At 17, Pelyn Tan became pregnant. After giving birth to her firstborn son, she pursued her studies and became a nurse. With the moral support of her family and friends, she has undergone two more pregnancies and divorce.
“I’ve thought about this so many times, and I have to say, I have no regrets.”
Now 30-years-old, Pelyn Tan has left her career as a nurse for 9 years and decided to run her own business at home as a baker. A single mother of three, Pelyn shares how she has managed to raise her children – aged 12, 8, and 6 – amid all the trials she has undergone and still has no regrets about her decisions in life.
When Pelyn found out she was pregnant, she has just 17-years-old and felt very lost. She did not know what to do at that moment.
Having graduated from her O-Levels, Pelyn was hesitant to tell her parents about her pregnancy. Instead, she confided with her school teacher, who helped her schedule a consultation with an OB-Gynecologist.
Revealing her pregnancy to her parents
Thinking that her mother would take the news lightly, Pelyn decided to tell her first. She came home together with counselors and her then-boyfriend (who became her future ex-husband). Upon arriving home, she said, “Mum, can we come in? I have something to tell you.”
Without thinking, she just said, “What? You pregnant ah?” Pelyn was shocked. “Oh my god. How did she know?!”
With that, her mother snapped. She started yelling and scolding everyone, including the boyfriend, and became hysterical. Though, in the end, she accepted it.
The father, on the other hand, accepted the news and was very comforting. One day, Pelyn’s mom told her to come into their room and apologize to her father. “No, I’m not gonna do that!” Pelyn snapped back.
Pelyn finally calmed down and came to her father and apologized. They hugged and she was in tears. Her father said, “What’s done is already done. We will have to plan what’s the next step and all.”
Her parents have accepted the pregnancy and were very supportive the following months. They planned for her kid’s arrival and her future. Since she was not 18 yet, she could not get married to her boyfriend yet, so they decided to marry after the kid is born.
It was not much of an issue welcoming the kid into the family since Pelyn has 4 other siblings. Children were always welcome at their home.
Pelyn was accepted at the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) when she was 4 months pregnant. She was to going take a Nursing course. She felt blessed since the school normally doesn’t accept pregnant women, but since her estimated due date fell on a vacation period, the school accepted her that year.
Everyone in the nursing program was very supportive and very mother-ly to Pelyn, especially during the late trimester and her tummy was already quite big.
Although, other students gave her the ‘eye’ whenever she walked around school with her large tummy. They would stare and gossip about her from afar and when she passed by, they would continue staring until she was out of sight. Pelyn did not mind any of these people, all the nonsense gossip did not matter to her.
No excuses even when having kids
The first time Pelyn Tan carried her firstborn in her arms, her priorities changed and all attention shifted to him. She felt that he was everything to her.
In year two, Pelyn took up a bond with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). She felt that she needed the money and had to be assured that she would have a job immediately after since she was raising her kid. She no longer wanted to take money from her parents.
After graduation, Pelyn started working at the KKH as a scrub nurse. She became pregnant with her second baby and was taking her degree, all while she was working.
She was working on shifts and doing assignments until she was done. She then moved on to Advanced Diploma in perioperative nursing — more like the surgical side.
She never thought of her kids as an excuse to pursue her life’s plans. She was studying, working, and raising her kids. Pelyn was determined to do them all, even when she had kids early. Her children served as an inspiration to Pelyn. Even her friends have given her moral support. She said, “Whatever my friends’ paths are, I’m going to do the same. I told myself, ‘It’s okay. If you fail, then you retake.'”
Three kids, Single mother
Pelyn went through her divorce shortly after having her third child. Parenting became tough on her since she was the acting mother and father at the same time. There were times that she could not understand her kids, especially the boys. She did not understand how they function or how they think. Being a single parent was something she could not grasp, at first.
There were times when she felt she was not good enough as a parent. Pelyn found out that it was difficult to be good and bad at the same time. Being a single parent just wasn’t easy. Her responsibilities would include picking up calls from schools while she was at work, or suddenly taking a leave of absence when her kids got sick.
For single moms, there were so many responsibilities.
A full-time job as a home baker
Pelyn Tan started baking in October 2019. Her friends have given her the idea to sell her baked goods since they enjoyed her honey cornflakes. They encouraged her, saying. “Aiya, just try ah, just sell!” Pelyn did not take it too seriously, though, but her baked goods soon became famous and her small business boomed before Chinese New Year in 2020. You may check out her Instagram page, @pelynoobakes.
