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Being a chubby girl who hated her body, all my life, it took my pregnancy for me to actually appreciate and love my body for what it was!
As far as I can remember, I have always been a chubby child. Growing up, I never had any health issues, except at 17, when I was diagnosed with PCOS. I realised, very early on, that being ‘fat’ is something to be ashamed of.
For example, traveling in a school bus and being fat obviously meant I would need a bigger space to sit. One of my aunts would buy me dresses on festive occasions. And each time, she would declare this was the ‘largest’ size meant for the girls my age. The dress still wouldn’t fit.
Things became worse during my adolescence. I studied in an all-girls school and my classmates quickly found boyfriends since they were thin, and thus, beautiful.
Apart from being chubby, I also wore glasses, which meant, I wasn’t pretty by any angle. In my desperation to lose weight, I tried a lot of things. This included starving myself occasionally, trying the ‘soup diet,’ which, as expected, ended disastrously and even avoiding social functions.
Several years later, I realised that the societal perception of beauty had severely damaged my confidence, self-image and belief. I lacked confidence, couldn’t argue and withdrew into a shell during crisis. Thankfully, I was good at academics and managed to ‘earn respect’ from my relatives and the people around me.
After being diagnosed with PCOS at 17, I decided to take charge of my health. I met a dietician, ate healthier foods, went out for walks and lost a lot of weight. Despite all this, I still wasn’t very confident about my body.
I got married at 30, (it was a love marriage after four and a half years of courtship) and I conceived naturally at 32. It was during the pregnancy that my relationship with my body changed. To begin with, I didn’t have any of the common pregnancy woes – I didn’t vomit even once during the entirety of my pregnancy.
I ate all the food, went on two short trips during the pregnancy, travelled by public transport on most days and even went to the office three days before delivering. Even the day before the delivery, I went to the parlour for a haircut!
Also, since I was prone to putting on weight, I was scared of gaining excessive weight during my pregnancy. However, surprisingly, I gained only 6 kgs during the pregnancy. According to my doctor, this was a healthy weight gain!
After my delivery, I struggled a little with breastfeeding but with the help fo the nurses, I could almost exclusively breastfeed my baby. It was during this phase that I realised the kind of toxic relationship I shared with my body.
I hated it for being fat but it helped me in every way it could, during one of the most beautiful phases of my life – my pregnancy. It helped me eat well, travel, work without any interruptions and most importantly, bond with the baby.
At this point of time, I realised that the purpose of your body is never really to make you thin. Rather, its purpose is to help you go through the different phases of life as smoothly as possible. I took my body for granted, never really understanding its purpose in life. Pregnancy and childbirth, however, helped me understand its true worth. Also, I finally realised that your weight should never determine your self-perception.
As far as my pregnancy weight gain is considered, I lost it within a year. I do put on and lose weight on and off, but my self-worth no longer depends on my weight. And I am at a much happier space now, with or without those extra kilos!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha!
Assistant professor and a mother to a young daughter, I am learning to balance my personal and professional life. read more...
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Why is the Social Media trend of young mothers of boys captioning their parenting video “Dear future Daughter-in-Law, you are welcome” deeply problematic and disturbing to me as a young mother of a girl?
I have recently come across a trend on social media started by young mothers of boys who share videos where they teach their sons to be sensitive and understanding and also make them actively participate in household chores.
However, the problematic part of this trend is that such reels or videos are almost always captioned, “To my future daughter-in-law, you are welcome.” I know your intentions are positive, but I would like to point out how you are failing the very purpose you wanted to accomplish by captioning the videos like this.
I know you are hurt—perhaps by a domestic household that lacks empathy, by a partner who either is emotionally unavailable, is a man-child adding to your burden of parenting instead of sharing it, or who is simply backed by overprotective and abusive in-laws who do not understand the tiring journey of a working woman left without any rest as doing the household chores timely is her responsibility only.
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