Featured UK MOTHER of the Month – April 2023
COMING to the UK
I arrived in the UK in 2016 as an Internationally-Educated Nurse (IEN). I started as a Critical Care Nurse in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, a city very close to my heart. It was the place that made me grow, blessed me with real friends, gave me the best opportunities of my career, and changed my life.
Love and Family
I met my husband in London in late 2016. We instantly clicked and he asked me to marry him on our first anniversary in 2017. We then got married at St Etheldreda’s Church, Holborn on our second anniversary in 2018. Tom, my husband, got a job in Newcastle as a brewer that same year. It was also where his father hailed from. We were blessed with our son, Michael in 2019 shortly before COVID-19 struck.
Motherhood and the Pandemic
I was a first-time-mum of a two-month-old baby boy when the pandemic hit. I was in a city hundreds of miles away from my friends, and my family was half-way across the world in the Philippines. Isolated in our little family bubble, I was starting to feel depressed as hormone imbalance crept into my mental health. I then started a vlog on YouTube called Mommy Jojo to reach out and share my motherhood journey, narrate my feelings and still bring myself forward to my friends and family as well as to the rest of the world.
I found motherhood Facebook groups very helpful. And when Mummy Cat Wigley started the Facebook group Filipino Mothers UK(FMUK), it felt like I was called for this. I volunteered to support her in running the group. And the rest is history.
Motherhood and Career
I took one year of maternity leave. Ironically, the pandemic did a huge part in deciding to stay and settle down in Newcastle. We bought our first family home. I started a job as a Critical Care Nurse in Freeman Hospital, luckily, on the same speciality as I did in London. There were lots of challenges and fears going back to work while COVID-19 was still lingering.
I was one month shy of applying for my ILR/permanent residency and had to apply to extend my Health and Care Visa in order to move to a new employer. My son took months to adjust to nursery, constantly getting ill and not settling down. The exhaustion was unbelievable.
We were hands-on parents, both on full-time jobs playing equal roles in raising our family. I took night shifts on weekends to minimise childcare cost with lots of help from my husband’s family until we got to a good rhythm. Family became my priority, and accepted that my career could wait. It wasn’t long until I got promoted as a Sister in the same unit.
Being a Filipina Mum
I believe I got my resilience from my Filipino upbringing. This, I want to impart to my child/ children in the future.
It was not difficult to spot a Filipina in the crowd and it wasn’t long before I met fellow mums in Newcastle though work, networking, and through FMUK. Being a part of this group makes me feel like I have an army behind me. Anytime of the day, someone, somewhere, a Filipina mother will come and listen to you, give you virtual hugs and advice. I am extremely proud of this group and the community we’ve raised amongst this race of very strong mamas in the UK.