Melody Chen, 40, is finally preggers after being married to actor Randall Tan for nine years. The erstwhile actress (who appeared in 90s TV dramas like Spin and Happy Belly, and 1998 film The Teenage Textbook Movie) announced the news via this super-sweet pic on her social media yesterday.
8 DAYS: Congrats on your pregnancy! How far along are you?
MELODY CHEN: Thank you! We’re very happy. I’m about 16 weeks pregnant.
Most people announce their pregnancies at three months, but you waited till four.
I would have waited till six months, but with twins, I’m starting to balloon up and it’s a bit hard to give excuses already, like, I ate a huge burrito or pizza, or I can’t do this show that involves beer. (Laughs)
How’s the pregnancy treating you?
I’ve been very lucky; I didn’t have any morning sickness. The only thing that I’m concerned about is I had LEEP surgery a couple of years ago. It’s what you do when you have abnormal cells in your cervix, which may progress into cervical cancer. I was a big advocate of [getting regular pap smears]; I was quite lucky ’cos I spotted [the abnormal cells] early and did the surgery and it was all was good, but they removed a bit of the cervix, which means your cervix is shortened. So when you get pregnant, with a single baby, it should be okay, but with multiples, it can get a bit heavy on the cervix, so I just have to rest more and stay horizontal whenever I can. [The situation] may cause pre-term labour, so we have to monitor it carefully. I can’t be one of those crazy mamas who work out and lift weights and do Crossfit! (Laughs)
You’ve been married for nine years. Was this a planned pregnancy?
This pregnancy was a complete surprise for us. I've already had two miscarriages including a failed IVF. We always wanted kids so we’ve been trying from the start, but it just never happened. In 2012, I had a miscarriage. There was no heartbeat, and it happened pretty early on. We never went for help [despite not getting pregnant for many years] ’cos I thought that if it’s wasn’t meant to be, then it wasn’t. I didn’t really want to go through the invasive stuff [you have to do for IVF, like injections and hormone therapy] — I was quite fearful of it.
What made you change your mind about IVF?
We decided to try IVF early this year, because in a way, I wanted to shut some people up. Some family and friends have been like, “Why don’t you try IVF? You’ve been trying for so many years.” We thought, fine, we’ll just try. So I pumped myself up with hormones, but we only managed to get two little eggs, as opposed to many, many eggs like most people. It was a sad case. It failed, and we cleared [the eggs] out. I call the IVF a miscarriage, [even though technically, it’s not], ’cos it’s two disappointments. When you’re almost 40 and this is the last year you’re going to try… and you go for broke, but it fails… it was pretty heartbreaking.
So how did this pregnancy happen?
After the IVF, we basically gave up. We were like, “Forget it, that’s it. It’s done. Let’s just go travelling.” But then… something happened. (Laughs) Some people would say it’s leftover hormones from the IVF. Another thing is also age. I’m 40 this year and I’m moving towards menopause, and sometimes, the body gets rid of eggs pretty quickly, and then, boom! (Laughs) I wouldn’t mind if it was due to the IVF, and it should have been the case, but that didn’t work for us.
Then along comes this sort of miracle.
It really is a miracle. Randall and I were so not expecting it. I didn’t have the usual pregnancy symptoms. We travelled to Hongkong, and I climbed a mountain. We had omakase sushi, one of the best I ever had, and drank sake, and partied till 5am. At that time, I was seven weeks along. I had no idea. I was kind of putting on weight, but it’s the usual, you go on holiday and you eat a lot. When I came back, I went to the gynae for a check-up, and that’s when we found out.
Do twins run in your family at all?
No, not at all. There are so many factors that could have contributed to this, and I don’t really know what happened, but it’s okay. As long as [the babies] are healthy — I don’t want to question it! If people want to think it’s IVF and due to leftover hormones, so be it. All I know is it wasn’t those two eggs which were put in, for sure, ’cos I had major bleeding and they bled out. A reason could be that I have irregular periods, so sometimes my body produces two eggs and the next month, I don’t get my period. The irregular periods were also the reason it was hard to get pregnant, and also, I have a low egg count. I’m kind of moving towards menopause… yeah, something like early menopause.
Do you know if you’re having boys or girls, or both?
There are a few guesses, but with two, it’s hard to tell. It’s a bit cramped in there, and we’re trying to peek, like, “Open your legs!” They are fraternal twins, so they each have their own ‘room’. They could be the same sex or different, but they will look different. They will not be identical. We don’t have a preference in terms of gender —just please be healthy, and I hope I can carry to term. I think I will need lots of bedrest.
Do you plan to keep working?
I have my radio shift every week day, but I’ve cut down on hosting gigs and events. We’ll see how it goes in the months to come. I’ve been trying to take it easy.
How about Randall? What’s he working on at the moment?
Randall’s got a lot more stuff coming — he’s been going for a lot of castings and auditions and he’s secured some dramas and stuff.
Do you think being a mum a little later than usual will have any influence on the kind of parent you’ll be?
I think we’ve lived life a little bit and seen certain things that you wanna avoid [in terms of parenting], but I’ve also seen some young mothers who are really great. If I had been pregnant much earlier, a lot of things would have been different. We’ve been quite cool so far, and one of the first things I thought was like, Yay, I have quite a few friends who are done with kids and pregnancies, so I get their hand-me-downs. I’m not shy to ask! (Laughs) There are a lot of things they’re happy to get rid of, like they’ll say, “I pass you my breast pump!” I’m glad I can save money!
Do you feel a bit stressed about having twins? I mean, it’s two of everything! Are you worried about how you’re going to cope, and about money?
Yes, money would come into the picture [and be a concern] with every family. We’ll just take in our stride. Whatever we have now, we’ll just keep saving. I’m sure I’ll make it back! Stay positive and believe that things will work out. I’ve always believed that God won’t give me something I can’t handle. It will be challenging, from what I hear from friends who have twins, especially in the first few years. We just have to focus on the good parts! But it’s also good that we have two at one go, then close shop! We’re making up for lost time! (Laughs)