Charis Ow is always up for a challenge with new roles in her career and personal life. However, the one role she looks forward to most is now the hardest challenge she has had to face: motherhood.
Dress: Longchamp; Earrings: Tiffany & Co; Ring: Charis' own l Makeup: Hermès Plein Air Natural Enhancing Complexion Balm, Rose Hermès Silky Blush Powder in Rose Plume, Rouge Hermès Satin Lipstick in Beige Kalahari, Hermèsistable Infused Care Oil in Rose Kola / All Hermès Beauty
It's half-past ten on a Thursday morning and the sky is overcast when Charis Ow shows up in a cute pink top with strawberry-shaped buttons and white denim shorts for our shoot. Greeting us with a bright smile (as far as I can tell behind a face mask), she is very much like the bubbly personality portrayed in her YouTube vlogs and socials in person.

Settling into the makeup chair minutes later, she whips out her camera to document the day—as one does, if you're a content creator. But she's gained (and let go of) multiple other roles since her days of churning out beauty tutorials and dance covers on the video streaming platform.

Among these roles include Disney's Head Mouseketeer at Club Mickey Mouse (circa 2017 to 2020); a singer (with three singles to her name—Supernova, Could This Be Love?, and Mahal); and the co-founder of Niko & Clare, a clothing brand she started with an old friend last year. Two years ago, she also gained the role of a wife to her long-time boyfriend, Daryll Tan.

"We were supposed to get married in April 2020 but Covid and the lockdown happened so we had to postpone our wedding," she tells me over a call, a few days after our shoot. They decided to delay the nuptials by a full year to be safe. Alas, the year has come and gone but the circumstances were no better so it was postponed yet again.

Regardless, the couple went ahead and registered their marriage with only their pastor, parents, and bridal party as witnesses four months after the original date.

"We had to postpone the celebrations with our loved ones, but between Daryll and I, we thought it was already time to get married and we would like to just live together, which we believe in saving for marriage. Also, because of the pandemic, we thought it would be best if we could just be there for each other," she reveals.
Dress: Alia B; Bracelet: Wanderlust + Co l Hair: Texture Tonic, Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss, Air Control Light Hold Spray and Phomollient Styling Foam / All Aveda
Hello, Baby
Fast forward to August 2021, the couple decided they were ready to have a child. "We've always wanted kids, even when we were courting each other," she shares. I can tell by the enthusiasm in her voice just how much so. "Daryll also loves kids so much and I think he would make an amazing father," she gushes, finding herself admiring a polaroid of her husband on the wall.

"We also have a godson who's turning nine this year. He's my best friend's son. We became his godparents at a very young age. I was 22, and Daryll was 24. We really doted on him—we babysat him, we showered him, we even cleaned his poop!"

I ask if she's naturally motherly, and Charis laughs in agreement. As the youngest of three siblings, she often finds herself surrounded by her nephews and nieces. She also babysits her friends' little ones on occasion. Even her clothing brand offers adorable matching "Mummy and Me" outfits.
So it came as a pleasant surprise when Charis discovered she was pregnant within two months of trying to conceive. "I was shocked," she pauses, recalling the exact moment she found out. "I was actually supposed to do a hair-dye campaign but I remember reading somewhere that hair-colouring chemicals can be harmful if you're pregnant, so something in me just told me to take the test."

Ecstatic, she couldn't wait to tell Daryll, who was at work at the time: "It was the longest wait for him to come home. I placed my camera and waited for him and it was so agonising. I didn't even wrap [the test] up or anything because I was too excited to tell him the news. He was over the moon, of course."

While it's considered taboo to announce a pregnancy in the first trimester, sharing the news with loved ones was one of her most cherished moments. Another was how Daryll would gently rub and talk to her growing belly the first thing in the morning and every night before bed.

"We would always say 'Hello, Baby!'" she smiles at the memory, "It was very sweet when it happened…but it also became quite heartbreaking after."
Dress: Charis' own; Necklace, bracelet and earrings: Wanderlust + Co
Sea of emotions
Besides common pregnancy symptoms including severe nausea ("I couldn't stand up for long") and intense cravings ("I just loved eating garlic"), everything was going relatively well. Then, she went for her six-week check-up. The doctor informed her that her baby's heartbeat was slow, compared to an average fetus at that stage.

"We didn't think much of it at the time as it was still early, and our baby was still small. After that, our gynae prescribed us supplements to take and told us to see her again in two weeks," she explains.

During her follow-up, she received devastating news: her baby's heartbeat had grown faint and its size had shrunk. "I was just stunned at that moment. [The doctor] was going on about procedures but she still hadn't said the M-word. I wanted it to be really clear, so I asked her, 'Am I having a miscarriage?' She nodded and said yes."

