‘How my family coped with unexpected pregnancy amid pandemic’

She kept asking God why now when there’s a global pandemic. Her answer came in the most unusual way.

Fresh from the maternity clinic

Jiji-Anna Orillo-Pango never thought she’ll get pregnant for the second time. She’s been married for 10 years, but she and her husband had to wait three years in to their marriage to conceive their first baby, who is now seven years old.

When the pandemic caught everyone off guard in 2020, Jiji-Anna received a different surprise by discovering she was four months pregnant with her second child.

“I was turning 39 years old last year so I was afraid I could be in the menopausal stage already since my mother had an early menopausal at the age of 40. So I thought my chance of conceiving another child was not possible anymore,” she admitted.

She was constantly in denial despite people asking her if she’s pregnant because she gained weight during the lockdown. She even ignored her morning sickness, thinking she was just acidic for having too much coffee, lemon, and soda.

“I’m sure I won’t get pregnant because we’re using the rhythm method,” she said.

It’s positive!

It wasn’t until Jiji-Anna’s mother and sister noticed her growing belly during one of their video calls that she was forced to take a pregnancy test and an ultrasound to confirm their suspicions. Lo and behold, she’s four months pregnant.

“I wasn’t expecting it. While I’m happy to have another child, I kept asking God why now when there is a global pandemic and nationwide lockdown,” she admitted.

While so many women post their pregnancy journey on social media, Jiji-Anna hid hers to avoid people teasing her and telling her the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy as if it’s her first time.

“I know they were all just concerned about me, but during that time, I’m just too sensitive to read unsolicited comments and reactions. To avoid that, I didn’t post anything. I wanted my pregnancy journey to be private,” she shared.

Celebrating mommy Jiji-Anna’s birthday with Kaitlyn, her first child

‘Lockdown baby boom’

The lockdown has resulted in tales of unplanned pregnancies, which they called the “lockdown baby boom”.  Last year, BBC News reported that the projections by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund, it is estimated an extra 214,000 unplanned babies will be born this year.

But indeed, everything in life happens for a purpose. Two months before Jiji-Anna’s expected delivery, her 68-year-old father died due to complications and it was her family’s most stressful, saddest, and emotional time that she almost lost her baby.

“The doctor had to prescribe me a medicine to prevent my premature labor and miscarriage. Thank God, she held on,” said Jiji-Anna.

When her daughter, Kloey Jianna arrived on November 21, 2020, Jiji-Anna finally realized why she got pregnant during the time of the pandemic.

Daddy Karl, Mommy Jiji-Anna, ate Kaitlyn, and baby Kloey

“Probably to spend more time with daddy,” said Jiji-Anna who was able to spend time with his father a few months before he died.

“I missed my family in Rizal that I went home to see them when Parañaque City eased the restrictions during the early months of the lockdown. We were able to bond with him. I’m just really sad that daddy wasn’t able to see Kloey anymore. But maybe God gave us this baby to ease the pain of losing daddy,” shared Jiji-Anna, who named her second child ‘Kloey’ after her father’s nickname, ‘Joey’.

Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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