HoneyKids had a chat with Pearlyn and Brenda to find out how they're changing the definition of "family" in Singapore.
When we think of families, a typical, nuclear family comes to mind: mum, dad, two kids. But times are a-changin’ and now we’re seeing so many different kinds of families – not only in the media – but in Singapore. Here’s where Pearlyn and Brenda come in. They’re two people who fell in love and decided to start a family, just like everyone else. But then again, they’re not exactly like everyone else.
The thing is, having kids, especially as a same-sex couple, isn’t always straightforward. There are complicated processes involved and people who aren’t as open to certain lifestyles. Though Singapore – and the rest of the world – has made a lot of progress for the LGBTQ+ community, there’s still a lot of progress to be made. So we decided to speak to the peeps who know best: a two-mum family in Singapore…
SAY HELLO TO THIS TWO MUM FAMILY IN SINGAPORE
Hi Pearlyn, tell us your love story…
Funnily enough, we met at a club. Brenda’s group of friends came over to my group of friends and wanted to borrow an ID to get in. Sixteen years later, we’re still together!
What made the decision to have kids?
We manage a balloon and party company, so naturally we’re around kids all the time, which made us want to start a family. We made the decision when we were 20 and 23, and saved up throughout the years. We did a lot of research and waited for the right moment to start trying.
Which route did you decide to take?
We did IVF with a sperm donor. It was very emotional and mentally draining. We tried IUI four times (two in Australia and two in Cambodia) but that failed. Then we went on to IVF in Cambodia and that was successful. It took us around two years or so with the trying period. There was a lot of drama with the hormones raging, tears and waiting. For each try, we had to fly on the day itself as the eggs need to be fresh. On top of all that stress, we had to manage work and arrange last minute flights.
What was the most difficult part about the whole process?
I think the failures were the toughest, and they really took a toll on our mental health. We didn’t anticipate having to try so many times and the cost just kept adding up. We couldn’t get stressed because we had to stay relaxed so we’d have better chances of getting pregnant.
But it was worth it, right?
There’s that feeling of unconditional love that’s incredibly overwhelming and inspiring. I never knew I could be capable of so much love. And the feeling of knowing that a child depends on me for survival makes me stronger. Velda’s sixteen months old now and I’m convinced she can tell what I’m thinking just by looking at my eyes. Thanks Covid-19 and all this mask wearing!
BEING TWO MUMS IN SINGAPORE
How do you deal with “explaining the situation” to others?
We’re still getting the hang of it; we’re always experimenting to see the best answers to give to strangers. It’s a daily process, educating and explaining our family dynamics to people. Sometimes we just brush it off as the explaining process can get tedious and not easy to do when you’re in a rush. Mainly, we will tell them we are an LGBT family unit.
What kind of reactions do you get?
People are mostly very curious about the entire process and how it can be done. Surprisingly, we’ve had quite a number of positive vibes from the older folks, though explaining things takes a little longer. Younger people are more “woke”, so it’s easier to explain it to them. The reactions we get are mostly positive encouragements and for those who don’t agree, they just leave it be.
As two mums, what are you most worried about?
I’m worried about my child’s reaction to the public’s opinions of our family unit. We can control what happens in our family – raising the child to be resilient and teaching her life skills – but we can’t control other people. Whatever happens, we’ll find a way to work it out.
How do you divide up responsibilities with your partner, in regards to raising your child?
It helps that we’ve worked and lived together for so long. We can pretty much understand each other, even without speaking. So the chores and responsibilities are divided equally, with no fixed schedules. If one person is feeling a little burned out, the other steps in and fulfils what needs to be done.
It’s very important for both parties to make things work, it can never be a one-sided effort. We had such an enjoyable time during my confinement, taking care of Velda, and discovering our new routine. It’s like a dream come true and we appreciated every moment we had with her…
Thank you, Pearlyn and Brenda!
At the end of the day, these two mums show us that it doesn’t matter if your family unit is different from everyone else’s. A family is about love, and there’s no doubt that this two mum family has all of that, and more!