Dear family and friends in Singapore,
You know who you are. If you’ve once commented on my pregnancy weight, what I should eat during and after pregnancy, this is for you. I understand all the advice you’re ever so willing to shower upon me is done purely out of concern. I appreciate it. However, it has come to the point where I need to draw a line where I say “Don’t cross it!”
Nothing annoys and insults me more than anyone thinking I would do anything to jeopardise Theodore’s well-being. I only want to give my boy the best I ever can.
It all started with a simple “cucumber sandwich”. While it’s common for an average Singaporean to have rice/noodles in all 3 meals of the day, it is by no means the norm in Germany or the UK. It doesn’t mean that one country’s food culture is superior to another. It simply means people around the world have developed different eating habits. Eating a sandwich is NOT seen as a way to go on a diet in the UK. It is a meal by itself whatever sandwich you eat.
While it may shock you that I had a cucumber sandwich for lunch, it is totally normal. Please do not belittle me and tell me to STOP being on a diet because it’s bad for Theodore. For all you know it’s multi-grain brown bread with cucumber and other nutritious ingredients fresh from the Farmers’ Market. Unless you’re interested, I do not see the need to update you on my 3 meals a day and all the fruits and snacks I eat. Get this right – I am not on a diet cos I’m not an idiot.
I’ve struggled with weight issues in my early twenties especially after my year abroad in Japan. I was never overweight, but family members and some “friends” said I was fat. Although I walked with my head held high and wore a UK size 8 and 10 (depending on which shops I go to) pre-pregnancy, I was always watching those scales because I didn’t like those nasty nicknames. I worked hard at the gym for a year and lost weight successfully. Instead of praising my efforts, many of you were quick to judge my new frame and by the way, perfectly healthy weight of 53 kg, 167cm tall. By that point I realised I am only accountable to myself for my own health and it dawned upon me that I didn’t need any of your approval to be healthy.
Is it because I’ve never voiced any unhappiness or dissatisfaction openly before that makes people think it’s always acceptable to comment on my weight even when I’m pregnant? It was shocking when I got my first “Oh you look like you’ve put on weight!” when I was 20 weeks pregnant. Subsequently, advice on weight management starting pouring in – “you should only put on between 10-12kg during your pregnancy”. Even the action of baking a cake was being judged because unlike my blog readers who actually read my posts, you don’t and you assume I eat the entire cake to myself. To set the record straight, my doctor says I’m in a perfectly healthy weight range. It is essential for women to put on weight during pregnancy. We need it to sustain the pregnancy and for breastfeeding too.
I strongly urge you to stop judging what I put in my mouth and what I should be eating after birth. Truth is, things are done VERY differently here. Many of you are experienced mums and you know the challenges which lie ahead of me, so do your part by NOT making it any more complicated by overwhelming me with Chinese practices. For me, it is important that we do what works for our little new family. Less stress on me means a healthier and happier Theodore. Don’t tell me what I should tell my husband to do too. He’s my husband and not a Confinement Nanny in Singapore whom you paid for. He has every right to enjoy fatherhood. I want this out in the open because I don’t want anyone forcing their ideas upon us new parents. Many times, your assumption that things can easily be done just like how you would in Singapore stresses me out because you make me feel like a total idiot who’s incapable of replicating a practice done for decades back home.
I know I sound extremely ungrateful towards all your good intentions. I know tongues are wagging behind my back. I know some might say I’m acting smart and I think I know it all. I know some might say I’ll live to regret when I’m older for not following Chinese confinement rules. However, I have to do what’s right for me, what’s right for our new little family. Please do not worry. I will only do what’s right for Theodore. The least you can do is NOT doubt that.
I hope I won’t be expecting ANY judgment on the food I eat and weight-related comments from now on.