24 October 2010, by Tan Yi Lin
Dan and I went to watch a movie at Orchard Cineleisure yesterday afternoon.
Since we love hanging out with our friends, we invited five other couples to come along with us. And as if that wasn’t enough company already, we made it date with about 140 other couples 😀
Well, when it comes to the Maybe Baby Hot Date @ The Movies, the more people the merrier!
For once, it didn’t matter if people made more noise than usual in the cinema, or spoke up in the middle of things, or clapped loudly, or slurped their drinks noisily, or raised their arms up in front of other people’s faces. To add to all the activity in there, Dan and I even held a conversation in the cinema with everybody who turned up for the event. It was a pity that the microphones weren’t working too well though, otherwise we would have been much much louder so that people seated further away from us could hear every single word we said. Darn!
Relax… this nice couple you know didn’t suddenly transform into hooligans overnight. It was all part of our ‘job’ as the panelists for the discussion on parenthood – yeah, to talk to the 300-strong audience or 600 ears (oooh, that’s a freaky thought) who turned up for the event. If you didn’t already know that fun games, useful talks and insightful panel discussions are the norm in any Maybe Baby Hot Date @ The Movies events, then hey, it’s time to get with the programme, people!
To clarify, I was definitely at the event as one of the panelists. I’m not so sure what Dan thought his role was though:
Dannie Cho (Panis) No, that wasn’t just bad spelling for “pianist”.
I was pretty honoured that I Love Children invited us to be on the panel – they must actually think that there’s value in what we have to say to their Maybe Baby fans! I mean, while I’m pretty confident that we’re not just spouting nonsense on our blogs and that there’s actually some useful information we put in there, we’re not experts in the field of parenting and are definitely not shining models for early parenthood who – in a perfect world – would be young, married before 30 and have 2.53 kids.
Nevertheless, it was nice to be invited to share our thoughts, experiences and challenges in our journey to parenthood with so many other couples. I certainly hope that despite our lack in professional speaking qualifications, despite the fact that we still have no results to show on the babymaking front, and despite the microphones not working very well, we left the audience with some nuggets of good advice and something to think about.
In fact, I think it was such brilliant advice that it’s worth repeating it right here right now – and you don’t even have to pay $15 per couple to get it:
IT TAKES TIME TO MAKE A BABY. And I’m not talking about the nine months it takes for it to grow within the womb. I’m referring to conception. You know the oft-quoted saying that “success doesn’t happen overnight”? Well it applies to the task of conceiving too. For most people, it doesn’t – chances of natural conception for couples below 25 are already low enough at 25%. And I’m sure that many of you reading this, like me, no longer fall into this age group because most under-25s in our society are not wired to start thinking about starting a family just yet. For us older folks (sniffles), we only have a 5% to 15% chance of conceiving naturally.
Of course, there are some lucky ones out there who conceive at the drop of a hat (or other articles of clothing) on the night of the wedding or during the honeymoon. But not everyone belongs to the – as my friend puts it – “touch only get pregnant” category.
So if you’re imagining yourself as a young mother with the fairytale combination of two boys and a girl in four to five years time, the time to start working on that dream is NOW. If you’ve been actively trying for the past six to twelve months and still haven’t been successful, you might want to consider going for some fertility checks. Because it takes time: a few weeks to run the checks and get the results; a few months to seek consultation and decide on assisted reproductive treatment (if needed); another few months to wait your turn to commence treatment; yet another few months for each treatment cycle. If the first time doesn’t work out, you can expect a couple more months to fly by while you let our body rest and you schedule your next cycle. Thereafter, you spend anything from another two to five months on each cycle again, to be repeated as many times as it takes you to conceive.
Before you know it, two years would have passed you by. And where does that leave you with your plans for your dream family?
Wow. After writing all that, I realised that I can be a real nag. But you get the message. IT TAKES TIME TO MAKE A BABY.
Got it? Good.
Cos I’m moving on to my next point, which is a tad more frivolous and probably not very useful: –
I love meeting local celebrities at the panel sessions!
At the Maybe Baby “Journey to Parenthood” seminar held earlier this year on 8 May, Dan and I were honoured to speak alongside Mr Douglas Foo of Sakae Sushi fame who has four sons!
This time, look who I got to sit beside:
*SCREAM* Local TV actor, Edmund Chen! *SCREAM*
Yes, I noticed the difference in font size and visibility of our place markers. I’d like to think that mine was a unique hand-made creation, as opposed to being mass produced by technology. Humph.
Edmund was also on the panel to share the story of his journey to parenthood, in particular how he and his wife made sacrifices in their career when they decided to have a baby early in their marriage. Edmund is a really friendly, down-to-earth, family guy. He introduced us to his two lovely children, Chen Xi (20) and Yi Xin (10), who were there to lend family support. He obliged with requests for photos from members of the audience and enthusiastically shook Dan and my hands and wished us, “All the SUPER best!” in our quest for babies. AND for a dad of a 20 year-old son, he looked amazingly young. When I’m a parent of teenagers, I wanna look as young as he does too!!!
Rubbing shoulders with Edmund. Literally! (Oh darn, I forgot and sent my top for washing already!)
Following the panel discussion, speaker Kenny Toh spoke on The Pursuit of ParentYhood, where he shared some insights on the challenges he faced in becoming a young parent, ways of overcoming such challenges and the joys of having children.
Shortly after, the lights dimmed and everyone settled into the comfy armchairs with their free popcorn and Coke for the movie, Life As We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. The movie was about how their characters, Holly and Eric “Messer” – who hated each other’s guts – were thrown headfirst into parenthood together when their best friends died and named them as their baby daughter’s legal guardians. The movie had many funny moments (such as the baby pooping in the guy’s favourite cap) as well as heartwarming ones, in particular, when the baby called Holly “Mama” and she finally realised that she wasn’t there to just step in for her dead friend and play the role of mother to the baby, but that she was now the baby’s mother. It’s a movie worth catching! Even my guy friends who tried to diss it as a chick-flick admitted that it was one of the best chick-flicks they had watched.
And there are lessons to learn from it too (good grief, I AM turning into such a nag!) When Holly told a visiting social service worker that in the event that she couldn’t get along with Eric (they are sworn enemies, remember?), she would raise baby Sophie on her own. She acknowledged that it wasn’t an ideal situation, but questioned “When is it ever ideal?”
The same goes for the decision on when is the right time to start a family and when will you ever know that you’re ready to be a parent? There isn’t and will never be a perfect, ideal time or situation to start trying for a family. Life doesn’t fit neatly into regular timeframes and fixed schedules, as much as we love to plan as far as possible to make reality fit into our dream life.
The tagline for the movie was “a comedy about taking it one step at a time”. So yes, while it’s good to plan ahead and plan well for your future, and nobody is asking that you rush into marriage and a life of dirty nappies and late-night milk feeds, do remember that it’s never too early to start making – and keep walking – those baby steps towards realising your family plans, one step at a time.
IT TAKES TIME TO MAKE A BABY!!!!!! (or have I said that already?)