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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 Elena Kwa (A Mother of 1 Child)

TBC x Parenthood Series: Elena Kwa & Her Son

Parent Elena Kwa, Her Son and Husband

Tell us a little about yourself. 

Hi, I’m Elena Kwa, the founder and managing director of The Immigration People. I began my journey in the immigration industry back in August 2014. My interest in this field was sparked at a young age when my mother, who is Malaysian, initiated the process of securing my Permanent Residency (PR) and later, Singapore Citizenship. Even then, I found myself fascinated by the intricacies of the immigration process.

As I delved deeper into the industry, I became increasingly aware of the significant impact that immigration status can have on individuals and their lives. However, I also noticed a troubling gap in the industry – a lack of proper regulation, which allowed for unscrupulous practices by companies lacking ethical standards.

My colleague and close friend, Kay, and I often found ourselves engaged in lengthy discussions about this issue. These conversations fueled our shared desire to establish a company committed to serving clients in the right way. We envisioned a company with clear values and missions, dedicated to providing honest and reliable immigration services. This vision laid the groundwork for the creation of TIP, where we strive to uphold integrity, transparency, and professionalism in everything we do.

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

We have 1 boy, and he will turn 2 this June. His name is Elliot, and we chose it cause it sounded like it would suit him the most. And we like how it sounds!

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

After seven years together, including two years of marriage, my husband and I found ourselves in a comfortable and contented stage of life. As a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) couple, we enjoyed the freedom to travel, pursue our hobbies, and cherish our time together with our two cats. However, we began to feel that we were ready for a new chapter and the challenges that parenthood would bring.

Both mentally and financially prepared, and at the age of around 30, we felt the timing was right to expand our family. We wanted to ensure that there wouldn’t be too large of an age gap between ourselves and our first child, so we made the decision to welcome a new family member, embracing the responsibilities and joys of parenthood for the next two decades and beyond.

Ultimately, our decision to have children was a conscious and well-considered choice, marking the beginning of an exciting new phase in our lives filled with love, growth, and shared experiences as a family.

TBC x Parenthood Series: Elena Kwa & Her Son

Elena Kwa with Her Son, Elliot

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

Prior to becoming a parent, I had limited knowledge and experience with children as I wasn’t particularly drawn to them. While I was okay with kids, I didn’t have many interactions with them and had never even carried a baby before my own son! My focus was primarily on my career, especially during a period of growth and change within the team.

It wasn’t until I conceived my son that I began to delve into information about pregnancy and parenthood. However, I approached this new chapter with a relaxed mindset, opting not to stress myself excessively over the pregnancy or the impending arrival of my baby. Despite the demands of managing my business, I continued to go to the office every day throughout my pregnancy, only taking a break one day before I delivered.

While I may not have had extensive preparation or prior experience, I embraced the journey of parenthood with openness and adaptability, trusting in my ability to learn and grow alongside my son.

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

I primarily learned about pregnancy and childbirth through online resources such as Google and YouTube, as well as from my obstetrician and discussions with friends who were mothers themselves. While I had some expectations based on this information, I recognized that every pregnancy is unique, so there were still variations between my expectations and the actual experience.

Fortunately, I had a relatively smooth pregnancy with minimal complications, aside from experiencing morning sickness in the first trimester and some water retention and swelling in the final month. Surprisingly, I didn’t have specific food cravings during this time.

When it came to childbirth, my experience was also relatively smooth. I lost my mucus plug in the early hours of June 5th and was admitted to the hospital shortly after. By midday, I was fully dilated and began pushing, with my son successfully born by 1 pm. Despite the intense contractions, the process was manageable with the help of an epidural (godsent!).

Overall, while there were some unexpected experiences along the way, I felt prepared and supported throughout the prenatal and birth period, ultimately leading to a positive outcome.

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

Definitely watching my son grow from an infant to a mischievous toddler! Hitting all the development milestones, his first crawl, to walk, to babbles. All these are experiences and joys that I would have never known would be so precious to me. And I believe a lot of parents can resonate.

TBC x Parenthood Series: Elena Kwa & Her Son

Parent Elena Kwa & Her Family

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

The most challenging aspect of parenting for me has shifted over time. Initially, during the first year when I had to express or pump breast milk in the office, the coordination of my schedule was paramount, especially for in-person meetings. My partner, Kay, played a crucial role during this phase, with her understanding and collaborative approach helping to achieve a harmonious balance between my parental responsibilities and the demands of my role as a business owner.

As my son transitioned into toddlerhood, disciplining became the most difficult aspect. It involves setting a positive example, establishing healthy boundaries, and addressing undesirable behaviour. Managing my emotions can be particularly challenging after a long day at work, especially when faced with household chores and a toddler experiencing tantrums or refusing to eat dinner. Balancing these responsibilities while ensuring effective discipline can be demanding, requiring patience and consistency.

Who inspires you to become a better parent?

The inspiration to become a better parent stems from my sense of responsibility towards my child, who didn’t choose to come into this world. I want to create a nurturing environment where my child can thrive emotionally, intellectually, and socially. I hope to instill values of empathy, compassion, and resilience, aiming for them to grow into an independent, socially responsible individual who can (hopefully) contribute to this world that we live in. Ultimately, my inspiration comes from my unconditional love for my child and my commitment to providing them with the support and guidance they need to navigate life successfully.

What is your personal motto?

As a business owner, my motto is to pursue endeavours that are purposeful, meaningful, and capable of making a positive impact on people’s lives. I prioritize not only providing for my family but also creating employment opportunities for fellow Singaporeans, contributing to the growth and prosperity of the country and society that nurtured me. By doing so, I hope to also serve as a role model for my children, inspiring them to also strive to make a positive difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

TBC x Parenthood Series: Elena Kwa & Her Son

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

Starting a family is a significant life step that requires careful consideration and preparation. One of the most crucial aspects of this journey is communication with your significant other. It’s essential to be aligned on important topics such as parenting styles, financial management, etc. Remember, starting a family isn’t akin to a Disney Fairytale with an automatic ‘Happily Ever After.’ It demands significant effort, understanding, and respect.

Avoid falling into the trap of comparison, whether it’s comparing yourself, your partner, or your children to others. Especially these days whereby you only see all the glamorous side of things on social media. Every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Focus on nurturing your own family dynamics and creating a supportive, loving environment for each other and your children. By prioritizing communication, understanding, and mutual respect, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the challenges and joys of starting a family.

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

In my free time, I prioritize self-care by indulging in activities that help me unwind and recharge. One of my favourite ways to relax is by watching shows on Netflix, allowing myself to escape from reality for a while and immerse myself in the captivating storylines of the different shows and movies. I also enjoy reading.

Additionally, I enjoy travelling to my favourite destination, Japan, as a way to rejuvenate my mind and spirit. The scenery, culture, and Japanese cuisine never fail to uplift my mood and inspire me. Whether it’s exploring the bustling city streets of Tokyo or the tranquil countryside, each visit to Japan is a delightful escape from the everyday stresses of life.

By incorporating these activities into my routine, I can unwind, recharge, and cultivate a sense of balance and well-being in my life.

What is one thing you are grateful for?

I’m incredibly grateful for the blessing of waking up each day next to my loved ones in good health, and for the peace and stability we enjoy in Singapore. The ongoing conflicts and unrests faced by many countries in other parts of the world serve as a stark reminder of the preciousness of peace. I’m reminded of the importance of never taking peace for granted. The simple fact of being born in Singapore, during this era, is a tremendous blessing that I cherish deeply. It’s a privilege that fills me with gratitude every single day.

Connect with Elena Kwa! 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elenakwa

Are you a Parent too?

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