Sheila Sim: 'I don't have to be perfect at being a mum because I can only just try'
"I hope you'll learn to communicate with me because it's also very daunting for me as a first-time mum, so don't expect me to know everything. We'll just learn things together."
There are many handbooks on what a new mother can expect, but there’s no foolproof guide to motherhood as each journey is unique, personal, and full of unknowns.
As a soon-to-be first-time mother, Sheila Sim is aware that she will not be perfect and she doesn’t want to be. She just wants to try her best and hopes that her daughter will understand.
Speaking to AsiaOne last Thursday (July 23), the 36-year-old actress Sheila Sim said she bonds with her baby by talking to her and she tells her baby girl to be patient with her as she navigates motherhood.
Sheila revealed: “The one thing that I constantly tell her is, ‘It’s my first time being a mum, and it’s your first time coming to this world and I really have no experience. I hope you’ll be patient with me and I’ll be patient with you, and [you’ll] guide me along in the future.
“I hope you’ll learn to communicate with me because it’s also very daunting for me as a first-time mum, so don’t expect me to know everything. We’ll just learn things together.”
View this post on Instagram
This video was taken last week. And my stomach’s grown significantly since! My baby girl’s been sooooooooo accomodating and thoughtful to mama’s needs and requests. Throughout my first trimester, i did not have any morning sickness or weird, intense cravings at all. It allowed me to wake up every day fresh for my filming. When filming was on halt during CB, my stomach remained small, allowing me to still fit into the clothes. And now that filming has ended, it’s starting to grow exponentially. She’s been so sweet to me! Next Sunday, on my first solo @wonderandwellness session at 2pm, I’ll like to talk about “How does your childhood influence your parenting?” It’s a topic that I’m extremely passionate about. I’ll be introducing the concept of Inner Child, and how to engage with that child that exist in you. How this child inside will influence the way you handle and communicate with your kids? When faced with a difficult situation, who’s the one talking, you or that child? I’ll be sharing about my stories, and i definitely want to hear about yours. While this concept of Inner Child is such a crucial piece of self-work for everyone, for this session I’ll be targeting parents-to-be, parents as well as anyone who’s planning to a parent in the future. More information will be up early next week on how to sign up. So stay tune for more information. While it’s important to set up a pretty and safe environment for my baby, what’s more important is to prepare my own mental state of mind. To know that i try to be as objective and emotionally responsible for my child as possible. It’s impossible to predict what’s to happen as it is with parenthood, but emotional agility and awareness will definitely be useful in any situation that may arise! Can’t wait to share more about this self-work! #sheilaloveherlife #sspositivepsychology #SSpregnancyjourney #22weeks #emotionalhealing #innerchildhealing #sheilalovesherlovenest #babyWooLaLa #wonderandwellnessco #pregnantbelly
“I constantly remind her that and it’s also a form of reminder for myself because I also want to be reminded that I don’t have to perfect at being a mum because I can only just try.”
On a more light-hearted note, the former model confessed that she’s also told her daughter to be guai (obedient in Mandarin) after her friend told her the baby “will really listen”.
Like most other mums, Sheila exposes her unborn child to classical music as it’s been said that it can make your child more intelligent. However, she chuckled as she admitted to being “bad at maintaining consistency” and that she’s “not really a classical music person”.
So what does her child listen to?
“I’ll change to pop [music], then I’ll change to Chinese pop, I’ll change to songs I want to listen to like ballads and oldies. So she listens to a variety of songs,” she said.
Sheila is in her third trimester and her due date is looming. She previously told 8 Days that a Caesarean section (or C-section) has been scheduled for Oct 1. Fortunately, her pregnancy has been “going really well” but Sheila is experiencing “mixed feelings” as the birth draws closer.
She explained: “On one hand, I’m very excited to see her. On the other hand, it’s completely life-changing and I’m just thinking, ‘When is the next time I can go out with my friends? When can I drink?’ But I also know that all these things are no longer the priorities that I should be focusing on.”
One thing’s for sure though, Sheila is shaping up to be a kancheong (anxious in Hokkien) mother even though she didn’t expect herself to be. All the preparations for the baby have been made — from the baby clothes being “washed, prepared and folded” to the nursery “up and done”.
‘Lucky to have him as my husband’
But that’s just the logistical part of motherhood, she pointed out. When it comes to disciplining the child, Sheila reckons her banker husband Deon Woo might take a more active role. The couple met via a dating app in 2016 and after six months of dating, Woo popped the question.
The happy couple held their nuptials in January 2018 and they’ve remained blissfully in love.
“I really feel so, so, so, so lucky to have him as my husband. Throughout the pregnancy, he has done nothing wrong,” she gushed.
Sheila affectionately recounted an incident at her grandmother’s place where her aunt wanted to ask her how much weight she had put on during the pregnancy.
However, while posing the question in Mandarin, Sheila’s aunt instead asked ‘How much fatter have you gotten?’ which prompted Woo to step in and correct her.
