Enjoy..its pregnancy not a disease!

Becoming a mother is one of the most joyous and memorable event in any woman’s life.  The would-be-mom goes through mixed emotions of happiness, excitement, fear, anxiousness, etc., especially when she is expecting her first child.

Unless there are any medical conditions associated with pregnancy or before pregnancy or the doctor has advised bed-rest and other precautions, pregnancy needs to be enjoyed, taken normally and not treated as any disease.  I remember during both my pregnancies I was working till the last day, doing all the household chores, and enjoyed my pregnancies thoroughly.

Few tips for a smooth pregnancy and taking this phase as normally as one can:

  1.  First and foremost, pregnancy should not be taken as an illness.  Yes, the woman’s body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes but unless there are severe medical conditions where the gynecologist advises total bed-rest, take certain precautions and medicines, pregnancy should be taken normally.
  2. Some women have severe nausea and vomiting during the first trimester,  hyperemesis gravidarum.  She should consult the doctor and follow him/her.
  3. During pregnancy, the expecting mother should diligently follow the gynecologist.  There is no harm in following advice from the elderly or experienced mothers but only the doctor is the best person to understand about her condition.
  4. Eat nutritious food which includes all food groups but do not eat excessively.  Some people suggest that a mother should eat for two people, but the fact is whatever healthy diet the mother takes for herself is sufficient for the baby.  Also during this phase the mother shouldn’t diet or bar any food group like fats.  Like all other nutrients, fats are also required for the development of the baby.
  5. As per the doctor’s advise, folic acid and calcium should be taken regularly.  Never stop any supplement on your own.  Also in certain conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia doctor’s prescribe few medicines which should be continued.  They won’t harm the baby.
  6. Continue working in the office, in the house as before.  Just take care not to haste too much, not to bend as the tummy grows bigger.  Take rest in between.  Seek the help and support of colleagues, family and friends whenever required.  This is the best time to get pampered by everyone.
  7. Go for the scans and Doppler as and when indicated by the doctor.  This monitors the baby’s growth and development.
  8. Indulge in prenatal yoga, walk and light exercise after the gynecologist gives a go-ahead.  This helps the would-be-mom to keep fit and energetic.
  9. Never ignore the slightest of discomfort.  It might simply be gas or heartburn or later false alarms yet visit the doctor immediately if the mom feels any issue.
  10. Often women worry about the mode of delivery; whether it would be normal or cesarean.  I always say that one cannot predict anything till the last date.  Of course, every mom would want a normal delivery but when it comes to certain emergent conditions its best to get a C-section done.  After all, nothing is more important than the mother and baby’s life.  I myself had both my kids via C-section and I am perfectly fine and so are my kids who are grown up now!

Pregnancy is a phase that needs to be enjoyed and cherished.  Feel the kicks, hear the heartbeats via Doppler, see the little one moving in the scan..

Happy motherhood!

A Letter To Her-Don’t Go Back..

#ALetterToHer

Dear Her,

Do you remember the time our class teacher had humiliated you in front of the whole class for not submitting your homework on time?  You had told me, your friend, that you will never give her another chance to insult you again and you never did!  Then what happened 20 years later my friend?

I remember when you were dating your boyfriend, now your husband, once you didn’t reach your meeting place on time and he abused you publicly by calling you a “filthy late bitch.”  You were shocked and cried on my lap.  I had told you to immediately break up with him.  But you were so madly in love with him that you forgave him the very next day when he said sorry.

You were so excited and participated in all your marriage festivities with fervor.  On your mehendi night, he called you up and cursed your family and you as he and his family felt you people didn’t match up to their standards of wedding preparations.  Even the marriage was a big drama with him and his parents insulting you and your parents at every step.  Every time you forgave him because you loved him.

On your first night, his mother had asked you to hand over all your ornaments to her and you refused.  I still can’t forget the black mark beneath your eye and your swollen bruised lips the next day when you came for “pag phera” at your parents’ place.  This became a daily routine for you.  His violent outbursts, abusive language, thrashings, rape, etc.  He wouldn’t allow you to speak with your parents, would never let your parents visit you.  The demands kept on increasing.

