A mom of two, an IT professional and an influencer – Shub Bhide moved to Singapore some 13 years ago from Mumbai, India. She followed her husband here in 2006, and has come a long way since then.
Shub was barely in her late 20s when she had her first child. The delicate nuances of first-time motherhood, including the anticipation, nervousness and an overwhelming roller coaster of emotions are not easy to handle.
Yet, Shub had to go through more. Her first born was a premature baby. Weighing barely 850 grams, Shub’s daughter was so tiny and fragile that she was directly taken to the intensive care unit after birth.
“I was scared and nervous but the most difficult part was not being able to hold my baby in my arms.”
Shub would look at her daughter fighting for her life in the ICU but could not go near her or touch her. She felt extremely helpless and scared.
“Those were probably the most challenging times for me as a mother. My daughter’s health was so critical that she became a case study for neonatologists.”
Amidst all this, Shub’s daughter was diagnosed with jaundice and suddenly it felt like all hope was lost. At barely a few months old, underweight and already struggling for every single breath and heartbeat – the little baby had to fight with another disease now.
After several months of intensive medical attention and round-the-clock prayers, she recovered and Shub finally got the chance to hold her baby in her arms.
“That moment was everything for me, it was like the centre of my world had shifted, like gravity was not the reason that I was standing on earth but it was her – my little survivor.”
“Even after she came home, my daughter needed 24-hour attention and care. My husband and I would take turns to stay up in the night and watch her,” shares Shub.
She tells me that one thing that kept her together during this period was her family and friends’ unshaken support.
Moving to Singapore
Amidst all this, Shub’s husband got an opportunity to move to Singapore from Mumbai and take his career ahead. For about six months, Shub was alone in India.
Eventually, she followed her husband here. Shub had a flourishing career in the IT sector in India, which she took a break from to start a family. Now, she felt the need to get back out there.
Yet, there was a lot that she had to figure out initially – understanding a foreign market, building a network, embracing a new culture and making a place for yourself in the community.
Eventually, Shub found a job and started working as an IT professional. Her daughter was fifteen months old and she had support from her mom and in-laws who would take turns to visit.
Shub also opted for childcare and took help from babysitters.
Juggling Between Job and Home: A Mother’s Guilt
While Shub and her family were happy that she was rediscovering her professional self again, there were various things affecting Shub mentally.
Having gone through such a difficult phase in her life, Shub realised that it was important for her to keep busy and make new friends but she also had the guilt of leaving her daughter behind.
“It was not easy for me to convince myself that I was not doing anything wrong,” says Shub.
When pressed on why she felt that way, Shub replied: “I think it is because of how the media portrays women, especially mothers. We are made into some kind of perfect, sacrificing Goddesses who do not have a life of their own.”
“Of course, being a mother is something that is the closest to my heart and will always be but just because I wanted to have a career doesn’t make me less of a mom.”
Luckily, she overcame the guilt period and made something for herself because “only happy moms can make a happy family”.
The Second Child
Six years after her daughter, Shub’s son came along. Being a single child, Shub felt the void of not having a sibling while growing up.
“I always wanted to have at least two kids because I personally feel that siblings are important for every child to have someone to play with, confide into and even have cute little fights over childish things,” Shub smiles.
While Shub was going through difficulties of being a mom while settling in, she decided to start an online group on Orkut called ‘Indians in Singapore’, which in 2008 migrated to Facebook under the name ‘SINdiapore’.
The objective was to create a platform where all expats could connect and communicate. The group received overwhelming responses and grew to have thousands of members in no time. Today, ‘Sindia’ has 20,000 + engaged members.
Using Social Media Positively
After her unexpected success on Facebook, Shub decided to start blogging about topics that she was always passionate about – parenting and lifestyle. She started her blog page called Rainbow Diaries.
Today, Rainbow Diaries has more than 33,900 followers on Instagram and an island-wide readership.
Shub also organises various get-togethers, meetings and events to encourage mompreneurs and stay-at-home moms.
“I think being able to multitask and having the chance to create something positive and good using social media is what keeps me going. But of course, the support that I get from my husband and my kids is the most special and encouraging thing,” says Shub.
Thank you, Singapore
As we approach the end of the interview, Shub tells me that she has one more important message.
She is thankful to Singapore for being so welcoming, warm and supportive. “My kids go to local schools here. This was a deliberate decision because I wanted them to experience the true Singapore.
She says that because of the constant support of her friends and teachers at school, Shub’s daughter – who is generally the tiniest kid in any class – is the Leader of the Student Council today.
“She is confident, has leadership skills and is living the life of a normal teenager – all thanks to her teachers and friends at school.”