Parenthood: No one is ever quite ready.

Monday, 17 August 2015

I'm at this stage in my life when I'm constantly exhausted from work, and there are days when I can literally hear my tired old bones creak the moment I drag myself out of bed. I'm at an age where most women are learning to slow down, and truly live life - but I do not make comparisons. I may be tired and old and cranky most days, but I am in a good place right now.

I'm happy.

Not the kind of happy euphoria that comes with youth, or the heart-bursting joy which comes as a response to a positive news. It's more of a 'settled' kind of happy - a state of being blissful and simply being contented.

I think having a wonderful family had that effect on me.

When the husband and I got married, we didn't have any concrete plans. As two separate persons, we were not (and are not, still, to a huge extent) the type of people who set life plans for ourselves. When we were younger, we didn't entertain thoughts of 'having to be married by a certain age and have an x number of kids by the time we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, so that by the time we were in our 40s, we would have the luxury of living life without worrying about diapers, urgent calls from schools, and staying up all night with a kid who is burning up. Marriage was not even in the cards, more so having a kid.

We were all good until we met each other. What we didn't realise was that when two people are comfortable being together and accept each other through our own personal faults, there was this natural tendency to want to take it further. To seal the deal, so to speak - and we raised a lot of eyebrows when we decided to get married. We were flighty, and we lived life for the moment, and marriage would not change us. Marriage didn't... but we also didn't count on finding out that we were expecting a baby less than a year into the marriage. It happened entirely by chance and it caught us both by surprise, but our lives, since then - has never, ever been the same.

“Making the decision to have a baby is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” 
– Elizabeth Stone
Truth be told, I was worried. I was turning 36, and there are a multitude of problems which an older woman can experience in pregnancy. We started off the pregnancy on a less than conventional note, and because of what happened, up till today, I will still attest that Caden is truly a gift. I cannot begin to describe the mixed feeling of dread and joy which I faced everytime I was due for a check up, and the sheer elation when I see the smile on my gynae's face as she shows me the ultrasound on screen, month after month. The husband was present with me every step of the way, and he was the assuring voice to my inner panic, and the soothing hand which held my icy ones. Blood tests, Nuchal Transparency scan, the Anomaly Scan, a high blood pressure scare, several 3D scans and a 4D scan later - our son was born. That was also the day our lives truly began.

I am extremely thankful that he was born healthy, but it was also a challenging time for us because we didn't know what to do, and what to expect. For the first time in our lives, we were guided only by our instincts, and we were now responsible for the little, helpless being. We are no longer 2 individuals per se, but we are now committed to leading the little one through life, and making sure that we have everything covered to make the often arduous journey a little smoother.

The husband was the first person to carry Caden, and he was also the first one between the two of us to change his diaper. I've never even carried a baby (more so a newborn) until that day when he was placed unceremoniously in my arms. There was still that niggling feeling of doubt of being a Mum, but it was there and then I realised, that I would give up the world for this little boy of mine. And I knew that my husband felt the same way, too.

Caden turns 5 in 5 months. It has been a crazy journey thus far - filled with many wonderments and challenges that only those with children would know. There were times when the loud thud followed by a shriek makes the blood drains from my face, and there are many nights when I lay beside his feverish body, wishing that I could take all his pain away. There are days when all I want to do is hide in my room (alone!) with all the shades drawn and just enjoy the silence, and there are times when I get so tired of having to do things exactly as how he pictures them to be, and after I've gotten up for the nth time because 'I now need to pee, Mummy, it was too early earlier', I'm just about ready to scream. Quite often I do, I kid you not, and then feel guilty afterward because he made sure that a pee-accident did not happen unnecessarily.

The husband and I work. We work crazy days, he and I, and we share a mutual understanding that no matter what happens, one of us will at least try to be there for the boy as much as our time permits. Some days, we are both tired and exhausted, mentally and physically - and we know that we are not alone. Many parents in Singapore face the same issues we do, and what we all have in common is that we always want to provide the very best for our kids.

We worry about the high costs of childcare, medical care, and higher education. We worry about our age, and fear that we may not be around till at least he's able to stand on his feet. There are things in life which we can control, and there are other things which we aren't able to. No one plans to get sick, injured or to die unexpectedly and we all have a tendency to think that it won’t happen to us. But it does, and I have come across way too many young people who are gone too soon.  We discuss accidents and illnesses and what happens if either one of us dies when there are still commitments to fulfil, because we are a family now, and we are one.

Whether you are newly married, or have celebrated a few anniversaries together, starting a family can be quite intimidating, It's like being on a vast ocean with no map or land in sight, and all that you have got with you are your wits, your love, and your courage.

Despite all its challenges, I promise you that the experience, with all its thrills and spills, is priceless. Parenthood is a beautiful journey, one that none of us will ever be quite ready for, but it is one which will change you for the better. It is about giving without expecting anything in return, and finally truly understanding what unconditional love is all about. You will never be quite ready for the surge of emotions which you will be assailed with when they first return your hug fiercely and call you 'Mummy or Daddy', nor will you be prepared for the sense of protectiveness and love which will hit you the moment that you realise that the kids are the only subjects in life which are truly, and completely yours.

You want to make sure that your family is well protected as much as possible, and with 'AXA Family Advantage', you can start right from the time that the pregnancy is 16 weeks old. I wish that I had known about this when I was pregnant back then - because as much as we hope to keep healthy and deliver healthy babies, there are a slew of pregnancy related conditions which can happen. The insurance coverage starts from the mother and the unborn child, but it doesn't just stop there. In addition to this, you can select from 8 different types of plans (protection, savings and investment) which basically prepares you and your spouse for parenthood. More information can be found and downloaded here.

If you, like me (and many, many parents out there) need a break from having to clean the house when you are tired from a hard days' work, simply take a chance at having the Daddy Rescue Team clean and sing for you. On top of that, all entries stand a chance to win 1 grand prize of a Babycation weekend stay for 2, at Capella Sentosa!

AXA Daddy Rescue Contest

Readers stand a chance to win a home cleaning session courtesy of the AXA Daddy Rescue team who will mop, clean, wipe and sing via a radio contest.

The contest will be aired on Class 95FM between 6am to 10am, with 3 weekly winners being selected on the 21st of August, 28thof August and 4th of September respectively.

SMS: AXA <space> Name <space> NRIC <space> Why you deserve this, to 76677.
The most creative reason wins.

Contest ends on the 17th of September, The grand prize of a Babycation weekend stay for 2 at Capella Sentosa worth $2,000 will be announced on the 18th of September.


Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by AXA Insurance. All opinions are my own. 
Seriously though, sponsored post aside,  isn't this a great plan to invest in? Our family always have, and always will - come first.


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