My pretty friend, you became pale and lifeless.  You wanted to come back but your parents feared “log kya kahenge” and asked you to adjust.  Amidst all these, you discovered that you were pregnant.  You felt your husband and in-laws would change now.  But you were so wrong.  They kept insisting that you bear a son; chromosomes be damned!

I still remember the day your beautiful little daughter was born.  Your husband slapped you in that delicate stage.  He didn’t take his own daughter in his arms; he didn’t even look at the angel.  Your in-laws didn’t come to visit you.

Now your daughter is 2 months old and you are contemplating going back.  Your parents are willing to “seek forgiveness” for a fault that you haven’t committed; the fault that is your daughter.

My friend, don’t go back!  Be the girl you were 20 years back when you had promised that our teacher wouldn’t insult you again.  A father who hasn’t seen his darling daughter’s face, a husband who has slapped his just postpartum wife doesn’t deserve your forgiveness any more.  Even if you go back, can you fathom what will be your and your daughter’s condition there?  You have tolerated all the abuse and violence for all these years thinking your husband would some day mend his ways.  But now do you want your daughter to go through the same ordeal as you?  Would you want her to give a life of humiliation and unacceptability?  You are the one whom she recognizes now, trusts blindly, and will always depend on, look up to you to protect her, give her strength.  Don’t repeat the mistake that your parents are committing now, of not supporting you.  You know how much it hurts.  The very people who are supposed to protect you, love you; your parents and husband, are nowhere in your support.

But my friend, you are a strong girl.  Don’t go back.  Your education and inner strength will help you.  Of course, the road isn’t going to be easy.  But at least you will lead a life of dignity and freedom.  You have to gear up for another battle; divorce, societal pressure, parental pressure, hurtful remarks.  But remember, nobody is in your shoes.  You have had enough, now protect yourself and your daughter.  Make yourself strong and resilient, make your daughter strong and bold.

A marriage is a happy one only when there is a bond, not bondage.

Much love and strength to you.

Your friend,

Note:  I went through Meena Kandasamy’s blog in this Sunday’s Times of India and was very impressed by her honesty and her fearlessness.  Her decision to walk out of an abusive marriage is not a step that still many educated women take till date.  That’s why I want to read her inspiring story, When I Hit You,

The eternal friends..

I came to Mumbai just after my marriage some 15 years back.  As an introvert, a bit reticent small town girl I didn’t know what was my new life going to be like.  I was of the breed of girls who weren’t much ambitious, didn’t even ask how much the husband earned or what properties her in-laws had.  I was not the street smart, confident young woman who was focused and sure of what she wanted.  At that point of life, I simply wanted to focus on my new chapter, with a tall lanky man whom I had just met 6 months back in an arranged marriage setup.

I still remember we arrived late in the night in Mumbai; me, my husband, his close friend, and our luggage traveling through the dusty path from Baroda.  The express highway wasn’t in existence then.  I landed in a 1 BHK flat which was going to be my new setup, the beginning of my new life with my young new husband.  I didn’t know cooking, I didn’t know how to wake up in the morning without my mother waking me up, I didn’t know how to manage a home.

Call me silly, but I got exposed to credit and debit card thanks to my husband.  I didn’t know how to operate an ATM card.  I didn’t know that Andheri was compartmentalized into East and West like the other suburb stations.  I didn’t know which BEST bus would take me to my new office.  I didn’t know how much rice would be sufficient for the two of us.

But that tall lanky man held my hand, guided me at every step.  He would calmly without complaint take the half burnt rotis that I prepared for him every morning.  He didn’t watch the shape or taste, he only saw the love and feelings of a young naive wife in it.  He calmly explained me that ATM slip was not to be left but torn and thrown in the bin before leaving the ATM.  He lovingly taught me how to make rajma and kaali daal.

