It seems like just yesterday I was at The St Regis Singapore during my maternity shoot with Samantha from Feelim Photography and here’s part 2 of the shoot – the arrival of Baby Aria #mylittlepadthai. There are so much that I’ve learnt from my baby and still learning everyday but I decided to list down 18 life lessons that I have learnt from my baby because her birthday was on the 18th.

1. When I first found out that I was pregnant, I was not elated at all. I cried the entire night. I took one whole month to decide whether to keep you. The first thing I did was to Google the cost of raising a child in Singapore. You taught me how to save for emergency and that coveted YSL bag I was yearning for is not really necessary compared to a year’s supply for milk for you. You taught me how to be prepared for the unexpected because marriages may not be forever and you could wound up to be a single mother.

2. I had 4 months of morning sickness and it was so horrible. I would not be able to look at my phone while travelling on the MRT or Taxi without puking. My bag would always have a packet of sour plums and plastic bag. I stopped wearing lipstick and eyeliner because it will be all smudged once my reflux starts. Despite it all, I managed to force myself to go to work and I was No. 2 in ranking for that quarter. Only then did I tell my managers that I was pregnant because I wanted to prove to them that even though I am pregnant, I could still do well in my job. You taught me to never give up and I was still a role model at work for the rest of the year. Despite being heavily pregnant, my best performance was at my 3rd trimester.

3. I was so proud of you the moment I met you. I was at the recovery room after my C section operation for observation but I was clutching on to my camera and looking at your photos. I showed to the nurses photos of you while I am covered by thick blankets, shivering uncontrollably due to the side effects of the epidural. You taught me to celebrate the little joys in life and take pride in these little moments such as hearing your first roaring cries in the operating theatre or your wide toothless smile while I talk gibberish at you.

4. I did hate your father for leaving me in the lurch during my third trimester and I did struggle with frequent outbursts at him. I would scold him one day and the next day, I’d try to be civil to him because he is your father afterall and send him photos of you. Because of him, I have a beautiful girl I can call mine and I got the sole decision in selecting your name. I have you all to myself. You taught me to always look at the bright side of life and when shit happens, you can just flush that piece of shit down the toilet. You leave the toilet all relieved and not constipated anymore.

5. The first time I cried was the day I heard your heartbeat on the ultrasound. It was a magical sound and that’s why I realised how precious life is because I looked forward to listening to your heartbeat every Gynae appointment.

6. At times I would cry myself to sleep when I was sad but I told myself that I would feel better after a good cry and sleep. You taught me that sometimes all you need is a good cry. Even if you do not know the reason why you are crying about.

7. I told myself that if I were to keep the baby, I would never lash out on you for changing my life. I chose to bring you into this world and you are not to blame. When I look at you, I do not see the hard life or regret, I see love. You taught me how to love unconditionally.

8. On some days, it may be you and I against the world. I may have lost some friends along the way and had one too many arguments with my family. I may have admitted both of us into the hospital without telling anyone when I had postnatal depression but you taught me how to stay grounded and do what is best for both of us. I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine.

9. Despite this terrible colic period when you would cry for hours and want to be carried for hours, you taught me how to be patient. You taught me to always persevere through the tough times. Please remember that I will always love you.

10. You taught me to never be too proud to ask for help and ask for a shoulder to lean on. I am thankful for my friends who are there to listen to me rant or there to help out when I needed help. Thank you to the friends who help me carry stuff when I am with the baby and coming to my house or meeting me to offer support and help.

11. At times I would think about how good it would be if I had a partner who could help me for the night feeds or help contribute to the high costs of raising a baby. My savings may be have depleted substantially and I had to sell my items on Carousell. My life may not be a fairytale but I have little princess as my daughter. You taught me how to be resilient to provide for you and my family on my sole income. You taught me how to be resourceful and buy baby essentials online to save money.

12. I was so afraid to carry you when you were a newborn and it was a crash course on how to be a mother immediately when you were placed on my chest. I may not be the most experienced mother on the block but I will never stop learning. Google and parenting forums are my best friends when I am so clueless.

13. This is exactly the look I have when I wake up in the middle of the night during your night feeds sans the koala crochet hat. You taught me that I can be strong enough to take care of another person even if I am so sleep deprived with 3 hours of sleep a day. You taught me to be so selfless, I can forsake my precious sleep (I could sleep for 12 hours straight before I was pregnant).

14. You made me realised that no matter what happens, your family is always there for you. I am thankful my mother for helping me to take care of the baby when I was sick and knocked out by medication. I am thankful for my brother who woke up at 5am to accompany me to the hospital for my delivery. He helped me carry my hospital bag and offered me moral support when I was wheeled to the operating theatre. The nurses even thought he was my husband.

15. You taught me that even though families can be broken, it is love that mends them together. My mother is a single mother and she raised my brother and I perfectly fine.

“Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt.”

16. When I was 6 months pregnant, the tired and cranky me snoozed my alarm for work but you could hear my alarm and kicked me in the belly. You taught me to stay committed to my work and not slack off. You would also kick me when I had back to back appointments and did not eat all day, reminding me to always make sure I eat despite how busy I am.

17. You have taught me that sometimes Prince Charming isn’t always the one who saves the day and gives you a happier life: sometimes it’s a little girl with a pink tutu that calls me mommy.

18. You taught me to live in the moment. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant and these 40 weeks flew by in a flash. Before I know it, you are already 2 months old. You taught me to live one day at a time.

“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”

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Rachie meets Aria by Feelim photography from Rachel Tan on Vimeo.