DJ Jade Rasif unfazed by critics who call her 'a terrible mother'
When Jade Rasif was hit with an unplanned pregnancy in 2018 at the age of 24, while waiting to graduate from the National University of Singapore with a degree in psychology, she just got on with it.
At the time, the popular social media influencer and YouTube personality had already made a name for herself as a top club DJ.
With a baby on the way, she was prepared to lose her gigs and globetrotting lifestyle. On top of that, she turned down a marriage proposal from her long-time partner - even though everyone tried to convince her to tie the knot.
She decided against it as the couple, who had been in an on-off relationship since they were 14, had not graduated yet.
Now 28, she tells The Sunday Times: "Maybe the pressure (from everyone around me) made me not want to get married. I don't like to be asked to do things I don't want to do.
"I had seen many shotgun marriages fall apart and I didn't feel like I was in the right mental state to make any decision - and I sure didn't want to make one based on the sole fact that I was pregnant."
The model-actress adds: "I don't judge other women for their choices, but it was just not something I was comfortable with doing. I believe when you get married, it's for life. And at that time, I wasn't sure if I was willing to commit to this for life."
Abortion was "never on the table", especially after she underwent the procedure at 16.
"After that, I vowed if I ever got pregnant again, I would never ever allow that to happen again. I would take responsibility, even if it was difficult."
Her son is now 3½ years old and a spitting image of his father, but Rasif requests that the boy not be named for privacy reasons. She also declines to reveal her current marital status, beyond that her partner is now 28 and works as a lawyer.
Although being an unwed mother did not sway her from her course, she acknowledges it could be a "big deal" - like being excluded from the Baby Bonus Scheme.
"Your children come out labelled illegitimate until you get married. So if something were to happen to my boyfriend, our son might not be entitled to his inheritance," she adds.
But she also knew deep down that things would turn out fine, as she comes from a single-parent household and saw how trials made her mother "even stronger".
When she was 12, Rasif's father David Rasif abandoned the family. The fugitive Singaporean lawyer is still at large after running away with $11.3 million of his clients' money in 2006.
Nevertheless, being judged as a bad mum became a "reality" for Rasif, who is famous for her risque party-girl image.
She received the "worst" comments when she announced her pregnancy on social media.
She has 471,000 followers on Instagram and co-hosts the popular YouTube series Just Saying.
She recalls: "People were writing articles and blog posts about how I would be a terrible mother and how my child was going to come out with foetal alcohol syndrome.
"They also said I was irresponsible for flying overseas and playing a DJ show while pregnant."
Keeping her son off social media entirely was also a double-edged sword, as detractors assumed she was neglectful.
But she did not see the need to share more just to make others think she is a responsible mother.
"I don't want to be virtue-signalling online, like 'Look at me, I'm such a great mum, I send my child to such a good school, and I pick him up every day.' I find it unbearable. So I was caught in a difficult situation," she says.
She also received flak for travelling to Malaysia for a gig after giving birth.
"Everyone was super angry with me, saying, 'Where's your baby?'" she says. "My baby was there with me and my extended family in Kuala Lumpur. The show was at 11pm, then I left the club early and went home as I was breastfeeding. I mean, I still had to make money, right?
"When you're a working mum, the stress of not sleeping, not eating a lot, of a changing body - all those things were a lot more pressing on me than what people were saying, so I guess I just brushed it off.
"I was always thinking about survival and not anyone's approval. I don't like to listen to chatter. I just like to march to the beat of my own drum."
And do not expect her to tone down her sexy image or scrub her feed clean just because she is a mum. "I think the paradigm, where we need to equate someone who dresses conservatively with virtue, is shifting. It's a lot more about what you do. So I don't feel the need to censor myself.
"Once in a while I get sad, like 'Oh no, he's going to get so bullied by having a hot mum'," she says sarcastically.
She adds: "I definitely got a lot of hate back then and, to be honest, my image may have affected how people saw me as a mum.
"But I feel now that I have settled down a lot, people are more accepting and I don't face those stereotypes anymore."
Motherhood also changed her personality and priorities, and she describes herself as a "chill disciplinarian".
"My friends and even my mum say I'm a lot less cool and fun than I used to be, like, 'Why are you in bed every day by 9pm?'
"Let's say I'm overseas on a business trip, everybody's going out to party, but I'm not. I don't want to go out or have fun, I just want to sleep. Every moment you get to yourself is precious after becoming a mum."
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