DO JUST ENOUGH RESEARCH
Yvonne, who has recently delivered her baby boy, Alex Junior, says that only when she was close to her last trimester did she start feeling anxious about the impending birth. “I began properly reading up on how to look after a newborn, seeing a lactation consultant to find out more about breastfeeding, as well as getting tips from my mummy friends.
“My husband Alex and I also attended a parenting workshop called 1st 60 Days, which my sister recommended. It’s organised by a group of parents who’ve come together to share their experiences on preparing for a baby. I believe it’s enough – there’s no point overwhelming myself, because all babies are different.”
ACCEPT ADVICE FROM FRIENDS…
The 38-year-old actress says she’s lucky to be surrounded by women who are already mothers. “My younger sister sent her notes on babycare to me, while one of my girlfriends meticulously put together a confinement manual on the foods to eat and avoid. I also received tips from Alex’s friends’ wives in Taiwan – according to them, the best remedy for water retention is to soak chi xiao dou (Azuki beans) for 30 minutes, boil them and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes before drinking”
Fellow celeb mum Fann Wong also shared valuable advice: “She told me to leave everything to the confinement lady for the first month, so I can rest as much as possible and recover more quickly.”
… BUT USE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED
“My sister says the foetus has to listen to classical music. But it’s not my cup of tea, so I still listened to hip-hop and R&B. I didn’t read to my baby in the womb but I talked to him. I didn’t heed every piece of advice I got – I just took what made sense and felt comfortable to me.”
HAPPY MUM = HAPPY BABY
The junk-food lover, who enjoys fried food, ice cream and cakes, says she did feel guilty occasionally for indulging. “Alex commutes between Singapore and Taiwan, so he’s not here all the time. It’s troublesome to cook just for myself, so I mostly eat out.
“Once a fortnight, I’d cook a simple meal of steamed fish, eggs, soup and greens. I take low-fat milk and yogurt, but I can’t resist Oreos! This morning, I made toast with scrambled eggs and organic tomatoes, but succumbed to Old Chang Kee in the afternoon. (Laughs)
“Alex didn’t really nag me, because he loves food too. But when he does, I tell him that the key to a happy baby is a happy mummy.”
WHATEVER WILL BE, WILL BE
Yvonne is taking it a day at a time – she admits she hasn’t started thinking about what kind of mother she hopes to be. But one thing’s for sure: she’s all for a strict upbringing.
“My late mum raised my three siblings and I to be well-behaved. She didn’t believe in spoiling us – we had to save up for what we wanted, we did the household chores and observed etiquette during meals. These are basic values I wish to pass on to Alex Junior. I don’t want to become a Tiger mum, but if he turns out bratty, I might have to.”
But she may have to contend with Alex undoing her good work. “He’s more easy-going than me, and envisions himself to be the cool Dad! (Laughs) I’ve already started emphasising to him how important it is that we’re on the same page.”
DON’T FORGET YOUR SENSE OF SELF
“Acting has always been my passion, so I want to strike a good balance between my career and family. I want to still do something for myself, and not be someone whose life revolves around my child,” says Yvonne.
KEEP THE PEACE BETWEEN YOU AND HUBBY
Arguments over how many kids to have are common in a marriage, and Alex and Yvonne aren’t any different. She says: “Alex loves kids, but I want to stop at two. I can’t picture us being Jon & Kate Plus 8! (Laughs) And given our ages, I don’t know if we’ll be blessed with another child, so we’ll let nature take its course.”
HAVE A POST-BABY GOAL TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Yvonne knows that the months after delivery will be busy and chaotic, but that isn’t stopping her from looking forward to travelling again. “I really wanted to enjoy a trip before giving birth, and had been Googling quick getaways to Koh Samui or Phuket, but I can’t fly anymore. Alex and I haven’t even gone on our honeymoon, and we’ll probably travel with our baby next time. Maybe we’ll make do with a staycation for now,” she says.
This article was originally published in Simply Her January 2015.