Thursday, Feb 12, 2015
Actress Yvonne Lim is the most relaxed mum-to-be we know. She tells CHERYL LEONG how she's sitting back and loving her pregnancy ride.
For a first-time mum-to-be, Yvonne Lim is surprisingly unflustered.
While she's thrilled about her pregnancy, the 38-year-old doesn't seem worried that she's about to take on the most important role of her life.
She exudes a relaxed air, unlike the self-professed "impatient and chop-chop" personality we last interviewed in August 2013.
"I was only slightly worried during my first trimester - if I had aches or pains near my belly, I'd check in with my gynaecologist immediately," she shares. "But as the months passed, I grew more confident and stopped messaging her over everything."
Here, a super-calm Yvonne shares how she stays grounded through the hormonal upheavals, physical changes, heaps of parenting advice and more.
Do Just Enough Research
Yvonne is scheduled to deliver her baby (she's not revealing whether it's a boy or girl) between end December and early January. 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…
Yvonne says she's lucky to be surrounded by women who are already mothers. "My younger sister sent notes on baby care 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 (adzuki 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 listen to hip hop and R&B. I don't read to my baby in the womb, but I talk to him or her. I don't heed every piece of advice I get - I just take what makes sense and feels comfortable to me."
Happy Mum = Happy Baby
The junk-food lover, who enjoys fried food, ice cream and cakes, does 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'll 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 doesn'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 me 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 my child. I don't want to become a Tiger Mum, but if he or she 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 as 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 baby names and 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."
As for the child's name, Alex is adamant about what he's chosen. "I can't reveal the name without revealing the baby's gender, so let's just say that I wanted an easier name. But I respect that Alex is the father; if our kid ever asks about his or her name, I'll push the 'blame' to my husband!" she jokes.
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.
MY CHILD AND I
We gave Yvonne some possible parenting scenarios to think about, to help prep her for motherhood.
If my child…
… is a picky eater. "He or she won't get to eat that meal. Children have to learn the hard way sometimes, but I'd try cajoling first. I don't believe in bribery with treats or toys, so if I can't get through to our child, Alex will have to step in."
… says a bad word for the first time. "I wouldn't scold or yell. I'd reason it out with him or her, and emphasise firmly that Mummy doesn't like it."
… isn't interested in studying. "I'd probably put him or her in the naughty corner. On my part, I'd remind myself not to stress out about schoolwork too much, so that my kid doesn't get put off by it."
… is a sulky and rebellious teen. "I'd cut his or her pocket money. And if my child retorts that he or she could go out and earn their own keep, I'll say: 'Go ahead!'"
… brings home someone I don't like. "I'd try to be open-minded, unless he or she crosses certain boundaries. For instance, I would not tolerate someone who doesn't have basic respect for his or her elders."
Yvonne's tip for water retention in pregnancy: "Soak chi xiao dou (adzuki beans) for 30 minutes, boil them and simmer for 15-20 minutes before drinking." "I want to still do something for myself, and not be someone whose life revolves around my child."
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