I, who never could hear an alarm ring, used to wake up religiously every morning and try to learn and do things that I had never done in my life.  No, there was no compulsion; it was my own choice.  We would order pizza in the evenings when both felt really tired.  We would share a bottle of coke in that 1 bedroom-hall-kitchen which had no fancy furniture or gadgets.  His 6-foot frame would lean over my 5-foot frame to give a hug of warmth, assurance and love.

Isn’t it or shouldn’t be that marriage should be all about?  You give some, he gives some, you learn some, he ignores some.  In all these years, we both have never ever dragged our parents or siblings in any fight.  I have seen things turn ugly when couples drag their respective families in fights.  Too much scrutinizing on the girl’s “beauty” or the boy’s “salary” doesn’t assure a happy marriage.  When two people accept each other with all their flaws and instead of changing them appreciate what’s good in them does a marriage become successful.

Often people claim that we are “lucky”; yes we are lucky to have found each other but it’s not that we haven’t had to work on our relationship; only we never felt that we needed to make “adjustments”.  He doesn’t eat fish, I do, but I have never forced him to eat neither he has forced me to give it up!  A simple example but it makes a lot of difference.

I always say more than religion, food, caste, beauty, salary; its the compatibility that matters the most; it is what makes a couple the eternal friends.

 

Work from home-how easy, how difficult..

I am a part of many mom forums and even otherwise daily come across many women wanting to do some work from home.  Many of them are frustrated or unhappy that they are unable to utilize their skills and qualifications or have an income of their own.  Many women feel lonely once the kids are grown up and want to do something of their own.  Many women in nuclear setup or otherwise do not wish to leave their small babies and go out to work and hence look for work-from-home opportunities.

Sounds nice and it is a boon for many women too!  There are lots of work-from-home options coming up each day.  Jobs in the field of content writing, blogging, data entry, social media-related jobs, medical transcription, tuition, etc., etc. are few work-from-home options.

But is it really as easy as it sounds?  Like every other thing, work from home has its own pros and cons.  I started working from home when my son turned 9 months old.  I stay in a nuclear set-up with my husband being my rock solid support always.  Its been almost 14 years now that I have been working from home, changed my job profile though.  I have had and still have many hard days.  Now with the kids grown up things are easier but still managing the home, kids’ studies, people, phone calls, etc., is quite a task.

Sharing few tips from my own experience of so many years of working from home:

1.  Work from home doesn’t mean that you don’t have to denote fixed working hours.  Yes, it has more flexibility than the office hours yet one needs to stay committed to the assigned hours.  Stay connected with your work colleagues online.

2.  Before starting any work from home option, please think calmly about it.  It is a commitment after all.  You can keep on taking breaks every 3-4 days citing kids’ issues or other social problems.  It impacts your performance as well as irritates your employer.

3.  Support system.  Create a support system, specially if your child is very small, so that you can work without any distractions while someone takes care of your child or does the home chores.

4.  Don’t expect the same salary, perks, or career growth as one gets when works from office.  I won’t generalize but generally the work-from-home jobs options have slower growth and sometimes lesser salary as compared to the office-going counterparts.  Things are changing though!

5.  Don’t try to do home chores and your job together.  It’s hugely distracting!  What I used to do was did some chores before starting my work and then finished the other chores later.  Compartmentalize your work and prioritize them accordingly.

6.  Inform your family and friends about work timings so that they call or visit accordingly, unless any emergency of course.

7.  Spouse and children play a big supportive role for women who work from home, at least holds true for me.  My husband was always very, very helpful and supportive.  Once my kids turned a bit older they also started realizing that mom is working and that she shouldn’t be disturbed.  Now the kids are my motivating factor!  Involve your family in your work schedule!

8.  Keep on reinventing and updating yourself.  Work from home can get stagnating at times.  Look for some other line which interests you, learn more about it, and try to work in that field, if you wish to.

Any work, be it from office or from home, is never easy.  Every place has its own set of challenges.  If you have decided to take the plunge, best of luck!

Dearth of good husbands??

How many women do you really see are happy with their husbands in their marital life, really happy?  There are ups and downs in every marriage but what if the husband is emotionally shut or abusive and physically tortures the women?

I am a part of many women forums and read many stuff related to women.  I see 90% of women unhappy because they are unhappy with their husband.  Husbands who marry but never really make the wife a part of “his” family, i.e., his parents or siblings.  He never defends her in order to “respect” his parents.  He never “allows” her to willingly go to her parents’ place and she needs to “seek permission” as he if he is the boss!!  He is responsible for bringing the children and giving them his name but never really “present or involved” in bringing up those children of his!  So many women lament that they are not allowed to rest after delivery or given a helping hand, forget “equal parenting”, when the kids are babies or toddlers.  Every time his mother taunts or insults her, she is supposed to ignore or keep quiet in order to maintain “peace” or give his mother the “respect” that she deserves!!

Day in and day out women cringe and complain that their husbands don’t give them “pocket money” and question about each and every penny spent irrespective whether the wife is a homemaker or a working professional.  How many women can still willingly and happily help their parents financially without having to question their husband or having to bear the brunt of their anger!  How does a husband get away with a “bad parenting” while the woman is always blamed howsoever hard she may try to be a “good parent”??

Everyone says that husband and wife are equal and that that’s the way it should be but how many like me are really fortunate to have such good partners?  I sometimes crib for so many things about my hubby but when I see what other women are going through it gives me a big, big reality check about my own good fortune.  Yes..good husbands are a rare species it seems.

Why are most men like those “abusive or nonchalant” husbands?  One and only thing, their upbringing.  The belief that men are superior or can do nothing wrong is the main problem.  Parents raise their sons like some “assets” and forget to teach them about a basic value, respect.  Its about respecting a woman, his children, his wife’s parents, and every other human.  Its not always physical abuse, emotional abuse is also scary..

High time marriages are really relished as everlasting bonds and not bondage…

Glow and How!

A healthy and glowing skin adds to the confidence of any woman.  I am often being asked as to how I still don’t have any wrinkles or sagging skin!  It’s not that I spend thousands of rupees or 4-5 hours a day taking care of my skin.  It’s just a routine that I follow which helps me.

There are a lot of factors which affect the skin, especially women.  Hormonal issues, stress, exposure to sunlight and pollution, erratic eating schedule, lack of sleep, spending a lot of time in front of the screen, lack of a proper skin care regime, etc.

One needs to invest some time daily and follow a proper ritual to have a good skin.

Sharing a few tips which might help you to have a healthy skin.  Of course, any medical issues like acne, psoriasis, eczema, etc. needs medical attention.

 

  1. Eat well. Never go for crash diets.  All the food groups are important for our health.  Totally banishing carbohydrates or fats from the diet takes away the glow from the skin.  Daily have meals which are healthy with lots of fruits, vegetables, proteins, some amount of fat, carbohydrates.
  2. Try to get a good sleep. Of course, women as moms, balancing work and home, taking care of everyone are the ones who get very limited sleep or sometimes disturbed sleep.  This also affects the skin’s health.  Try to meditate, have a glass of warm milk, or a good bath to get a good sleep.  This will help your skin.
  3. What helps for me is washing the face with a mild face-wash first thing in the morning, which removes the excess oil and dirt accumulated in the night. I have an oily skin, so I use a face-wash meant for oily skin.  You can use a face-wash based on your skin type.  After that, I apply a good moisturizer to replenish the moisture.
  4. This is oft repeated but generally most neglected part of skin care, using a sunscreen. Invest in a good sunscreen with high SPF to protect against the harmful UV radiation of the sun.  The ultraviolet radiation damages the skin a lot.  Use sunscreen even if you are at home.
  5. The ritual of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing works wonders for the skin. One can definitely invest in a few minutes to do this, which will help in having a healthy skin for the lifetime.
  6. Always use good make-up products. Use products which suit your skin but don’t go for very cheap and harsh products.  They damage the skin.  So, better spend a few bucks more which will ensure that your skin is safe in the long run.
  7. Exercising helps to flush the toxins out of the body and improve the blood circulation. This automatically adds a glow to the skin.  Do any form of exercise daily like brisk walking, yoga, gymming, dancing.  This will keep your skin healthy in a fun way!  This is the least expensive form to ensure a glowing skin.
  8. Remove your makeup before hitting the sack every night. This is very important as makeup will not allow the skin to breathe and hence damage it.  Do remove the makeup no matter howsoever tired you are.
  9. Invest in a good day and night cream. Night creams are specially formulated to work on night time when our skin is resting.  It replenishes and rejuvenates the skin.
  10. Our kitchen is an excellent source for scrubs and masks. Simply mix gram flour, honey, and rose water and apply for a firm and glowing skin.  You may also add egg white, which works excellently on tightening the skin.  Mix papaya pulp and honey.  This will give an instant glow.  Use oatmeal, sugar and honey as a scrub.  For oily skin, fuller’s earth and rosewater paste works wonders.
  11. Consult a dermatologist if you have persistent skin issues. Consult a gynecologist or endocrinologist if you have hormonal issues.  Do not self-medicate.

