Spotlight

Bianca King: Embracing a New Season as a Mom

Actress Bianca King gets candid about her experience as a first-time parent

Modern Parenting

As many of us welcome 2024 with anticipation and excitement, the same goes for Bianca King-Wintle and her young family.

A multi-hyphenate with an illustrious career as an actress, model, and endorser, Bianca is no stranger to the limelight. Having starred in local teleseryes like Sinner or Saint, Mulawin, and Pusong Ligaw, she eventually put that life of stardom on hold as she made a life for herself in Australia together with her non-showbiz husband, Ralph Wintle.

From navigating her pregnancy to learning how to be a parent to her daughter, Sadie, forming a close support system, and welcoming her new role as a mother, Bianca tells all in this exclusive interview with Modern Parenting.

Building a life in the Land Down Under

Parenthood was something that Bianca had envisioned for herself from the get-go. She and Ralph even planned to conceive through In vitro fertilization (IVF). To her surprise, she found that she was already pregnant—even before starting the procedure.

“We couldn’t believe it,” Bianca explains. “My age is above 35. And I was just getting tired of the emotional roller coaster of trying to conceive, [which is] very, very common for women my age. So just for fun, I took a pregnancy test. And then [it said that] I was pregnant!”

“We were really in shock because we weren’t expecting it anymore. Because mentally, I gave up already. But like they say, it’s really better to relax and let go. That’s when it happens,” she adds. “When you want it so much and you keep trying, [all that] pressure and the stress—it’s not the ideal state of mind for conceiving.”

With a baby on the way, the couple was ecstatic. But being first-time parents meant facing growing pains—both literally and figuratively. Even more so since the couple made the big move to Australia which meant a lifestyle change for Bianca.

“For a period of time after giving birth, postpartum was extremely difficult for me. Because I had minimal support. I had no friends and no close friends and family close by. My parents and in-laws came to visit—also my best friends flew from the Philippines and the US—but it was only for like a few weeks,” the actress laments.

“When Ralph went back to work, he tried his best to pop in and take care of us. He can do anything that I can as a parent. But there were times when I had to take care of myself and Sadie throughout the day and night,” she elaborates. “I would talk to my friends back home and they have nannies, cooks, and drivers [to help them], and I felt somewhat resentful because my postpartum experience was not like that.”

Navigating motherhood

“It was rough in a way,” Bianca admits. “I felt very isolated and lonely—like pregnancy and motherhood in general is already very isolating. Even if you have a village around you, there’s so many emotional and psychological challenges to go through.”

Taking to social media and spending alone time with Sadie, however, helped Bianca heal, as she found solace in narratives that mirrored hers. “Hearing stories of how women cope helped me. There are so many Filipinos all over the world who decided to move and are away from their families and they give birth. And they’re all alone as new moms!”

She even credits her perinatal psychotherapist, whom she saw for a couple of months. “She really helped me process—not just my birth, but also to navigate all the emotions that I was going through, adjustments in my marriage, and yeah, just helping me cope as a new mom.”

But more than that, sharing her pregnancy journey with her sister-in-law Iza Calzado—although from a distance—helped provide reassurance to Bianca. “We were holding each other’s hand every step of the way. I think that’s what made my journey less lonely and isolating. That somebody so close to you is going through the same things. And at exactly the same time, too.”

“It’s like she would read a book and [if I] read something, we would share information with each other and share things, as well as advice,” she recalls with a smile.

And as Bianca proudly mentioned in her recent IG story, “Ralph is my village.” During our photo shoot, it was evident that Ralph was indeed a doting father and a good family man. He also kept singing his wife praises every time the team paid Sadie a compliment.

Love at first sight

The moment a mother first sees her child is an unforgettable experience. Love at first sight, as some would say. But for Bianca, it was different. “I felt nothing. I had no tears of joy. Like what is that? Who is that? Because I came from a very traumatic labor, I was completely disconnected from the experience. I just didn’t feel the connection instantly,” she admits.

