Monica happens to be one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever encountered. At her young age, she has successfully lived and pursued what she’s most passionate about- be it yoga practice, practicing a holistic lifestyle, advocate for conscious birth, traveling, etc. I admire her bravery and her determination to live up to her ideals and fulfil her dreams.
1) What for you has been the most challenging part of becoming a mother?
The most challenging part so far is to know when to set boundaries for my children, to put my foot down and practice ‘tough love’ when you know certain things are whats best for them. I’m a huge health advocate so when my son yearns for junk food (sweets of fast food), I really stand my ground because I know it is not good for his health. I am also a Waldorf parent so I’m pretty strict with the gadgets – my son knows that when I am around, he needs to be REALLY playing, moving his limbs or doing art 🙂 Another challenge I am faced with now is how to balance my time between the 2 children, my husband and also leave time for myself! I tend to zone in one just one child, it’s usually the one I am breastfeeding. Wow, I honestly don’t know how other mommies who had more than 2 kids do it! Time management is really something I should master!
2) You’ve lived in such an idyllic setting (to raise a family) in Palawan, what made you decide to come back to Manila?
Palawan was such a dreamy stage in our lives. My husband and I are both dreamers and I also have the guts to make things happen. People say that we did the move too soon, that we were too young to “retire”. While that may be true, we had to experience it for ourselves to learn certain lessons so that when the time comes (again), we know what to do.
The main reason for coming back is because we were no longer leading sustainable lives in the boonies. Yes, we could’ve stayed but not be fully happy because we still had OTHER dreams, too. I’m big on travel so living in Palawan wasn’t so ideal. I had to book 2-3 tickets just to get to preferred destinations (I did that for India and once for Bali!)
3) Water births at home is not very popular in the Philippines. What made you decide to go through it for your second pregnancy? What were your fears and how did you overcome them?
Waterbirths currently aren’t the popular choice in our country (or the rest of the world!) but since we started the Gentle Birth revolution in Manila last year (there is a facebook group thats gaining momentum month after month), more women are wanting it for their births!
I had no fears about birthing in water. I was more fearful of having a repeat c-section because of its risks. Scientific data proves that repeat c-sections have more risks than doing a vaginal birth after c-section (vbac), which is what I did 🙂 There are too many misconceptions about birth in general that is why I’ve taken Sacred Pregnancy and Conscious Birthing as another advocacy of mine! Together with my doula, Irina OtmakhovaI we regularly conduct workshops and retreats, even on post-partum – how mothers should have a gentle and sacred transition from maiden to mother to honor ourselves, no matter what birth we’ve had! More details on www.consciousbirthmanila.com
4) As a yoga instructor , could you share the benefits one can achieve because of this practice? Especially for moms and wives 🙂
I’ve said it countless times and I will say it again, “Yoga keeps me SANE!” Without pracitcing yoga, I lose my balance. The mere practice of mindfulness breathing is yoga. And I make it a point to check in on my breath many times throughout the day, even as I answer emails like right now. Our breath measures the prana or life force that we are able to absorb from the Earth. WIthout our breath, our life reserves depletes. Deep belly breaths are what nourishes our cells. Look at how babies breathe – from the belly!
5) Please share your favorite natural/ organic beauty products and why.
Since I co-founded INDIGObaby with Denise in 2009, I have been such a bath and body product junkie. I always use organic and natural baby products for my babies and for myself! What I love from the INDIGObaby line is the Moonshine Baby Bottom Spray which is made from Lavender therapeutic grade pure essential oil. This is by far my most favorite essential oil because of all its benefits. Relaxing and soothing even for babies and stressed out mommies! I obviously use it for changing nappies but also as my emergency hand wash when I travel 🙂
I lather pure Shea Butter on my body daily from The Flow Shop (www.flowretreats.com) It has so much skin benefits: nourishing, moisturizing and did you know the shea butter serves as natural sun protection? This is so important for people like me who frequent the beach!
Another certified organic product that I use daily are the Hurraw lipbalms from Cutieverse.com They’re all-natural, organic, raw and vegan!
I am such a fan of Body-Food All Natural Soaps made by my friend Ana Niguidula or @anagutch on Instagram. I recently attended her cold-pressed soapmaking workshop in Antipolo and I am so very impressed at the amount of work. love and premium organic and natural ingredients she uses in them! I guarantee that if ANYONE tries her soaps, they will not want to use any other brand anymore. It’s definitely life-changing!
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