Back then, Pelyn could bake at least a hundred bottles of her Goldflakes in two days. It was quite a substantial amount. She worked from 9 to 5 when she was a nurse, then she would find time for work-out sessions, bake when she got home, then reply to customers’ orders. Pelyn’s day would end at around 2 am or 3 am., then she wakes up at 6 am.
Pelyn has left her job in the healthcare industry and started baking full-time at her home. Now, she spends more time with her children. She recalls that she had no choice but to leave her children with only one helper while she worked night shifts.
Work-life balance is the most important thing for Pelyn. She is more flexible now with her time and she focuses more on her children. She gets to see them more, and never misses any moment while her kids grow up. As a single mother, she did everything herself.
“You see, once it’s gone, it’s gone. And I don’t want to look back and feel, ‘Why did I neglect my children?'”
Very grateful for their support
Pelyn Tan is very grateful to her family and friends during her difficult days. They have supported her in every possible way, not only on her small business or life’s choices but also accompanying her and checking in on her once in a while. Her parents always told her that they are proud of what she has become.
“I’d like to thank my family and friends, and tell them that I’m really thankful for their support and being with me through my darkest days, and when I thought: ‘I cannot make it anymore.'”
They have been there for Pelyn through her darkest days: the hardships of being a single parent, studying, and working. It would have been impossible for her without them.
“My friends have been perfect, every single one of them. They are just so freaking supportive. I would say that my friends were the ones who really helped me get through my hardest period. They are always there for me.”
Pelyn met her best friend shortly after her divorce. She was also a single mother like her, though she was only a mother of two. Pelyn would spend her nights with her best friend when she was at her lowest. She would put her kids to bed, then stay over.
Her best friend’s presence was very important to Pelyn. Being a single mother was not easy, you would feel very alone, and sometimes that feeling is overwhelming. Having a person beside you, even when they are not talking to you, could be very comforting. Plus, they understand what you are going through. When you have someone you can talk to, sometimes, all hardships reduce.
Through good times and bad, Pelyn and her best friend were always together. When she needed a friend to confide in, she was there. They always had each other’s backs. What’s more, their kids are now the best of friends, too.
Nothing to change
“I’ve thought about this so many times, and I have to say, I have no regrets. Definitely, I missed out like the whole bulk of my youth, but if I were to look back, I wouldn’t think that I would want to change it.”
Pelyn Tan admits, what she has undergone during the darkest of days has shaped her for what she is now. She has no regrets. Although, she added, that if she did not have kids today, she would still be that youth who always goes out partying.
Pelyn says that her children have taught her responsibility, patience, and love. The most important part of being in a family is to love and be loved in return. For Pelyn, the feeling was just great!
She has achieved so much while she was still studying, so she had no regrets. Although her marriage did not work, she says she had no regrets since without it she would not have her kids. Looking back, she admits, she would still like to have her kids but will have decided to not marry since they were still very young, and still immature at the time.
“You may not picture yourself with the same person 10 or 20 years down the road, but having a kid — you have no choice but to commit,” Pelyn admits, “But then again, in Singapore, it’s very hard to have a family if you don’t get married. There are many perks that you don’t get to enjoy.”
Pelyn Tan has been through a lot. Has she thought about giving up? All the time, though she cannot. She thought about how many responsibilities she has and if she gives up and when she is gone, who would take care of her kids?
“I am proud of myself. I think that I’ve come a really, really long way from zero to where I am right now. From having kids to studying, working, and then becoming a home-baker.”
Pelyn’s journey has just kept growing. She did not imagine that she would reach where she is today. Her business is booming. For her, it is like her baby, her biggest accomplishment so far, besides having three children.
Pelyn’s dream of having her own bakery is still far from being fulfilled. She believes she is still not that committed yet to expanding her business outside her home. The rent and finding the right place were just too stressful for Pelyn. Though her dreams are intact, she just doesn’t know when the right time is. Well, probably soon.
Pelyn is still waiting for her son to get through his PSLE period. Baby steps all the way admits Pelyn.
“My hopes and dreams for my kids: Firstly, the character is very important to me. So even if they cannot study or have no interest in studying, they have to grow up to be good people. And healthy. Whatever my kids like, I will support them. If they want to be able to be a baker, I’ll be very happy.”
Perfect! Extra hands in the kitchen!
Here is a video of Pelyn Tan being interviewed by Mothership: