There’s a saying that when it comes to babies, even the best-laid plans can go awry. Indeed, what was meant to be a maternity photoshoot for Bae Skin co-owner Rachel Wee turned into a post-maternity shoot instead, thanks to her little one who made her grand entrance to this world earlier than expected. Nevertheless, this belated maternity shoot, starring mum and babe, is everything we love: blissful, dreamy, and breathtakingly gorgeous. “We did it at my parent’s place, where I grew up. I thought it would be the perfect location, and a significant one too,” muses Rachel, 31, who is currently enjoying being a full-time mum to baby Ellery.
What’s the story behind the maternity shoot?
“I believe Ellery wanted to be part of it. Joanna from @whimseyjune asked me earlier this year if I wanted do a maternity shoot with their collection. But the COVID-19 situation got serious and the circuit breaker began. Hence we had to postpone it.
We picked a date in May, when the circuit breaker was supposed to end, but it was extended. Since I was going to be due soon, Joanna suggested sending over her beautiful maternity robes, and I would use a tripod to self-take photos while being directed by a photographer over Zoom.
(See also: 10 Things to do Before your Baby is Born)
A few days before the maternity shoot, my mucus plug fell out. I told Joanna, my obgyn says the baby can come anytime, let’s have the shoot tomorrow morning! She was an angel; she arranged everything so quickly at the last minute.
We were supposed to do the shoot at 11am that morning, but Ellery couldn’t wait to come out. I went into labour at 5am.
That was how many times we had to postpone this shoot. I wanted to give up doing the shoot altogether since it was supposed to be a maternity shoot. But I had a feeling the reason it was postponed so many times was because Ellery wanted to be in the photos with me. So I told Joanna that I wanted to go ahead with it, this time with Ellery in my arms. That’s how it became a post-maternity shoot.
Is being a new mum all that you imagined it to be?
It’s better than I imagined. Though I’ve always wanted to be a mom, I was a bit apprehensive during my pregnancy. I knew I would have to make many sacrifices (the biggest one being sleep!) and I was scared that I would be a bad mom. But now that Ellery is here, I find that being her mummy comes naturally, and I am enjoying every single moment of it.
What was it like giving birth during the circuit breaker?
Ellery was born on May 27, during the circuit breaker period in Singapore. It was actually nice that no one could come. I was in a lot of discomfort and pain during the first two days, and Ellery was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). I don’t think I was in the right physical or emotional state to see anyone.
How did you choose Ellery’s name?
I studied in Australia, and one of my favourite Aussie designers is Ellery. I was largely influenced by their fashion style. Later I found out the name had a wonderful meaning too. It means cheerful and happy — what I want my Ellery to be.
The best and worst parts of being a new mum during this time?
Best: Having a legit reason not to go out. One of the things I knew I would miss was dressing up and going out (which would be hard since I was planning to take care of Ellery myself). But because there may be chances of COVID-19 community spread (and I certainly didn’t want to risk passing anything to Ellery) I don’t mind staying home.
Worst: The fear that I, Ellery, or my husband (financial analyst Ken Chen, 31) may catch something. I was never much of a germaphobe till Ellery came. And the fact that we still have community cases makes me quite fearful so I try to limit the number of friends and family coming over. I’m quite stringent with their hygiene too, like requesting them to wear mask.
Who is your parenting inspiration?
I know many great parents, but I hope to emulate the parenting styles of my maternal Uncle Paul and his wife Aunty Jennifer. They strike a fine balance of being friends with their children while teaching and nurturing them when needed. I can see the closeness of each child’s relationship with their parent and how mature the three children are!
You look amazing in the post-maternity shoot.
Thank you! I wore a binder and applied firming cream from Cheryl W every single day during my confinement month. I think that helped a lot! Having a nanny also helped because it meant I could get sufficient rest to recover during my first month.
Which are your favourite maternity must-haves?
A good milk bottle (I use Hegen) is so important in preventing colic. The breast pump from Medela works really well for me. Finally, a firming cream and a binder for the mummy to help her get back to shape!
Oh, a very random item which not many mummies will think of — a microfiber absorbent hair wrap. There were so many times I had to rush out of the shower and dry myself to attend to Ellery, with my hair dripping wet. The hair wrap was useful in helping me speed up the drying process while I fed or changed Ellery.
Do you have any advice for new mums in Singapore?
Enjoy the process as your little one will grow in a flash. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Finally, follow your own instincts, not what others are doing.”
Models: Mummy Rachel Wee & Baby Ellery
Photography: Knotties Frame
Makeup & Hairdo: Lush Looks Makeup
Robes: Whimsey June
Bed Linen & Swaddle: Momo + Bubs
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