In this special column named ‘The Babies Cue x Parenthood Series’ we will be showcasing the incredible stories of parents within our community. Get an exclusive glimpse into their parenting philosophies and daily routines.

Believe in the strength of the community. During those challenging moments when you feel overwhelmed or unsure, you can always rely on your fellow parents. You can seek motivation from their experiences and share your own inspiring tales to uplift others within the community.

Meet Chris Henson (A Father of 1 Son)

TBC x Parenthood Series: Chris Henson & His Son

Parent Chris Henson and His Family

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I am a veteran in both the entertainment world and the financial services industry. I am an all-around entertainer and have been entertaining for more than 30 years. I am an Emcee, a Voice Artiste, a Singer, an Actor, a Vocals and Emcee Trainer; a Podcaster for my own chat show “The Chris Henson Conversation” and the Producer for a local football punditry show, “4-4-2Dudes”, both shows that belong to my podcast studio productions, CCBTV.

I have been Singapore’s premier Elvis performer and have been performing songs by the late King of Rock and Roll for more than three decades. This show was also featured in City Beat on Channels 8 and 5. I have also acted with the then Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) as a major role actor and have appeared in local TV shows such as PCK Pte Ltd, Triple 9, Shiver, and The Donny Lee Show. I have voiced numerous commercials, corporate and commercial videos, radio and TV spots but most notably, I was the voice for the Hugo Boss commercial that featured Joseph Schooling.

I am a proud Dad and a proudly Singaporean.

How many children do you have? What are his/her/their names?

We have a son Ethan James and he is our only child. We were rather fortunate in that I am an Eurasian though my wife is Chinese so we need not be too concerned over the choice of a Chinese name since he will be carrying my family name and will be considered naturally, to also be of the Eurasian race and culturally, we are not too concerned over whether the name would be auspicious or would bear good luck. So we decided that his first name be Ethan as we felt that it is a name with a perceived softer demeanor and articulating it lends a pleasant roll on the tongue especially if one is adept at enunciating words containing the letter “th”, which we are acutely aware that there will be a percentage in society whom may find this quite the challenge.

The second reason for picking the name is that the main hero played by Tom Cruise in the “Mission Impossible” movie franchise is Ethan Hunt. So Ethan Henson doesn’t seem to be that far off from Ethan Hunt. We chose James to be his middle name on the basis that I am a huge fan of the fictional literary and movie character, James Bond and also, on the basis that my late grandfather was beheaded by the Japanese on the accusation of spying for the British during the Japanese Occupation, was named James. So christening our son’s middle name to follow that of my grandfather’s, is our tribute to him.

Why did you decide to have your child/children? How did you think having children would affect your life?

We never not wanted a child. Before we had Ethan, we had already lost three kids through miscarriages. We were expecting our first child a year and a half into our marriage and lost him after two and a half months of gestation. We kept trying to conceive and eventually were successful about two years later. This time, we were told that we were expecting twins.

Four and a half months into the pregnancy, whilst my wife was heading to a business meeting, we lost the twins on the sidewalk along Orchard Road. After this loss, we were not able to conceive despite all efforts (save for IVF as being Catholics, this form of fertilization is disallowed) and we eventually came to a conclusion that the both of us would likely grow old together, childless.

We sold our first home and spoilt ourselves a little by purchasing a sea-facing, 3-bedroom apartment. We reconfigured the house and knocked down a bedroom to accommodate for a larger space; moved in, unpacked, and promptly left for a trip to Paris and England. A month after arriving home from the holiday, we discovered that we were pregnant! And, short of a bedroom!

Nonetheless, without incident and having thoroughly enjoyed the pregnancy journey, Ethan arrived 5 weeks early but weighed a normal baby’s weight, after 36 hours of labor and natural delivery! So yes, not being able to have children affected our lives more than actually having one but now that we do have one, we are enjoying our parenthood journey. Perhaps it’s because Ethan was hard to come by and the best kind of parenting we can provide through whatever methods agreed mutually between my wife and I, is our appreciation to Ethan for being in our lives.

Chris Henson’s Son Ethan When He Was A Baby

Describe your knowledge and/or experiences with children prior to becoming a parent. Did you prepare for parenting? If so, how did you prepare?

