It takes a village to raise a child – and a full tribe to support a mother. Rewarding as it is, becoming a mum for the first time is a life-altering experience that brings with it many physical, mental and emotional challenges. Even the most well-prepared of parents will never be truly ready for this intense learn-as-you-go journey. After all, it is one thing to prepare for a baby, and another to fully experience and adapt to each curveball that is thrown your way. “It is important to be kind to yourself,” Thomson mummy Sherlyn Chan shares. “Learn to accept all the help you can get without feeling guilty about it.”
A good support system
The newly-minted mum’s core support system comprises her husband Andre, family and friends, as well as Thomson Medical’s dedicated team of doctors and consultants. Sherlyn chose to give birth at Thomson Medical because of Dr Paul Tseng. This decision gave her access to professional guidance that extended beyond her pregnancy and into the postpartum period.
“Being a first-time mum, there were a lot of things that I didn’t know – even with the extensive
research I did online,” Sherlyn recalls. “It was helpful to have Fonnie Lo, a licenced lactation and ParentCraft consultant guiding us through the hands-on practice during our Childbirth Education Course,” Andre shares, “The first time I changed Thea’s diapers, our confinement nanny commented that I handled her like a seasoned pro!”
Sherlyn gave birth to baby Thea at Thomson Medical Centre on Easter Sunday. Aside from the delicious and healthy meals, what truly left an impression was the care extended to them by the nursing staff. And when she ran into difficulties while breastfeeding, she was able to turn to the
ParentCraft Centre for lactation advice and healthy doses of emotional support. “They helped me understand that breastfeeding is actually a partnership between mother and baby,” Sherlyn reveals, “It was a learning process for both myself and Thea.” With the ParentCraft team’s guidance over the next month, Sherlyn was able to enjoy a smoother nursing journey.
Happy Mummy, Happy Baby
As an entrepreneur, teacher, and social media influencer, Sherlyn is used to a hectic schedule. But adapting to her new role as a mother – and the changes that came with it – wasn’t easy. One of her biggest challenges? Juggling work and family life. “Before Thea arrived, my business was my ‘baby’, so there was a bit of work guilt that kicked in,” the go-getting mum confesses, “I learned to have realistic expectations of myself by acknowledging that I couldn’t dedicate the same amount of time as I used to.” Checking items off her to-do list became easier once the family settled into an everyday routine. Sherlyn also manages to find pockets of free time to indulge in some much-needed “me-time”.
“Life does not stop after having a baby, but it definitely takes conscious effort to maintain a healthy balance,” Sherlyn emphasises, “Happy mummy, happy baby!” This catchphrase is reiterated on her Instagram account – where she shares the realities (and uncertainties) of her motherhood journey with her followers. “I wanted to be open about my challenges and insecurities to show mums that it is all right to find motherhood difficult,” Sherlyn explains. Her candid approach drew support from an online community of fellow mummies, who offered her advice and encouragement in her new role as a mother. Even though parenthood involves both husband and wife, there are some things that only mums will understand. This community has been a huge support for me!”
The Original Team
Of course, nothing comes close to Andre’s support for Sherlyn. “We went into our marriage with the mindset of us as the ‘original team’. This is reinforced in our everyday routines, whether it’s preparing the breast pump, bathing the baby or simply being by her side,” Andre says. Sherlyn agrees, saying “It’s not about the big gestures, but the small actions. For example, when I wake up in the middle of the night to pump and Andre simply acknowledges that I’m up, that is enough for me.” She concludes, “Open communication is very important – to let the husband know when you need him to come in. Speak up about your needs and continue that teamwork!”