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Tips from an expat mum in Singapore

Arriving in a foreign country just seven weeks before the due date of your first child can be a daunting prospect. Honor Barley explains how she coped.


Why did you and your husband move to Singapore so close to your due date?

We came here from London for my husband’s job. The posting was rather last-minute, but we felt it was an amazing opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. We both work for a British investment bank and I have a year off for maternity leave, which gave us a huge advantage. My employer was also very supportive of the move, which helped.

How much did you manage to pack into those first few weeks before the arrival of your little boy Harry in December last year?

I wrote a list of targets for the seven weeks, so I had something to keep me busy. My priorities were to choose a doctor and a hospital, and find some prenatal classes, baby groups, mothers’ groups, and baby photographers for newborn photos.

Obviously, I was nervous, as I had no support network or family here; but I was lucky that a good friend from London had moved here several months before us, and gave me plenty of tips. Singapore is such an easy place to live, I knew being pregnant and then having a baby would make it simple for me to meet people once I found the right channels.

Did you manage to tick everything off that list then?

I did! On my first day in Singapore I met my prospective obstetrician, Dr TC Chang at Thomson Medical Centre, whom I rate highly. It was a huge relief to have both my hospital and a doctor that I liked organised so quickly, especially with it being the Year of the Dragon.

My doctor gave me the best recommendation I’ve had since being here, which was to go to Mother & Child in Tanglin Mall. I went the next day and found the team there amazingly helpful and so friendly. Luckily, I managed to get a place in their antenatal classes at short notice; I did prenatal yoga there and signed up for their new mothers’ sessions as well. Through all of these I’ve met some amazing people, who I see weekly.

What else did you do to meet people and make friends?

I researched online and found the New Mothers Support Group and Expat Living’s coffee mornings for mums and mums-to-be, which helped with meeting people. Harry and I now go to St George’s Church baby group, too, and I attended Four Trimesters, where I’ve made some of my closest friends in Singapore.

Our Favourite Things

Best product: A-Derma moisturiser for Harry, because it keeps his skin lovely and soft.

Harry’s favourite toy: His Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo. He loves it and it keeps him entertained so I can get things done.

Favourite shop: Château de Sable has lovely, comfy and stylish clothes.

Our last holiday: We went to the Maldives, which we loved. It was extra-special going with Harry; we stayed at the family-friendly Kuramathi Resort.