“But that’s all different now. Now I’m like, head over heels for her—she’s just the perfect baby. She’s beautiful and so lovable. She’s so good and always so happy. But it took time for me to feel that.”

The first few months with Sadie came with its fair share of ups and downs, according to the first-time mom. But being a hands-on parent has helped immensely. From sleep training and establishing a clear routine when it comes to her bedtime, to encouraging her to become independent early on, Bianca is pleased with how Sadie is growing up.

“She’s not the kind of baby that needs to be fussed over because she’s really easy [to take care of],” she says proudly. “You can leave her in a corner with a bunch of toys and she’ll be quiet and entertain herself. You just need to make sure she’s in a safe place.”

“According to her pediatrician, she hit her milestones early. That’s one thing. What I hear very often from people is that she’s a good baby,” the first-time mom enthuses. “I’m also very happy with the fact that she loves to eat and will eat just about anything as long as it’s on her plate and everyone around her is eating.”

And because Sadie is sleep trained, Bianca shares “Everyone in our family is much happier because she’s sleeping so well, so we are all rested.”

Even Sadie’s amicable personality was a bonus. “She’s charming [and] happy—always smiling. And I hope that she grows up to be a bright, sunny, friendly, authentic adult. I hope she carries that temperament and personality with her.”

Looking into the future

Having put her showbiz career on hold, the burning question remains: does Bianca regret her decision?

“I can’t say I regret it because I ended up in Australia by accident,” she answers. “I was there when the pandemic hit but, I wouldn’t be married right now [if things didn’t turn out the way they did.] That’s just what the universe put on my lap and I embraced it.”

However, there are some things she definitely misses—from the people she worked with, the friendships she formed along the way, and the artistry of it all. “I love being in front of the camera,” she adds. “I also missed working in general because being pregnant and then a mom [means that] my full-time, 24/7 job is raising a human being; I missed earning my own money and the brands I worked with because I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager. So just that independence of a life outside of motherhood creeps up on me every once in a while.”

But she wouldn’t have it any other way. As for her plans for 2024, Bianca reveals, “I’ll be coming back and forth. Starting this year, I’m gonna accept work opportunities that fit into my parenting lifestyle. Something that doesn’t compromise my being a hands-on mom. Any sort of work that I find fulfilling and as long as it resonates, I’m there.”

But more than that, Bianca realized that her happiness and peace of mind could not be compromised. “Gosh, I’m a superwoman now. I can manage a household, feed my family, manage finances, and I can raise a human being. And right now, I am ready to come full circle—be a full-time mom, a wife, and a working girl.” Indeed, she can have it all!

Welcoming a new season in her life

Now in a better place than before, Bianca welcomes the new year and its many opportunities with open arms. And this includes spending time with family, friends, and loved ones in the Philippines every chance she gets.

“I’m just going to be with my family actually,” she says of her New Year plans. “My in-laws are here and so is Ralph’s side of the family, so we’re all going to be together. The three Wintle cousins [Sadie, Deia and Maia] are also going to be together for the first time.”

As for what she plans on doing differently this year, her answer is simple: “My New Year’s resolution [includes] trying to plan our lives around what is healthy—how mama can have more balance in life and how she can take Sadie along for the ride.”

“I would say that the season of life I’m in at the moment is navigating how to take care of myself and feel fulfilled outside of being a mother and housewife, without compromising the quality of care I give my family,” she quips.

“And as for raising Sadie, we’d like to help her reach her full potential in whatever it is she‘s inclined to do. I don’t want to clip her wings. I don’t want to overprotect her from life experiences. If it means shaping her as a human being, we have to let her go through challenges. All we can do is prepare her for it and help her thrive.”

Words DIANE NICOLE GO

Photography EXCEL PANLAQUE of KLIQ, INC.

Makeup TWINKLE BERNARDO assisted by ANGELI ALFONSO

Hair PATTY INOJALES

Styling MIGUEL QUILANG

Art Direction MARC YELLOW

Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA

Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO TUPAZ

Shot on Location at SEDA HOTELS MAKATI

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