Local blogger and influencer Ang Chiew Ting, better known as Bong Qiu Qiu, recently posted a “keeping it real” reel about her transition to becoming a first-time mum eight years ago at the age of 28. “Basically, I was in very bad shape mentally, physically,” she starts off, admitting that her postnatal journey began with much difficulty — something plenty of new mothers can relate to.
The now-36-year-old social media influencer shared about her struggles with breastfeeding. “I remember breastfeeding got me so depressed that at one point, I was just crying and begging Josh to just please send me and the baby away.” Josh is her 51-year-old husband.
Revealing the raw and unglamorous truth behind the polished social media façade, Qiu Qiu candidly admits that “behind all these cute and beautiful pictures, the new mum and dad may be dealing with a lot.”
We’ve picked up eight tips from her post that can give expecting and new mums a lot of comfort and, hopefully, some help on their own journeys.
Tip #1: Don’t feel bad if you have to give up breastfeeding
Qiu Qiu was experiencing so much mental and physical pain from breastfeeding that she gave up after a month. “Don’t stone me but it was the BEST DECISION I made for my sanity,” she recalls.
She picked herself up, went back to work and declares that her daughter is still healthy and happy as ever, and that giving up breastfeeding marked the point when she began enjoying motherhood. “Don’t ever go judge another mother who does not or cannot breastfeed,” she says. “The anguish and pain,” she describes, is not something an observer can understand.
Tip #2: Accept your postpartum shape
As she got back to work, she found herself battling with self-image issues.
“My size affected the way I saw myself,” she says. Encouraging new mums to take it easy on themselves, she adds: “it is normal to be ‘out of shape’. I mean, a full human life just came out of you, IT IS NORMAL to have the body you have. Embrace it, get fit if you feel it, if you want to, when you are ready.”
Tip #3: Love yourself: you are at least second place
“I never knew I could put a total stranger before myself this way… this little stranger I had just met,” she says.
Even if baby has to come first for a season, Qiu Qiu reminds new mums that they matter too, and to “at least put yourself second.” Even as your life revolves around the baby, you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of your baby. “The love you extend to everyone, I hope you extend that love to yourself.” It’s a much-needed reminder for new mums, who often feel drained from committing all of their time and energy to motherhood.
Tip #4: Don’t spend so much on baby clothing and accessories
Captioning a medley of adorable baby OOTDs, Qiu Qiu confessed that she “had so much fun dressing her up but [she would] probably not spend so much on baby clothes again!”
Overspending on firstborn clothing and accessories is a common syndrome among excited first-time mums, but Qiu Qiu quips: “If I had saved those money as investment for them, I think they will thank me more next time.” Wise words indeed, especially since babies outgrow their clothes so quickly.
Tip #5: Don’t spend so much on decor and toys
As an enthusiastic first-time mum who decided to DIY everything herself in order to make the playroom baby-safe without compromising on aesthetics, Qiu Qiu advises mums to tone that down.
“Bought expensive overpriced things like this $89 cot mobile which is totally unnecessary. Babies don’t need expensive stuff.” She adds that half of the things they ended up playing with were just daily items like remote controls and paper boxes — items that don’t cost anything more, but are just as fascinating to little ones.
Tip #6: Build a strong support system
With so much to learn and discover, and so much uncertainty to overcome each day, Qiu Qiu says that a strong family and friend support system is crucial.
“My family would come over often and during that dark period I faced with work… family support is much appreciated.” Because of them, she could continue working with her mind at ease, even making three work trips in a short span of time without worry. Finding a village to help raise the child is important for your time and sanity as a new mum.
Tip #7: Remember who you are and your other roles in life
“I was working and hustling very hard, as hard as I was ‘momming’,” she says.
But at the same time, it’s important to remember that your identity encompasses so much more than just being a mother. “You are also a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and… yourself,” reminds Qiu Qiu.
All mothers need an escape or outlet, Qiu Qiu believes, sharing that hers were working and shopping. You need to take care of yourself and the people who love you, not just your baby.
Tip #8: Don’t bother to colour-coordinate
Final words from the now-glowing mum-of-three: Don’t sweat over the aesthetics.
“Last but not least — don’t bother to colour-coordinate your kids’ clothing or house decor or the toys,” she candidly shares. “It’s a losing battle. I realised it when my dad bought a Pikachu light-up T-shirt for Meredith and when Meredith herself, started to ask me to buy Frozen Elsa shoes!”
While these words may hit new mothers hard, especially those who love a neat and coordinated home, they’re worth keeping in mind, especially when you see beautifully-decorated nurseries and playrooms on social media that make you feel inadequate. Remember that those are just for show, and nobody’s perfect!