While most new mums can’t wait to get their figures back, popular TV actress Zoe Tay misses being big and pregnant.


‘I loved knowing that the baby was in there,’ she said.


Zoe gave birth to a son, Brayden, in February.


The actress, who has played the role of mother many times over for TV, said she was ‘over the moon’ when she first learnt she was expecting.


‘I had been waiting for this moment for some time,’ she said.


Being 37, she was also a little worried about her age. ‘Many people giving me all kinds of advice – from the goodness of their hearts – didn’t help either,’ she said.


She made up her mind to listen only to her doctor on what to do, eat, the supplements to take and how to adjust her lifestyle.


Zoe said her friends rallied around so she would not miss her other half. Her husband Philip Chionh, an RSAF pilot, was then and still is based in South Korea.


When he was due home for the birth, the baby refused to wait for his Daddy’s arrival. On Feb 24, Zoe’s water bag burst at home at 8am. She immediately called her good friend, actress Pan Lingling.


Lingling not only drove her to Thomson Medical Centre but also stayed by her side.


Zoe gave birth after 11 hours of labour. ‘It was soooooo painful,’ she said.


‘I told myself to hold on, hold on for Philip. Wait for him to arrive. The mind is a powerful thing. But when the baby had to come out, he had to come out.’


‘Daddy’ touched down early the next day.


While in hospital, the new mother learnt the basics of taking care of junior.


‘Like the different positions I could adopt while breastfeeding the baby. The most comfortable one was lying on my side. It is not so tiring that way,’ she said.


Zoe faced her toughest test when she was in confinement.


‘I had the herbal wraps, drank herbal soups, and ate only confinement foods – lots of fish – to help not only the milk production but also to recharge my body,’ she said.


The Chinese believe that a new mother’s body is weak and her blood circulation poor. Her pores are also open. The idea is to avoid contact with wind or water, so that the cold cannot enter her system easily and give her aches and pains 10 or 20 years later.


Zoe figured it wasn’t wise to tempt fate, even if it meant sleeping in a closed room without fan or air-con in the blistering heat of March.


‘Hey, who’s to say there is no truth in it? It was tough but I lived one day at a time. In my mind I thought if I endured a day, I would gain a year of better health,’ she said.


Zoe had help from a confinement woman and her husband who got a week’s paternity leave. He would help change the baby’s Drypers diapers.


Two months on, Zoe said she can now tell what her son needs by his different cries – if he is hungry, wet, or just needs a cuddle.


She is also determined to breastfeed as long as she can.