New mama Iza Calzado: ‘Mom guilt’ is real
“I don’t think any handbook can prepare you for this,” said actress Iza Calzado, who gave birth to a baby girl in January. She and husband, British national Ben Wintle, named their daughter Deia Tala Amihan.
“The first few weeks was quite a blow. I felt like I was run over by a train,” said Iza on what surprised her the most about motherhood. “At the hospital, you feel like a champion, but when you get home, that’s a different story. There are a lot of changes happening in a woman’s body. Every day, I just go with it. You can’t plan everything, right? (Model-makeup artist) Lala Flores told me, ‘No day is the same.’ It’s true!”
Iza and Ben tied the knot on Dec. 19, 2018. While Iza is Filipino-Canadian and her husband is British, their daughter is Filipino. Iza said that attached to raising a newborn Filipino child are Filipino superstitions (pamahiin), some of which are still being practiced by moms up to now.
“You take what makes sense for you and just let go of what doesn’t work,” Iza pointed out. “There are a lot of pamahiin and they can get overwhelming. Everybody has an opinion, but you can’t listen to everyone. You have to have your own. You hear them out, but you don’t always apply them. Some would say, ‘Huwag mo sanayin sa karga!’ And then you encounter attachment parenting that states that you should give the baby what it needs, especially during the first few months. Ano ba talaga? I’m just going with what feels right.”
Iza then admitted that breastfeeding, especially during the first days, had been tough for her. “She still latches on me—that’s priceless—but the milk she takes is not entirely from me,” said Iza, adding that she has her “breast milk angel,” whom she described as “amazing” and “someone I’m grateful for.”
“I actually have a medical reason for it. I will not go into details yet,” the actress added. “I’m just grateful that I get to experience breastfeeding in some way, and that my daughter has a donor. I also know that I shouldn’t feel guilty about it, and that I have to forgive myself for it. ‘Mom guilt’ is so real!”
Ben has been very supportive, of course, Iza stressed. “He researches with me. He plays with Deia almost every day. Especially now that she’s becoming more animated, you can see that the father really steps in at that point. He has done some nappy changes. Congrats to him! He makes time every day, like bringing her out to the sun and playing with her,” she said.
The ‘best decision’
Iza gave birth in January but decided to inform the public about it only two months later. This, she said, was “the best decision” she has made for herself. “I purposely went offline. If I had posted early on about her, I would have been overwhelmed by the greetings. Knowing me, I would want to respond to most, if not, all the messages because that’s how I am hardwired. That’s going to take time away from my child and if I don’t get to respond, I’d feel bad. It was good to just focus on her because there are still a lot of things to understand about what’s happening to us. It was a challenging time. I had CS (cesarean) delivery and was dealing not only with things about being a new mom, but also with certain health issues at one point. It’s a good thing that I stepped away first.”
Iza said it’s hard to say when she will go back to working full-time. She only got to speak with a few members of the media recently because she participated in the two-day New Mama Expo 2023 event organized by edamama at the SM Megatrade Hall over the weekend.
“I used to say that I’ll be back in three months, but I was wrong. I had no idea what I was talking about then. These days, I still can’t leave my baby for more than three to four hours. This event is part of work, but to go back on set—you all know how long the working hours of actors are—is something I cannot do yet. I would really like to focus first on my baby for as long as I can. I’ve already been acting for almost 20 years. Right now, I’m attending a workshop, and my teacher’s name is Deia.”
Add to this, Iza said, is the issue of postpartum conditions that every mother has to deal with. “No matter what age you are, moms need help, and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. Especially in the first few months, you’re dealing with a lot of hormonal changes, which is one of the toughest things. You may think, ‘Am I going crazy?’ You carried a child in your womb for so long, you gave birth—which is physically taxing—and then you have to take care of the baby. Breastfeeding is also a challenge for some moms. There’s also the pressure of doing everything right and well,” Iza said.
She then quoted the book by Kimberly Ann Johnson titled “The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality. “There are five universal postpartum needs. They are rest, nourishing food, loving touch, spiritual companionship and contact with nature. I really agree with the book—every mom needs these things,” she declared.
When asked what one word she’d use to describe the whole experience, Iza said “fulfilling.” She explained: “Before this, I was operating from a place of fear in terms of having a baby. My biggest questions after I survived COVID-19 (in 2020) were, ‘Why am I still here? What is my purpose?’ I kind of went left and right after that, and then God finally showed me what my purpose is. Of course, I still have other things, but my biggest one now is this.”
Iza attended the New Mama Expo’s opening ceremony with edemama founders Bela Gupta and Nish D’Souza. Other influential mamas who participated and met their followers in their selling booths were singer Angeline Quinto and content creators Jana Berenguer, Juhanna Evangelista, Trina Candaza and Jam Tan Velez.