The classification motherhood features objects that map the landscape that mothers journey through everyday.


my "Sugar Kit," also known as a glucometer kit | watercolor on paper

This has been a staple throughout both my pregnancies. For those not familiar with it - majority of pregnant women, mothers, and the general population, I suppose - this is a glucometer, a device used to measure the sugar level in your blood at any point in time. This kit has lancets for pricking, a device used to help you prick yourself with a lancet, test strips where you put a drop of your blood, and the glucose meter itself, which calculates the concentration of sugar in that drop of blood.

For my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (diabetes that happens when a woman becomes pregnant) around my 24th week, but we suspect that I've had it since the beginning. For this current second pregnancy, I've been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes from the very start. That basically means that I've been pricking myself at least twice daily for the past six months. Fun times.

I carry my sugar kit with me everywhere. And if I forget it somewhere, my little S always so graciously gets it for me. While most expecting mothers monitor their cravings or their quickly disappearing waistline or their preggo outfit of the day, I monitor my sugar. There are real consequences if my sugar shoots up too high or too low, and those consequences are always at the back of my mind (or actually, they're in the front row, always so vigilant and aware). There's the risk of pre-term labor, of the baby getting too big, among other things. While most expecting mothers get to indulge in their favorite snacks and sweets during pregnancy, I've had to exercise extreme self-control. Can you imagine craving for kakanin (Filipino rice cakes) and knowing fully well that your body and your baby can't handle the sugar from a single suman? Pregnancy with gestational diabetes has reinforced for me the power of mind over matter. 

And so this object marks the beginning of the landscape of motherhood for me. Or at least the part of that landscape where a woman, a mother-to-be, or a mother foregoes her own immediate desires for the long-term happiness and well-being of their kids. I cannot think of any other experience that I've had that has taught me to look beyond what I want or even what I need - at least for the time being - so that I may provide a better outcome for someone else other than myself. Motherhood has given me a different perspective on things, on career and priorities, on values and beliefs and principles, even on the very concept of time itself. Motherhood has made me focus less on myself and my wants, but paradoxically has made me more aware of my Self and who I truly am. Go figure. Perhaps motherhood is one of those things that make you evaluate and identify the essentials in life. And for that, even if it comes with daily needle pricks and a suman-less existence, I am and will be forever grateful.