I’ve known Serene all my life. Growing up, she really was more my brother and cousins’ friend, than mine. Grown up, I think we’ve had the chance to become better friends, because hers is too irresistible a person, too luminous a face, to not cast, on stage.
(Serene hosting Writing Our Worlds, and upstage in red, Love Story, photo credit- Ethos Books)
15 months ago, at 42 years old, Serene became, a mother.
I was curious to find out how she was getting along. In Love Story, and in an earlier work, Child, Serene was very generous and brave to trust me. I needed her to trust me so as to script both dances, and give the characters she played, shape.
Serene shared that in her 20s, she “madonna-fied motherhood”. She said, “As long as I enjoyed the younger biology of a 20-something, it was a choice I put off. I believed when I was mentally ready, my body would comply.”
She also added that “unlike our mothers, Gen X women could anticipate a life on our terms. I told myself whatever I needed to avoid dealing with the real issues- my fear of motherhood.”
“I had to learn to accept my own limitations, and love them, before I could embrace the experience of a lifetime… I am acutely aware of how short this phase in her life will be, in a way I couldn’t have been in my 20s.”
Serene credits her “outstanding partner who is involved, understanding and loving.”
“I don’t know if we could have been this well-adjusted 15 years ago, so in this regard, I think our child is getting us at our best.”
“…No regrets. But I do wish I had been kinder to myself when I was younger… I’d like my child to know there isn’t a list of to-dos and deadlines before a person is done. You do your best, and life will happen as it will.”
- All photographs of Serene and Baby were shot by her outstanding partner, Baby’s father, Steve Crean, and used with their permission.
- Serene Goh heads the Straits Times Young Readers Department.