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Mother’s Day will be on our doorsteps in just a few hours. But really, what does Mother’s Day mean to you? I thought I’d take the time to pen down some thoughts about this celebratory occasion as a newly-minted expecting mother, and a person who’s never really had the habit of celebrating these occasions just so that I have something to look back on next year after Ruth has been born.
For my husband and his family, I know that they make the effort to celebrate occasions such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day whether through gifts or just a simple family get together. In contrast, when I grew up, our family never really seemed to get into the habit of commemorating these occasions. As for myself, I struggle with the idea of celebrating my birthday in large groups (huge birthday parties frighten me) and likewise putting together and inviting people to attend our wedding. It felt so odd to expect people to turn up at a particular location, at a particular time just to celebrate you. I’m not sure whether to attribute this feeling to being introverted or the belief that I’m just not enough but that’s besides the point.
That being said yes, I do understand the merits of celebrating these occasions. It’s a great opportunity to extend your appreciation for these particular individuals and to also emphasize that their efforts and love for you do not go unnoticed. Then again, the pessimist in me will say, “Do you really need a special day to say thank you to someone?” Yes, that view isn’t wrong either but neither is having an additional day to get together with the family, to appreciate that individual together. Though I’ve yet to fully experience being a mother, I know that wearing the hat of a parent doesn’t come easy and more recognition should be given to these long-suffering individuals who just have to accept their child for who they are, no matter what kind of person they may turn out to be. And at the end of the day, you really can’t predict and/or control the type of person your child will become, even if you try your hardest to steer them in the right direction.
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Getting to the point, what did Mother’s Day mean to me and do I feel any differently given that I’m currently expecting? Well, tomorrow we’re planning to get something small for my mom to recognise the meaning behind Mother’s Day. Other than that, I make it a point to help my mom with the household chores, run her errands, pick up groceries for the family (despite being pregnant) and in general, assisting where I can. Yes, you can say that performing acts of service is my love language and that’s the same whether I am showing or receiving love.
In terms of what Mother’s Day currently means to me as an expecting mother, I guess it’s really coming to terms with the fact that everything is going to change in just a couple of months. My good friend, Cheng, was so sweet to send me some light bites from Tiong Bahru Bakery as a Mother’s Day gift earlier this afternoon and that did provoke the realisation that “Okay, it’s really real.” Every day, I stare at my growing belly in the mirror and will often complain to my husband about how different (or skinnier) I used to look. I feel her kicks grow in strength and intensity in my lower abdomen and also notice how she’s developed this pattern of “waking up” between 9am to 9:30am every day, and being active before mealtimes. Because she’s yet to be in our arms, I think that’s what’s stopping me from fully accepting that yes, I’ll be a mom very soon. Yes, we’ll be parents very soon.
To be frank, one “mom” thing that I’ve come to experience during this pregnancy would be the extent of sacrifice that I’d be willing to make for Ruth (and this is likewise for my husband). Earlier in March, we faced quite a major scare in terms of Ruth’s welfare and that really put things in perspective for us. If you’ve not caught up with that story yet, you can read about it here. I also came to the very difficult decision to resign from my job at the end of February 2020 right before the COVID-19 “exploded” in Singapore. The decision was entirely the result of prioritizing our marriage and putting Ruth’s wellbeing (and my emotional wellbeing during the pregnancy) as our top priority. Some would say that I was crazy to even think about going job-hunting at the tail-end of my first trimester, especially since most companies would not be comfortable with hiring a pregnant woman. Business continuity remains a paramount consideration for them, I guess. So too bad for me, really. I’ve been blessed to have opportunities come my way but unfortunately, once they catch wind of the pregnancy, these leads usually go cold. And that’s that. It’s a whole different type of stress but at least Ruth’s safe. We’ll deal with the financial side of things one step at a time.
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Once Ruth’s out and I can no longer “shield” her in my uterus, I suppose that’s when she’ll be even more susceptible to the dangers that the world presents. Sooner or later, and as much as we’d love to, we just won’t be able to shield her from the atrocities and flaws of humankind and our hearts will pang with pain whenever she hurts. That’s going to hit hard next Mother’s Day when I look at my eight-month-old baby and promise to fight to keep her safe for as long as I can, although I know that one day, I won’t be able to protect her as much as I wish to.
Another change that I predict would be how much personal time and sleep we’d be willing to sacrifice for Ruth’s sake. Every day, we have begun to prepare ourselves mentally for the sleepless nights ahead (and preparing our pup, Ichiro as well), and for the crying that Ruth will likely throw at us in the years to come. Everything that we think about, every decision that we contemplate all involves both Ruth and Ichiro and things aren’t that simple anymore. It’s so easy making decisions for the both of us: be selfish and just do what we want to do. But now, our finances are tied with Ruth’s welfare and we have to rework our initial plans for the future. Surprisingly, we’re extremely happy to make these changes and have embraced parenthood rather easily into our lives. For that, I’m thankful that my husband is like-minded and that we’ve placed our children (both Ruth and Ichiro) at the centre of our decisions (of course, aside from God). Our family comes first and we’d do anything to fight for and protect our family.
Yes, I’ve gone off tangent slightly. The truth is, I’ve yet to really understand what motherhood entails and don’t know what to expect either. At the heart of it, I hope that I can be a good mother to Ruth and that I will grow to become a mother worth celebrating on Mother’s Day in 2021. A wife and mother who puts Christ at the foundation of our family, a mother who provides for her child, and most importantly, a mother who has unconditional love for her child. To my future 27-year-old self, see you in 2021. You can and you will be the best mother you can be to both Ruth and Ichiro. And to all mummies and to-be mummies, Happy Mother’s Day. You’ve done extraordinarily well and should be proud of yourselves for whatever you’ve achieved. Don’t lose sight of your value and always take care of yourself when you can.