Weight Gain During Pregnancy: When To Be Concerned
Looks never meant much to me – I have always believed that beauty is more than skin deep. Personality and character were far more important to me, and I never felt less than adequate just because I was a plain Jane. That was what I thought, until my daughter came into my life…

My husband Chris* and I have been married for more than two decades now, and have a 20-year-old daughter Kaylene*. I love and cherish her as a mother does, but there were times when I was actually jealous of my daughter and suffered from low self-esteem.

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The truth is, Kaylene looks nothing like me. Maybe it was because of the family’s recessive genes or a fortunate quirk of nature, but she turned out as the perfect mix of my parents’ natural good looks and Chris’ Eurasian ancestry.

Kaylene had an aquiline nose whereas I had a flat yet fleshy nose with a short tip; her straight and full-bodied tresses shone with undulating shades of dark brown while mine looked like dry tumbleweed; and she had double-eyelids while I had monolid eyes. Basically, Kaylene and I were a parent-and-child version of “Beauty and the Beast”.

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Share A Secret Mother and child
In the beginning, I was proud when people fawned over how adorable she was when she was a kid. Now, when friends and colleagues see my teenage daughter, they first react with disbelief, then say how lucky I was to have such a gorgeous kid, which felt like a backhanded compliment. On family outings, I felt ashamed when strangers appear to cast taunting glares our way – “how could this plain-looking middle-aged auntie be related to this attractive youngster?”, they seemed to think.

In the last couple of years, my grudging feelings grew until I decided I needed to take some measures – if my daughter does not look like me, then I needed to look like my daughter!

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At first, I simply decided to dress like Kaylene, telling everyone the excuse that I wanted to feel closer to her, like how modern mothers do these days. To help bridge the age gap, I rebonded and dyed my hair, wore brighter-hued makeup, and went on a carbs-free diet. But I felt uncomfortable wearing the kind of short shorts and tight jeans that Kaylene favoured, and when Chris said I looked like old mutton dressed as lamb, I gave up pretending to be a trendy 20-year-old.

Instead, I turned to plastic surgery… the plan was not to look younger, but to look like my daughter. Listing down the surgeries I wanted, to change the parts of me such as my nose and chin, I opted for the least painful and affordable procedures: A double eyelid surgery and lip injections. I took a few weeks of no-pay leave during my birthday month to undergo the secret surgery in a clinic in Thailand.

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I told everyone – including Chris and Kaylene – that I needed my “me-time” without contact with the outside world. My husband and daughter thought it odd, but said nothing, only bidding me to take care and keep safe when I was holidaying by myself.

When I returned to Singapore after my downtime, it was only Kaylene who met me at the airport – Chris could not make it as he had to work overtime. The moment we saw each other, we hugged and burst into tears.

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We didn’t know what came over us. Kaylene was blubbering about how she missed me, was worried about me undergoing some form of life-crisis or having an affair since I was starting to change how I looked, and her fears of never seeing me again. I, on the other hand, muttered through sobs about not living up to being a mum that people expected me to be.

To pacify her – and also because of how much I felt alone, afraid and guilty over the past few weeks – I spilled about my surgery. Kaylene listened and told me never to do this again, that I was perfect as I was, and that “Dad will never notice because he loves you for who you are inside”.

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Kaylene and I kept my surgery a secret, with her taking a bet that Chris will never notice the alteration to my appearance. It has been three months since I got my double eyelids, and though I might have spent thousands on a superficial change, I am quite happy to say that I have lost this bet, but regained my self-esteem through the love of my family.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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Photos: 123rf.com, Pixabay, Pexels

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