“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” – Maya Angelou
Three months ago, Jojo Wu, 30, embarked on one of the most transformative journeys of her life. She became a new mother to a baby boy, Kayson, now 12-weeks old. As with all first-time mothers, the experience has been overwhelming and emotional, with her conceding that her limits are constantly being challenged. Nevertheless, she seems to have taken this new, life-altering role in her stride, with the same positivity and humility that she is known for among her loved ones.
When asked about the biggest challenge she is facing, she answered relatably, “(It) is the lack of sleep. It’s really tiring because in the day, I have to work and at night I have to get up every three hours to pump. Now, on average I get about four hours of sleep a night. It is really a challenge for working mums to be breastfeeding.”
"If my mum can try so hard to breastfeed me, to give me a better body condition, I can do the same for my son.”
The idea of the working mother is no stranger to many women – the nagging guilt and as Jojo puts it, “You worry about everything.” Despite these difficulties, she maintains her cheerful disposition and gracious manner throughout our meeting with her.
It seems this spirit has been inherited from her mother who, in China, effectively raised Jojo on her own as her husband worked in the military and therefore lived away from home. She managed with the help of a nanny in the day while she was at work and continued to care for Jojo at night. Jojo shared a heart-rending story about her mother’s struggles, “There was one time when I was ill, she was carrying me to put me to sleep and I was crying very badly. She was feeding me and then because she was very tired, she fell asleep and I accidentally dropped onto the floor. Once she heard the sound (of me hitting the ground), she quickly picked me up and hugged me and cried. She felt very bad but she was so tired.”
Her mother’s care and unconditional love extended beyond her childhood to Jojo’s pregnancy, when she flew from China to Singapore where Jojo is based, to ensure she had a healthy pregnancy, and then confinement. Holding back tears, Jojo expressed, “I enjoyed every moment that she cared for me.”
“There isn’t a day when you’ll feel prepared for this. You’ll get used to it. Embrace it.”
The topic of breastfeeding was also a painful one for Jojo, literally. “Every time after (Kayson) breastfed, I would be shivering on the bed for the next hour. Subsequently, it was okay. I think every mum faces this… I think it’s (worth the pain).”
Jojo is of course not the only one who has to endure pain in order to breastfeed her child. When she was a baby, she shared, her mother had to undergo excruciating acupuncture on her breasts, in a bid to stimulate the milk supply for her newborn child. “This is also another reason I (will continue) to breastfeed (Kayson) because if my mum can try so hard to breastfeed me, to give me a better body condition, I can do the same for my son.”
A mother’s love truly knows no bounds – its tireless devotion and undying generosity perfectly encapsulated in this heartwarming commitment from mother to daughter and then from mother to son. In closing, Jojo offered a simple yet uplifting piece of advice for all new and potential mothers: “There isn’t a day when you’ll feel prepared for this. You’ll get used to it. Embrace it.”
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