She recalls fighting back tears, jumping into guilt-led questions of what she did wrong instead. But the doctor assured her there was nothing that could be done as it was a case of mismatched chromosomes—an abnormal fetal karyotype. As soon as she stepped out of the consultation room, it all came crashing. Tears. Heartbreak. Disillusionment.
Dress: Charis' own; Necklace and earrings: Wanderlust + Co l Makeup: Hermès Plein Air Natural Enhancing Complexion Balm, Rose Hermès Silky Blush Powder in Rose Tan, Hermèsistable Infused Care Oil in Beige Sapoitille / All Hermès Beauty
They immediately scheduled a second opinion the following week. "Between those two dates, we were very confused because we were wondering whether we should have faith and pray for a miracle or let go. It was so confusing. I remember just crying the whole weekend."

After confirming her miscarriage at the nine-week mark, she elected for a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. It was the fastest option to remove the fetus from the womb, and while the bleeding stopped within two days, it took about a month for her body to recover from it. The emotional healing, however, took much longer. But with time, a community of people who shared similar experiences, and a good support system, she made peace with her truth.

Elaborating on her grieving process, she says: "At the beginning, it was always why me? But after a week of grieving, I realised, why not me? Maybe it was a story that could help other people. And maybe when we do actually have a healthy baby, we would appreciate the experience more. I think it was really about shifting my perspective rather than just wallowing in my own self-pity."
Charis took to YouTube to open up about her miscarriage a few months after the episode last November. In doing so, she hopes to help others who have experienced the same to feel less alone and to spread awareness on the subject.

"Instead of asking people when they are going to have a child, maybe you can talk about the weather, maybe you can talk about vacations. People act like it's very easy—like you can order a baby from Shopee or something. It might be easy for some people, but what about those who have been trying for years, or those who had a miscarriage like me?" she stresses.

"I hope that by putting my story out there, those who have been asking these questions can at least hold back and think first."

For those uncertain about how to respond to such news, she suggests: "Show kindness and offer your help in any way you can. Unless they open up first, don't bring up the topic—there are other things to talk about."
Pantsuit and cardigan: Both Fendi; Shoes: Charis' own l Hair: Texture Tonic, Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss, Air Control Light Hold Spray and Phomollient Styling Foam / All Aveda
Holding on to hope
Trying again after such a traumatic event is a challenge in itself for many. While some doctors may advise waiting up to six months, others say the most fertile window is right after a miscarriage.

"I think it's really the emotional healing that needs to take place first," she shares first-hand. "We acknowledged our first conception and we said, 'For you, we will try again.' Our hope of getting a child is more than our grief, so that helped us move past the experience. It also makes a difference when you and your partner are on the same page. We grieved, but we also held on to hope, together."

As for her advice to those suffering in silence, she says: "I don't know if it's just an Asian thing to just bury it under the carpet or see a miscarriage as an embarrassment as if your body has failed you. There's a lot of self-blaming. But I don't think it's good for a person to just keep it to themselves.

"I understand that it's a private matter, but if you're not doing well mentally, and you don't want to share it with other people, seeing a therapist is definitely a good practical step."
That said, Charis admits there were certain expectations after conceiving fairly soon the first time. Four months into trying again, she confesses: "We can have hope and maybe we have to try longer, but it's something that we'll never really know if it can or cannot happen.

"If you talk to me in five years and I'm still not pregnant, maybe I won't be hopeful anymore. But for me, I'm very much open to adopting too. I know that I can love other people's kids and I can still be a mother."

Whatever the future holds and however motherhood may take shape for her, she's clinging on to faith, hope, and love to face the road ahead.

"I think this whole ordeal has also taught me to love myself, in a way. Even if you can't conceive or do whatever society expects you to do, it doesn't make you any less of a woman. It doesn't mean you failed. Know that you are enough."
Knit vest: Salvatore Ferragamo; Necklace and earrings: Tiffany & Co l Makeup: Hermès Plein Air Natural Enhancing Complexion Balm #20, Plein Air Radiant Matte Powder, Plein Air Radiant Glow Powder, Rose Hermès Silky Blush Powder in Rose Pommete, Rouge Hermès Satin Lipstick in Rose Encens and Hermèsistible Infused Care Oil in Corail Bigarade / All Hermès Beauty
Watch: What motherhood means to Charis Ow
Editor & styling / sarah hani jamil
text & creative direction / Natalie Khoo

photography / edmund lee ASSISTED BY CHRISTINE CHANG | One3four STUDIO
videographY / Euri Erfe ASSISTED BY Soo JQ
Director of Photography / Loh Chia Hou
makeup / Samantha Lee for Hermès Beauty
HAIR / Gene Renu for Aveda
LOCATION / Element by Westin Kuala Lumpur
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