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Tips from an expat mum in Singapore

Two weeks after her husband signed his new work contract, and in the midst of planning their move from the UK to Singapore, Tejal Harders discovered she was pregnant with their first child. She talks to me about her first months in Singapore as a new mum to four-month-old Tyler.

 

You arrived in January five months pregnant, and having just given up work. How difficult was that?

It was scary, but we were both at a stage in our lives where we wanted to move on with our careers, and we think it’s brilliant here. I didn’t know anyone to ask for advice about hospitals, but a couple of Dom’s colleagues told us to look around, and I checked out the hospital profile pages. We chose Dr Jazlan at Raffles Hospital because we liked the fact that he’d trained in the UK. I have endometriosis, and I wanted someone who would understand my notes and could deal with this.

How did the endometriosis affect you during your pregnancy?

It doesn’t actually cause problems during pregnancy; it’s good for it. But it does affect fertility and we had a lot of problems getting pregnant. It took us three years to conceive Tyler, and then when I went for my scan they said he was a miracle baby and that I had endometriosis, which they’d missed in the past.

You’ve had plenty of visitors since you gave birth. What did you get up to?

Yes, we had Dom’s parents and then my parents here. They helped out a lot when Tyler was newborn, particularly as we didn’t really know what we were doing initially; the only way I had learnt about taking care of a baby was through books. They brought out a few extra suitcases full of clothes and gifts, so we definitely won’t need anything else until he’s a year old. They even brought a Bugaboo Chameleon, which is fantastic – so light and easy to use.

While the families were here we went to Mustafa’s in Little India, which is great for fresh food and the spices I need for cooking. We went to the new aquarium on Sentosa a few times; and Mother & Child in Tanglin Mall, with its antenatal classes, yoga and café, has been a fantastic help.

TEJAL’s TOP TIPS

Shop

Mothercare: Become a member and get 10 percent off. You have to spend $300 in three months, but in the run-up to Tyler’s birth I had no problem doing that!

Cluny Court: It has some lovely boutiques for children’s clothing and toys.

Marks & Spencer: It’s great for small baby clothing. Tyler was 2.4kg (5 pounds, 6 ounces) and even premature clothes didn’t fit, but M&S’s did.

Read

Minus Nine to One: The Diary of an Honest Mum, by Jools Oliver – a good read during pregnancy. It was humorous in parts, and I could relate to a lot of it.

Pregnancy

Anything with ginger in it helped my sickness in the third trimester, including ginger biscuits, ginger and lemon tea and ginger beer.

Gifts

A friend sent me a present from Baby Bloom, which was a “bouquet” of kids’ clothing made up to look like flowers.

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