Maternity Shoot x Pregnancy Diaries

Motherhood

 

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“Your story is not just your story. It is for others to learn and know. And one day you will share these experiences to others- mothers, single ladies and many more. I just feel that this season of yours is going to make you a better person for His glory. I sense the unfolding of greatness, the unveiling of His love and the showering of joy. The Lord is not done with you yet.”


This was my sister’s message in the middle of my 1st trimester. These words were the beginning of a realization for me & I truly thank God for people like my sister who continuously remind me that the life I live is His.

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This inspired me to share about what I experienced & felt during the first few months of my pregnancy. Which means the experiences & feelings each mother goes through  are different. I say “mother” because pregnancy is already part of “motherhood”, in fact, it is the beginning of it. If you’re somebody who’s expecting or who’s praying to have a baby, I hope this gives you an idea what happens during pregnancy & that you’ll be able to prepare for it.

Oh the joys of breaking the news that you’re pregnant! The day has finally come when your prayers have been answered, the future looks bright as you start pinning adorable baby outfits, maternity fashion, checking out lists of what you’ll need when the baby is out, thinking of booking a photographer for your maternity & baby shoot, planning for a baby shower & the list goes on. All of these are great & they’re a beautiful side to  pregnancy but the hard or challenging reality will get to you as pregnancy progresses. Mothers or every parent will agree that those mentioned are just tiny bits, parts or the sweet little things to motherhood or parenting.

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The first few weeks of my pregnancy were difficult. Although I hear some pregnancies are flawless, mine was one of the usual cases. Usually during the 1st trimester pregnant women experience morning sickness, excessive vomiting, swollen breasts, weird cravings at the same time distaste for some food while appetite increases, amplified urine movement, nausea, heartburn, acne breakouts, mood swings, skin discoloration, are more susceptible to illness & so much more. Some experience these for months & some even during the whole duration of the pregnancy. (If you’re a guy reading this & you’re expecting, take notes! You’re wife isn’t overreacting, these things happen!)

For me this meant, stopping work, ministry & all other activities I had in a snap! I remember my husband telling me one time that his head was aching because he wasn’t able to drink coffee, I tell him, “Just imagine how I feel?”. For a coffee lover who drinks about 3 cups a day & letting go of that in an instant, not to mention everything else my body goes through, the struggle was very real. And that’s just one. Being pregnant means sacrifice. This is just the beginning.


Shout out to EVERY MOM! You are beautiful, strong & truly Wonderwoman! I hear new moms say, “Dear Mom, I get you now”. I have only been given the starter if this was a full set course meal yet I feel you. And I just want to say THANK YOU. You are amazing!

During this time (1st trimester) we found out I had hemorrhage, which had me stay at home for a month & a half. I was usually in bed & these were the times I kept crying & I honestly tell my husband & myself “I’m tired already”. As if giving up was an option. Of course not! I often hear people say, “the baby is worth it” or “it will be worth it”. No doubt but for usual cases or even crucial cases wherein bed rest is a requirement for 9 months & the struggle is very real, I realized this… Like any other thing that we say is worth it, like marriage or whatever matters to you for the world & in this case, the baby… ________________ (whatever it is) is not enough reason to stay strong… Jesus will always be the answer, the reason. I don’t know how I’d reach this point without Jesus.

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Jesus… keeping me strong, giving me a hardworking & patient husband who was & is with me through the whole process, giving me family & friends who would communicate, encourage, visit, cook, bring food, pray with me & show any kind of support. Jesus made all of these things happen. And these things gave me so much comfort & joy during this phase.


If you’re one of those who did those things mentioned above, THANK YOU from the bottom of  my heart. You have no idea how much you’ve brought a great impact during my pregnancy. You know who you are. Your names will forever be carved in my heart.

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During the 2nd trimester, the hemorrhage healed. Answered prayer! This time, I am able to go out, however, because of everything else that comes with pregnancy; I had to stay at home more often. My husband & I had the mindset of, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. Like I said, pregnant women are more susceptible to diseases. We don’t want to risk it. Also during this time, my appetite was waaaaay better, as what most would say, the 2nd trimester is the best time. Naturally, I gained weight & there’s no shame in that. Pregnant women have to gain for their baby’s health. So when people comment about how much you’ve gained, have the confidence that what goes on in your body is no joke & if that meant being chubby or fat even, you wouldn’t have it any other way for your baby’s sake. Giiiiiiirl, YOU’RE BODY IS THE TRUE WONDERLAND. Especially during this time when you’ll be able to feel the kicks, pokes & even turns! How amazing is your body, His creation.

