For Karthikeiyan S. and his wife Rajesvathiy P, life at
presentis filled with much happiness and anticipation. The couple recently welcomed a daughter
into their family, and have derived much joy from raising their three year-old son Tarrshen.
However, the journey to starting a family was far from smooth-sailing.
In fact, Karthik and Rajes, as they prefer to be known, weren’t even looking to have kids after
their marriage in 2014. Karthik, 35, was self-employed at that timeand his erratic income led to
financial struggles. Even securing their own flat proved difficult, so they ended up living with
Karthik’s parents for two years. “We were also concerned about who would look after our kids
when we were working, and how expensive child-rearing would be,” says Rajes, a 33 year-old civil
In December 2014, however, the couple were surprised to discover that Rajes was pregnant.
Unfortunately, their first baby boy, Siddarth, was stillborn. This turn of events left them
devastated. “It was extremely hard to be around people with kids, and painful to know that we
created a child but didn't get a chance to raise him,” says Rajes.
The couple were grateful for the emotional and psychological support provided through
counselling, family and friends. Prior to tying the knot, they attended a marriage
preparation programme at Care Corner Counselling Centre.
The road to recovery
While the healing process was slow, the couple were grateful for the emotional and psychological
support provided through counselling, family and friends. Prior to tying the knot, they attended
a marriage preparation programme at Care Corner Counselling Centre located in Toa Payoh. “After
the loss of Siddarth, it wasn't difficult for us to return there for counselling because we had
a good experience with them,” Rajes recalls. “Their pre-marital course really helped strengthen
our relationship. And as the centre is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family
Development, we were able to get government rebates for therapy sessions too.”
Rajes was also granted paid maternity leave and extended hospitalisation leave by her
organisation, giving her more time to recover from her loss. The couple also joined Child Bereavement
Support, a support network for parents, and eventually became comfortable spending time
with their friends’ children.
A turn of the tide
In May 2016, surprising news came again. Rajes found out that she was expecting a second son —
another unplanned pregnancy. “There was a lot of anxiety because we were afraid of another
stillbirth, so I had to make sure that I kept myself in good spirits,” she says.
Thankfully, Rajes’ delivery was smooth this time around, and the Karthikeiyans welcomed Tarrshen
in January 2017. "It was amazing to be able to hold my son's hands and finally experience the
joy of being a mother!” Rajes enthuses.
In the year leading up to Tarrshen’s birth, things had started to look up financially as well.
Karthik took on a full-time job, first as a customer relations officer and then as an
educational therapist. The financial stability meant that the couple could secure a higher
housing loan, and they found a resale flat at Serangoon North close to Karthik’s parents. The
HDB Proximity Housing Grant also made their home much more affordable.
There were other avenues of financial support as well, such as the ECDA preschool subsidy for
working mothers, which has substantially reduced Tarrshen’s school’s fees. Another leg-up were
the levy concessions for hiring their domestic helper, which are given to households with
children or elderly individuals. “The Baby Bonus scheme really benefited us too, because it
helped reduce the cost of my gynaecologist visits, delivery and baby necessities,” adds Rajes.
The Karthikeiyans also received help from their family in caring for Tarrshen, with Rajes’ mother
taking unpaid leave to help look after him in his first month. Even today, whenever the couple
need time alone, both Rajes’ and Karthik’s parents are more than willing to take over childcare
Having children is worth the commitment − nothing is better than the feeling of your
child hugging you and telling you they love you , You have a newfound purpose too −
contributing to the development of the next generation.”
RAJESVATHIY KARTHIKEIYAN, MUM OF TARRSHEN
Plenty of love and support
Given the ample support and the joy they felt at raising Tarrshen, the Karthikeiyans decided to
try for another baby in January 2019. However, the lack of success was frustrating and they
decided to give up after nine months. “It was a never-ending cycle of emotional stress, because
you keep trying and nothing happens,” recalls Rajes. “So we decided to leave it to fate.”
And as fate would have it, Rajes had another surprise pregnancy in December and delivered her
daughter on 20 July 2020. “We were initially worried about Rajes being pregnant during the
COVID-19 outbreak, as babies have naturally low immune systems and we didn't want her to catch
the virus,” Karthik acknowledges.
The stringent protocols — coupled with Singapore’s Circuit Breaker period to contain the virus —
made the couple feel at ease about the safety of her baby during her pregnancy.
Their concerns were alleviated with the strict safety guidelines imposed by National University
Hospital. Rajes recalls the hospital contacting her a few days before each doctor’s appointment,
to ensure she had no flu symptoms and remind her not to visit if unwell. When she delivered at
Thomson Medical Centre, additional precautions were taken to ensure both Karthik and herself had
little to no interaction with other couples in the delivery suite. Only a pre-registered maximum
number of five visitors were allowed to visit them. The stringent protocols — coupled with
Singapore’s Circuit Breaker period to contain the virus — made the couple feel at ease about the
safety of her baby during her pregnancy.
They received lots of love from friends and family as well, who would send them care packages or
connect with them via video calls to ensure they weren't feeling isolated. “Tarrshen’s preschool
did an excellent job of keeping him engaged during the Circuit Breaker,” adds Rajes. “They would
send us activities to do with him and instruct us to post photos afterward. It was so much fun
and we loved bonding with him that way!”