Gorgeous Singapore Maternity Photos in Sassy Mama’s ‘The Bump’
This month’s ‘The Bump’ is April Rice, who’s currently pregnant with her second child after 3-year-old daughter Calia (scroll on for their adorably coordinated dresses). A part-time fitness instructor, this Canadian mama shares her no-nonsense tips on the surprising differences between first and second pregnancies, the best places for making mama friends, and the amazing support she found from the community here following a lost pregnancy. By the way we LOVE these photos with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever Addy!
What was your reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
With my first we were in a bit of shock (happened quickly) but we were very happy. It was in Hong Kong and was difficult to keep a secret as it’s a very social, drinking atmosphere there. With my second we were ecstatic, but also cautious as I had had a miscarriage 2 months earlier.
Your funniest memory over the 9 months?
Pregnancy really fries my brain, so it’s hard to remember much! But probably when I asked my daughter, Calia, if she wanted a baby brother or a baby sister and she said “1 of both!”.
Any great books and resources that prepared you for when your baby arrived?
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a great read for #1. It was my sister’s recommendation and she had my niece 13 years ago, so it’s a book that has stood the test of time. I’d be lying if I said I’m reading any books about pregnancy this time (other than baby name books).
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
I think every woman needs to be prepared for a different experience. Sadly social media sensationalises pregnancy and makes it out to always be an easy, beautiful experience. I was very lucky with my first pregnancy, but #2 had me very sick and exhausted at the beginning. Be prepared for serious hormonal changes that will have you upset and annoyed at the silliest of things! I have had next to no patience for my toddler with this pregnancy, but thankfully I’m told that’s common.
What was the easiest trimester and which one proved most difficult?
I was very lucky with my first pregnancy and found only the last few weeks of pregnancy really difficult. With this one, mid-way through my second trimester I definitely felt much better and was able to maintain my fitness routine. I even had some energy (and patience) for my toddler. The first trimester (up until 16 weeks) was definitely the most difficult.
Did you follow a fitness programme while you were pregnant?
I sure did! With #1 I did spin classes up until 25 weeks and ran until 22 weeks. I did a lot of walks and hikes with my puppy as well. With this one I attend and help teach Bloom’n Fit, a bootcamp that takes place in The Botanical Gardens. It has also grown to run classes on the East Coast and at One North. The STROLL-tastic classes in the gardens are child-friendly, so it’s great for Moms who want to bring their bubs along for some fresh air and a run around. It’s how my daughter met many of her current friends and definitely where I met my best Mama girlfriends.
As a fitness instructor, how has your approach to prenatal fitness changed since you’re now pregnant yourself?
This isn’t my first pregnancy but I wasn’t instructing bootcamp during my first pregnancy. I have found that I’m a lot more aware of my body and its limitations with prenatal fitness. I really like to push myself, but can appreciate that most exercises can be done with slight modifications to still get a great result. Having a very different pregnancy this time around has made me more aware that each and every woman experiences pregnancy differently, so what one woman can do at 20 weeks isn’t necessary what another woman can!
Have you received any strange looks or unsolicited advice from people who’ve seen you exercising while pregnant?
I can honestly say that many people have questioned my continuation of exercise throughout my entire pregnancy. I have gotten many a look at bootcamp, as well as when I’m out walking my dog or cycling my daughter to school. I can’t say that I’ve been approached, but the girls I teach bootcamp to have been nothing but supportive.
In my pre/post natal studies I learned that in traditional Chinese culture pregnancy is considered a vulnerable period that requires rest and recuperation, with many antenatal taboos. Two relevant taboos intended to avoid spontaneous miscarriage include “not walking too fast” and “not walking too often”. Because of the strong Chinese influence in Singapore, I believe that is why many locals and tourists in the gardens have given me second looks. But after my quick recovery from my first pregnancy and delivery, I know staying fit is something I need for myself. It’s not just for my physical health, but for my mental health as well. I also know that I’m lucky to be able to continue an exercise program and highly caution every woman to get her doctor’s approval before she continues her regular exercise routine throughout a pregnancy.
Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
With #1 I was lucky and didn’t get super big (being tall helps!). I was also in Hong Kong where it at least cooled down for my final trimester, so I was able to wear maternity jeans. In Singapore the heat and humidity make it much harder. I stick to dresses. You can get away with a couple sizes up for awhile, so I recommend that over most of the maternity shops here. I also recommend a few nice necklaces/accessories, as you’ll find you always reach for the same dresses and tops, so it at least feels like a different ensemble.
Did you have any weird and wonderful cravings?
I loved citrus with my first pregnancy and lived on rice crackers with aged cheddar cheese. I also loved peanut butter and trail mix. With #2 I couldn’t stand the smell of coffee or any vegetables for the first trimester. This was so strange since I love both. Since the 17 week mark I’ve been living on a lot of pasta and bread. Scones are my best friend!
What did you struggle with most being pregnant?
My first pregnancy I was so lucky and really didn’t struggle. This one has been another story. I really struggled to follow my fitness routine in the first trimester and that was hard (mentally and physically). I have also found I’m having a lot more pain and pressure in the final trimester. No one tells you how much harder a second pregnancy can be!
Name a mama you find inspiring and why?
I have to say my Mom! Now that I’ve had a child, I can truly appreciate what she went through. She had my brother when she was just 17 and my sister at 19. Thirteen years later her and my dad decided to have me! She was so patient and hands-on. And all the while kept me entertained without the aid of smartphones or an iPad.
What are your thoughts about finding out the sex in advance?
I think to each their own. We didn’t find out with Calia and we aren’t finding out about this one either. There are so few proper surprises in life, and this can be one of them. Plus it makes for one more reward at the end of labour. I am a serious type A personality and was sure I’d want to know the sex to plan and organise, but in hindsight I’m thrilled we waited. Could make for a baby boy wearing a lot of pink hand-me-downs this time, though.
Did it take you some time getting pregnant or were you one of those mamas who got lucky on the first try?
My husband and I were super lucky with our first pregnancy, but it took some time for #2. I also miscarried in between, which was hard as we’d been trying for a while. It’s amazing how common it is, though, and as soon as I told people here the support was unreal. I was then lucky enough to fall pregnant again two months after my miscarriage.
What kind of birth did you have? (hospital, home, epidural, etc.)?
With my first I gave birth in a hospital in Hong Kong. I wanted to do drug free but my water broke first and after 20+ hours of labour I was still only 2cm, so I opted for an epidural.
Who is your OBGYN and what hospital will you be giving birth at?
My OBGYN is Dr Paul Tseng and I am delivering at Mount Elizabeth Novena. I was originally with Dr Phyllis Liauw, who I highly recommend, but she only delivers at Thomson so I had to change. I’ve only had one appointment with Dr Tseng, but I found him to be personable and efficient. He is also pro-natural, which is refreshing in Asia.
What helped you get your groove back after being pregnant?
Having my mother-in-law stay with me in Hong Kong was amazing. I often opted to walk our then-10-month-old golden retriever Addy while she watched Calia. The fresh air + exercise definitely helped counteract any possible PPD (Postpartum Depression).
Do you have any mama-friendly favourite places (restaurants, parks, etc.) to hang out with your baby?
Doing bootcamp in The Botanical Gardens and then having a coffee at Food For Thought was a regular occurrence when Calia was just over a year. I did it three times/week as it was great for both of us. I met some amazing moms and Calia got her exercise and a play on the playground after, while I got a coffee and a chat in.
This pregnancy I’ve done a fair few playgyms so that Calia can run off some of her energy and I can rest without too much guilt. Fidgets, Happy Willow and Tickle Tickle are amongst our favourites. We also frequent The Pantry after Calia’s swim lesson so she can run around and I can have a scone.
Any local businesses (or websites) that made your pregnancy journey easier?
Stork’s Nest (on Facebook) is a great forum to join to ask other Singapore Mamas any questions about having a baby here.
What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
I hope that our baby will be happy and healthy. I dream that he/she’ll be more cultured from being born abroad. The travel we’ve done thus far with one has been amazing and I hope we’ll be able to maintain the same with two.
Thanks April! And thank you to Julia Whale Photography for providing the gorgeous photos! If you’re a mama or photographer who’d like to share some beautiful maternity photos in ‘The Bump’, let us know!