The Miracle of Life

DSC_1001When I graduated in college in 1989, I was jobless for a while because I was an Octoberian. My mother who was financially hard up during that time was becoming impatient with my case that she urged me to apply for a clerical position. I felt so bad about it because I was expecting a better job since I finished a Bachelor of Arts in English degree as a full scholar. I applied for that job with a wish that I would not be hired. I even cried before I handed in my application.

The HRO who received my application letter told me I was over qualified but promised to inform me if a position would be open for me. I went home glad that I did not get the clerical position; however, my mother was greatly disappointed that she even thought I was just being stubborn.

During those times, I was becoming more depressed especially when people began asking me if I already have a job. To save my lowering self-esteem, I decided to take a law entrance examination just to prove that I still have the intelligence and the capabilities I seemed to lose during those unproductive months of my life. The result of the law entrance exam boosted my morale again because I was in the top ten and a full scholar again.

When I decided to go back to school instead of looking for a job, my mother thought I was being selfish. With family pressures in mind, I took up the first job opportunity that came my way and was forced to drop my law school.

After a semester of teaching in a science high school, the university where I first submitted my application called me for an interview. So after a successful interview, I was hired as a college instructor and lived with my mom for about ten years. The university sent me on a full scholarship for my Masters degree at UP Diliman in 1994 and I finished it in 1999.

When I finally settled down, I was already 37 years old. I thought I would have difficulty conceiving but in a matter of months I became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby girl in 2003 through Caesarean Section. When I was granted a scholarship for my Ph.D., I found myself on the family way again. It was a tough situation. I was torn between schooling and going on with the pregnancy.

I remembered quite well how I chose teaching over getting a law degree in 1990 so I was in a dilemma again. Since I would never lose my second baby for anything because my husband and I desired to have another child preferably boy, I still continued with my studies surrendering everything to God’s hands who has given me that double blessing. It was not easy to be staying up late doing my papers for my graduate courses and attending evening and weekend classes while my tummy was becoming heavy every single day. One of my professors even kidded that I was too ambitious to be pregnant and at the same time doing my doctorate.

The pressure outside and within were too much but I never thought of missing those two opportunities. Finances were getting low too since my husband left his job just to be of help in caring for our baby. Despite those two semesters of pregnancy and schooling, I still incurred high grades that I even received a Certificate of Recognition from our college. When the second baby, this time a boy, came, I was overjoyed. God has given us so much indeed. That was the best Christmas gift we received and we only spent Php 8,000 for professional fees on my second CS.

As a wife, mother and student at the same time, life was a little complicated. We had to transfer to Pampanga because we could no longer afford the P4,500 rent, water, electric and internet bills that exceeded my P2,500 stipend and my meager salary. There were times when we borrowed money from relatives or availed of loans which we were able to pay after a couple of months. God has been so good to us that there was never a time when we or our children starved or lacked anything.

I realized it was more difficult to attend to my classes with a newborn baby than when I was pregnant. During classes, I would feel feverish whenever it was time to breastfeed my baby because my breasts would swell and terribly ache. Also, I had to stay at the dorm in summer because classes were held daily and each night and day was unbearable physically and emotionally. I had to manually release the milk from my breast before sleeping and I would wake up with pains all over my body.

During the next two semesters, I had to commute from Pampanga to UP Diliman because we believe that leaving the children with my in-laws was the best option. By the grace of God, we endured those trying times.

Finally, when I finished my academic courses and was preparing for my comprehensive exam, my son who was learning to take his first few steps had accidentally hit the rice cooker cord and had his arms and breast scalded. I spent the night crying and praying for I blamed myself for being so careless, for at the moment when that accident happened I was reviewing for my Philippine Literature comprehensive exam. Miraculously, the baby was healed in a few days and the scars were all gone.

The problems were not over yet, that I had to discover weeks before my scheduled comprehensive examinations. One night,my mother called and told me that my brother had a vehicular accident and was comatose. After a few days, he passed away. It was this brother of mine who was ever eager to see me finish my doctorate. So my husband and I with our kids went home to Mindanao to attend the burial and comfort our mother.

We had to return to Luzon right after the burial and face the compre. I could say that I seemed to lose the things I have reviewed on when I came back due to grief and fatigue. Again, this time I saw God’s miracle for I successfully passed the three areas of my comprehensive examinations. Since then, I was praying that no more untoward incidents would happen again as I enrolled in my dissertation. I needed more time to concentrate and make my proposal.

However, I have to realize that problems are a constant partner in life. When I was preparing for a possible dissertation proposal defense in summer of 2007, I had to go home to Mindanao because my mother had to undergo surgery due to colon cancer. For more than a week, I was privileged to stay beside her and cheer her up. She never recovered though and it seemed that the whole world stood still.

I thought of not going back to UP, for the one person who dreamed big things for me and inspired me to finish my Ph.D. was already gone. However, my other brothers and sisters prodded me not to give up. I thank God for my family, my brothers and sisters, and my friends who comforted and encouraged me, believing that I could finish my studies. I passed the dissertation proposal defense last November 2007. Now, I am in the final stages of my dissertation and, hopefully, I could graduate this semester.

Lately, despite my busy schedule, I see to it that I personally bathe and feed my two preschoolers: Jeizsa who is turning 5 in March and Jerviz, my Ph.D. baby, who just turned 3 last December. From June to October 2007, I home-schooled them and it is amazing how in a short span of time they are able to master the alphabet, the colors and the numbers from 1 to 100. By November 2007 until the present I could no longer tutor them so I just bought them CDs and DVDs and every once in a while spend time with them singing their favorite songs and playing computer games.

My doctorate experience does not only enrich me academically and professionally. It is a spiritual and emotional journey. Three things I learn in life: 1) Life is made of differing levels of problems. When these problems cease to come, life will also end; 2) There is a greater force within us that allow us to surpass all our trials. The choice to succeed lies in us and our attitude plays an important role in every detail of our lives. We can choose to be happy and live life to the fullest; and 3) There is a Supreme Being who knows everything and He alone deserves our full dependence and trust. If we only surrender our lives to Him, we can be the best person we are designed to be and even more than what we can imagine or dream of. To God, I give all the glory and honor.#

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