Motherhood brings unique joys and pains to every mum, and we are better off acknowledging that. In this series called Mum Truths, mums reveal their secret successes, miseries and gripes about parenting in a no-holds-barred first-person recount.

The year was 2019. I was a few months into a new relationship and it was starting to become very serious, so I decided to be upfront with my boyfriend: if becoming a father was a part of his five-year plan, then we should break up now because I don’t want to have kids. 

As a very pragmatic millennial, I did the math and arrived at the conclusion that between the crazy housing prices, rising costs of living and the general lack of work-life balance in Singapore, it just doesn’t make sense for me to have a child. Call me selfish, but I very much enjoy having free time and disposable income. Why would I give all of that up? 

My then-boyfriend paused for a while. He shrugged, then told me that even though he would like to have a kid, my choice to remain child-free is not a dealbreaker for him. We continued dating. 

A lot can happen in four years. That boyfriend became my husband, and we’re now parents to an adorable baby boy – much to the surprise of my close friends who knew that I wasn’t too keen on kids of my own. 

Heck, this came as a surprise to me too. We didn’t plan for this pregnancy. So when I saw the double lines on the test kit, I was shocked to discover that I was actually excited about the prospect of welcoming a new life with my partner. Throughout the pregnancy, I found myself picturing him as a dad, all the fun memories we would have as a family and all the places we could explore together. And the way he was so supportive throughout the pregnancy helped to allay some fears I had about taking care of a child. He did everything, short of carrying the baby himself – from shopping for baby necessities, putting together the nursery, on top of handling all the logistics and paperwork, and of course, showering me with plenty of TLC. Caring for a new life is daunting, but I knew that I wouldn’t be doing it alone. 

A close friend once asked me point-blank what made me decide to keep the baby, and to be completely honest, it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with my partner. I had this child because I love my husband, who yearned for a kid. That, and the fact that I was 100% confident he would be an amazing father. And I was right! Since we’ve welcomed our child, he’s been in the trenches with me changing poopy diapers, tackling the massive pile of baby laundry and most importantly, keeping a close eye on me for signs of PPA/PPD since I have a history of anxiety and depression. 

In fact, his involvement was key for surviving the fourth trimester. My baby went through what is known as “the period of PURPLE crying” at two months when babies cry uncontrollably and are inconsolable for long periods of time. While it’s a developmental stage and was something he would eventually grow out of, it helped me a lot that my husband would always swoop in to take over before I got too oversensitised. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my child fiercely and would do anything for him. But I also think I would have been just fine if I had never had a kid. These feelings tend to be stronger during periods of cluster feeding and sleep regressions. Especially when the kiddo decides to wake up every hour throughout the night. 

Sometimes I do wonder if I made the “right” decision, or if it was “right” for me to be swayed into having a child simply because of my husband. In the weeks after my child’s birth, I came to the realisation that it doesn’t matter – he’s here now, and he’s so loved. 

And for what it’s worth, I am even more in love with my husband. Watching him grow and thrive in his new role as a dad is the ultimate turn-on. We’re now forever bonded by this child, and I really cannot imagine doing this with anyone else.

Serena Yeo is your typical millennial and now newly-minted mum to one very vocal baby boy. It is no coincidence that she is also slightly deaf in one ear now.