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The mirror had always shown me a confident, strong, and beautiful woman, but post pregnancy, I did not like what I saw. But then I thought about what this body had just achieved...
The mirror had always shown me a confident, strong, and beautiful woman, but post pregnancy, I did not like what I saw. But then I thought about what this body had just achieved…
I have always been a woman who never had a perfect hourglass body. I have always been curvy with a voluptuous body and love handles. I have never been conscious of my body or how I have been. Always being comfortable in my skin, I have always liked what I saw in the mirror. Whenever I asked my mirror what it saw, I would always get a reply saying it saw a confident, strong and beautiful woman.
When I conceived, there was this little human being growing inside me who was a catalyst for a number of changes happening in my body. I had a beautiful pregnancy where I was in control of my weight, my body, and my emotions to some extent as well. I did not gain any extra weight during pregnancy and I felt like a go-getter. The extra estrogen made my hair look lustrous and my skin was glowing. I had no morning sickness, felt active and had a zeal until I delivered. This was like a fairy tale.
I had an extremely long labour that lasted almost 50 hours, counting from the time my waters broke until the bub was in my arms. I also had an episiotomy during the natural birth.
I always thought labour was difficult, but for me what followed was much more difficult. As if I felt the Universe brought me back to reality from my 9 months long fairy tale. There was this little human being that now had control over what was happening outside and inside me.
I was just getting over the overwhelming emotions, when I had a rendezvous with my mirror after a long time. I hardly knew this person I was seeing. With teary eyes, I asked my mirror the same question “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… ?” To which it replied, seeing an appalling, dull and not so confident lady.
There I was standing stunned. Receding hairline, thin dull hair, dark circles under eyes, dull eyes, pale skin, dark underarms, dark neck tone, sagging engorged breasts that no more fitted in old bras, a belly that still looked pregnant after delivery…. With all this happening to my body I also had a plethora of emotions to handle. There was an ocean of mixed feelings. I would get angry, upset, irritated, agitated, happy, sad just with a drop of hat. I had begun to have self-doubts. I did not feel like myself anymore. I did not like what I saw in my mirror. What was this I saw in the mirror?!
For the first time in my life I realised that I am a slave to my fluctuating hormones, and not my mind but hormones have control over me.
But then staring at my own eyes in the mirror, I saw a reflection of me that the mirror did not see.
I saw a woman who had given birth to a part of a new generation. This person was completely dependent on her. She did not have time to comb her hair or even have a leisurely shower, forget the skin care and hair care regimes. She did not get sleep for even a few hours at stretch, because she had to feed the baby and change her. She was on a hormonal roller coaster that she did not have control on. Her womb had expanded 500 times its size to make room for a human being. Her belly paunch was a place where the baby had lived for 280 days. The breasts were making room for more food for this little person for its survival. Her dark underarms and inner thighs were a result of the hormones due to a growing baby. The vagina that had stretched to get the baby out had gone through tears and stitches. Her body, mind, and emotions have worked tremendously to successfully bring a life into this world.
This was just a phase, and my eyes told me that this too shall pass. And just like these testing times where I was not liking my body, the time where my baby was growing up too shall pass. So then why not focus on the positive time that will never come back? I am not a celebrity having an army of hairdressers or makeup artists to make me look divine post pregnancy, or have cameras following to see how soon I looked like a yummy mummy. I realised that there is no hurry. I can always go back to having a desired image in the mirror when my hormones are a less crazy, and I am no longer a puppet to them. When my baby and I settle in and get adjusted with passing time. Till then, I told my mirror – do not judge me. That I will be back with a bang when the time is right for me, personally.
Once again I asked, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…” and my mirror replied that it saw a beautiful, strong and confident mother.
Image source: shutterstock
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
You do not have to be perfect. There’s no perfect daughter, perfect employee, perfect wife, or perfect mother. These are just labels created by society, for their convenience.
So here you are, just out of engineering college, having no clue why you pursued Electronics Engineering. Yes, I know, like many others your age, you too were persuaded by your parents to opt for engineering because it supposedly gets you a lucrative job.
Believe me, however strange this might sound, you’ll soon come to realize that a high paying job need not always make you happy. And there are a myriad courses and career options out there, you should definitely consider something that’ll make you look forward to go to work every day.