These are few pointers from me to have a healthy and glowing skin.  Ladies, glow and how!

My Life Story in 10 sentences

‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

  1. I was born 40 years ago as the second daughter to a middle-class hardworking Bengali family.
  2. I was raised with love, discipline in a conservative environment by my parents along with my 2 siblings.
  3. I was an introvert, body-shamed kid and teenager who yearned to have lots of friends.
  4. I cannot make friends easily, till date, because of my past complexes and hurt.
  5. I have a very caring and understanding husband.
  6. I have 2 beautiful kids who till date haven’t troubled me much.
  7. Writing is my passion.  It allows me to express what I can’t express in words.
  8. I want to be more adventurous, fearless, and uninhibited now.
  9. I have become worldly wise, lost some innocence in that process, have learnt to forgive and forget now.
  10. Life has been kind though I have had my own struggles but still amidst all this I am a positive and happy person.

Don’t wait for the change, be the change..

Let me put a disclaimer that this is not to hurt anybody.  This is totally my opinion of what I feel.

Of late, I have been seeing multiple posts not just on this forum but across many forums how most Indian married women are unhappy.  Of course, most of them are given the conditioning of the girls and treatment meted out by the in-laws and husband.  But is this unhappiness something new?  No, it isn’t.  We have heard our mothers and their generation of women lamenting about the way most married women are made to feel like “maids”, outsiders, treated as child-bearing machines, insulted, humiliated, didn’t care about the woman’s dreams or aspirations, etc., etc.  Even our grandmother’s generation had the same issues, only they accepted it as their fate and vocalized less about it.

Why is it decades go by but the condition of women still remain the same?  Why is that despite better education and some progress in the society, the basic status of women remains the same?  Why is that still most women don’t get complete acceptance by the husband and his family as a part of the family?  Why is that still women have to question that “mera ghar kaunsa hai?”  Why is that still girls are conditioned that marriage is the ultimate goal and husband the “parmeshwar”!

One reason for this is despite education and progress, still the norm that this is the custom and “yehi chalta aaya hai” and “duniyadaari” still dominates all the thought processes.  Though there are many parents who encourage their daughters to pursue their dreams and marry when they wish to still once the girl turns 20-22 parents want to get her married off.  They should give the daughter equal opportunities as they give their son! Give them financial and emotional independence..

Now coming to husband and in-laws.  Isn’t it ironical that the women who may be 30 years ago complained about the treatment by her mother-in-laws treats her own daughter-in-law in the same manner?  Instead of changing her attitude and realizing that how the treatment hurts the daughter-in-law she herself repeats the same behavior.  Agreed that there might be some jealousy or possessiveness as its human nature, but instead of trying to get over those feelings again the same story repeats!

So, are our daughters and daughters-in-law going to write and lament similar sad stories 30 years down the line?  Will there be no change in the outlook?  Who is going to bring the change?  Of course, WE are going to bring the change.  Let’s please make the girls and later on daughters and daughters-in-law happy!  Its high time the change is brought instead of waiting for somebody else to bring the change.  Let’s raise the sons to believe in equality and let us change the mindset of daughters-in-laws are outsiders!

