Michelle Bong with her best friend's daughter.
For the longest time, I never wanted kids. My girlfriends (mums themselves) and exes used to remark that I’d make a great mum. I never shared the sentiment.
I couldn’t imagine myself as a heavily pregnant woman or a mother scrambling after a screaming tyke to shovel creamed spinach into his little protesting mouth. It didn’t help that none of my exes was Daddy material.
It also didn’t help that the cost of bringing up a family in Singapore is astronomical, to say the least. You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? To me, it seemed like it takes a village to pay for his way, too.
But that was my former self. It’s 2016, I’m preparing to walk down the aisle, and I can’t wait to have children. Who knew? The notion, once so ridiculous, puts a smile on my face. While I realise I am arriving very fashionably late to the baby party, I’m filled with joy — instead of trepidation — that I’m able to experience this milestone in my life.
No, not the milestone of getting married, though that’s a huge deal-maker; but preparing for motherhood and everything it brings. It’s like signing up to participate in some crazy Japanese game show — I’m dying to experience every single challenge, yet terrified of what’s to come.
Motherhood is not for everyone. While many women I know have been dreaming for years about one day starting a family, complete with kids’ names picked out, there are just as many who will not consider it, for various personal reasons. For both camps, it’s a choice they rightfully exercise.
I can only imagine how hard parenting is, even though I’ve seen, first-hand, what my mum went through. A homemaker, she struggled to care for me, my twin and our younger sister while Dad worked hard to put food on the table.
I wasn’t an easy child to bring up; I was either annoyingly rebellious or sickly. Having reached adulthood to become a happy woman who truly loves life, I realise that Mum’s tenacity and unconditional love paved my difficult way.
What do I hope motherhood will bring me? The same glow I see on my mum’s face when we go on special “dates”, or when the extended family gets together for Sunday dinner, or when I surprise her with her favourite snacks. This Mother’s Day, I send extra love to all mums out there, who remain the true architects of the future. Go on, you good things.
Photo: Michelle Bong
This story was first published on ELLE.sg on 8 May 2016.