It’s not an exaggeration to say that former actress Tracy Lee has had a life-changing past 10 months.
Last September, the 33-year-old went from actress to wife of Ben Goi, who is the son of billionaire Sam Goi, famed for his popiah skin business Tee Yih Jia. Better known as Singapore's 'Popiah King', Sam is ranked 10th in Forbes’ Singapore’s 50 Richest, and has a net worth of US$2.1bil (S$2.86bil).
Less than two months ago, Tracy welcomed a baby boy with her 42-year-old husband.
Although the new mum declines to share more details of her son, citing family concerns, she reveals that the baby was born way before the delivery date, and "isn’t a Gemini baby like me" as she had originally hoped. Tracy tells us over the phone: "His due date is supposed to be near my birthday [on June 19], and I thought it would be so cool to celebrate our birthdays together every year. But who knew, my baby was so kan cheong that he came out way earlier. I’ve come to think of it as a good thing 'cos it means we can have celebrations every month! (Laughs)"
Tracy’s delivery wasn’t without a touch of drama. Her water bag broke one week before her maternity shoot, while she was resting at home. She was told by her doctor to go to the hospital the next day. And what did she do with that one spare day she had?
"I called my friends in JB to tell them that I had to cancel the shoot as I’d have delivered by then," she says with a laugh. However, upon hearing the news, her friends came to Singapore from Malaysia that same day, and did a casual maternity shoot with her in her house.
"I was leaking non-stop and had to change my pad every 15 minutes during the shoot. It was quite bizarre and my friend even joked about buying me adult diapers," Tracy muses. "After the shoot ended at about 8pm, I was admitted into the hospital at 9pm [instead of the following day like the doctor advised] as my mother-in-law was worried about me. I waited one whole night and gave birth in the afternoon the next day after seven hours of labour."
Tracy declined to share the weight of her firstborn, but says that he’s quite heavy. She quips: "Even though he was born prematurely, he’s very healthy and big-sized. I guess he really takes after his dad! (Chuckles)"
8 DAYS: Congrats on your delivery. Since you prefer not to disclose much about your son, can you at least tell us his name?
TRACY LEE: (Laughs) Well, we gave him the nickname of Ben Junior as he’s like a carbon copy of my husband. I think it’s okay for my son to look like my husband. If I have a daughter, I hope she looks like me! I have to say he really has my husband’s genes. When he was two weeks old, he already had a double chin. He’s so heavy that I injured my wrists carrying him and had to see a doctor.
That sounds quite serious. Tell us more about your injury.
I am not someone who exercises regularly so I think I’m quite weak. My wrists have been in so much pain from carrying him that the doctor injected steroids to ease the pain. I’ve been wearing these arm braces (see inset) that I got from the doctor and will start physiotherapy soon. I actually went for TCM massages and acupuncture sessions before that, but they didn’t work. I think my son will grow up to resemble my husband!
How has motherhood been for you so far?
The hours have been very challenging but luckily, I was already mentally prepared for it. During my confinement, I didn’t sleep at all as I had to breastfeed him every one-and-a-half hours. It was a cycle of pumping milk and breastfeeding. However, I wasn’t prepared for how painful breastfeeding was and had to call my lactation consultant at midnight to ask for tips and advice.
How does your husband help out when it comes to the kid?
My husband is very busy and spends a lot of time travelling for work. These days, we sleep in separate rooms as I don’t want the baby’s cries to wake him up at night. I’ve heard that some couples take turns to take care of the newborn but it’s not that practical in our case as my husband is already very tired from work and I can’t expect him to wake up every one-and-a-half hours whenever the baby cries. My mother-in-law helps me out a lot though, she’d help to bathe or burp the baby after feeding.
What has confinement been like for you?
My confinement is over. As I was busy shifting house back then, I opted for confinement food delivery so I ate a lot of healthy food like rice, fish and vegetables. I heard that it’s fine to drink lots of alcohol and eat lots of good food during confinement without putting on weight but I didn’t do that as I wasn’t really sure. I guess I missed out on that opportunity to binge eat! (Guffaws)
Speaking of weight, has it been difficult trying to lose the pregnancy weight?
I haven’t been weighing myself as I don’t want to pressure myself too much but I hope to return to my original weight within six months. Do you know that I went from size S to size L? You can’t really tell from pictures ‘cos my face is quite sharp to begin with. Recently I had to attend some events for work and couldn’t fit into any clothes when I went shopping. I was so upset that I told my husband about it, thinking he’d console me, but instead, he said: "Yup, you mean you didn’t realise you gained so much weight?" I was so annoyed that I replied him with the eye-rolling emoji (laughs).
How did you celebrate your first Mother’s Day as a mum?
I spent it alone as my husband was working overseas. He’s not that kind of guy who will plan romantic dates or elaborate celebrations. We also didn’t celebrate Father’s Day for him recently as he was working. Thankfully, my good friend remembered that it was my first Mother’s Day and delivered a cake to my home. I was very busy with my kid so we didn’t spend that much time celebrating, but I was very touched by her gesture!