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Own Your Story #32 with Zayana Yusof: Rising strong in millennial motherhood

As college mates, Zayana Yusof and I chose a very different path when she embarked on motherhood while I took the leap to leave the corporate world.

Our choices brought us to different places but one thing brings us together — we stay true to who we are.

When I saw Zayana’s article about post-partum depression, her courage and vulnerability made me realised that our struggles were not unique even though we travel a different route.

1| Love yourself, love your life and appreciate what you have

Ever since she started her blog 10 years ago as a teenager, Zayana’s writing has been motivated by the belief to be good, do good, and encourage others to be good.

Now, As a young mother juggling between family, work and PhD studies, she writes to connect with young mothers like herself, creating a virtual community where mothers can support each other.

Through her blog, she wants to remind all mothers to ‘love yourself, love your life and appreciate what you have now’.

2| Rising from post-partum depression

When Zayana gave birth to her first daughter at the age of 23, she had a hard time adapting to motherhood. Her relationship with her family deteriorated to a point when her husband confronted her.

‘How long more are we going to live like this?’ It was a wake-up call for Zayana.

After a melt-down, she called a psychiatrist to seek help. The recovery process includes medication, therapy session, and restructuring her mind.

Zayana used her own saving to pay for the treatment so that she has a practical motivation to get better faster. From this episode, Zayana walked away with a big lesson — never judge a person who is going through his or her own issue.

3|Managing life as a millennial mum

As a millennial mother with 3 children who juggles between family, work and studies, the biggest challenge Zayana faces is to stay calm and keep a positive mind. It’s the hardest to control one’s mind and she dwells in negativity easily.

To counter this challenge, Zayana set up a routine for herself and draw a clear boundary between work and family life.

Besides that, it is important to have a circle of support whom she feels safe to reach out to any time.

4|The importance of critical thinking in making a life decision

One of the mistakes that Zayana regrets the most is leaving her job at 23 without consulting parents of both sides. From the hindsight, she admitted that it was a rush decision and it made sense that she worked for a few more years to gain experience, but she also learned to seek advice in order to make an informed decision.

When it comes to motherhood, Zayana wished she knew how tough it would be. She encourages millennial women who are planning to start a family to seek advice and stories from women around them, analyse the information critically so that they are more prepared to face the challenges.

5|Advice for young people

It’s interesting how Zayana and I started out at the same point with a degree in accounting and yet we end up in very different places.

Being where she is today, Zayana’s biggest tips for young and driven college graduates is to be open to how life is going to turn out. One might have expectation or plan about how things should go, but life might not always turn out the way we want.

Life is an open canvass where we can create all kind of possibilities, be present and accept where we are in the present moment.

Invest in life

When I asked Zayana what’s her best investment in the past 3 years, her answer was one that I didn’t expect at all, and it opened my mind to a new perspective.

She sees the commitment to her marriage as the best investment, where she becomes more mature and evolves as a person through the journey.

As we spoke at the start of a whole new year, I could totally feel her enthusiasm when she expressed the excitement to have a brand-new year to improve her life and marriage.

At the end of our conversation, I was so, so grateful that we reunite to witness each other’s growth after going through the struggles in life, career, family, and celebrate the person we are today.

“Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.” Brene Brown

Own Your Story Podcast features interesting guests with fascinating stories and unique perspectives on life, taking viewers on a journey through the lives of others and ultimately inspire them to embark on an adventure of their own.


Zayana's Blog


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