Happy New Year and Viva Pit Señor!
I learned about my twin pregnancy on 12/12/12.
It looks like the kind of date that an airline or an online shopping store will dive right in and execute a crazy sale blitz.
In my case, I dove right in alright but not without tears and fear.
I was not married in the most traditional way when I got pregnant. I’m Roman Catholic, my husband is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) so a church wedding was not an option. I’m not a member of my husband’s church so we cannot get married in their temple. There was the possibility of getting married in a Catholic church but my husband cannot be part of a ceremony of another faith.
It got further complicated when my side of the family came in.
I was raised in a Catholic home. We had an altar where we gathered after dinner and prayed the Holy Rosary. My two brothers were altar servers; my sister and I were part of the choir. We were also lectors and members of the Legion of Mary. My mother was an active member of the lay organization. She was also a choir member and a volunteer catechist.
I led prayer groups and read Latin booklets. That is why I never believed that Latin is a dead language because I have kneeled countless times in different homes and chapels as I uttered “oremus” (let us pray) and “ora pro nobis” (pray for us).
A significant portion of my teenage years were spent doing house-to-house prayers. This is when the image of the Our Lady of Fatima goes from one house to another and then a group of people, the youth in our case, would go to the houses and pray using a blue prayer booklet.
The prayers were in the Visayan language. After my childhood Flores de Mayo experience where I learned to write the language poetically, the daily house-to-house prayers developed my skill in speaking the language more fluently.
“… nangalimyon sa kahumot sa imong mga birtudes,” which Google hilariously translates us “perfume the aroma of your virtues,” is one of my favorite phrases.
The phrase is uttered in the context of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s virtues and how she is a role model to young ladies.
This brings me to the reason why my pregnancy was frowned upon at first: because I was a church girl but I was not married in church when I got pregnant.
I did not follow the virtues of the Blessed Virgin, said one particularly obnoxious aunt.
The fact that it was a twin pregnancy softened the blow when I told my mother but I could tell her that she was both unhappy and uneasy.
I was 26 years old.
But it did not matter that I was an independent woman with a house of her own and a stable job that gives her stable income. I was still the church girl who should have been married in full white gown with a veil and a cord to symbolize the union.
This is not to say that my Catholic faith is irrelevant to me. It is very much important to me.
In the course of my twin pregnancy, I walked like a penguin to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño for nine straight nights without fail to attend the daily Novena Mass. I love singing “Batobalani sa Gugma” and wave my hand with the rest of the faithfuls.
Some might say that dancing the sinug comes with being a Catholic Cebuano.; that we do it “just because.” But it is not just mere movements of the feet. To me, this prayer-dance offered to the Señor Santo Niño is deeply rooted in my spirituality. It is faith that moves and I have seen it several times in the course of my pregnancy and childbirth.
I juggled different emotions when I dance. I was ecstatic about being pregnant with twins but extremely frustrated about some people, who said they believe in the same fait, but were quick to judge my decision.
At some point, I was told to not take the Holy Communion because of my situation.
In Cebu, the festivities do not end with the New Year. As soon as Christmas ushers in, we just rest for a bit and then the New Year celebration kicks in. After two weeks, we have the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog Festival. Then, Chinese New Year. We can throw in Valentine’s Day and school graduations/activities in this mix.
In 2012, I knew I was pregnant before the flurry of activities began so this season, the very season we are in right now, is special to me.
I am excited about the new year to come but I am more excited about the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog to come.
Pass by Osmeña Boulevard and the General Maxilom area and you will see the bandiritas already up!
It is the season to be happy and grateful indeed.
My wish for the new year is for everyone to be inclusive, accepting and non-judgmental. To not let our religion blind us from wrongfully judging the decisions that our fellow human beings make. You will never really know what the person is going through unless you wear her shoes, slippers or boots.
My twins are now six-year-old busy buds who love to dance. We were blessed with another boy who sings while the twins dance. I look at them and I see faith in the works, not hurtful and judgmental words that prevent people to grow and flourish.
Happy New Year and Viva Pit Señor!
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