Change is unpredictable yet inevitable. For November’s Change series, we share inspiring stories of encouraging, adapting and embracing change.
People are often afraid of change. There are varying reasons or circumstances that contribute to it but a common denominator is the fear of the unknown. Dealing with changes that concern temporary adjustments can be easy; dealing with something a little more permanent is definitely a whole new challenge. One example of the latter is motherhood.
For Clozette's Editor and Head of Content Becks Ko, navigating life as a mum to her now 18-month-old daughter certainly brought in both expected and unexpected changes in her personal and professional lives.
As someone who “thrives in the knowledge of having control over choices, actions, and circumstances [she’s] in,” Becks admitted that powering through the situation day-by-day is now part of her current routine. Here’s what she has to say about changes brought in by motherhood.
Discovering the bun in the oven
Becks shared that her pregnancy was “neither planned nor unplanned” because she and her husband, whom she has been married to for three years now but has been with for a total of 12, decided to just “let nature take its course”. This made her mentally prepared for when the situation presented itself. Still, finding out that she’s pregnant delivered a wave of emotions.
She remembered that prior to taking the test, she felt so tired and sleepy for at least a week or so, leading to an “impromptu decision to take the test before a work meeting” after feeling nauseous.
Becks recalled: “I bought some pregnancy test kits at the pharmacy, took the test in the public toilet cubicle, and there they were — two lines on the manual tester and the 'pregnant' word flashed across the digital tester (I actually tested twice to be sure). I felt overwhelmed with emotions — the happy kind — just for that split second, but I very quickly pulled myself together since I was in public. Believe it or not, I went on to my meeting and even attended a work event after. I honestly did not think much.”
The first to hear about the news was her best friend who was also a new mum at the time. The next one was her husband whom she surprised that same night with the news by giving him “a pair of baby sneakers along with the pregnancy test sticks.”
Overcoming worries, fears, and challenges
Good news doesn’t always come free. In fact, most of the time, it comes its own set of hurdles. For Becks, it was three main things.
One, she wondered whether she would get her pre-pregnancy body back. It was one of her earliest fears in the midst of her pregnancy, which thankfully eased after giving birth.
“It became less of a concern for me. I was just too busy worrying about whether the baby was breastfeeding well or sleeping well,” Becks quipped.
Next were more external concerns such as thoughts on being “financially comfortable” with a baby on the way and the possible struggle in maintaining friendships given the new chapter in her life (especially on top of her already busy work schedule).
“These are concerns that I am still navigating through, as a family and as an individual,” Becks admitted. “But I’ve learnt that in life, you win some, lose some. There have to be compromises.”
It also helped that people were more than supportive of her situation, especially during the most delicate times of her pregnancy. It had its ‘quirks’ but she was able to look back at those moments fondly.
“Everyone was so happy for me. There was no negativity at all! If anything, my parents were obsessed about fussing over me and my health — which I did not particularly enjoy because of all that ‘nagging.'”
On a changed perspective about motherhood
When she’s not working or sleeping or busy doing something else, Becks now spends her time just being a mum. She admitted that motherhood has definitely “taken a toll on [her social life]” as well as her “treasured ‘me’ time”. However, it has been replaced by something that is equally precious: the “irrevocable joy” that comes with watching over her baby.
“Some days are just harder than the others. You still have to be a mother when you’re exhausted, when you’re sick, or when you’re struggling to meet deadlines. There are no off days being a mum. I now look at mothers with newfound respect. Mothers are truly beyond superhuman.”
Motherhood also changed the way she sees life in general. It was no longer about the worries she had prior to giving birth but realising that her life is now an extension of someone else’s.
“With every crawl she makes, every step she takes, every word she says, it really changes the way I approach life. Why worry about things that are out of my control? Why worry about matters that, say, will not matter to me five years down the road? I have better things to do — like watching my baby girl grow.”
Doing things differently and adapting to change
When asked if there's something she wishes she had done differently after knowing what she knows now, such as planning her pregnancy earlier or later than she did, Becks gave a firm no. After all, while being a new mum brings in challenges especially given her active career and lifestyle, she has learnt to find and appreciate the rewards that come with this new chapter in her life.
Looking back at her self pre-pregnancy, this was what Becks had to share: “Don’t be too hard on yourself. On top of being an employee, a wife, and a friend, you’ll be a new mum blessed with a little human you’ll be responsible for. You’re not expected to know what you’re doing, and you most certainly will not be able to give your 100 per cent in every single thing. Give yourself grace.”
Onto more inspiring talks about women navigating through change here.