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‘I want to be a good mum’: How this new mother overcame job loss and baby blues to emerge more confident

Programme executive Alyssa Ng, 36, gave birth in the early months of the pandemic and struggled to find her identity as a mother amidst different challenges. She tells CNA Women's Izza Haziqah Abdul Rahman how she managed the ups and downs of motherhood to emerge a more confident parent.

‘I want to be a good mum’: How this new mother overcame job loss and baby blues to emerge more confident

A more confident and fulfilled mum today: Alyssa Ng with her 22-month-old son Gaius and three-year-old daughter Myra. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

In my late teens and 20s, years before I became a mum, there were times where I would think: “Maybe I don’t want children.” 

I knew how hard it could be to deal with kids. I’ve been doing volunteer work involving young children since I was 18. From 2005 to 2011, I was a volunteer facilitator at my church’s children’s ministry, working with kindergarten children. 

My full-time job involved kids too. I was a programme coordinator for a social service organisation until I got married in 2018. In this role, I organised events for primary school children, and sometimes, it was really difficult to handle them.

When she was in her 20s, Ng (fourth from left) had a full-time job at Bethesda Care Services, where she worked with primary school children. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

When I had to deal with troublesome kids, I would think to myself: “What if I had kids like these and I can’t handle them?”

Despite my fears, I longed to have my own family. And that longing grew when I met my husband on a dating platform in 2015.


I was 29 when my husband Kelvin and I started dating. Our relationship progressed quickly and we got married in 2018, two years after we met, as we were sure we wanted to have children together.

Ng married her husband two years after they first met as the couple was sure they wanted to build a family together. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

Being with someone I trusted and was comfortable with helped a lot in my warming up to the idea of becoming a mum. I was excited at the thought of it.  

We were eager to start a family and I was confident that my husband would be a good father. 

After a year of marriage, in the latter half of 2019, we conceived our first child, a girl.

Ng lost her job shortly after getting pregnant with her first child but her husband was there to support her through the uncertainties. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

Despite the good relationship we had, not everything was easy. Shortly after I resigned from my old job, I found out I was pregnant. The new companies I wanted to apply to were reluctant to hire me when they found out I was pregnant. 

It got worse when 2020 rolled in and the pandemic happened. I gave birth to my daughter, Myra, in April that year. It was then so much harder to get a job, which led me to become an unintentional stay-at-home mum.

Everything revolved around being there for Myra. I forgot who I was. I was on autopilot.

Because of the many pandemic restrictions, my confinement period, having to care for a little human being, and being jobless, I felt cooped up at home. 

As much as I was happy to have Myra, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated and irritated whenever she cried or asked for me. Post-natal blues are real and I was exhausted a lot of the time. 

Many times, I felt useless. I kept thinking about how I couldn’t even contribute financially to my family. Everything revolved around being there for Myra. I forgot who I was. I was on autopilot. All the attention and energy had to be on my daughter. 

On top of all that, my husband and I were waiting for our Built-to-Order flat, so we were staying with my parents, who had their own views about parenting. I know they meant well but their comments felt hurtful and exhausting to hear.


Ng gave birth to her first child Myra during the pandemic. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

Thankfully, things began to look up in early 2021. I re-joined the workforce and my parents, especially my mum, and I agreed to set up healthy boundaries in our relationship. 

My parents became less harsh about how I took care of Myra and even took over parenting duties when I was feeling overwhelmed, or when Kelvin and I went on evening dates. 

Their being there for me really helped me as a new mum. It made me more understanding and compassionate towards them

I didn’t feel as if I was just a mum, but I was a mum who was also many other things: Daughter, wife, sister, a friend.

When Myra was around six months old, I started to open up about my postnatal blues. I spoke to my church leader, who supported people with their emotional problems. She helped me to see motherhood in a more positive and fulfilling light and introduced me to various coping strategies. 

Though the general stresses of mothering remained, with all the help I’d been getting and the fact that I was able to work, I felt much better. 

It was also reassuring that I no longer felt as if my identity was confined to being only a mum. I was more than that - I was also a daughter, wife, sister, and friend.

At this point, I also became more aware that I had mixed feelings about motherhood.  

Being a mum was exhausting, but it was also fulfilling. While I was frustrated at the amount of tasks I had to do, I was also happy and grateful for taking care of Myra. Even though I missed having “me” time and wanted time away from Myra, I also always wanted to be with her as I didn’t want to miss any of her milestone moments. 

It’s strange because I know I’m contradicting myself. I’ve learned that being a mum includes all these ups and downs, and ironic feelings. 

In January 2021, I found out I was pregnant again. 

Kelvin and I weren’t entirely prepared for another child. We were just starting to get to know Myra, I was still winging it at parenting and I was just returning to the workforce.

Ng said that despite the nervousness, she was happy to be pregnant a second time. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

When I found out that we would have a son, I felt nervous. I have three older sisters and I didn't have experience taking care of my nephews  I didn’t know how to handle boys.

All my anxiety melted away when Gaius was born in September 2021. I felt glad and grateful to be able to be a mum of two. It also helped that before giving birth, my husband and I read a lot about raising boys and being parents of two young kids.


We realised that to be a good mum and dad, we had to tap into external resources. 

Being a mum didn’t come naturally to me. I had to learn a lot of the ways I discipline, breastfeed, take care of my children, and talk and respond to their questions and tantrums.

I knew that I wanted to be the best for Myra and my son, and I knew that Kelvin and I couldn’t do this parenting journey alone. Learning how to parent so that our children would grow up safe and well seemed the most reasonable decision to me.

I discovered positive parenting, a philosophy centred around raising children with compassion and empathy while building their self-esteem and confidence through disciplined guidance.

One of my sisters had attended a course on it and I was impressed by how well-behaved and pleasant my niece was after they put into practice the positive parenting techniques they’d learnt.

I’ve grown to be more conscious of how I interact and speak to Myra and Gaius, and I’m more in tune with the decisions I make as a mum for myself and my children.

That parenting approach resonated with me, so Kelvin and I enrolled in a four-week course offered by Our Little Playnest, an online resource that teaches positive parenting. It covered child psychology, techniques on how to handle tantrums effectively, sleep and activity schedules, and even how to speak with our kids.

After completing the course, we had ongoing access to a positive parenting coach to help with our doubts or questions. Our coach helped me address whatever pent-up frustrations and anxiety I felt about being a mum and assured me that these feelings were all part of the package.

To this day, more than a year after we did the course, I still reach out to the coach whenever I need assistance with certain challenges.

This decision ended up being helpful and the resources made me feel less lost and more confident as a mum. I’ve grown more conscious of how I interact and speak with Myra and Gaius, and I’m more in tune with the decisions I make as a mum for myself and my children.

Ng says stumbling as a parent is part of the journey of being a good mum, which she wholly embraces. (Photo: Alyssa Ng)

Even when armed with positive parenting techniques, I still stumble when it comes to parenting. But it is part of the journey and I wholly embrace it as I want to be a good mum.

Before Myra and Gaius came into my life, I was aware that it took many sacrifices to raise kids well and that a lot of my time and activities would revolve around them. I only truly understood all that – including how difficult it would be – when I became a mother. 

It was hard to accept at first, but with the help of my husband and our positive parenting coach, I’ve slowly come to terms with this reality. 

Being a mum may be tiring – I miss my peaceful travels and playing the electric piano without two young kids calling for me every few seconds – but when I see my kids’ growth, witness all their ups and downs, and realise that I’m able to take care of these two small humans, it also feels very, very worth it.

Source: CNA/iz