Children – A Bag of Uncertainties

Children – A Bag of Uncertainties

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Having children has by far been the most gratifying experience in our lives. Good, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the uncertainties that they bring! Hah! All aspects of having a child has a million different ways to go about it and people who aren’t shy with giving opinions on what is the best (in their opinion, some well researched and some not so).

Finances (of course we will start with this)

I’ll be breaking down the cost of having a child soon in another post, given the fact that I am now pregnant with CocoJR #2 and actually taking note of what is being spent! Hopefully that will give more insights to pregnant mummies in Singapore for even with research, we had no clue how much having a baby would really set us back by. I can tell you that all in all, to have CocoJR #1, it cost about $15,000. This is pre-delivery, delivery and post delivery’s year filled with vaccinations.

Having CocoJR #2 now, completely unexpected, was this episode of bleeding that I had. Needless to say, it was a tough week especially emotionally. All is well now, however that’s an example of financial uncertainty you need to be aware of. Being hospitalised for a period of time, with lots of tests being run to diagnose what is wrong, the treatment for which. I was being prepped to deliver at 27 weeks, which would have meant CocoJR #2 would be in an incubator in NICU for a good 2 months. Have a premmie that young can cause all sorts of developmental setbacks, survival issues and if all that wasn’t enough – can cost $2k a day. A day!

For readers who are used to having pregnancy costs covered under insurance, that is simply not available in Singapore. At least not when I had CocoJR #1. A google search now shows there are 5 different offerings for 8 pregnancy complications, most of the plans with a maximum payout of either $5,000 or $10,000 and there’s 1 plan that caps the hospitalisation bill at $100 a day. I took a 6 bedder at a government hospital when I was hospitalised last week, which cost $250 a day. Insurance for maternity has a long way to go in Singapore.

Child Care

When I was pregnant with CocoJR #1, my wise colleagues in Australia were telling me that there’s no way for me to know what life and my desires will be like after actually giving birth. This particular lady, who was somewhat my mentor, told me that when she was pregnant she could have sworn she would never stop working. The day she gave birth and finished her maternity leave, the company had to drag her back kicking and screaming. She’s hilarious.

Quite frankly, I felt the same. Before having the child, I could not fathom not working. I never considered being a stay-at-home-mum, I didn’t know such a community or the term SAHM even existed. I always thought I would work, that’s all I’ve ever been exposed to. My mum worked throughout the years when my brothers and I were young. My mum was awesome though with juggling both work and home, I don’t think I’ll ever reach that level of dedication! I’ll save that for another post!

Then when I had CocoJR #1, there was a rush of emotions that I couldn’t quite describe. The first month was our entire world turned upside down with getting used to waking up every few hours to feed that milk monster and everything that came along with having a child. CocoJR #1 had to battle with jaundice the first month as well, there was even the 2 nights he had to be admitted for phototherapy treatment – worst 2 nights ever for me to be separated from my baby. I suppose if we look back at this point, it was no surprise that I felt so strongly about being home with my baby.

At that point in time though, I struggled. I struggled with wanting to stay home and giving up what I considered the best job I’ve ever had in my working life. I struggled with what we would do on the financial aspect. I struggled with my identity – am I a career woman or a housewife? I struggled with what my family, my in-laws and my husband thought of the arrangement I was proposing. I struggled!!

Even after leaving work full time when CocoJR #1 was 9 months, I couldn’t leave ‘money-making’ aside. We had a e-commerce business all set-up and running, with a lot of time equity from me that I put on myself. I still struggled with the fact that I wasn’t earning anything! Of course when I resigned, the intention was that I will be home with CocoJR #1 for a few months and then get back into the workforce in 3 months of so after I settled CocoJR #1 in with a live-in helper. I’ll skip the few months here and fast-forward to when Mr.C and I decided we’ll get CocoJR #1 in an infant care center at 18 months. My heart broke to see my baby cry everyday at the center. I would sneak by the center and try to look inside, wearing some disguises like a hat and sunglasses so that CocoJR #1 wouldn’t see me and start crying. It was horrible. After 2 weeks of Mr.C seeing my being so torn and miserable, he agreed we’ll pull CocoJR #1 out and I’ll stay home till we have a better plan.

Child care – a definite uncertainty.

Parenting

This here is a massive category all on it’s own as everything does boil down to parenting style, does it not? From how you speak to the child to what you feed the child to what avenues of entertainment and education is provided to the child right down to how you choose the sleeping arrangement for the child. I know the soundest advice is that there really is no one right way, each little decision on it’s own is one for you to make and to own.

Along the way, you may change your mind on how you had first started out. That’s perfectly fine! We don’t have to stick with 1 way because that is what we said we would do at the beginning. Along the way you may learn more facts and details, you may have had the opportunity to experience yourself what it was like and you want to tweak the approach to one that suits you better. Brilliant – that’s called adapting. It’s one of the reasons I don’t push anything with absolute certainty (e.g. I would never …) – not because I am not clear on what I want, because I fully accept that there’s more that I don’t know than I do know and I would like to opportunity to grow along the way.
Life is full of people who will make it their sole purpose is reminding you what you said ‘last time’. I do quite dislike hearing this, it’s almost like people chastise you for doing better just because it was different from a conversation a month or a year ago.  The good news is they don’t quite matter quite as much as you being alright with your own parenting style, vs. doing it because you are told to do so. There’s nothing more important than following your own head and heart as long as you have done your research on the topic. As always, be kind and polite in responses even to people who go “But last time you said you would not ….”. A simple “I changed my mind” would do, or if you want to elaborate “I did say that and along the way I have learnt x,y,z and therefore I have changed my mind because well, am flexible that way!”. Haha, tongue in cheek 🙂

Our biggest takeaway coming up to 5 years into the journey is that flexibility is a skill and an art. Be flexible with everyone and everything around you and be flexible with yourself. It is a NLP principle that has been proven true time and time again – the person who is the most flexible will control the system. Any system. In this case, the system is being a parent and having children. Dealing with the uncertainties hiding in every corner. Be the person who sees choices and options vs. the person who says – no choice!

Your turn! What was your biggest uncertainty with having children and how did you manage it? Share with us, we’d love to engage!

Author: Ms.K

Ms.K is everything that Mr.C is, without the natural interest in investing and company financials! The activity planner for the family, the driver of random ideas and soon to be ‘retiring’ in to full time motherhood – Ms.K has no idea what she’s in for but remains super excited!

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