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Sameera Reddy recently scaled the tallest peak in Karnataka, Mullayanagiri Peak, with her two month old daughter strapped to herself, making an important point that women don’t need to sacrifice everything they love just because they have become mothers.
Sameera Reddy is holidaying in Chickmaglur with her family and has been sharing updates about the same on Instagram.
In a video posted yesterday, she shared that she has scaled Karnataka’s highest peak, Mullayanagiri, with her two month old daughter, Nyra strapped on.
She wrote, in a comment accompanying the video, “Attempted climbing to Mullayanagiri Peak with Nyra strapped on! I stopped midway cos I was so out of breath! 6300 ft high it’s the tallest Peak in Karnataka! So many messages from New moms saying they are inspired to travel & I’m thrilled my travel stories are getting such a positive response! It’s very easy to feel low post baby & I’m super determined to not let it get me down! For moms asking I did not express I just fed her on demand everywhere! Less fuss and easy to travel this way!”
This doesn’t seem like something newsworthy, until one considers just how much moms, especially stay at home moms are pressured into sacrificing themselves for their children. In such a scenario, it is inspiring to see a woman take things into her own hands and do the things she loves.
Yes, having a child is a precious gift, and they do deserve our attention and love. At the same time however, mothers are not sacrificial lambs. Motherhood should not mean having to give up all of ones likes, dislikes, dreams or aspirations.
Unfortunately, social pressure often dictates that women often end up doing just that. I have seen too many women who have given up doing the things they loved doing before the baby came along, just because doing so makes them feel guilty. Sometimes, even if they want to, they are just plain exhausted. However, they refrain from asking the father/other family members from getting more involved because it has been drilled into them that the baby is “their job.”
What happens then is that the women can feel isolated, anxious, and experience a deep sense of loss of self. Put together, all these are a apart of ‘SAHM (stay at home mom) depression’, which this writer heartbreakingly describes as “that panicky, helpless feeling that sets in when you start to believe that you exist only to help others exist. Or feel like you might want to be doing something more but can’t talk about it because you’re ‘lucky’ to have the option of not working. Or when every small thing in your life feels like a struggle — from brushing your teeth (see: toddler climbing up your leg), to trying to cook a meal for yourself (oh wait, the baby is hungry right now and feeding her is more important), to even getting dressed (why bother?).”
Sameera herself has spoken previously about being depressed after her first child, especially because of body image issues. So she knows first-hand exactly how taxing post pregnancy life can be, emotionally and physically.
Which is why Sameera’s decision to do what she wanted to feels like a win. For her, travel and trekking are a way to deal with the ‘low’ that one can experience post pregnancy.
For other moms, it may be singing, dancing, reading, writing, or any other pursuit that helps them hold on to a sense of identity and achievement. It is important not to lose this core.
At the same time, it is important to note that different women can take different paths to find this sense of identity.
While Sameera herself hasn’t held herself up as a role-model, some sections of the media are calling her achievement, “motherhood goals,” which is irresponsible reporting.
Each woman’s body, social, economic and cultural environments etc, are different. So it may not be possible for every woman to emulate Sameera. Calling such achievements “goals” for all mothers, only adds to the stress and pressure that they already experience. Even as we cheer for Sameera, we must be cautious not to put down the women who are not yet ready for something so physically challenging.
As long as women remember that being a mother does not mean burying every other part of themselves, it does not matter how and when they choose to bring their aspirations to life.
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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a
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