Yesterday’s Mumbai Mirror had this two pager article promoting Rujuta Diwekar’s new book – Pregnancy Notes.
Excerpts from the article: The thing is that a lot of women use getting pregnant and delivering babies as a valid reason for sporting a flabby stomach. Just like they use marriage as an excuse for giving up on their careers, or worse giving up on themselves.
And my latest book, Pregnancy Notes, propelled obviously by Kareena Kapoor’s pregnancy and the way she’s looking post delivery. The idea is to let everyone know that no one loses weight, or gets back into shape because they have chefs, trainers and nutritionists at their beck and all. They get back to track because they are deeply motivated from within towards their own wellbeing. Along with that what we need is the courage to nurture ourselves back to pre-pregnancy size and shape. I say courage because what we need to follow in terms of food, customs and rituals is not to be found on google but with our grandmother, a knowledge bearer of timeless wisdom that allows women to stay at the peak of their health, fertility and sexuality post pregnancy.
The first statement from the excerpts I take offence to. How do we assume that people are using marriage as an excuse to give up on their careers? Firstly, people need to understand the difference between a ‘job’ and a ‘career’. If you would have said that people give up on their job, I would have a agreed. But a career is something people very carefully nurture. No one likes to ever give up on it unless they are cornered to make that choice. And sometimes you have to make a choice and take a pause for some time. And it is legit and should be allowed without any preconceived judgement like that.
Coming to the second portion – Why is someone’s book propelled by Kareena Kapoor Khan’s pregnancy and more so with the way she is “LOOKING POST DELIVERY”? Not that I have ever been into fitness or made ‘looking good’ my main focus of life. But I know a woman – Tejaswini Bandodkar – who used to be so fashionable and in great shape always that even the actresses she would style would at times be conscious of her inherent oomph – but motherhood changed her priority for sometime so that she could serve to her child selflessly. And when I look at her today, sporting a little fat on her tummy, with probably some ruffled hair sometimes, not necessarily wearing the most expense perfume – but looking unmistakenly happy with her little one – I feel proud.
Why can’t we promote happiness over looking good?
This has been my problem with Kareena’s motherhood tales since the Day 1. In less than fifteen days, she was out on a dinner date with her husband. No issues, do it – your life! But don’t promote it or try to tell the gen-next that this is how modern day motherhood is – all cool and easy! Because in reality it is not. If you are exclusively breast feeding your child, he or she is not going to give you that two hours of dinner date with your husband so soon. So don’t fall prey to these expectations from your own life. Here, a normal mother, is struggling everyday to cope with her own issues, and shortcomings and how life has changed so drastically that she wasn’t really prepared – and there you (I actually blame the media) are everyday bombarding her with how soon and how much weight Kareena is losing. Is life all about losing weight? And getting back to your pre-pregnancy body?
Can you ever go back to your pre-pregnancy mind? No, never! At the back of your mind, now there will always be thoughts of your child. I remember going to a work meeting for the first time when my son, who was three months old then, was waiting with a friend of mine in the next room. All through the meeting my subconscious mind was hearing him cry to me. In reality, he was peacefully sleeping. But I just couldn’t get my mind off him.
On a normal day, I wake up when my child wakes up, which is usually 7ish in the morning. Then I breast feed him for a while and then leave him to his play gym area and quickly cook breakfast for the family. While we three eat together, water is getting ready for the little one to take a bath. And as I know it so well, even before I finish my chai; he gets cranky and starts craving for his bath. Once we are through with the bath time, I breastfeed him again and he peacefully doses off for a while – just enough time for me to freshen up and take my bath. Just when I have his next meal ready, he is up and ready to take on the play area again. We eat again. Then we play for a while. Meanwhile, my staff (luckily I have them, half of the women don’t have that privilige as well) cleans the house and cooks our lunch. Once they are gone, we gear up for lunch. Then we play for a while again and finally he gets tired and slips into a quick nap again. On days when I have some office work to do during the day – he invariably refuses to sleep in the day. But such is life. Then evening is the time for a walk in the garden or the nearby super market. Then again back home, play, eat, get dressed for the night. Then an elaborate bedtime ritual – playing, reading a story, breast feeding a couple of times and finally off to sleep. Once he has finally retired for the night, I take out my laptop and finish my work – the social media management that I do in the ‘work from home’ mode, the job that I really need. And after all this – finally – almost an hour after midnight, I finally have some time to myself. Either I write or I put some nail polish or read or watch something on netflix. Mind you, I still haven’t mentioned the time when I clean the soiled nappies or clear the toys that are spread all over or lay the bed and so on. So where do I fit in 2-3 hours of work out without a nanny or a baby sitter? So how can one claim that getting back to shape needs courage and not support staff?
So all you new mothers and mothers-to-be; don’t be fooled or pressurised by the expectations the society or anyone else is going to put on you to get back into shape. Sooner or later, you will get there. But don’t let that be the focus of your life. Your little one needs your attention more than anything and anyone. And this time is going to pass away very fast, so don’t be distracted. Love your child and your self – let no one tell you body image is all that there is to life!