As Expo Mom celebrates its tenth year, the longest running event of its kind pays tribute to #TeamMoms that have served as a lifeline for mothers all over the Philippines. Here, women who’ve known each other before they even got married journey together through motherhood and beyond.
Weddings are the stuff of daydreams. Lurking behind the wedding preparations, however, are all sorts of potential disasters, from suppliers who don’t deliver on time to wedding gowns which suddenly can’t fit. When then newlyweds John and Bennette “Benz” Rana put up Weddings@Work, an online community for couples getting married, they did not anticipate how popular it was going to be. They also did not expect the relationships and friendships it would foster and nurture through the years.
Jenki Fernando was a member of Weddings@Work. She so enjoyed the friendships she made in the community that she eventually moved on to Newlyweds@Work after getting married.
After a woman gets married, her concerns change, explains Benz. She’s now thinking about pregnancy, breastfeeding, finances, in-laws. That’s why Newlyweds@Work was created. It is there to provide support to newly married women. Benz says, “What we did not anticipate is that it will last this long. So even if some of the members are already 15 years married, they’re still called N@Wies! We never thought it would last this long.”
Through the years, the connection between the N@Wies would only became stronger. Online conversations found their way offline in real-life meetups for merienda or coffee. Online concerns found real-life solutions. Online exchanges of photographs came to life as they met each other’s husbands and children. The online community came to life, and for the women, it had a most empowering effect.
Clarice Avinante says, “Whatever you’re doing or whatever stage you’re in, it’s always important to have support. Motherhood is so challenging. It’s one aspect of life that you thought you’d be very good at. Prior to becoming a mother, you may have already thought that you’d be this or that kind of a mom. But when you’re there already, it’s very different from what you had expected. Normally, you become different than what you thought you’d be. Having a #TeamMom, a support group, would make you realize that what you’re going through is normal.”