By Kristelle Bechayda
Being a career woman has always been an internal struggle. Work duties, a family to take care of, and a household to run—one can get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. In the recent Tribe Meet Up for Women in Science by She Talks Asia and L’Oréal Philippines, Dr. Geraldine Zamora, who specializes in rheumatology and internal medicine, shares with Moms & Babies her motherhood realizations, the benefits of an important support system, and working mom tips.
What were the challenges you faced in balancing your career and being a mom?
It was hard because I would always feel guilty, even hanggang ngayon. I always felt like I’m never a complete mom. Hands-on ako. Whenever I would get home, ako na talaga, but I wasn’t there 24 hours a day. So I always felt guilty. That’s why for a long time after I had my daughter, hindi ako maka pagpa-anything. I always had to work and then go home to be with her.
Mahirap din yung breastfeeding part. You know, it’s very hard. Doon ko na realize na as much as we always pressure the moms as doctors, breastfeeding is so hard pala. I would always cry in the shower because I was thinking ‘Eh ako nga, doktor, hindi ako maka-pagbreastfeed. Papaano pa yung iba?’
That was when I realized that there is so much pressure on people. Actually, hindi lang naman on women eh, but also among men. Yung pressure for them to earn. There’s really so much pressure in the world.
How did you deal with the pressure?
My mom was really helpful, my husband din. I’m very lucky with a yaya who is still with us. So it really is helpful to accept help. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to finish my training because every 3 nights kasi, nasa hospital na kami. It’s a 36-hour duty, at least, and then mage-extend ka pa ng 5 hours. Ayun, walang ligo, wala. For one year, I would pump my milk. It was really hard but kaya naman kung kaya. Sa totoo lang, anything that you want to do, you will be able to do.
What tips can you share for career moms like you?
I think it’s about priorities. You have to list. Like ako, I have a lot of lists on my phone. I have a lot of to-dos because if it’s just all in my brain, ma ste-stress ako na there’s so much to do. You do all the things that you need to do one at a time. Gawa lang ng gawa. It’s really more of priorities and receiving the help that is offered. You can ask for help. The worst thing they will say is ‘No,’ di ba? Also, to feel less guilty because if you’re a healthier person, you’re happier and also a better mom. I think iyon yung nahirapan akong i-accept noong start. I always felt guilty.