A Letter to My Unborn Child

Dear Child,

It’s the first day of 2014 today and this puts your mother in “one of those moods” again.

You see, 9 days from now, your mother will wed your father and be lawfully and eternally bound to him for the rest of her life. If we get real lucky, you’ll soon be in my womb and in our arms before we know it — and we can’t wait to see you. We love you already, and our wish is for you to keep this precious love close to your heart as you tide through the trials and tribulations of life.

Tough times will come, and tough times will pass; good times will come, and good times will pass. Life is a cycle and it’s not easy. I, however, promise everything would be worth it in the end.

A wise man once said: “The basis of life is freedom, the result of life is expansion, and the purpose of life is joy.”

I do not know how life would be in 20 years, or how one would define “joy” in Year 2034. But right now, your ancient, outdated, and aging mother is still a young lady of 26 living in meritocratic Singapore. My society, while a pragmatic one where people get caught up in the rat race to get ahead (and frequently forsaking morality to do so), is a place founded on the basis of freedom and equal rights.

Because I was born in a free country, I face the paradox of choice everyday. People think the freedom of having options is what makes them happy, but the reality is it oftentimes does not.

To stay focused, one needs to drown out the noise of the world. Everywhere you turn to, something shinier than what you have will be screaming for your attention. And if you constantly drop what you have in your hands to consistently grab at newer and better things, you would soon spend your whole life wandering aimlessly never having found true happiness.

Happiness in life stems from “acceptance”. Not “settling for less than what you’re worth”, not “this looks good enough so I’ll just go with it”, but at its core, paraphrased from the “Serenity Prayer”, happiness is accepting the things that cannot be changed while having the courage to change the things you can — and the wisdom to know the difference.

Freedom is akin to a white canvas. And the colours you fill this canvas with is yours alone to choose. Choose wisely, my child, and when you discover that one purpose in life which fills you with great joy, don’t you ever let anyone — not even me — tell you that you’re not good enough to do it. When you have a dream, you have to protect it.

People chide your mother for choosing to get married in her twenties … For not choosing to travel and see more of the world instead (which admittedly, your mother does feel a pang of pity about) … For wanting to have kids at this age … For not being ambitious … For just about everything. You see, dear child, the world is a noisy place. And no one would ever think you’re good enough for anything — most people just want to see you fail badly in order to feel better about themselves. Never bother yourself with such people. Instead, go live your dreams … Go live your life so well, so splendidly, and so happily that those naysayers would have no choice but to eat their words once and for all.

I once learnt a campfire song which goes like this:

The challenge goes out to one and all,

To decide to stand, or to fall.

There will be results to the choices I make,

Choices for myself or for whose sake?

I will hear so many different voices, shouting so many different choices.

How will I choose? How will I choose?

Which is right?

Which is wrong?

Which is foolish and which is wise?

Which will bring me down… And which will help me grow?

In your pursuit for happiness, and on your path to greatness, always remember: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” — James D. Miles

If your father and I have done right, you would be that fine young person we’d so love to meet in future.

And after you’ve done well enough for yourself, your mother can finally stop her fussing … and knock back a drink or two … and then maybe, just maybe, continue on her travels around the world in her sixties. Until then, darling, you’ll be the most important aspect of my life.


Love always,

Mum and Dad
1 January 2014

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