Sheila added: “My auntie felt very embarrassed and I just kept laughing and laughing because I feel like he’s being so sensitive about this because he knows that it might hurt me.”
There was also another incident where Sheila — who admitted to being more emotional during her third trimester — cried after Woo pointed out that shabu-shabu may not be an appropriate meal for her due to the herbs in the soup.
She laughed: “I was very hurt. I mean it’s really funny now, but at that time, I really felt very hurt. I really felt like, ‘Why are you putting the baby’s needs above mine? Why do you not care about what I need to eat?'”
Despite his wife’s outburst, Woo “took it very well” and remained very calm. He diffused the situation by asking whether she was hurt and what he said that was wrong.
“He has been walking on eggshells but he’s been very careful and very patient. So I feel really fortunate,” she affirmed.
‘They didn’t know I was pregnant’
Sheila was filming How Are You 2 — the sequel to Mediacorp’s dialect drama catered to senior citizens — before production was put on hold due to the circuit breaker. She resumed filming in June, but she didn’t tell the cast that she has a bun in the oven.
“It was actually much easier for me that they didn’t know. I think it would be easier for them too, but I generally just feel like it was a lot less stressful.
“I can imagine, if I knew my colleague is pregnant, I’ll be very careful with what I say or my behaviour, and it takes away the natural instinct in the way we act and perform. So that was one of the considerations why I didn’t want to tell the cast about the pregnancy until later,” she explained.
It also wasn’t a Herculean task to hide her belly as her character’s wardrobe helped to conceal it. According to the director, it just looked like she had a “very full lunch”.
Now that filming has wrapped for the series and with no acting commitments, it’s back to quieter days for Sheila. She’s enjoyed the circuit breaker period and viewed it as a “reset for a lot of things”.
“Since Phase 2, what I’ve been doing is actually not that much different from during the circuit breaker. I haven’t really gone out that much. It’s nice to know that the option of going out is there. I am able to meet my parents, I try to meet my grandmother now, but other than that, in terms of entertainment and social, I try to keep it to a minimum.”
The hard pause on outings and gatherings during the circuit breaker period also served as a good transition into motherhood as Sheila used to be someone with a “pretty exciting social life”.
And if the circuit breaker served as a reset and a point of transition for Sheila, then has Covid-19 influenced her views on motherhood?
She mulled for a bit and replied: “I feel like everything is not within our control. That is one of the biggest takeaways for me from circuit breaker. We’re very used to planning our lives, we’re very used to filling our schedules with deadlines, but since the beginning of Covid-19, it has proven to us that life is really not within our control…
“Things happen and it’s not within your expectations. So how do you want to live with it? Do you want to brood over it and feel sorry about this entire situation or do you want to make the best out of it?”
View this post on Instagram
2 days ago, i did an interview with Brian from AsiaOne, he asked a really good question. How did the Covid situation influence my views on pregnancy and motherhood? If Covid has taught me anything, it is the fact that ‘nothing is within our control’. Pre-Covid, life wasn’t the same as it is now. People blocked their leave a year in advance with air tickets in hand, knowing exactly where they’ll be traveling to early in the year. I have friends who were creature of habits, they needed routine to survive, they needed routine for security and comfort. Since CB, they had to find a new way of life, and have since adapted to a ‘new norm’. Adaptability is what we are all capable of. Being adaptable also strengthens our resilience in positively coping with different situations that arises suddenly. Of cos, none of this will prepare me for whats to come as i enter motherhood. I keep hearing people tell me how i will never get to sleep again and i should rest rest rest rest rest now! I hear that loud and clear and i also appreciate the feedbacks, but it also really freaks me out! So how has Covid19 influenced me in pregnancy? I have adopted the beauty of being in the present and appreciating everything that is happening right now. That doesn’t mean i don’t build up my nursery or prepare in advance what i foresee #babyWooLaLa may need. But i constantly remind myself not worry before the problem shows up, bcos other than creating more anxiety for myself, it really serves no purpose at all. Learning to live in the present moment truly is an art. It’s so easy to get lost and distracted with reminiscing about the past or rolling in the future. But as long as i keep trying, and keep setting an intention for it, it is still a step towards progression of being in the present moment. I blieve it is this mindset that have made my pregnancy such an enjoyable one. I’m blessed. I’m grateful! #sheilaloveherlife #positivepsychology #sspositivepsychology #ssfoodforthoughts #SSpregnancyjourney #emotionalhealing #mothertobe #pregnantbelly #alnaturale #divinetiming #consciousawakening #positivevibesonly #pregnantbelly #pregnantbelly #29weeks
In fact, she actually planned for a babymoon and a holiday to Europe but the plans never came to pass. As such, everything that has transpired due to the coronavirus helped her to learn how to live in the moment and go with the flow.
“We shouldn’t overplan and we shouldn’t be so fixated on the plans that we have because everything in life is really uncontrollable. And if you’re going to be so fixated on it, then your life is going to be quite miserable.”
How Are You 2 premieres on Friday (July 31) at 11.30am on Channel 8.
This article was first published in AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
Lead image source from Instagram/@sheila_sim.