TW: Body image

These days, I feel soft, like an egg with its shell peeled off.

This post-pregnancy body of mine doesn’t feel familiar. It’s weak, it’s soft, and it doesn’t fit into the pretty clothes in my closet anymore. Change is inevitable, but grappling with the suddenness of blowing up like a waddling balloon, deflating into a different shape, then trying to manage the permanent side effects of pregnancy (nothing to do with weight), is causing a disconnect in my brain.

I love my kids dearly, and I will never regret having them, but I’m having a hard time feeling like myself. When I look in the mirror, I feel like the person looking back is not me.

Logically, I know that my body is still changing. I’ve read somewhere that it takes 2-5 years for the body to fully recover from a single pregnancy, and it takes longer with each subsequent child. I’m feeling that keenly. It’s been a year and a half, and yet, I still feel physically broken. I’ve only just started getting full nights of sleep. My legs wobble if I try to walk up the hill. Things that used to be easy, like lifting a jug of milk, are now difficult.

I felt the same way after my first pregnancy, and I know that time will help, but it’s still daunting to think of the long road ahead.

And then there’s the way babies and children scrape your heart raw. They require so much from you physically and emotionally. Worrying about them sometimes keeps me awake at night, and I have to make an effort to keep myself from spiraling. There isn’t anywhere to hide. I’m not sure I want to? But you can’t just open up your heart and also close it off from the world at will.

I’m redrawing boundaries, and remapping myself every day. Good things are happening behind the scenes, but I’m also terrified and feeling vulnerable about having to expose my heart to the world. Where do I fit in it? How much do I give, without losing myself? How do I engage? Everything is in flux.

But one day I’ll fit myself again… or maybe I’ll just finally grow into who I’m meant to be.



A Name Change

Or rather… I have a new pen name: Tessa Barbosa.

If you’ve followed me on social media you might have heard already, but I’ve updated all my handles to @HiTessaBarbosa and set up a pretty new website at There’s not much there yet, but it’s set up to go for someday.

In the meantime, I do plan to keep this blog and this website. I enjoy blogging here and I plan to continue posting personal updates here. But… lately, I’ve also felt like I needed a fresh start.

Tessa is my nickname from one side of my family, and Barbosa is a family name from the other. I’ve been thinking about what I write, and it never felt quite right to use my married name to write when I’ve been writing stories inspired by Filipino culture / history / characters. I want to honor my ancestors and my heritage in my books. And I also want other Filipinos to recognize me too. I’m not trying to hide that part of me. It is me.

Things are in the works. I’ll update you when I can!