On the face of it, local fashion entrepreneur Velda Tan has the perfect life: A baby girl on the way, a carefully curated Instagram feed many of her 151,000 followersare envious of, and a successful fashion label.
Almost seven months along, the expectant mum said that while her pregnancy has been relatively smooth, the journey leading up to it was not an easy one.
For the past 2½ years, the 30-year-old founder of fashion brand Collate The Label struggled to conceive due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance and may result in infertility and problems with her periods.
In April this year, after seeing two gynaecologists and undergoing several cycles of medication to stimulate her ovaries, she finally got pregnant.
Said Velda: “I admire the strength and courage of women who go for in-vitro fertilisation because they have to go through so much.” She struggled with “bloatedness and moodiness” during that period.
Even though Velda still has PCOS, she is “very thankful” that her first child is on the way. Describing her little one as “active” and “cheeky”, Velda said: “Sometimes when the doctor wants to scan her, she will hide in a corner (of the womb) so the doctor cannot scan her.”
However, what caught her by surprise was experiencing unexpected contractions last Friday night, which nearly sent her into a panic. She recalled: “My stomach was cramping up and I was so scared that I was going through pre-term labour, so I went to read up about it.”
A quick Google search showed it was a case of Braxton Hicks contractions. Unlike true labour, these contractions do not consistently grow longer, stronger or closer together to prepare the mother for childbirth.
That aside, Velda has not been affected by “unwelcome side effects” such as acne, apart from “extreme fatigue” during her first trimester. However, she has been feeling pain in her joints and is “bracing” herself for the fact that the third trimester may not be as pleasant as the first two.
To keep herself healthy, she has been taking supplements such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), iron and vitamins to make sure she has enough nutrients. Velda also plans to start doing prenatal yoga or pilates.
“Don’t be afraid to check yours and your husband’s conditions… There is still hope if you are fertility-challenged,” she said.
Velda added that the entire process of seeking treatment for PCOS made her feel “empowered” that she “had the knowledge to make the right choices”.
Text: Audrey Leong, The New Paper/ Photos: Velda Tan’s Instagram @bellusuera