Time for a pregnant pause
Experienced mum Elisa Fung is helping her friend, expectant mother Agnes Shea, learn all about babies. Reports by Reggie Ho
Agnes Shea, a 33-year-old hotel public relations manager, will probably become a mother on Mother's Day. She is in her ninth month of pregnancy.
Although this will be her first child, she knows what to expect, thanks to her many friends who are experienced mothers. One of them is Elisa Fung, a 37-year-old mother of two whom she became friends with at work.
'Elisa has been filling me in about what to expect from motherhood,' Ms Shea said. The two recently met up at Mon Bebe (ShopG16, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2628 3393) for a bit of shopping and some more mummy chat.
Ms Shea I have many friends giving me baby clothes, some of them are even new. I saw a pair of very cute baby sneakers in Stanley the other day, but didn't buy them because I wasn't sure if they would fit.
Ms Fung Don't. The baby has to learn how to walk first before wearing shoes. The baby will only wear them once or twice. I did buy nice outfits for my babies to wear when they left the hospital going home. I wanted them to look their best on these important days.
Ms Shea My friend's baby, just 11/2 years old, is even wearing Juicy [Couture]. She also has an adidas skirt, jacket and matching shoes.
Ms Fung But of course that's more the mother's vanity. The baby is as aware as a lump of rice; it doesn't know what it is wearing.
Ms Shea It does feel good, though, to have everyone musing at your baby all dolled up. But I've heard extreme stories about babies. Some of my friends have told me that their babies were constantly on the move, while others just looked at the television most of the time and cried when they were hungry.
Ms Fung Boys tend to be more active. My [six-year-old] daughter's toys are still very much intact and can be passed on to her [eight-month-old] brother. I am sure after my son gets his hands on them they will be destroyed.
Ms Shea I have told the doctor not to tell me if my baby is a boy or girl, but I can feel that the kicks are pretty hard. It is probably a boy. Some friends told me that after the first two months when the baby cries at night you should just let it so it can stop the habit of night feeding. I've also heard people say that you shouldn't always hold the baby the minute it starts crying, just be there, look at the baby and say something.
Ms Fung After three months you don't have to hold it as much, but before that you should hold it more, let it feel comfort and love from mummy and daddy. You should give it a more physical touch. My mother has a theory that you should also let the baby cry a little before holding it, so that the baby develops its lungs, and the fact that they move their limbs when they cry also means crying helps their physical development.
Ms Shea I am listening to Mozart now. I heard that if you let the baby listen to music in the womb, it will recognise the tune after it is born.
Ms Fung It is true. My daughter plays the piano and I listened to her playing when I was pregnant with my son. My son gets really cheery when he hears her play now. It is important not to let yourself get too stressed with work when you are pregnant. When I was carrying my daughter, I was opening a restaurant and was constantly stressed out and irritable. After she was born, for the first year she was always frowning, and her first sentence was: 'Mummy unhappy'. Talk to the baby, about anything at all because it will help the baby learn to talk. The first Mother's Day gift I got from my daughter was when she was two.
Ms Shea Did she know what it was about?
Ms Fung She's an early bloomer, good at expressing herself even at two. She wrapped a handkerchief around the head of her toy golf club and pretended it was a flower. She gave it to me and said: 'Happy Mother's Day'. I was surprised. Then I thought she probably learned that from TV.
Ms Shea My ideal Mother's Day would be to have the whole family here, especially when the baby knows how to walk and talk. I think once you have children of your own, you really want to celebrate Mother's Day with your own mum because you realise what it really means.
Ms Fung The first Mother's Day can be really touching because you used to celebrate it for others and suddenly you are being celebrated. I was very touched when, after my first child, my husband said to me, Happy Mother's Day. It was only then that I realised, oh, it's my day, too.