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I have a daughter!

Oh goodness. It’s been 4 months since I wrote something!

Our daughter, Olivia Tan, arrived on Monday 30 November 2015, 9 days before her due date. Life was a bit of a whirlwind in the first couple of months, but now, 3.5 months in, we’re in calmer waters 🙂

We didn’t expect Olivia to come so early. We pretty much rocked up to our doctor’s on the morning of Sunday 29 November for a routine check up, and got told we should check in that night to be induced.

“By this time tomorrow, you will have your baby in your hands!,” Dr Sheela announced with a smile.

Keith and I were stunned. I mean, we knew Olivia would be coming out soon, but that soon? A visit to Bangsar Village, furious packing for the hospital and a few work errands later, we were back at Sheela Maternity Centre at 11pm. I was induced at midnight, and Olivia was born at 9.09am. It wasn’t pain-free, for sure, but I have a lot to be grateful for.

The first month with Olivia was tough. Even though I thought I was super prepared to be a mum, I didn’t predict how exhausted I’d be, how hormonal I would get and how hard breastfeeding would be!

The second month was better. And now, I can say with confidence that Keith and I have settled into a new norm. I can’t imagine our days without Olivia anymore, and waking up for feeds in the middle of the night and cleaning poop are as normal as brushing teeth 🙂

One big thing I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to understand what it feels like to be a mother until we become mothers ourselves. I thought that being an aunty and babysitter would mean I’d have a seamless transition into motherhood. But I was really wrong. Sure, it helps to know how to entertain or feed kids beforehand, but the emotions of motherhood that pour in, and the responsibility you suddenly feel? I only understood those after Olivia was born.

The understanding came with tears at the beginning. Coupled with exhaustion and hormonal changes, motherhood just felt overwhelming. I always felt calm whenever I was with Olivia, but whenever I put her down, the never-ending to-do list in my mind would consume me and I wouldn’t know where to begin. Pumping (Olivia didn’t learn to latch until last month). Trying to increase my milk supply. The house to be cleaned. The bottles and pump equipment to be sterilised. Laundry. Hosting visitors and family. With a body that was still bleeding, stitches healing, sleep deprivation, there was a lot to take in. Even eating, taking a bath and going to the toilet felt like chores, so much so that I developed UTI!

But now that our routine has settled, I’m blown away by the emotions of motherhood. It’s like a rich warmth that wells up from the inside. A love that is so pure that you are willing to lay your life down for it. What a privilege it is to be a mum.

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