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Tips from an expat mum in Singapore

By: Amy Brook-Partridge

Getting married, becoming pregnant and relocating are major life changes – add eight months of near-constant travel and you’d forgive the person in question for wanting a break. But when we met Taiwanese-Australian Linda Yen at Expat Living’s Mums & Bumps coffee morning the last thing on her mind – for the moment – was putting her feet up.

In the past eight months you’ve been to 12 different countries. Why?

My fiancé and I married in October and during our honeymoon we visited the US, Canada, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico and Grand Cayman before arriving in Singapore in January. Since then, I’ve been to Taiwan twice, and to Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. I definitely have the travel bug and I’m going to try not to let that change, just modify it, when the baby arrives.

What were your challenges settling in Singapore?

I had found out I was pregnant on honeymoon and knew I would be doing the four-week confinement after the birth, a cultural choice. As this would be in Taiwan where I was born, I needed to find a doctor here in Singapore for the necessary check-ups before flying to Taiwan for the birth – my due date is 26 August – and confinement.

Much of my research was online, and my obstetrician, Professor Mary Rauff at the National University Hospital (NUH), came recommended. The hospital has a good neonatal intensive care unit, which reassured me for that “just in case” scenario.

So why Taiwan and not Singapore for the confinement period?

Apart from it being my birth country, I prefer the facility in Taiwan, which is almost like a hotel. The idea of six meals a day appeals and they care for your baby while you rest and recuperate and get back the energy that you lost during the birth.

How have you prepared for the baby’s arrival?

I went to the Mother & Baby Fair at Singapore Expo where I bought plenty of useful things including a diaper bag and sleep sacks. The baby’s cot is from Ikea, but the stroller, the changing table and most of the newborn baby clothes were bought in Australia and will be shipped to Taiwan for the birth.

Thomson Medical Centre offers a six-lesson antenatal course in the evenings, which my husband and I have found extremely useful. I am also doing yoga classes at Mother & Child in Tanglin Mall, which I enjoy for the exercise as well as the nice long lunch afterwards with the other pregnant ladies.

Has it been easy to meet other mums-to-be?

After a month, I knew I needed more human contact! I posted a note on the Singapore Expats forum to meet other mums with similar due dates. I’ve been very lucky with my group of friends; we meet up at least once a week. The Mums & Bumps coffee mornings are also a good way to meet other people, and I’m a member of ANZA (Australian and New Zealand Association).

AT A GLANCE

On a rainy day…I like to take part in the national sport of shopping.

On a sunny day…I hunt down the air-con as it’s too hot at the moment for my pregnant body.

Sunday afternoon is best spent…hanging out at friends’ houses having lunch and practising parenting with their kids.

Friday night is best spent…having dinner with my husband or going to the cinema.

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