Celeb mum-to-be Chua Leelian: Unplanned pregnancy a precious gift

Having a baby in her 40s wasn’t Chua Leelian’s plan, but this isn’t stopping her from embracing motherhood.

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In December 2016, Mediacorp Love 97.2 radio DJ Chua Leelian, 43, broke the Internet when she dropped a double bomb. She had married ― again ― after a whirlwind romance to a man she only wants to refer to as Mr Lee. But the shocks didn’t end there ― she announced that she was also three months pregnant with her first child!

Who is this mystery man whom she refuses to show pictures of or reveal his real name? And how has pregnancy been treating her? We catch up with the bubbly presenter…

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Did you ever think you would be having a baby in your 40s?

I never thought I would get pregnant at this age. So, it was really a surprise and I think of is as a precious gift. Initially, I was very shocked and scared when I found out. I wasn’t ready to accept it even after taking the blood test at the doctor and getting a positive result. Three weeks later, when I went for my first scan, I saw and heard his heartbeat. Only then did I come to terms with the fact that I was going to become a mum. We are having a boy, by the way!

How did you find out you were preggers?

I actually didn’t know until I was 8 weeks into the pregnancy. I didn’t have any morning sickness, but I was feeling sleepy all the time and didn’t have much of an appetite. I didn’t know what was going on. Then I decided to take a pregnancy test and everything made sense.

My husband and I are both already in our 40s, so we feel we need to prepare our son for life sooner rather than later.

How are you preparing for the birth?

I will be taking my 16 weeks of maternity. Since I’m due in mid June, I will start my maternity leave at the beginning of June, so that I’ll have some time to rest. We haven’t drafted a birth plan yet, but I have a few things in mind already. I will probably do a natural birth and opt for pain relief. I’m also interested in having as much skin-to-skin contact as possible with baby once he comes out because I hear it helps with milk flow and bonding. I have a fur kid, a cute maltipoo named Row Row. I haven’t prepared him for the birth in anyway but I really hope he’s understanding [chuckles]. But he’s a very happy dog and can live with anyone who gives him food.

What about postnatal care. Everything set?

Since I’m an older mum, my Chinese physician thinks I should do a longer confinement period. So, instead of the usual 30 days, I will do 40 days. I won’t be able to see my dog during that time, which is a little disappointing.

What kind of mum do you think you’ll be?

I think I’m going to be a strict mum, maybe even a Tiger Mum. Lots of boundaries and no means no. Definitely no smothering, hovering or pampering. Just lots of love and guidance.

Do you and your hubby share the same parenting philosophy?

Mostly yes. We both agree that we want our son to grow up to be as independent as possible. This is largely due to the fact that my husband and I are both already in our 40s, so we feel we need to prepare our son for life sooner rather than later. We want to make sure he can take care of himself before we get too old. We joke that we want our baby to be able to make his own milk by the time he is 3 months old! Another thing we agree on is that we want our son to be multilingual. My parents only speak Teochew and a little Mandarin and my father-in-law only speaks Hakka. So, we are hoping he will pick up all these languages and maybe even some Hokkien, if possible!

More about Leelian’s “mystery man”, plus, how she plans on juggling her radio gig with a newborn…

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This is your second marriage ― you were married before for 12 years. Tell us more about your hubby. How did you both meet?

He is someone who is not part of the media circle and a few years older than me. That’s all I’ll say about him. As to how we met, a friend told me that his ex-colleague was very available and a really good guy. So, I planned a group outing and brought two of my girlfriends with me, hoping one of them would hit it off with this guy. In the end he and I ended up hitting it off. The rest is history.

How is this marriage different from your first?

I feel very much at peace when I’m around him. I like the things that he says and his outlook of life. We just seem to work. I’ve always been kind of lively, but that’s another word for being all over the place. This marriage has taught me how to be more grounded. I can release all of my unhappiness or dissatisfaction around him and he will be totally fine with it. We also find each other to be very funny. He comes across as a calm and quiet person, but he can also be very funny at times.

Do you think your husband will make a good father?

Definitely. I think my husband is going to be a better caregiver than me, just from watching him take care of my dog. He can communicate with Row Row in a way I never could.

I think my husband is going to be a better caregiver than me, just from watching him take care of my dog.

How do you plan on juggling work and motherhood once you come back to work?

To be honest, I really don’t know. My shift is from 5pm to 9pm, but those are not my only working hours. Sometimes, I come in as early at 10am, other days I’m a bit lazier and come in at 4.30pm. Whatever time I come in, I usually only end at about 10pm or 11pm, because I have to do editing every day for trailers, programme highlights for the next day, advertisements and interviews. I also do hosting gigs for the People’s Association, the Chingay Parade and Grassroots sing-a-long sessions. My mother seems to be more worried about the childcare arrangements than I am, because she keeps asking me about it. At the moment, my hubby and I are open to putting him in infantcare and are also on the lookout for a nanny.

You are pretty open about sharing your life with your listeners. How much of your baby’s life will you share on social media?

For now, I don’t plan on showcasing my child on social media at all. I don’t even do that with my husband. But when my son grows up and decides he wants more exposure, that’s his choice.

Do you have plans to have more kids?

It can get lonely growing up alone, so my husband and I would love to have a second one, but it really depends. The risk is much higher with age, so we will see how it goes. You never know!

Catch Chua Leelian weekday evenings from 5pm to 9pm on Love 97.2FM.

Photography: Kelvin Chia Assisted by Steven Imanuel
Art direction: Rachel Lim and Paulyn Ng Assisted by Lim Li Xuan
Styling: Ben Chin Assisted by Joan Tay
Hair: Kenneth Ong using La Biosthetique Paris
Make up: Angel Gwee using RMK cosmetics
Pic credits: Jacket, $119, by Zara. Dress, $358.98, from Bellice at Maternity Exchange.

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