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For Kris Bernal, work takes backseat to approaching motherhood

April 1 ------ As a self-confessed workaholic, expectant mother Kris Bernal feels guilty about staying at home and not being as productive as she used to be.

But if there’s one thing she has learned from her five-month pregnancy thus far, it’s that there’s no shame in taking a break to look after yourself. “I was told that it’s OK to take things slow. Sometimes, I feel guilty for not working. Sometimes, I feel helpless because I’m on bed rest. But eventually, I realized that there will come a time when you will have to surrender to what your body and baby needs,” she said over lunch with select reporters at her Korean barbecue restaurant, House of Gogi.

After all, show biz will always be just there. “People around me tell me, ‘Kalma ka lang! You can still go back to work after. You can earn money after… But having a baby is a blessing you don’t know if you will ever have again,’” added the 33-year-old actress, who announced her pregnancy on social media through a series of humorous mockup movie posters. Kris had to turn down a couple of projects, including a television series, because the workload and taping hours might take a toll on her body. “I was supposed to do a soap. But then I realized that the job will require me to be at the height of my emotions all the time. I have to cry, be angry, be scared. Baka ma-absorb ng baby!” she joked. But simple guest appearances, she said, are fine. “Maybe I can do something that’s not physically demanding.”

The pregnancy was unexpected. Kris and her husband, businessman Perry Choi, weren’t actively trying to have a baby. “It wasn’t in our plans yet because I still wanted to explore new things in show biz. And then, it happened. I wasn’t too emotional at first, more like at a loss about what to do next,” she said. But the feeling of uncertainty went away the moment Kris saw the ultrasound image of the baby and heard its heartbeat. “Suddenly, I was like, ‘Shucks, this is it! I will become a mom. I realized that I’m at this stage of my life now,” she said. Kris is a fitness buff and puts in a lot of effort into maintaining her athletic figure, so the physical changes that come with pregnancy came as a shock. But she has since learned to accept them. “I’m used to having a flat tummy and toned muscles. But soon, my tummy began getting bigger. But I have embraced that. Now, it’s all about the baby’s health. I’m no longer conscious about how I look,” she said.

While raising a child is a daunting prospect, it’s a challenge that Kris looks forward to taking on. “I’m excited about my new responsibilities as a mother. I have my duties as a wife and as an actress. Being a mom is something I want to explore,” she said. “But I’m also scared. Because parenthood is something no one can be fully ready for. I’m scared of making mistakes.” Still, Kris feels secure knowing that her husband will always be there for her and their future baby, no matter what. In fact, as early as now, Perry is already thinking of new business ventures to help secure the family’s future. “Mas naging matipid siya ngayon. I know that he will be a responsible father. I can see that from the way he takes care of me. He spoils me these days. He cooks for me, does the groceries. Nagmamaganda lang ako sa bahay!” she said, laughing. “He has been making a lot of sacrifices for me. What more for our future baby?”

Kris was last seen in a Prime Video flick, where she played a dumb blonde-like character named Diva. Topbilled by Eugene Domingo, Pokwang and Carmi Martin, the movie was Kris’ first foray into comedy. For someone like Kris whose catalog leans heavily toward dramas, doing comedy was as fun as it was nerve-wracking. “Honestly, I was cringing at first because I felt like comedy didn’t suit me. I got shy throwing punchlines because I had to share the screen with stars whose expertise is comedy. But I know I had to do it because our director is Jun Lana and we know how good his works are,” Kris said. “But we got close eventually and I was able to ask tips from Ate Uge and Pokwang. I asked them how I can be more spontaneous, how I can engage in their banter, and how I can deliver my lines better. Because sometimes, your co-actors would throw lines that aren’t in the script. I wanted to keep up with them,” she said.

Moving forward, Kris hopes to continue trying different genres and collaborating with different networks. “It’s good to have options. I want to explore what else I can do with my show biz career, wherever that may be,” she said.



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