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Pregnancy hormones kick in & I had times when I’d look to the future, would feel very emotional because the realities of motherhood or parenting would sink in. The beauty & the struggle in one scenario made me pray for God to give me a MOTHER’S HEART. An intentional loving mother who will be able to give what’s best for my child in the way GOD wants her (YES IT’S A GIRL) to be raised. Not just me but for my husband & I to be purposeful parents. As one of the mothers I know would put it, #MomOnaMission. Yes we are, yes I am. Being a parent has always been a prayer & a dream. And I do not take lightly the grace that’s been given to my husband & I. #ParentwithaPurpose. We have  this in mind, we are the keepers of the next generation, which are the world changers. A vessel for His glory to be made known in the generations to come.


We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, HIs power & the wonders He has done… so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, & they in turn would tell their children. Psalm 78:4 & 6

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Writing this as we enter the 3rd or last trimester. Physically, baby’s movements are really felt, the struggle of the weight is getting more challenging everyday, stretch marks are in & skin has been very itchy due to the continuous stretch. I also don’t mind, although I plan to let them go when baby is out. I don’t mind if this is the way my body is responding to the stretch to make room for the baby inside. These marks are beautiful marks. Truly there is growth in stretching. Very true in life. As baby grows & tummy stretches, it is not only the physical that’s doing all the action. Body, soul, mind, heart & spirit are being stretched & are grown, by His grace. And I’m really grateful for that.

This is it! Another season of experiencing Jesus. A few more weeks & we’ll be able to hold baby in our arms. Nothing but expectant hearts knowing He holds the future & that His promises are yes & amen.

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Last Christmas, our families went on a beach getaway at Club Serena, Moalboal. We took the chance to have our maternity shoot. And the 2nd setting was when we had our advance anniversary celebration at Kandaya Resort, Daanbantayan, since I am due on the same month as our wedding. By that time, baby would still be a few days or weeks old & we’re not certain we can go out to for a celebration. Nonetheless, reaching 2 years with a baby in our home would be the best gift, the best celebration yet. All glory to God. DIY photos by my dear hubby, sharing them as inspirations for your shoot too! Both locations are in Cebu, Philippines.


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Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

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Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17

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These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deutoronomy 6:6-9

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 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24

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Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

Having A Broken Family Doesn’t Mean A Broken Life For You

Lifestyle

A couple of weeks after getting married, I posted a gazillion of photos at my social media accounts & each photo had meaningful captions about how the dream of marriage started, a glimpse of the proposal, the preparation & the process of getting to the BIG DAY & the day itself, along with the people who were, are & will continue to be part of our journey.

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Every beautiful soul that were supporting us all the way & God’s masterpiece as our backdrop

And then, a person sends me this message…

… I don’t believe in marriage because I grew up from a broken family & there are a lot of playboys around. I remember, you came from a broken family. I just want to know how you turned out to be someone who believes in marriage.

 So here goes my answer.

Having a broken family doesn’t mean a broken life for you.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

MY IDENTITY IS IN CHRIST

I am a child of Christ more than anything else. I identify with Him. This has got a lot to do with knowing your Heavenly Father first. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace, the one who died for you & me. And identifying yourself with Christ gives you the hope that’s like the sun that shines every morning, gives you joy that’s overflowing, peace that surpasses all understanding & love that’s everlasting. You’ll be so full of Him that you can’t help but give the same to the people around you.

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind. Psalms 33:11-13

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:7-9

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5

For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? {33} It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. {34} He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 2 Samuel 22:32-34

These are just some of the verses about God. Continuously read about Him, then you’ll be able to identify yourself with your Heavenly Father.

YOUR SECURITY & CONFIDENCE IS IN HIM

This also means that your security & confidence is in Christ. Having Christ doesn’t mean the absence of challenges, we live in an untamed world. But it only means having Him go before you not only in battle, also in victories & every part of your life, every fiber of your being. That should enable you to be secured & confident.

