If you’re one of Cheryl Wee’s 75.7K IG followers, you would have seen the actress-slash-Jean Yip-heiress detailing her (sometimes bumpy) journey to motherhood. It all started when she announced her pregnancy via a cute and creative Christmas video showing Cheryl and her architect husband, Roy Fong, tearing open their Xmas presents before revealing a card with the words “#weefongababy. Coming 2018” printed on it. Well, after 40 weeks, false labour pains, week-long contractions, and many, many #weefongababy social media updates later, Cheryl and Roy welcomed their 3kg bundle of joy into this world. Although, according to the new mum, she experienced more shock than joy when she first set eyes on her son.
8 DAYS: It’s been about a week since you gave birth, so how has motherhood been for you?
CHERYL WEE: I don’t really know what it means to be a mother yet ’cos I’m still so new to parenthood. But I love my baby very much and want the best for him. Like, when I contracted a postpartum urinary tract infection (UTI), the doctor said it’s okay to still feed my baby even if I’m taking antibiotics. But I just didn’t feel comfortable doing so. So to be safe, I’d take the medicine early in the morning and only breastfeed him in the afternoon.
They say being a mum makes one selfless.
I have a really long road ahead to learn what it’s like to be a mom. From what little experience I have, there’s a lot of joy [to motherhood]. But there are also moments of self-doubt and guilt. Like when I was unaware that I was pregnant, and I ate sashimi and pineapple, and even did slimming treatments at [my company] Cheryl W Wellness & Weight Management! And I felt guilty ’cos I didn’t know if those things would have have hurt my baby. Or when I see his skin peeling now, I wonder if I passed my eczema to him. When I was running a fever in the delivery room, I worried if my fever would cause him any harm. They say being a mom is all about sacrifice. But I feel so much love for my baby that everything I had to go through doesn’t seem like a sacrifice to me.
Who is more kancheong as a new parent — you or Roy?
Me! (Laughs) As a new mum, I’m very sticky about certain things, like cleanliness or how the baby’s being taken care of. I feel very overwhelmed, but Roy has been very patient and accommodating [with me]. But we’re not like hovering over the baby 24/7 ’cos we want him to be independent. It’s important to leave your baby to just cry it out or be alone sometimes. In fact, he has his own room. And he sleeps with our confinement nanny. So I wouldn’t say that we’re kancheong in the sense that when the baby cries, we quickly run to him. I think that’s not good for the baby lah. But I think Roy’s doing a much better job at parenting than I am. (Laughs) He’s the one who burps the baby — I don’t dare to burp him ’cos he’s so small. When my family and nanny are having dinner downstairs, and I’m upstairs feeding the baby, and if the baby needs to be burped, I’d call Roy to help me. (Laughs)
How have you been coping with the 40-day confinement period?
I’m not used to how I’m not really allowed to shower ’cos I’m used to showering two or three times a day. I didn’t shower for the first five days [after giving birth] but ’cos I had UTI, my doctor said that I should shower. Other than that, I think I have it better [than most new mums] ’cos I don’t have to worry about a lot of things, like my diet. Normally, the basic confinement food would be like pork liver and kidney with ginger. But my mum personally cooks three meals a day for me and she will think of new dishes so I won’t get sick of the food. I think confinement food is very important ’cos you’re recuperating. So far, I haven’t had any difficulties pumping breast milk ’cos my mum has been feeding me a lot of fish [which supposedly increases the amount of breast milk in nursing mums]. Roy and my whole family have been very helpful. Like my auntie helps me buy the herbs I have to use in my baths. So it’s not been very difficult ’cos I really have a lot of support.
What was the delivery process like?
My contractions started a week before my delivery. So I went to see the doctor, and the doctor told me to check in that night. I did but nothing happened. So they sent me home. And for that whole week, I was in pain — the doctor said that was just the latent (early) part of labour. By the fourth day, I really felt extremely uncomfortable and tired ’cos every night, I would wake up every two hours from the contractions. [On the day of my delivery], my water bag burst at around midnight. So Roy brought me to the hospital. I didn’t sleep the whole night. When morning came, I was running a fever.
Yeah, and when you’re running a fever [during labour], you risk having an infection. The doctor came in and said I had better start pushing now ’cos firstly, I was dilated, and secondly, my fever was getting higher. My temperature was 38.8 degrees then and they were afraid that if I waited any longer, the chances of infection would increase. Roy and the doctor knew that, but they didn’t tell me at that time ’cos they didn’t want to scare me. Roy just told me to focus on how I was going to see my baby soon so that I wouldn’t think so much about the pain. It was very miraculous ’cos at 9am, I was dilated only 2 to 3cm. But by noon, I was already dilated 10cm. And thankfully, the delivery process wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.
Were you elated when you first saw your baby?
I know Roy was very, very happy. But I was actually shocked ’cos I couldn’t believe that a human just came out of me! (Laughs) And also ’cos he was very, very small. When they put him in my arms, he was so small that I didn’t know what to do with him!
Scroll through the photo gallery above for a recount of Cheryl’s pregnancy journey.
PHOTOS: CHERYL WEE/PIXIOO