I had always imagined that when I found out I was pregnant, it would be just like the movies. There would be a slow 80’s ballad playing in the background, rising to a crescendo while the telltale lines appeared. I would burst out of the bathroom, overwhelmed with delight while my husband would carry me in his arms and say how much he loved me. Instead, I found myself digging in my drawers for more tests (just to be sure) then getting on the phone to tell my husband that the test was positive, really, because I took the test three times.
It dawned on me that there was an actual life growing inside my body (possibly for a few weeks now) and that sh*t was getting real – was I ready? Despite being married, busy with a stable job and financially comfortable – all the things society deem worthy of child readiness – I still felt unsure. Do all these ‘parent readiness rules’ really matter? I’ve been taking a look at the ones most likely to be found on a ‘being a mum’ checklist…
It’s no secret that babies cost money. Apart from paying for all your hospital fees and doctor’s visits, there’s also the expenses incurred from the actual raising of the child. From buying diapers to formula, endless strollers (because it’s hard to resist just buying the one) to breast pumps, prams, it never ends. But here’s the good news: raising a child can cost less than you think, but try to do your budgeting before you’re at ovulation monitoring stage. Hot tip: there’s very little you’ll need in the first few years of bub’s life. Read on for some honest advice from the HoneyKids mums on the real baby essentials, and save yourself a pretty penny by not buying all the paraphernalia you *think* you need.
You need two to play the game
Of course, it always helps to have a co-pilot to navigate the bumpy path of parenting, but if you are part of a couple, check if you’re on the same parenting page before making plans. On the flip side I know lots of amazing single mums and young mums who are totally acing mumhood. Even without a partner, they stay focused on raising their kids the best way they can: we salute you all. Hot tip: Whatever kind of family setup your brand new shiny person comes into, we say that horizontal parenting every once in awhile is key, and sending bub to playgroup to give you a little break is key.
Worrying about possible infertility issues is a big reason for many women to trigger the ‘getting pregnant’ decision. Thankfully, with IVF having come leaps and bounds in recent years, the challenges can be less insurmountable than ever before. Useful facts: women are at their most fertile between the ages of 20-24 years, and pregnancies that happen once a woman is over 35 years are classed as geriatric (the cheek!). The average age, however, for a woman to give birth to her first baby here in Singapore is 30.3 years of age.
All the other reasons
Even when you do hold your newborn babe in your arms, the feeling of readiness is never one hundred percent there. You find yourself wondering if you can really hack it as a mum. Can you survive the sleepless nights? Can you handle taking your little one to the doctor when they get their shots, holding them while they sob (it will hurt you more than them in the long run, honest!). And when you find yourself pregnant again, you’ll find yourself asking the same questions all over.
The thing is, three years and two kids later, I still feel unprepared for motherhood and all the craziness that comes along with it. Which brings me to the question – is anyone ever really ready to become a mum? Honestly? Probably not. You just run with it, see what happens and cross your fingers that those icky, baby-related stains will eventually come out of your blouse.
Like this story? Here’s more topics often associated with parent shaming that we think you’ll enjoy:
The juggle is real. Can mothers really have it all?
Is Singapore breastfeeding friendly?
Solo parenting in Singapore: real stories from single mums
Do you want to know if it’s a baby girl or boy?