When I found out my betterhalf was expecting, I got mixed emotions of being surprised and excited, as I suspect most people are when they learn they’re going to be parents.
As a new parent, it really feels different. I can’t explain it. You can be just as happy, you can also feel like you’re in a cloud.
I think I was ready and prepared. Before I got married, I thought about the things to prepare and consider so that when I’m there, I won’t be surprised. If I’m surprised, it doesn’t have much of an impact.
When I was a young man, it also crossed my mind to be a parent. I also dreamed, or became one of my dreams to be an ideal parent. So maybe I can say that I planned well before I entered parenting.
I don’t know the perspective of a parent who is unprepared and has already had children. But if I put myself in that situation, maybe I will feel a mixture of joy and sadness. You are happy to be a parent, but you are sad because you are worried about your family’s future.
Now let’s move on to what we talked about in the ICSJRMS Gender Study Group (GSG). The topic we talked about was the new law today, Republic Act (RA) No. 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL). Because I am one of the so-called new parents in our service group, I was the one who was interviewed or in other words, I was placed on hot seat.
The questions asked, in fairness, were easy.
Question #1: What are the benefits of the new law today on maternity leave, the EMLL to you?
Answer: The biggest benefit of EMLL for me is the increase in my leave by seven days from my wife’s maternity leave. In the new EMLL, the wife can give one (1) up to seven (7) days leave to her husband, so in the first few months of my wife’s pregnancy, we discussed that she would give me seven days leave.
Question #2: What did your spouse do to transfer seven days of maternity leave to you?
Answer: My spouse coordinated with the Human Resource of her office. She asked how can she give seven days leave to me. At first, she filed her maternity leave application. She was also given the SSS form for transfer of leave giving me seven days leave. After filling out all the forms and filed to HR, she was given a copy of the approved SSS transfer of leave form and that is what will be given to me as an additional document whenever I file my paternity leave to the Human Resource of my office. That SSS form also contains the contact information of the HR of my spouse’s office so that in case the HR of my office has a question, they can easily call my spouse’s office.
Question #3: Is it good that your wife agreed to reduce her maternity leave by seven days and give it to you?
Answer: As I said, it was only after his first ultrasound that we agreed on that matter. That was planned early. Of course this is just a new law, at first we didn’t really know the process. The only key really when you are not yet in the process is to ask the Human Resource because they must be updated there. And the most important thing is to be proactive. The necessary documents should have been done early and passed because having a child is a sensitive situation. Anything can happen so you should always be prepared. We just don’t want our use of EMLL to be affected when there is a problem.
Question #4: How was the experience of filing for paternity leave in our office?
Ok naman. At first of course I just let it sink into my mind that, I’m going to be a parent. I am already one of the SET employees who will experience filing paternity leave. I also ask questions to my colleagues who are already parents, Atty. James and Larry. In fact Atty. James advised me to file for paternity leave in advance because first of all, the final signatory is Chairperson JEPB. In case that there is an issue with my leave form, it will be prompted immediately and my leave will not be happy.
I also want to give a shoutout to our HR because they have been accommodating especially Atty. Leonard. He helped me compute and enter the correct days on my leave form to make sure I could submit correctly to the office. Avoid them.
Thank you also to Atty. Valera approves all the leave I submit.
Question #5: What about being a new parent? How does it feel?
Answer: It is unexplainable. Siguro para may masabi lang ako, yung mga nakita kong hindi ko nagustuhan sa mga naging parents ko, especially from my father, yun na lang ang di ko gagawin sa anak ko ngayon at sa mga magiging anak ko pa. Yung mga mabubuti o mga nagustuhan ko na aral mula sa aking mga magulang, dagdag pa nito yung personal na karanasan ko bilang isang mabuting tao, iyon ang mga ituturo ko sa anak ko ngayon at sa magiging anak ko pa.Sa totoo lang nakalimutan ko na may pandemya pa pala nung ako ay maging isang ama. Idagdag mo pa yung puno rin ako ng doubts, uncertainty, even if I am ready to be a father, the question I ask myself am I ready to be a “good” father? But the moment I saw my beautiful angel for the first time, it was like receiving a gift from heavens that will last a lifetime. All I could think of is I will love this little new bundle of joy for the rest of my life. I can really say that I leveled up from being a husband to parent.