Singapore— On June 16, Sunday, activist Han Hui Hui gave birth to her first child at Singapore KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, without the aid of a doctor.
As she wrote on her blog as well as her Facebook page past 10pm, she gave birth in the presence of her “Singapore born Singaporean husband” who “was in the delivery ward with” her. The identity of her husband has not been disclosed, and neither has the gender of their child.
Hi everyone, I have given birth in KK Hospital with my Singapore born Singaporean husband in the delivery ward with me…
While many well-wishers have offered congratulations to the new mum, Ms Han has chosen to announce her child’s birth in connection to social realities in the country.
The first thing she tackled is the low rate of marriage in the country, writing,
“In Singapore, most people do not get married.There were a total of 28,212 marriages registered and a total of 7,578 marriages ended in a divorce or an annulment in 2017.The general marriage rate for males is 45.7 in 2017, for females, the rate is 42.8 over the same period.”
Ms. Han also gave the Straits Times source for the statistics on marriage that she cited.
Next, she recounted the story of how she gave birth with “not a single doctor” attending to her. This was not by choice but by circumstance since she claims “no doctor was available at Singapore KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital” when she went into labour.
She also said that she had been at the hospital the day before, but instead of being administered painkillers to prepare her for delivery, she was sent home after ultrasound scans were performed.
She added, “I didn’t even have the chance to discuss my birth plan.”
Again, she connected this with statistics about the country’s birth rate, writing, “In Singapore, most people do not reproduce too. Between 2014 and 2018, an average of 33,000 babies were born each year and the total fertility rate dipped from 1.16 in 2017 to 1.14 in 2018,” and providing the ST source for this as well.
However, the activist did express thankfulness for the lone nurse who “believed in” her and who “demanded for a delivery ward to be given to” her, repeating that “there was no doctor available in KKH.”
Ms Han gave birth one hour upon entering the delivery ward.
About the experience of giving birth, she wrote, “I’m glad that my child was about half a kg heavier than what KKH told me the estimated weight would be.
This is how the Singapore birth process is like: I didn’t have the chance to go through the birth plan and I didn’t have the chance to have an epidural or painkiller.
When I tried to ask for the laughing gas, it was too late and the nurse was afraid that I will become unconscious if I were to take the laughing gas.So I went through the whole birth process awake, knowing how the pain is like. Therefore, I am now trying to recover from it.”
She then took the opportunity to remind readers of an upcoming demonstration at Hong Lim Park.
“If you have also given birth in less than an hour without any epidural or any painkiller, please let me know how you’ve recovered from it because I would like to recover soon in order to go to Hong Lim Park too.”
After which, she went on to discuss statistics concerning breastfeeding in Singapore, lamenting how breastfeeding is not encouraged, infant formula is expensive, and the cost of living in Singapore has risen to become the most expensive in the world.
And Ms Han linked these statistics with two criminal cases wherein people stole thousands of dollars worth of infant formula.
Her bottom line:
“Singapore is the only country in the world where the government doesn’t spend a single cent from a cash flow perspective on our public housing, public healthcare, and pensions for retirement.”
To end her post, she invited people to #YearningForJustice on June 23, at 5 pm at Punggol MRT, a human-rights related event./ TISG