Simply Serene

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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.” 

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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.”

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“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.”

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Serene credits her “outstanding partner who is involved, understanding and loving.”

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“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.”

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“…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.

3 thoughts on “Simply Serene

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