Raising a Family Overseas
Singapore has been my home since 2008 (took a 2-year break though). When I first moved to Singapore, I was still single, no commitment at all, no other responsibilities but myself and my habits.
It was a personal choice when I moved to Singapore. I left a comfortable life in the Philippines. I left my family, my whole bunch of friends, I left the so-called good life for the reason that – I wanted to live responsibly. I knew back then, another place is going to give me a great learning experience. And I was right. Life was too tough when I first got my independence. It wasn’t easy. I only knew few people here, and life was generally tough for me. I didn’t know how to cook, no idea on washing my own clothes, I hate to iron my clothes (well, I still do). I basically do not know any household chores. I was not ignorant, I was just lazy. I had no sense of responsibility.
Life suddenly changed. I got married, conceived, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Life changed, but in a very positive way. Today, I am not only living for myself, but for both my husband, and a year-old baby.
When I got pregnant with Antonia, my husband and I had mixed emotions about it. We were both too happy when we found out, but at the same time, there was a feeling of fear, knowing that responsibilities will soon be endless, and we almost questioned ourselves if we were able to fulfill the responsibilities.
It wasn’t easy. Being pregnant was not easy when I had to work 8 hours a day, cook, do chores, do some other personal related stuff when I get home, plus the increasing hormones which were preventing me to be as efficient as I used be. I was working until my 38 weeks of pregnancy. I went back to PH to give birth, and being 35 weeks pregnant inside the plane was too overpowering. Every flight attendant on the plane was just so caring and worried because I looked too pregnant, and seemed like I am about to give birth anytime.
When I gave birth on 19th of July 2014, things were as I expected it, and a whole lot more. When I heard Antonia’s cry for the first time, I knew, it was the beginning of a fruitful journey.
My husband and I never thought of moving back to PH. Never. It wasn’t an option for us, basically because our jobs are as important to us, and we knew back then that we are keeping both our physical togetherness and our careers overseas. We chose for me to give birth in PH mainly because of the cost (giving birth in Singapore is too expensive) and the support system. I can never have the same support system from our families if I were to give birth in Singapore.
After two months of having Antonia, we decided to bring her to Singapore and live our lives as we used to, but I knew it will be a lot tougher. I never feared a tougher life, to be honest. I always have the mindset that wherever I am, I have to be strong enough to face my responsibilities. Having less support system was something I thought of, but I knew, it was not going to kill me. It can possibly overwhelm me in a negative way and possibly make me cry, but it won’t kill me.
I had to get back to work about 10 weeks after giving birth. It was truly challenging especially after almost 3 months of being away from office. I didn’t really experience much on sleepless nights because my baby’s feeding was pretty regular, and after feeding, she would typically go back to sleep peacefully. The main challenge was recuperating from a C-section, and maintaining a well-balanced life. Being able to juggle both the comeback to work and my responsibilities to my family was really challenging and tiring.
I am truly blessed to have my mother and relatives who support and help us to look after Antonia. I am also very grateful that Antonia has been well-behaved and our way of teaching her has been working all well. The support that we are getting from both family and friends are just really amazing.
Challenges come and go, but the most important thing is to learn, and be stronger than I already am. Life overseas is not easy and glamorous as people back home may think, but living for my priorities and enjoying at the same time have made me refuse worries and just focus on the things that my family can enjoy.