People lament that joint family system is slowly crumbling but where the members lack respect and love for each other it is bound to crumble.  Lets teach both the daughters and sons keeping harmony in a family is every member’s responsibility and not just the daughter-in-law’s.  Let everyone try to make some sacrifices, some adjustments and not just the daughter-in-law.

Let no girl of the next generation feel that she has no home of her own..

Magic of Warmth

“I’m blogging about my #MagicOfWarmth moment at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed Hot Oil

In this long journey of life, there have been many “magic of warmth” moments.  All are precious.

For a woman, marriage and motherhood are life-changing events and for me both these events happened in the same year! My transition from a girl to a wife and from a wife to a mother was within a span of 10 months.

Recalling, such moments or a big moment (pregnancy) soon after my marriage.

It was an arranged marriage but me and my husband had instant connect.  Me and my husband gelled from day one and connected like long-lost buddies. He was and still is a warm, gentle, caring husband and my best friend.  He was so loving that I didn’t have to cry remembering my parents.

Two months into marriage I conceived our first child.  Both of us were young, newly married yet extremely elated to enter into the phase of parenthood.

Since we both stayed nuclear, it was only the two of us who took care of each other.  During the early stages of pregnancy, after coming back from the office in the evenings I didn’t feel like eating anything.  My husband would come back from the office and make me something nice to eat.

One such day when I literally refused to eat my husband, like a mother, lovingly fed me.  He became my “mother” that moment and every moment of my pregnancy.  This was a magic moment of warmth for me. He took as much care of me as my mother would have taken.

Every morning he would hold my hand while we walked down to the station or climbed the over-bridge.  He would make milkshakes for me, he would always accompany to the doctor with me, he would talk to the baby in the tummy and soothe me whenever I was uncomfortable.

People said that we had an arranged marriage and that we were having our first child too early, but when two people share warmth, it doesn’t matter whether its love or arranged marriage, it doesn’t matter whether you know each other for 2 years or just 2 months.

Its been 15 years that we have been married and our first child is now 14 years old strapping teenager.  Yet, the warmth of those moments are still as fresh and as young as it was back then..

A city that made me independent

I was raised for the most part of my life in a small town where everything was easily accessible.  If one had to travel somewhere to reach for half an hour, the distance was considered too much!  Apart from that, I was always under the shelter of my loving parents.  I had not stayed in a hostel or in any other city for education or job.  Yes, I was pretty self-reliant in that I would go to my office in my 2-wheeler, could shop, and do minimal stuff.

Then I got married and that was the first time I was actually “on my own”!  Of course, my husband has always been my strength and support.  I got married and came to Mumbai, the big metro, the city of dreams.  I was always a lousy pedestrian who took half an hour to cross a “little busy” road or required my siblings’, parents’ or friends’ help to cross.  I was very good with a two-wheeler though!

It was a Mumbai, a city with huge population, never-ending and never-stopping traffic, people who were always on a run.  Within a month of marriage, I got a job.  The office was in Andheri.  I had never traveled in a BEST bus or local train before this.  In the morning me and my husband would start for our respective offices together, catch the same local but our destinations were different.  I had to get down before him.

I still remember the first time I traveled all alone from my home to Andheri.  For somebody who is new to Mumbai, East and West of any station is a new word, confusing.  I somehow managed to get down at Andheri station but got confused by the East and West directions!  My office was in the East and I took an auto from West and ended up searching for my office for a good 1 hour and ended up paying double the fare.  This was the era where there was no Smartphone or GPS.

Slowly and steadily with lots of trial and errors, I started to figure out everything; the local train routes, the BEST bus numbers and routes, tentative auto fares even without meter!

Today I can travel extensively to any part of this vast city without any fear.  Of course, mobiles, tracking devices, various cab services have made life easier.

This city made me fearless, independent, and self-reliant!