38-year-old Yen Lim, Director and Founder of Madam Partum (part of Chien Chi Tow) joined the family business 16 years ago.

We spoke to the single mother of Ethan, 6, and Emma, 5, on her career and motherhood.

Madam Partum Director and Founder Yen Lim

Hi Yen! We’re curious. What made you decide to take over your father’s family business, Chien Chi Tow?

It was a natural progression. Working and helping out at my father’s shop during the weekends and school holidays since young was a satisfying experience and it became clear to me that this is where I will build my career. In fact, I am also bringing Ethan and Emma (pictured below) whenever I can to my shop to gain some working exposure like I had when I was young.

Yen's daughter helping out

You started a new wing of Chien Chi Tow Healthcare called Madam Partum for mothers. What inspired you to do so?

Many mothers like myself know that breastfeeding can be a terribly difficult experience. Having benefitted greatly from TCM lactation massage myself, I really want to help all mothers out there who are struggling with breastfeeding. I am confident that TCM lactation massage will help all mothers in clearing milk ducts and increasing lactation flow. We have since developed a complete TCM programme especially for mothers in their pre and post-partum care and well-being.

Post-partum fatigue is something most mothers experience after birth. Based on your own experience, what did you do and how did it help you to better recover?

Besides eating and resting well, I was helped by a daily intake of Chinese herbal soup and tea. They really helped in my recovery and I was able to regain my vitality much faster. I was able to return to work right after my 1 month confinement period!

See also: Why post-partum care is so important

What was the most stressful period for you after becoming a mother? How did you overcome them?

I would think that the initial first month of breastfeeding was the most difficult and stressful period. The breast engorgement I had brought immense pain. It was also tough to think that I could not produce enough milk for my children. It did not help that my children were also fussing constantly because they were not well fed.

I consulted my father who is a Chinese Physician and also researched on the specific meridian points and techniques in breast massage. I literally performed thousands of clockwise and anti-clockwise circular strokes around those meridian points and blocked lumps. Thankfully, the massages were highly effective. In a matter of a few days, I had no more engorged breasts and my milk flow increased tremendously!

See also: Breastfeeding tips from a mother

What was the biggest lifestyle change after you became a mother?

No more late night-outs and parties! I enjoy going to bed early with my kids before 10pm.

Work-life balance – do you believe in it? If so, how do you strive to balance your career and family?

Yen Lim of Madam Partum and her two kids

Of course, I believe we must all have a healthy work-life balance. If not, I would have gone crazy!

I enrolled my children for childcare when they turned 18 months old. With the assurance that they are well taken care of in the childcare center, I can then concentrate on my career during those hours. Once I knock off from office, I can disengage from my work readily. And when stress is building up, I will go for a nice massage or go shopping.

Do you face any mother’s guilt when you have to work overtime? How do you shake it off?

I rarely need to work overtime. If I do, I will definitely feel guilty. But I think that moderate guilt is a good thing because I will be more patient with my children when I get to see them.

What’s your secret to staying healthy and looking radiant?

Chilli maybe? I really love spicy food and chilli padi!

Complete this sentence: If there is one thing I could change about people’s perception of motherhood, I would change…

Nothing about it. All mothers should be clear about what to expect- the difficulties and joy; the challenges and fulfillment. In short, mothers should have a full and honest view of all the truths in motherhood. Although my kids are like “little monsters” sometimes, I find great meaning to life with them by my side.

Yen Lim with her two children

Photos courtesy of Yen Lim