Actress Melissa Ricks. File photo/Nimfa Chua for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - "Yes, it's true!"
Melissa Ricks, 24, who rose to fame as one of the finalists of ABS-CBN's "Star Circle Quest," finally confirmed on Wednesday that she is pregnant.
Speaking exclusively with ABS-CBN News' Gretchen Fullido, the "Walang Hanggan" actress said she is now four months and two weeks into her pregnancy and is hoping to find out the sex of the baby on her next checkup.
"Hindi ko naman tinago," Ricks said. "It's just that nobody asked, and I was looking for the right timing when to tell people. Siyempre, kailangan sure na. All my friends know, my parents know. Hindi naman puwedeng sabihin ko agad-agad, 'di ba?"
Ricks' pregnancy made headlines early this week when Star Magic, which handles her career, confirmed the rumors to ABS-CBNnews.com.
How she found out
Recalling how she found out that she is pregnant, Ricks said she initially thought she was only suffering from overfatigue or food poisoning after spending time with friends in Boracay last Labor Day.
"I had to rest a couple of days, kasi hindi na siya nawala. Akala ko may food poisoning, gusto ko magpa-check up, pero hinayaan ko lang," she said, noting that she is not fond of hospital visits.
After some time, one of Ricks' friends reminded her that she had missed her period. Even then, the actress was not alarmed, noting she has irregular periods. When she did not have her period for another month, Ricks thought it was time to have a pregnancy test done.
Even when the results showed she was positive, Ricks made sure by visiting a doctor, accompanied by her best friend and fellow actress Helga Krapf. During this visit to the hospital -- the first of many checkups -- Ricks said she saw her baby's heart beating through an ultrasound.
"Kahit pala seven weeks pa lang 'yung baby -- that's when I found out -- my heartbeat na pala. Sobrang joy! Ang weird nung feeling," Ricks said.
The actress recalled taking the news calmly.
"Hindi ko alam kung bakit, pero it just felt right, at the right time... I just took it calmly, hindi ako umiyak," she said. "Maybe it's just the right time, it's God's plan. He's putting me on a path na... He prepared me for this path. I just have trust Him and have faith na everything is going to be okay."
Telling partner, parents
The next step, Ricks said, was telling her boyfriend and her parents about the pregnancy. While the actress mentioned her partner's name, she said she intends to keep details of their relationship private.
"Oo, sobrang supportive," she said of her partner's reaction to her pregnancy. "First na sinabi ko sa kanya, gano'n din. Same kami ng reaction. Actually, he didn't hesitate. Wala. Siyempre, the baby is a blessing, you know. A baby coming into this world is a huge blessing to anyone."
"I think naman we're in the right age. Sa panahon na 'to, we're in the right age. We're ready to take on the responsibility," she added.
Admittedly, Ricks said she dreaded having to tell her parents about her pregnancy, calling it "the hardest part" of coming to terms with her being a soon-to-be mom.
Ricks turned emotional when she recalled how she broke the news to her father, whose reaction she did not expect.
"First, I told my dad," she said. "Siguro naka-seven na balik-balik ako bago pumasok sa loob ng room ng dad ko. Parang nag-panic talaga ako, hindi ko masabi. And then finally I sat down in front of him, and then I started crying. Dala ko pa 'yung teddy bear ko, kasi iyon 'yung parang security blanket ko."
"Sabi ko, 'Dad...' And then I started crying. Sabi niya, 'You're pregnant?'"
"Alam na niya! I don't know. Siguro naramdaman niya, kasi dala ko 'yung teddy bear ko and when I went to him, he said, 'What's wrong? Are you okay?' 'I'm okay.' 'You're pregnant?' Sabi ko, 'Yeah.'"
"I thought he would be very disappointed. He wasn't. He just told me to take care of myself," Ricks narrated.
Noting that her mom had been very strict with her growing up, the actress admitted she was more "terrified" of telling her about the pregnancy. Since her mother is based in the United States, Ricks opted to send her an e-mail about her condition.
It took Ricks another two weeks to finally send her message.
"I didn't want to call, kasi 'yun nga, I won't be able to talk. I sent her a long e-mail explaining. And then she sent me back an e-mail," she said.
What Ricks read in her mother's reply surprised her.
"Hindi siya galit! She was happy, she was excited, and she's excited to come home again para alagaan 'yung baby, to see me. Pati kuya ko, uuwi!" she said.
Outpouring of support
In the days following the first confirmation of her pregnancy, Ricks got messages of support on her social media accounts. On Instagram, she expressed her gratitude with the an image saying: "I am greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved."
Echoing her post, Ricks said: "I feel really loved by everyone -- from my friends, family, from people I don't even know. 'Yung support na pinapakita... Wala akong nakitang masamang comment, wala akong nakitang someone wishing me not well. I'm very happy. Nakakaiyak."
"Nakakahiya, umiiyak na naman ako!" she said, laughing.
Ricks is particularly relieved about the reactions of her parents and ABS-CBN, her home network for 10 years now, saying she thought she would disappoint them with the news of her pregnancy.
"I was expecting the worst reaction from my parents, from ABS-CBN, 'di ba? They had plans. Parang I felt na I disappointed people, pero hindi, eh. They showed huge support for me, lalo na ang management ng ABS," she said.
'God is good'
At 24, Ricks quipped she is just one year shy of her intended age to have her first baby. She said she had always wanted to start a family of her own at a young age, noting her mom gave birth to her when she was 40.
"Ako, I want it na maabutan ko 'yung apo ko. Siyempre, makaka-relate pa kami sa isa't-isa, parang barkada. I want to be the best friend of my child. I'm 24 now. Nauna lang ako ng one year, pero I'm very happy with everything that's going on right now!" she said.
"God is good. He's really standing by my side."
Asked if she and her partner are already thinking of a name for the baby, whether it be a girl or a boy, Ricks said they will likely come up with one once they welcome their first child in less than five months.
"Wala pang name! Actually, na-pi-pressure na ako sa name, kasi siyempre dadalhin niya 'yon buong buhay niya. If hindi niya bet, parang mahirap naman! So we really have to think about it.
"Pero siguro, pag makita na namin siya, doon na namin malalaman kung ano'ng bagay na pangalan sa kanya," Ricks said.