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giraffes08
22 October 2012 @ 04:06 pm
I recently came into contact with someone who is involved in the National Conversation efforts from the government, and I shared with him my views on success. He thought I had something interesting to say and asked me to make a written contribution to the National Conversation. I was hesitant at first, but after some persuasion, decided to do it. This is what I wrote:

As a parent of two young children, I have had to think about what I want for my children as they grow up, what I would define as success for them. I have listened to the current debate on our school system and its flaws, and am trying to shape my views about what I want for my children.

My oldest child is now of the age where I need to start thinking about her primary school. Some months ago, after careful delibration, I decided that I would not enrol my daughter in an elite primary school, even though I am the alumni of one. There are several reasons why I arrived at this position, but the most important one is that I do not think she needs to study in an elite school to find success and happiness in life. I also do not want to be caught up in the 'arms race' to over-teach my children. I do not want my children to have their free time filled up with enrichment classes so that they enter primary school already knowing the things that they are supposed to be learning. I want my children to have a childhood, to figure out for themselves (and with my guidance) what they want out of life. I do not want them to feel that educational achievements are the only things that will guarantee success in life.

But what does success mean for us? In the course of my working life, through my own experiences and through the people I have met, I have started to form my picture of success as an adult.

I have been in the same job for the last 5 years and I think this job has given me lots of opportunity to learn and grow. I used to be embarrassed that as an alumni of an elite school, I did not 'succeed' as I did not get the right number of A's in exams, did not get a scholarship, did not go to a prestigious university. But I am now working in a job that I like and am doing well in (the perfect combination, as they say) - that, to me, counts as success. Success is not defined by how many of the 'right' choices you made, or whether you went to the 'right' places. Life is what you make of it, and you have to define your own success, find your own mountain to climb.

I read recently about two Singaporean mountaineers who were climbing virgin peaks (mountains that have never been scaled before by any man). Many people feel that Mt Everest is the definitive mountain to climb if you are a mountaineer, but there are many more mountains that exist than just this one. Do you know that there are so many people who want to climb Mt Everest that there is a queue system with a long wait list? I think that one does not need to climb Mt Everest to be defined as a great mountaineer, that you can find your own success and your own mountain to climb.

Now, at this point of time in my life, I think I have found success. I have a good career, a great marriage, beautiful children, a happy
family, and communities that I belong and contribute to. I have a rich, balanced life and I achieved this without taking any of the
prescribed paths of success that I had yearned for in the past. If I could have known as a young adult what I know now, that there are alternative and equally valid definitions of success and happiness, it would have saved me a lot of heartache in those early years.

My wish for all Singaporeans, especially those with children, is to take a step back and to have more perspective on what life could offer you and your children. There is more than one path to success, more than one way to achieve happiness. And happiness is also its own form of success. There is no point in having the right qualifications, going to right school, or landing the right job, if it is going to make you unhappy.
 
 
giraffes08
17 October 2012 @ 09:56 pm
Does anyone still read this? 

I had an unpleasant encounter online yesterday, where I was attacked for speaking the truth. I only had a few hours at work because I was on half-day leave, but spent too much of it on this silly online brawl. Reminded me of that xkcd comic: "Someone is wrong on the internet."

I just can't believe how people can argue with science. I was told off for being "harsh" when I said that formula milk is an artificial human milk substitute, and for daring to say that baby is always better off on breastmilk than formula. And when I replied that this is how scientists refer to infant formula, the comeback was: those scientists must be men, because they cannot understand a mother's guilt about feeding formula. Right...

Whatever my personal stand is on not feeding my own children formula, I don't think formula is poison. It is adequate, but not optimum. And if a mother had to give her baby formula, she should do it knowing the facts. Formula is not as good as breastmilk, formula-feeding puts your baby at risk for illnesses, giving a bottle of formula will put your milk supply at risk. But many of the mothers I meet either do not know the facts, or prefer to believe otherwise. The number of times I hear that formula is 'as good as' breastmilk, or that we all grew up on formula and we're 'just fine'... Makes me want to throw something at my screen.

