Celeb mum-to-be Jenny Tay: The funeral business taught me family comes first!

From pregnancy cravings to her confinement plans, funeral services director Jenny Tay delivers all the deets!

When Jenny Tay and her husband, Darren Cheng, were planning their baby, she never thought it would happen almost immediately.

The couple literally had a bun in the oven within a month. Says Jenny, 31, managing director of Direct Funeral Services, “We felt really blessed that things turned out so smoothly! My initial thoughts were: Wow! The baby’s really efficient!”

After missing her period, Jenny decided to use a pregnancy kit to check while her spouse was at work. In fact, Darren, 32, who’s the executive director of Direct Funeral Services —was sitting in a staff meeting when he received pictures of the positive results.

“He sent me a message with the crying emoji and the next moment, he’d stepped out from the meeting to call me so that we could share the joy together!”

You may be familiar with Jenny and her hubby ― the couple appeared on Channel 5’s documentary series, Death is our Business, which aired in April last year. The series gave viewers a rare insight into the world of undertakers and what it takes to run a family business in, what many would consider, a taboo industry.

“We felt really blessed that things turn out so smoothly according to our plans! My initial thoughts were: Wow! The baby’s really efficient!”

Jenny is one of Roland Tay's four children. The undertaker, 70, grabbed headlines when he provided free funeral arrangements for the poor and families of murder victims. Given her background, unlike other people, Jenny had no qualms conducting conversations about death and the end of life. In fact, she has been deeply interested in the unconventional industry since she was 18.

“I had seen how my father dedicated his life to sending off the deceased in a dignified manner, and most importantly, helping families tide over their most difficult times. I knew I wanted to help people the way he did.”

When her father had a heart attack in 2012, the couple quit their jobs ― in marketing and advertising and healthcare ― to help in the business. Jenny, named one of ELLE Singapore’s Leading Ladies in August, says of her profession, “I think that what we do is a form of essential service to the community and we are helping people, so there is no need to be superstitious about anything.”

The couple is set to welcome their firstborn — a baby girl — in March. Reflecting on her four years of experience in the funeral business, Jenny says it has only taught her to value her loved ones even more. “The funeral business taught me that in the end, what matters most is how loved you are, by your family.”

She adds that it’s so easy to get caught up in one’s career and friends that we neglect the ones who matter the most — family. “I have learnt to be more appreciative of my family and to have more time to spend with them.”

SmartParents cosied up to the mumpreneur to get the lowdown on her pregnancy and how she plans to juggle work with caring for her baby…

Congrats on your pregnancy! How’s it going so far?

I’m 23 weeks into my pregnancy and am really thankful that things have been pretty smooth. Though I’m clueless as to what to expect, I’m grateful to have a group of mummy friends that have been providing me with so much valuable information to guide me through my pregnancy.

Besides the initial nausea in the first trimester and the body aches here and there, it has been quite a nice journey experiencing a new life within me, especially when I feel the baby kicking every day. It’s quite fascinating ― I actually enjoy the kicks!