myself.  Hindi ko kasi naiintindihan kung bakit ako ganun. Pero noong inaral ko yung bipolar disorder condition at yung post-partum na pinagdaan ko, saglit lang naman kay Eli, I just had to welcome everything.  It's very difficult to do that. It's very difficult to accept that, but with your eagerness to learn more about these things and your eagerness to be open about it and share with other people, it really, really helps,” Meryll says. 

Amidst what she was going through at that time, she openly asked for help.  Having mental illness back then was taboo; there’s social stigma and discrimination. But what’s good about having information in the palm of our hands is that people can easily educate and read about bipolar disorder and post-partum to further free themselves from the reluctance of seeking assistance. 

“When I asked for help, at nakuha ko naman ito sa aking councilor at psychiatrist, sumunod na rin yung pamilya at mga kaibigan.  That was the time na naramdaman ko that I have a good support system.”

“It made me really free sa pananaw ko sa sarili ko; sa buhay ko. And I'm really happy to be able to share that to a lot of people and it made me kinder to myself.” Meryll on her acceptance on having bipolar disorder.
Photo from DearMamaMeme Instagram

Meryll advices everyone to be open about how they are feeling. She mentions that she’s been open about her condition with Eli. “Naiintindihan niya kapag sinasabi ko na ‘okay, medyo krung krung si mama, so I need some time alone.’   He understands, kasi maaga kong sinabi sa kanya kasi nga kailangan ko ng teammate. Teammate ko yang si Eli sa aking life,” she shares. 

She is also grateful to her sister, who’s a doctor, a huge help when she gets triggers (like lack of sleep).   

“Hindi maiiwasan lalo na nung bagong panganak ko pa lang. It has been very difficult but everyone here has been helping me out and understanding me.  Nakikita naman kung kailan kailangan ko magpahinga,” she adds. 

Despite all her hardships, Meryll continues to be joyful. “Wala akong masasabi sa aking journey at sa aking buhay. Marami akong natutunan... I'm just very grateful,” says Meryll.

I’ve now become a fan of Meryll Soriano. I’m impressed not only because at a young age, she has already achieved so much in terms of her career. But largely because of her perseverance to always win at life even though she went through hurdles and difficult challenges -- truly a tough, empowered woman!

 

Watch Pamilya Talk on Facebook, YouTube, and Kumu (@JingCastaneda – 4:00-5:00 p.m. Monday & Wednesday). You can also follow my social media accounts: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Kumu. Please share your stories or suggest topics at [email protected]

MOTHERHOOD

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