Celeb mum-to-be Velda Tan: I’ll tell my daughter not to quit school, unlike me

Fashionista Velda Tan opens up about her rocky road to pregnancy and what kind of mum she aspires to be.

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Social media maven and fashion It-girl Velda Tan’s life story is an open book. One look at the successful serial entrepreneur’s Instagram page (@belluspuera) ― which boasts 153k followers ― will tell you exactly what this pregnant 30-year-old is up to.

Velda, who celebrated her fifth wedding anniversary recently with her restaurateur husband Frederick Yap, 30, also marked her second trimester with a babymoon in Bali. Scroll further and you’ll marvel at her stunning sense of fashion, even though she’s sporting an eight-month bump.

Velda, who has been a presence in the local fashion scene for over a decade, and co-founded Love, Bonito with her sister, Viola, and best friend, Rachel Lim, is now the creative brain behind Collate The Label, her fourth business venture.

And while Velda is comfortable living in the limelight, she quickly admits that it’s not a reflection of her real life.

“On Instagram, you only get to see the highlights,” Velda notes. “You don’t really see what happens when you’re running a business or even for me struggling to get pregnant for the last two years.”

Indeed, despite her picture-perfect social media posts, it wasn’t always the case offline. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects fertility, Velda’s road to a baby was a tough one ― something she kept tightly under wraps. The down-to-earth social media celeb opens up to SmartParents about the obstacles she faced while trying to conceive, and her hopes and dreams for her daughter

Hi, Velda, you’re looking great! Pregnancy really agrees with you. So, how has it been so far?
Surprisingly, it’s been easier than I thought. I’ve had a very smooth journey. None of the morning sickness or pregnancy complications I read about in books. Since my journey to becoming pregnant wasn’t so easy, I thought the pregnancy might not be all that smooth either. So, I’m very thankful for how it’s turned out.

It was very disappointing, after each failed cycle I would take it out on my husband. But he’s never really blamed me for anything. It wasn’t a blaming game between us, it was more of getting through it together.

How did you find out about your fertility issues?
Five years ago, after we got married, I went to the gynae for a pre-conception screening because we were doing some family planning. That’s when I found out I had PCOS, but I didn’t really take it seriously then. I thought if my mum could give birth to three daughters with PCOS, I wouldn’t have any problems either. It was only two years back when we started to actively try for a baby that we realised it was not happening.

What did you and Frederick do then?
My first gynae put me on medication. I did nine Clomid cycles over two years. Clomid is a fertility drug that is supposed to help me ovulate, because my body wasn’t doing it on its own. I don’t think the medication was suitable for my body, I put on 10kg and had bad mood swings. We also ended up not seeing any results. It was very disappointing, after each failed cycle, I would take it out on my husband. But he’s never really blamed me for anything. It wasn’t a blaming game between us, it was more of getting through it together.

What happened next?
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to get a second opinion, but I guess we were busy with work and when you’re in the grind of things, you don’t put your health as a priority.  Eventually, my friend recommended a fertility specialist to me, since my old gynae wasn’t one. My new gynae was clear on the direction he was about to take. He first put my husband through a fertility test, which he was cleared from. For me, since medication wasn’t working, we decided to go for hormonal injectables, a pre-IVF procedure, to stimulate my ovaries to produce enough eggs. However, one of the side effects is hyper ovulation syndrome [when ovaries become swollen and painful, which I did get ― I was bloated like I was 6 months pregnant.