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Regine Tolentino on the challenge of giving birth during a pandemic

/ 12:10 AM September 13, 2020

Regine Tolentino (second from right), partner Dondi Narciso, and her daughters Reigen, Reign and Rosie

Dancer and TV host Regine Tolentino said the greatest challenge she had to overcome so far was giving birth to her third daughter via C-section at age 41 in the middle of a pandemic.

“This happened at the start of lockdown,” recalled Regine, who gave birth to Rosie, her daughter with partner Dondi Narciso, on March 17, two days after the government imposed a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to help stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19.

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“Rosie had pneumonia so she was confined at the hospital for 10 days. That’s why I went through so much stress. I was crying night and day,” Regine said during the virtual media gathering that launched her as the endorser of the food supplement Radiance C.

“It was so stressful not being able to see your child for a few days. There’s also stress in waiting for my breastmilk letdown, as well as how to go about in bringing Rosie home. They had wanted to keep her at the hospital for two more weeks, and so I had to consult a lot of doctors and professionals to make sure that it’s already safe to take her home,” she recalled. “It was a very traumatic experience for me. Aside from that, taking care of a fragile newborn was difficult. It’s been a long time since my children were small.”

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Regine said her experience was made more difficult by her emergency C-section delivery. “I couldn’t move. It’s a new thing for me because my previous deliveries were all normal. I’m also used to being super active. I dance, work out at the gym and go to the office every day. I had to adjust to changes in my body,” she explained.

Fortunately, Dondi was there to support Regine, as well as Reigen and Reign, her two daughters with ex-husband Lander Vera-Perez.

“They helped in making me feel good. It’s comforting to know that you have a family that supports you. I was overwhelmed by their love and prayers,” she related. “The experience brought us closer. We had so many realizations as a family.”

Regine, who is also a fashion designer and businesswoman, said the pandemic has affected her both emotionally and financially. She then talked about coping with the new normal. “Like most people, I really went through that whole stage of being stressed and experiencing so much anxiety. I had just given birth. I had to deal with the unknown,” she further said. “I gained a lot of weight, but my doctor advised against working out. I did a lot of resting, cooking and cleaning the house. I enjoyed doing chores. They’re good substitutes for workouts.”

Meanwhile, Regine said her businesses suffered a great deal. “We’re into garments, party dresses, costume rentals; but because of the lockdown we didn’t have clients. We had to think fast. We had to adapt. Instead, we began doing PPEs (personal protective equipment), face masks and protected apparels that are fashionable,” she declared.

Her dance studio, RT Studios, had to close down, too, because mass gathering was prohibited. “Group exercises weren’t allowed anymore. We had to reformat our whole system. We’re doing online classes now. It’s hard to adjust because Zumba, ballroom dancing, or even live performances, are all about physical touch. They require very close interaction. I’m slowly learning how to embrace it,” she declared.

“Everything changes from hereon. This saddens me. I don’t know if we’d be able to go back to the ‘old normal.’ These days, I just appreciate all the happy memories I had while dancing and performing. I don’t know what to expect in the future,” Regine pointed out.

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To maintain a well-balanced life, especially while experiencing a pandemic, Regine said everything should begin with the feeling of gratitude. “My experiences made me realize that the things I used to think were important no longer have value today. I’m just thankful for being alive and healthy every day, for being with my family and for surviving this pandemic.”

Regine said her daughters help her become “grounded and relevant… Interacting with my tres marias keeps me sane. My teenage daughters are very active. They keep me updated in fashion and music. Our baby is my silver lining. Rosie, and her sisters, made me realize my purpose in this world—to raise them as good people.”

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