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Iya Villania-Arellano talks about the joys of motherhood and staying in shape

By Celine Trinidad 

Casually dressed in cream cut out blouse and tight blue jeans, Iya Villania saunters into the main hall of Le Jardin Restaurant at the Bonifacio Global City complex in Taguig City for the baby shower thrown by Japanese stroller brand Aprica in honor of her college friend Sam Godinez-Valenciano, the wife of musician and concert director Paolo Valenciano who’s set to give birth later this month.

She made heads turn largely because it’s been merely 11 days since she gave birth, on Aug. 30, to her and her husband Drew Arellano’s first child—a  bouncing baby boy they have named Antonio Primo—yet she already looks like she’s shed all her pregnancy pounds.

Iya still active even at her 9th month of pregnancy (Instagram/@Iyavillania)

Iya still active even at her 9th month of pregnancy (Instagram/@Iyavillania)

 Consistent workout is key 

“Nanganak naman ako (I gave birth)” the 30-year-old TV host quips when people raved about her slim figure. She adds that she gained about 22 to 25 pounds when she was still carrying Baby Primo in her womb, and she hasn’t shed all the weight.

To prove her point, she says she has hatched a plan that she will then share on social media: “Primo was sleeping and I got the idea that I would try to fit all my old jeans. The stitches have healed, and I could move a bit, but I’m glad to know that some fit, but a few don’t.”

“I mean, tao pa rin naman ako (I’m still human),” she laughs. “I guess consistent workout during pregnancy is very important.”

Iya with husband Drew

Iya with husband Drew

Back when she was pregnant, Iya went on with her regular gym workouts and outdoor sports. She also posted some photos of her doing all those physical activities, and some of her followers got concerned. After all, there’s a general notion that pregnant women should be careful with their movements because they are in a delicate condition.

“It’s safe,” she points out. She admits, though, that there were times she got wary, too. “The truth is, I also got scared. I was afraid to share my journey because if anything happened, siyempre it was my first pregnancy, so if anything happened, I knew people would say, “Ayan kasi! Ayaw mong maniwala.(There! You don’t believe us!) Now that I’ve successfully gotten through the pregnancy, the delivery, and Primo is healthy, I think what I did was right. Of course, I was also encouraged by other fit moms who were more hardcore at working out, so I gained confidence that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

Iya also believes that being fit has helped her recover fast from pregnancy. “The doctor says I could only go back to working out after six weeks,” she says. “But I was so raring to go back.”

Mommy Iya and baby Primo (Instagram/@storkstudio)

Mommy Iya and baby Primo (Instagram/@storkstudio)

 Excited first-time mom

Meantime, Iya’s world revolves around Baby Primo.

“I thought I was going to give birth National Heroes’ Day,” she recalls. “Aug. 29, I was feeling contractions. I thought, ‘Primo likes holidays!’ Easter we announced my pregnancy and, on Mother’s Day, we announced the gender.”

“He is so behaved,” she gushes over little bundle of joy. “It’s very seldom when he’s fussy, and there’s reason why he’s fussy.”

She announces with a grin, “Right now, Primo and I are in a getting-to-know-you stage.”

The biggest adjustment so far is not having enough sleep and feeling tired all the time. “It’s like I’m doing tapings again,” says the Australia-born entertainment news presenter who entered showbiz in 2002 as a singer and actress. “I feel like I’m always at work. But this is worse!”

“My sisters have their own kids,” she adds, referring to her two older sisters. “I knew that this is going to be the life. It’s just different when it’s you undergoing the whole thing. Primo’s sleeping pattern changes, too, so there’s that.”

She recalls that she initially had set on going back to work two weeks after giving birth, but changed her mind and now considers stretching her maternity leave. “He’s now the priority,” she says of her son. “I’ll go for whatever will work with his schedule.”

Their set-up poses no problem with her husband Drew, whom she describes as a hands-on dad to baby Primo.

Iya proudly reports that she and Drew don’t have a yaya and they themselves take care of Baby Primo, although her mom is always around to help her make the baby burp and to look after him when she has to do other things.

“He’s with the baby now,” she smiles.