Whilst expecting Ethan’s birth, we both attended pre-natal classes every Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed that process and we believe that it would be utterly irresponsible not to attend pre-natal class and pretend that we know it all! If we had been allowed to get off the “parenting blocks” with this attitude, we had better not be parents! This would be a new little, helpless person who will be living with us and have complete reliance on our ability to swaddle, nurse, care, feed, bathe, heal, coo.

How could anyone be irresponsible enough to not at least, learn these basics especially when it comes to lactation? Most dads think that it is not their responsibility since they would not be the ones directly nursing their baby but the psychological challenges for their wives should not be ignored. The mother’s depression of not being able to produce foremilk at the beginning. The danger of engorgement. The inconvenience for the working, nursing mother who needs to express milk ever so often and even at the workplace. Their husbands must be their pillars of support! Otherwise, the man might as well be the corner furniture in the home.

Worse of all, woe betide the mother who is more interested in regaining their pre-pregnancy body shape and prioritizes that over and above the nursing of their baby and decides to nurse them with mother’s milk for only a week or two. We have learnt and experienced that the mother nursing her baby for a lengthy period, not only just provides the best nutrition nature can provide but this love bond between mother and child has been scientifically proven, to aid the mother back to her pre-pregnancy shape. So yes! Go for pre-natal classes and I don’t mean to learn it from YouTube!

How and where did you learn about pregnancy and childbirth? Were your expectations and knowledge of the prenatal and birth period accurate? 

I think it has already been appropriately answered above. We took a private group prenatal class in Tanglin Mall.

What has been the most meaningful part of parenting for you?

When Ethan was just shy of a week before his first birthday, he contracted the rare Kawasaki Disease and was also hit by RSV. Kawasaki Disease is a scourge. He looked like a burns victim and fever temperature averaging in the forties. He was in hospital for 8 days and there were moments of despair on nights when he couldn’t breathe and I had to sign an indemnity allowing the doctors to inject him with Codine.

There were nights when his temperature would reach so high that he was delirious. No one should ever experience a baby in delirium. My wife and I were driven to our knees. However, the doctors could not confirm the diagnosis of Kawasaki Disease until most of the clinical symptoms developed and it was only 6 days later that they made a clinical judgement and treated him with five vials of Aspirin and his fever and welts on his skin started to dissipate.

Why was this the most meaningful part of parenting? Parenting means family. Parenting exists because there is family. It is the willingness in crisis to give everything of ourselves, to hope together, and to unite together as parents. It was this bump in the course of parenting that gave us the confidence to carry forward together as a family and to face whatever life has in store.

TBC x Parenthood Series: Chris Henson & His Son

TBC x Parenthood Series: Chris Henson & His Son

What had been the most difficult part of parenting for you?

The most difficult part of parenting is to be able to adapt to your child’s emotional needs. No, it’s not about the PSLE or school exams. It is about the ability to ensure the continued trust of all parties within the family. The trust that each of us is constantly striving to understand each other. The constant efforts of mutual understanding and agreement at each stage of life that the family journeys together.

For example, understanding an adolescent and how changes are affecting him that are beyond his ability to control. Also, vice versa, for the teen to understand what his parents are going through with his adolescent changes and how we are also equally, doing our best to adapt and understand.

There are no guidebooks. There are studies and courses but no two persons are ever entirely alike. So proper parenting requires not close monitoring but a close, loving relationship. Even commercial companies see the need to organize team building and retreats to build better bonds between colleagues. There is an even greater need for stronger bonds amongst everyone in the family and that requires a ton of effort.

Who inspires you to become a better parent?

My son. For the simple fact that he is my son. That’s my inspiration.

Do you have any word of advice for other parents who are starting their own families?

Please reproduce responsibly. It will not be about you anymore. It is about WE.

What do you do in your free time as self care? How do you unwind?

I sit down and write stuff like this.

What is one thing you are grateful for?

My family. My family is my rock. And when I say my family, that includes our dog too!

Connect with Chris Henson!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hensonchris
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@CCBTVPodcasts

Are you a Parent too?

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