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The Motherhood Diaries: Charmaine Seah

By Emma Lin
November 3, 2022

“The nights and days are long, but the years are short. Savour every little moment, for they are only little for a moment.”

Wife, Mum of Three, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Fashion Icon – this edition of The Motherhood Diaries features Charmaine Seah, a trailblazer in her field and an inspiration to many. Charmaine opens up about her pregnancy difficulties fraught with morning sickness, a threatened miscarriage and news of Leukaemia in her family. 

Charmed

My childhood was a charmed one. I was never without love or affection from my parents and never left wanting company thanks to my three younger brothers. We spent a lot of time doing things together as a family. It was something my parents placed great emphasis on as we were growing up. Furthermore, it something we’ve carried with us into adulthood. Even today, my brothers and I still chat almost daily even though the two of them have been living overseas for many years. My role model has always been my mother. She approaches everything with such grace, love, and conviction. Because of her, I know there’s no task too difficult for me to accomplish. I’ve also learned that nobody is beyond forgiveness and that love conquers all. 

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It’s All Elementary

I co-founded Elementary Co. with my husband, brother, best friend, and a few other friends, nine years ago. We’ve evolved from being a branding studio, to a marketing and creative agency, then a content-led marketing agency. Our clients range from hospitality, to insurance, beauty, sustainability as well as fashion. 

Morning Sickness And More

Every pregnancy of mine started off the same way – with my being absolutely debilitated by horrible morning sickness for the first three to four months. With the first pregnancy, once the morning sickness abated, I was able to continue leading a relatively normal life. I also worked all the way up till the day I popped. 

I had a threatened miscarriage with my second pregnancy. This was due to blood clots in my uterus that bled out while I was in the plane flying back from Tokyo at the start of my second trimester. I was put on bed rest for the next three months. It also led to my gynae advising me not to get pregnant again after I’d safely delivered my second child. This was because she didn’t want to risk anything happening to me and the baby again.  When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, the first thing my gynae said to me was, “Let’s not go to Tokyo again, ok?” 

Plan Vs Intuition

I honestly can’t say I changed the way I lived a great deal ever since I became a mum. Of course, with the first pregnancy I spoke to friends who’d already become parents about what I should expect. I had also talked to my mother about her experiences. Perhaps, I may even have read a book or two, but that was about it. I’m the kind of person who likes to figure things out as they happen and not be overly invested in a “game plan” because I know that the best laid plans often go awry. I wanted to feel my way into becoming the kind of parent I was meant to be. This meant using my intuition rather than having a rigid plan. 

With The Third, There Was More

I had the same terrible morning sickness with my third pregnancy. However, this time around, my gynae was able to provide me with anti-nausea pills. These made it a lot easier for me to function properly. The biggest difference that I faced was that I now had two human beings to keep alive while growing this new baby in my belly. This meant that I hardly got enough rest because there was always something I needed to do. Being older also meant that my body felt tired more easily as this pregnancy progressed. This annoyed me, but I knew I shouldn’t push myself. 

The most difficult part through this third pregnancy journey was finding out, when I was six months pregnant, that my oldest daughter had Leukaemia. I stayed with her in hospital for long stretches. As well, I had to carry her a lot because she was too weak to walk. Truth be told, this was no mean feat as she weighed around 22 kg and my huge belly often got in the way. 

It has been equally euphoric as well as exhausting juggling all three, as at any given time, somebody needs my attention. However, witnessing my two older girls grow into their new roles and how they fawn over their baby sister has been such a privilege. It makes all the sleepless nights worth it.

Me, As A Mum

I’d like to think that I am the kind of parent that is always encouraging their child to try new things and discover themselves through play. I am not restrictive or overly prescriptive, but more spontaneous and adventurous. While this is very similar to how I was raised, I know for sure that I’m less strict than my mum ever was with me.

Photo Credits: Charmaine Seah @eleventhhour on Instagram

This article was first published on Motherswork.