In the end, I had to apologise my way out of the situation because this is a community of mothers I have an ongoing relationship with, so I wanted to preserve at least the veneer of courtesy. After all, I don't dislike them or think they are idiots, I just think that many of them are seriously misguided or misinformed.

You know, just typing all this out makes me feel better already. Perhaps this LJ still has its uses after all.
 
 
giraffes08
16 October 2012 @ 12:20 pm
Reviving this blog because I need an outlet for my lactivism  

==

Three years 10 months ago, my first child suckled for the first time at my breast. Since then, I've continued nursing for nearly four years, and have been tandem nursing both my older child and second child for nine months. I have nursed my children at home, at work, in restaurants, at church, in movie theatres, on buses, in cars, on trains, on five different countries in two different continents. I have nursed in front of my husband, parents, in-laws, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents, friends, colleagues, strangers.

 

My experiences as a nursing mother have helped me to give advice to other nursing mothers - to educate, inform, encourage and (hopefully) inspire them. I have given advice to friends, colleagues, people I only know online, strangers, old friends, new friends. And in every encounter, I've tried to promote breastfeeding, to encourage those who feel discouraged, to help mothers like myself breastfeed their children as much and as long as they want. Some of the women I've met have inspired me as a mother, some have encouraged me in my efforts as a peer counsellor, and, to be very honest, some have also made me feel like giving up on giving advice. Because and in spite of all this, I persist and carry on.

 

Why am I so pro-breastfeeding? Why am I a lactivist?

 

Because I believe that it is every child's birth right to suckle at his mother's breast, to receive sustenance from the unique and ideal source of nutrition that is his mother's milk.

 

While breastfeeding may not always be the best choice for every mother, it is always the best choice for every baby. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is called as such because it respects and caters for what's right for the baby, i.e. suckling his mother's milk at his mother's breast.

 

I am a lactivist because breastfeeding should be the normal course of things, not positioned as a superhuman feat that is only for the best and most able mothers. Just as women were made to birth, our bodies were also designed to nurture and nourish our babies and children.

 

It saddens me that there is so much desire among mothers to breastfeed but not enough information or support is given to them to help them live through this desire. The number of times I've heard mothers say that they do not have enough milk, or that their milk is not good enough for their baby is uncountable. Even sadder still are stories I hear of mothers who are able and willing to breastfeed but face considerable pressure from their spouses, family or workplace to stop.
I had first started writing this post on Mother's Day (in May) but it is only now (in October) that I am finding the courage - and platform - to post it online. The Mother's Day wish that I had, to celebrate motherhood and breastfeeding as the ultimate gift a mother can give of herself to her baby, my lactivist heart wishes for the following:
- That there is more information and education on the normal course of human lactation for mothers, husbands, grandparents, infant care providers, gynaecologists, paediatricians and family doctors
- That breastfeeding is talked about and understood as the expected norm for mothers and babies, and that infant milk substitutes are seen to be sub-par and not an equivalent to mother's milk
- That more mothers are more confident in their own body's ability to nourish and nurture their infants at the breast and with their milk
I wasn't always a lactivist from the start but I have become one over the years. Sad to say, while I am proud of the nursing relationship that I have with my children, it has not always been easy for me to be proud of my lactivism. It is a lamp that I sometimes hide under a bowl, because I am embarrassed to let it shine. But not today. Today, I declare that I am proud to be a nursing mother and proud to be a lactivist.

 
 
giraffes08
29 September 2009 @ 10:36 am
 
 
giraffes08
21 July 2009 @ 03:50 pm
A couple of months ago, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for driving with a driving school. For work now, I'm currently doing a 4-day work week, so I do all my driving related things on my day off. After my lessons, practices and evaluations, I did my test last week and I passed! W00t!

