It’s a brand new year, and for many of us, we’re hoping for a fresh start – cliché as it might seem. Who can blame us, when the events of 2020 are still casting a long shadow on us? For our January Mum of the Month, Joyce Lim – also a beloved colleague at Hegen – her story of an unplanned pregnancy that ended with a happy family is exactly the feel-goodness we need to start 2021 on an inspiring note.
TOTALLY UNPREPARED FOR JUNIOR
Joyce had been dating Jack for about a year when she discovered that she was pregnant. “I had gone to get myself checked at SGH, thinking that I had food poisoning,” she recalled. Turned out, it was baby Jade, making her presence felt!
Her doctor described the pregnancy as a spontaneous one – meaning that the conception happened despite unlikely conditions for fertilisation. “I was not in best of health or shape at that point in time,” Joyce admitted, surprised at the occurrence.
To make matters worse, Jack’s granny passed away soon after they found out about the pregnancy. “Chinese customs dictate that if a couple is not able to tie the knot within a hundred days of the funeral, they’d have to wait three years,” explained Joyce. Obviously, she and Jack didn’t want to wait that long. “So, we rushed a wedding and got married in less than three months.”
It’s not necessarily the dream wedding that most brides would envision, but to the happy couple, it was all worth it!
BABY IN THE TIME OF COVID
As Joyce is a Malaysian living and working in Singapore, getting things organised during the months of COVID-19 took some doing. “Emotionally, I was not in any way prepared for a child,” confessed Joyce. “Covid made things even messier – hospital visits were scary and I had to deal with my elderly in-laws who wanted to go out despite being the ones most vulnerable to the virus!”
As she was not in tip-top condition mentally and physically, she experienced a lot of vomiting and back pains, to the extent that she was put on bed rest for two to three weeks. She also had to change her birth plans and even the country where she was to deliver her baby!
“I had initially planned to ‘pop’ in Malaysia. It made sense as I have my support system there,” Joyce explained. “But when they announced the first MCO (Movement Control Order), I rushed down to Singapore so that Jack could be part of the birth. It was a 14-hour drive!”
This plucky Mummy was planning to head back to Malaysia after the birth but never managed to leave Singapore due to the COVID-19 situation and border closures. “I had to do everything twice; from looking for a confinement nanny to buying all my baby equipment and supplies again online in Singapore,” moaned Joyce who had already purchased everything she needed in Malaysia. “And not having my mum around to support and assist me in this new experience… it was a lot to take in.”
THE HEGEN DIFFERENCE
After her 12-hour labour (in a mask, no less!), baby Jade was safely born but Joyce started having troubles with the pump and bottles. “My baby still doesn't take to the feeding bottle,” she declared. “So, I just use the Hegen pump and storage bottles to maintain my flow.”
It was the customer experience and Hegen Mums Telegram group that made a difference to Joyce and baby Jade. “Jade had jaundice so I couldn't bring her home and pumping at home without baby was a nightmare!” she groused. “I had such bad engorgement and was pumping with the wrong size, too hard, too strong and too fast. I was doing everything wrong. But had no idea.”
The new mum suffered a few nights of hand expressing and in desperation reached out to the Telegram group at 3am, and a fellow mummy answered her call for help. “It was the most relief I’ve ever felt and I think I cried with gratitude,” laughed Joyce. Though the mum offered flanges and whatnot, it was the fact that she answered and had advice that made Joyce so thankful.
The next day, a Hegen staffer reached out and assisted her with choosing the right adapter for the new sized flanges she had to buy, and all was well. But for a first-time mama during lockdown who didn’t have her own mother to give comfort and guidance during her early days, the Hegen community helped to make a difference to her mental well-being.
That is why Joyce’s advice for mummies who find themselves alone and struggling during their mothering journey is to have at least one outlet to reach out to. “Cry it out and share your feelings,” she implored. “And join the Hegen Mums Telegram group! It's so different from all the other forums out there. 2020 has been such an especially tough year for new mums, but if we stay connected and positive, we can support each other through it all!"