22 July 2019, by Cheryl Wee

I used to hate my body…until I became a mum

The past 3 years have been life-changing for me, literally.

With a 14-month-old Marc at home, and another baby along the way, pregnancy and motherhood has indeed brought about many changes and taught me things I never knew.

I came from a point in life some years back where I hated my body. Despite weighing at 42kg, I felt fat and ugly and would resort to extreme crash diets and riding on a yo-yo bingeing and starving cycle. It was all about myself and my weight and letting others’ perspective take control of how I view my body or what I should be.

My health took a toll with one of the consequences being secondary amenorrhea for 1.5 years and about 4 to 5 years of irregular periods. My parents and then boyfriend (now husband), Roy, were really worried about my health and my emotional and mental state. They encouraged me to start my own business and be out of the limelight, and perhaps put my artiste dreams on hold and focus on preparing for our wedding.

Cheryl with her dad and soon-to-be husband by her side

After our wedding, I remembered my period came back once and I was so happy as if I’d struck the lottery, as it has been coming back on and off for the past 5 years. So now every time I get my period, it’s like woohoo!!! And so I went back to my gynae who I met 2 years back for my amenorrhea, she said, “Once you’re ready to have kids and not be on a diet, we can talk then”.

Having visited her, she was very reassuring that I’m alright and all I needed to do was not be stressed about family planning and let it happen naturally, but first, it’ll be good to eat normally and allow my body to menstruate regularly.

Perhaps it’s the lack of expectation and stress that we conceived 2 months after the wedding. This came as a surprise for us as I thought it would take longer, or my body needed to recover. Till today, we believe it’s by God’s grace that we conceived so quickly, and having a rather smooth pregnancy with Marc (with the exception of morning sickness for the first 14 weeks).

Though being pregnant has been smooth sailing thus far, I’ve learned and realise not to take health, fertility, and pregnancy for granted. My pregnancy journey taught me to love my body for what it can do, to love another life above ours, and that everyone is made different and goes through different things.

Firstly, ironically, pregnancy taught me how to love my body again, and not to see it as how others’ would. Fat or thin, it does not matter as long as I am conscious of what I eat nourishing my body and my baby well, without under or over eating.

Secondly, to me, pregnancy and parenthood are about loving another life above yourself. When we focus on loving someone, the sacrifices seem small and never a burden, because we genuinely want to do so.

And in these 14 months as a mom, though the days are long, but the years are short. Watching Marc grow up every single day gives me a sense of fulfilment which nothing else can ever amount to or put a price on.

Cheryl, Roy and Marc

Lastly, all of us are made unique. Every pregnancy, every mummy and mum-to-be, and every baby is different. I find pregnancy and parenthood are pretty much a trial and error journey, and a learn and “re-customize” to fit what works for you and your baby.

So really, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself! All we can do is be aware and informed and do the best we can.

One huge takeaway for me from I Love Children’s talk session at Compass One recently is we may all face different obstacles and experiences, be it infertility or pregnancy.

There are some general guidelines to help pave our paths, such as keeping in mind that age is an important factor, and the best age to conceive is between 26 to 28.

But then again, don’t go fretting about missing that “golden age”. My take is, if possible to follow, great! If not, try anyways!

According to Dr. Janice Tung, if you’ve been trying consistently for one year, 80% of couples should get pregnant by the end of a year. And if things don’t go as plan, perhaps pay a visit to your gynae or make an appointment for a fertility health check as a couple.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share one of I Love Children’s key messages which stood out to me: Being healthy is not a sign of being fertile. So do have your fertility health checked early to have a better understanding of your fertility wellness – more details can be found on ilovechildren.sg.

Guest speakers Cheryl Wee and Dr Janice Tung accepting their gift tokens

Till next time!

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