When you have Christ, you have everything.

 One of my favorite verses- She is clothed with strength & dignity; and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalms 48:14

 O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me. Psalms 59:9-10

 My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. {8} Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah Psalms 62:7-8

 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

 LISTEN TO HIS VOICE & TAKE THINGS INTO HIS PERSPECTIVE

Anybody can influence you to his or her perspective & talk you into it then you’ll grow up believing in whatever they say, good or bad but the best one you’ll ever need & listen to is His. When people think that you’ll just be like your parents or they’re just waiting for you to fall & their voices are too loud it’s getting into your head…shut your ears but leave room for His still small voice. Don’t let the negative things & words get to your heart. Look at things with faith, everything happens for a reason, for His glory.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73:26

GET INTO THE WORD

The only way to know yourself more is to knowing Him more. And the only way to hear Him & have His perspective is to read His word.

Faith comes from hearing & hearing the word of God. Romans 10:17

He has a lot to say to you & He loves you too much for you to just waste your life. Know His gifts, promises & teachings. And after knowing them, live by them & experience the wonder of His love for you.

“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:26

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 1 Corinthians 4:20

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

FORGIVE

Forgive your parents & yourself. Stop thinking & living like the fault of your parents are yours & that the consequences have to be yours. I’ve heard it a couple of times & along the way, I might have said it while going through rough stuff, “I’m like this or am going through this bad situation because I came from a broken family”. You know you have a choice? You have a choice to respond positively every time the going gets tough. Growing up, by His grace, I made my situation a motivation to never give up on His promises in my life. He said in His word, He has fashioned the days for me & that I have a hope & a great future. And I was willing to do everything to claim that. It wasn’t an easy road given the circumstances, never. But I go back to Him then He tells me Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. I am not saying all of these things because life was easy, you will have more challenges because life is a beautiful struggle. But I can confidently say all of these things because I went through a lot & now I testify of His mercy, grace & love. Continuously move forward with God’s promises.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

GET WISDOM & ACT ON IT

From reading His word, you’ll get a lot of wisdom but you have to act on it & be wise. Apply what you learn.

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26

BELIEVING I MARRIAGE

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I have found whom my soul loves. Song of Solomon 3:4

With all of those things, I then believed in love… in marriage. My faith in Christ kept that alive in me. Although I made wrong decisions in relationships, I let go & let God. That was the case in everything. He took the wheel & one day He led me to the man He has for me.

Psalm 139:13-17

 13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, Andskillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there werenone of them.
 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

God is a God of order. Graduate, meet friends that speak life to you, establish your career, get Godly counsel, have fun & the Lord will just give you the man he has for you somewhere in the middle of you living your life in accordance to His will.

Seek Him first & He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

So about immature guys around you… first of all, pray for the person for you & don’t keep guessing every time a guy tries to pursue you. Ask God, ask your Daddy! And if the guy doesn’t love God, has no plans nor a direction in life, leads you to do wrong things, He’s obviously not the one. Don’t play the role of an angel & say you can change him. If he is God’s will for you, God will change him, not you.

Do not awaken love until it so desires. Song of Solomon 8:4

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

And if everything seems to be great- He loves God, has a plan & direction & leads you to the right things… that’s good but that’s not enough, you need His confirmation. And when He confirms, the one will definitely date you with a purpose, with a goal of eventually marrying you. Sadly, this is not very famous. Most people just date & say “we’ll see”. I was riding on the same boat, you can try & learn or you learn from others or let’s say… a familiar one, learn from the experience of your parents.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Marriage has been in our hearts when my husband & I were dating. By His grace, after a year, my husband now, boyfriend at that time, asked me my hand in marriage. We had a wonderful marriage, not because of the venue, lights, decorations, dresses & flowers but because God was with us.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

I believed & now that I am married, I will continue to believe in marriage. It is God’s gift to me & my husband & we fully accept it. And we believe for a God- given family someday.

I end this message with a piece of my wedding vow.

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Handwritten with love

#travelwithtara #taraforreel #Marriage #Love #Life #Jesus #Family #Relationships #Testimony