Cover Veronica Ni, founder of Schöne mama Singapore, together with her two children

“While childbirth can be a very rewarding journey, it is also a highly taxing undertaking on the mother’s body,” says Veronica Ni, founder of Schöne Mama Singapore. Here, she shares more about the importance of prioritising postpartum health as well as how she balances motherhood and work as a mother of two

In March 2016, after a gruelling labour period that lasted 36 hours, Veronica Ni gave birth to her first child, Lauren. Soon thereafter, she experienced mastitis and blocked ducts—common postpartum issues that affect breastfeeding women. Seeking to resolve the extreme pain and discomfort, the first-time mum sought out doctors and lactation consultants all around our city-state, none of whom could help.

Frustrated, she decided to take a trip back to China to visit her friends and family. “I looked all over for a place in Singapore that could take away the pain, but there wasn’t any. I almost suffered from postnatal depression and thus I decided to take a break in Shanghai,” Ni shares.

It was there that she discovered Schöne Mama, China’s first postpartum recovery and health management agency. Founded in 2005, the luxury care provider has built a stellar reputation for itself with its quality postpartum treatments and services that help to alleviate postpartum discomfort.

Inspired by the care she received, Ni, a Singaporean PR, decided to partner with the brand to establish a centre here on our island, where she's based. “I saw a gap in Singapore’s postnatal recovery business and wanted to provide mothers the same help and experience I had received back in Shanghai,” she explains. “Schöne Mama Singapore helps mothers recuperate after birth using scientific technology and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) knowledge. We are a one-stop comprehensive pre and postnatal healthcare centre that focuses on providing health assessments, counselling, and guidance for women.” 

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The period after childbirth is incredibly complex and challenging, ranging from radical body changes to emotional highs and lows that are caused by hormonal shifts. Thus, it’s important to drive awareness as well as address the need for postpartum care, and, as Ni stresses, it should not end after the textbook four to six week period.

“Postpartum care does not end after your month-long confinement,” she says. “Postpartum care is a very big industry in China, and there are hospitals just dedicated to it, but here in Singapore, many people still think that the pains of childbirth end after the delivery, or the confinement period. While childbirth can be a very rewarding journey, it is also a highly taxing undertaking on the mother’s body.” 

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As a mother of two, Ni also understands all too well how taxing motherhood can be. Having to juggle the demands of both work and children is a balancing act that most working mothers have to perform. “In the beginning, it was definitely challenging and draining when you have so much on your plate and you have to juggle a newborn alongside breastfeeding,” Ni recalls. “As a result, I often feel physically and emotionally overwhelmed by parenting. An exhausted mom often experiences fears related to not being good enough, relinquishing control, and losing her sense of self.” 

She has since learnt to be patient with herself. “The perfect mother doesn’t exist. Don’t let external or internal pressures create unrealistic ideals that undermine your capacity and self-confidence,” advises Ni. “Every mother is the embodiment of love and selflessness. She is always there for her children. My motherhood journey has been very encouraging and fulfilling, watching my children grow each day and being their pillar of strength.”

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Don’t let external or internal pressures create unrealistic ideals that undermine your capacity and self-confidence
Veronica Ni, founder of Schöne mama Singapore

Here, Ni shares more on her views regarding the pressure on new mums having to bounce back immediately after giving birth, the difference between Schöne Mama and other postnatal centres in Singapore, as well as what motherhood means to her. 

Tell us more about the importance of pre- and post-natal care.

Veronica Ni (VN): Over the years, after witnessing women who got pregnant scientifically with medical assistance, we learned the importance of a good physical condition and fine-tuning our bodies to prepare for birth

TCM believes in the 180 days 'Golden Recovery Period', where postnatal women should recuperate from childbirth to repair the body. I would love for more females in Singapore to place more importance on the 'Golden Recovery Period' rather than focusing on just the typical one month of confinement. In TCM, we believe that giving birth is a rebirth and a second chance to 'repair' the body. 

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While confinement is a more commonly talked about topic in Asia, the postnatal period and care is rarely covered—it seems that mothers are expected to recuperate and recover flawlessly, but that is not always the case. What are your views on this, and where does Schöne Mama play a part here?

VN: We should try to not let any forms of pressure create unrealistic ideals that will undermine our capacity and self-confidence. Every mother is the embodiment of love and selflessness—we are always there for our children, regardless. I would always tell my customers to always prioritise their health before focusing on concerns such as appearance. Always remember to accept your body as it is, and remember that it took nine months to accommodate your baby, so it will take some time for your body to get back to its pre-pregnancy state.

Schöne mama Singapore would like to journey alongside mothers in their journey through motherhood. Our motto, 'Be nice, to yourself', reflects our vision to empower women and journey with them throughout their motherhood journey, while letting them know that there is someone who believes in providing them the best treatment they can get for postpartum issues.    

How does Schöne Mama differ from other postnatal centres in Singapore?

VN: Postpartum services in Singapore mainly use Jamu massage techniques, which typically use Javanese traditional treatments that involves massaging the body with specific herbs, oils, and hot stones to improve circulation. Whereas in Schöne Mama, we focus on the woman’s overall body condition and recuperation after birth, not only just massages and improving blood circulation. It is a professional holistic approach based on the effective use of TCM and scientific technology to provide targeted treatments to the areas of concern.

Our treatments are not based on a relaxation basis but based on providing solutions to improve and solve the body's existing conditions. We strongly believe that healthy inner beauty surpasses any form of beauty. If a woman is healthy internally, the glow of beauty will naturally radiate from within.

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What does being a mother mean to you?

VN: Being a mother and a working professional, I take advantage of my knowledge as a fellow mother to provide other mothers with help for concerns that they are facing. I also enjoy sharing my journey and personal experience as a mum of two with them as well. Ultimately, I feel that being a mother meant being a protector, disciplinarian, and friend. I would always aim to be my kids’ greatest supporter to always be there for them throughout their growth.

Tell us more about balancing motherhood with work.

VN: It is important to prioritise at times. I like to remind myself that rather than dwelling on how I’m not with my child, it is important to complete my work on time and spend the rest of my time (evening and weekend) with them. I am a big believer in spending quality time with my family. On weekends, I will also arrange plenty of activities for my kids and it is a chance for us to bond.

As the founder of Schöne Mama Singapore, I seek enjoyment from being able to help and share the journey with every mother along the way. One of the most imperative parenting challenges that I personally face is the scarcity of time. In a day, I would have to juggle the time between a plethora of duties—completing office tasks, looking after kids, and of course, sparing some time for myself which can be impossible at times.

Kids definitely need a fair amount of attention from parents therefore it is important to spend plenty of time with your kids. However, I would also like to share with fellow mummies the importance of self-love. Besides taking care of your kids, it is important to also take good care of yourself.

What are your top three words of advice for mothers in terms of postnatal care?

  1. Find and make time to exercise.
  2. Have ample amount of sleep.
  3. Have your meals regularly. It is important to have confinement meals postnatal that are healthy and not high in oil, salt, or sugar.      

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