We all love to hear stories that strengthen our hope and leave us in awe of miracles. Assunta De Rossi sure has a beautiful tale that reminds us to surrender and trust in life’s perfect timing.
In this episode of I Feel U, it was discussed that Assunta tied the knot with politician and businessman Jules Ledesma almost two decades ago. She was struggling to get pregnant for eighteen years. In 2016, the couple started to take the scientific route. They tried to conceive via IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) but the first attempt was unsuccessful.
Assunta still had frozen embryos but since the first try turned out a failure, and emotionally devastating, she decided to take a pause. She didn’t want to go through the same process and the same heartbreak in case it fails again. She would instead divert her focus on work and try to feel better.
Moving on to 2020, Assunta felt she’s ready to try once more. The couple was supposedly planning a series of trips abroad but then the pandemic happened. For her 37th birthday last year, they celebrated in Amanpulo along with relatives.
A week later, Assunta noticed the sudden glitch in her menstrual calendar. Her period was delayed but she assumed it was simply due to factors like aging and stress. Her husband, Jules, would chalk it up to pregnancy. Yet, she didn’t want to expect, tired of keeping her hopes up after the eighteen-year struggle.
To be sure, she went straight to her doctor for consultation. She was asked to undergo a blood test first. While waiting for the result, she decided to drive back home to take a rest before going back to the hospital by lunchtime, clueless that it’s going to be the day her prayers are finally answered.
The doctor told her the result was positive. She was in disbelief. It was followed by an ultrasound confirming that she’s five weeks pregnant.
Assunta thought of her pregnancy as a pleasant surprise. She didn’t get emotional, as one might assume. It didn’t sink in. “I know it’s a bit anticlimactic kasi nga siguro sa dami ng disappointments ko noon, parang ‘yung reaction ko, ‘Okay, pregnant ako.’ Hindi ko na siya ma-absorb. Hindi ako ‘yung mag-iyakan tayo o magtatatalon ako sa tuwa.”
Assunta’s baby girl, Giulia Fiorentina Alessandra or simply Fiore, is turning four months. It’s the stage of babyhood where a mom is totally sleep-deprived. Assunta thought long hours of taping was a good training ground for sleepless nights but it still feels different, more exhausting when due to taking care of a newborn. “Iniisip mo, ‘Artista ako, eh. Sanay ako sa puyatan.’ Pero pagdating ng baby, ‘Pwede bang mag-shooting na lang ako ulit?’”
Add to that the challenge of breastfeeding. She now feels for other moms, who are judged for staying at home. She said nursing a child is a draining activity, “Kailangan natin ng fuel kaya minsan pipilitin natin kumain kahit wala tayong gana o pagod na pagod tayo. We need fuel para mapakain natin ng maayos ang anak natin. It’s a lot of hard work.”
While being a stay-at-home breastfeeding mom is exhausting, Assunta treasures each moment with her “miracle baby.” She knows the time will come that her child would learn to thrive on her own, so she wants to cherish the fleeting baby days.
For the second part of the interview, Assunta is joined by her sister and best friend Alessandra De Rossi.
Alessandra recalled Assunta’s journey to motherhood. She knew her sister’s struggles and depression, thus she’d often try to uplift her spirits. As how we know Alessandra, she loves to pepper love and compassion with jokes.
She was with Assunta during the latter’s 37th birthday celebration in Amanpulo. She was trying to make her feel better that day, knowing her sister is still sad over the pregnancy struggles. Alessandra told Assunta not to confine a woman’s purpose just within the realm of motherhood. She quipped, “Kapag nakita ko si Suhsmita Sen, sasampalin ko talaga siya. Kasi sabi niya, ‘The essence of a woman is to bear a child.’ Sino’ng may sabi niyan? Paano ikaw, you cannot bear a child, wala kang essence? Ako, single, wala akong essence?” Alessandra was referring to the winning answer of Miss Universe Sushmita Sen in 1994.
Prior to that, Alessandra was supportive of Assunta’s decision to undergo IVF. She was even willing to carry the child for her. But she suddenly turned busy due to the blockbuster success of “Kita Kita.” She revealed, “Sabi ko, ‘Gusto mo ba ako magdala?’ Eh, sumabog ‘yung Kita Kita, sabi ko, ‘Wait lang ha, may pupuntahan pa pala ako.’ Willing na talaga akong gawin para sa kanya pero tinawanan niya lang ako.”
By Assunta’s 37th birthday, Alessandra already gave up on her sister’s wish to conceive. After all, she believes that being childless won’t make Assunta less of a woman. She just thought their youngest sister would be the first mom among the four of them.
When she finally learned the news, Alessandra was over the moon and she was dying to spread the word. However, Assunta wanted to keep it a secret first. Besides the wish for privacy, they also didn’t want to invite outside factors that can affect the delicate pregnancy.
The De Rossi sisters are each other’s best friends. Now that one of them just embarked on a new journey called motherhood, the other one is also the happiest. Alessandra was even present when Assunta gave birth. Prior to the first time she held Baby Fiore, Alessandra already shed happy tears upon seeing the newborn’s photo taken inside the delivery room.
Assunta shared that Alessandra is a loving ‘Tita.’ She loves to bond with Baby Fiore and would even undergo swab testing before each visit. In return, Alessandra would praise her sister’s selflessness. She said that Assunta, once the princess-like, is now a hands-on mother.
The two are each other’s partners in crime and safe space. They are grateful for the bond they’ve grown over the years. Assunta would vouch for Alessandra’s big-heartedness. While they’re often heard bantering with lots of jokes, Alessandra and Assunta take their sisterhood and friendship seriously.