Of course, by the time I realised that I should start booking my practical lessons, they were already booked up for the next month. So I will only start them in August. If all goes well and I pass on my first try, I hope to get my licence by the end of the year.

I've thought for a long time about getting my driving done. I'd planned to do it last year, but I got pregnant. So the plan got pushed to this year. The trigger that got me to sign up was cos A is changing jobs and he may not be driving to his new workplace. If the car is just going to be sitting around all day doing nothing, I might as well use it. And that's how I got started.

On a related note, I'm kinda glad that A is finally switching jobs, after 4 years of working irregular hours. It wasn't so bad when it was just us, but once Emma came along, having to cope on my own at nights can be challenging at times. Hopefully all this will change with his new job, which should have more regular office hours.
 
 
 
giraffes08
26 April 2009 @ 07:59 pm

Just a couple of days ago, I realized that I have 3 weddings coming up and I have nothing to wear. Not only that, but the next wedding to come up is only 2 weeks away! With my deadline looming, I decided to drag both hubby and bubby out for a day of shopping.

With my new, er, motherly figure, I was definitely finding it hard to look for something which fit me but didn't age me by 10 years. I found one at Marks & Spencer's, but that was just a little bit auntie. And it wasn't that cheap either, at $160. So I decided to look at another label.

Coast has much nicer dresses, even for the plus-sized woman, but it's also darned expensive! The ones that I liked were more than $200! But I'm trying to justify that I might already have shoes to go with the dress, but will have to buy new shoes if I go with the M&S outfit, thus adding to the cost of the outfit.

Now all I need to do is to find those shoes, check that they haven't grown mould and that they still fit. If they are good to go then I'll get the Coast dress.

Oh dear, 2 bimbo posts in a row. I hope this doesn't mean I'm going soft.

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giraffes08
25 April 2009 @ 06:55 pm

Baked cookies today. Healthy cookies, with oatmeal and flaxseed. For strong and plentiful milk.

--

I want to get a Coach bag. My second one, as a matter of fact. A got me my first one for my birthday this year. I never I'd be into branded bags, but after I got my first one, well, the feeling kinda grew on me. And so I became one of those women who is into bags. Well, at least I'm still not into shoes.

--

I have been an American Idol for the last 5 years of so, but I'm really not into this year's contestants. I especially don't like Adam Lambert, who is this season's favourite. I quite like Anoop, Matt and Kris, but they're still not a big deal for me. It feels strange not to be totally into it this year.

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giraffes08
24 April 2009 @ 11:21 pm

It's been a rough time for me this past week. Days were spent rushing around at work. Nights were spent looking after Emma on my own and doing more work. I even broke down a couple of times. The main challenge for me is not just spending time with emma but that I've committed myself to exclusively breastfeeding her for at least a year or more. And that has been making it very hard for me to manage at work. It got to the point where I was crying last night and feeling like I'm going to have to choose between being in a job that I like and breastfeeding my child. And I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't been able to decide which I should choose.

I know that bf need not be an all or nothing scenario. Most babies grow up taking some or a lot of formula and my baby is probably going to be okay if we go down that path. But I'm not ready to do that yet. Which brings me to my next point. This was brought up by DL, who told me that as parents we need to be aware if we're doing something for ourselves or for our children. Is it for my own ego that I'm still stubbornly insisting in doing TBF? Honestly, I don't know.

So I'm now open to looking for a job. I still love my current job a lot, but I feel that I should at least try to see what's out there.

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giraffes08
19 April 2009 @ 08:09 pm

Tonight A leaves on a week long business trip to Italy, his first since we had Emma. I don't usually do well with these kinds of separations but I think I've gotten better at it over the years. At least there was no crying the last time he was away. And this time round I'll have my bubby to keep me company at night.

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giraffes08
17 April 2009 @ 04:57 pm

I didn't know this existed for the iPod touch (which I have); thought it was only for the iphone (which I don't have). Let's see how this will show up.

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Current Location: At home