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In the book, Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin mentions a funny incident where she ran between cars & broken pavements to reach her crying baby faster!
One would feel that a pregnancy book would be filled with a mother’s journey, her musings, and lots of unsolicited advice on what to do and what and not to do during pregnancy. However, ‘The Elephant In The Womb– Declarations of a Sudden Mother’ by Kalki Koechlin surprises us in many ways by talking about abortion in the first chapter itself!
An excerpt from the book reads: “Before we celebrate the gift of life, I’d like to start celebrating the gift of science. I have had two abortions in my life. The first was in my twenties when not only was I unprepared to have a child but I was passionately against having children, and even wrote an article questioning why women are always expected to have children, especially after marriage”
‘The Elephant In The Womb’ is candid, heart-warming and infused with Kalki’s humorous touch. She admits that humour was her coping mechanism and helped her.She hilariously describes the “Mommy Brain” – a term many mothers would already know. Haven’t we all experienced the feeling of walking into a room and wondering why we came in there?
In her own words: “One of the biggest things I suffered post birth was having a brain like Swiss cheese. I would get up to do something and forget why I got up.”
‘The Elephant In The Womb – Declarations of a Sudden Mother’ is a brilliantly penned book which speaks of so much more than motherhood. It is very engaging and is filled with beautiful illustrations by the talented Valeriya Polyanychko. It has lovely diary excerpts and poetry jotted down by Kalki in her own handwriting. I especially loved the poem ‘I am Okay” – a must read by all.
As Kalki mentions, sometimes motherhood is frustrating and it is not necessary to romanticize it but wouldn’t we all move mountains and break through walls just to get to our child?
Just as Kalki jumped out of her car stuck in traffic, ran 2kms between cars and broken pavements to catch a rickshaw and reach her baby fifteen minutes earlier coz she heard her crying on the phone!
“Shhh…It’s a secret”… haven’t we all been guilty of doing this in the first trimester of pregnancy? Women are advised to keep silent about their pregnancy and only reveal it to outsiders after the first trimester. No one other than the immediate family knows that a woman is expecting.
Kalki rightly mentions in her book–“But isn’t this the time we need the most support and understanding?”
Women go through mood swings, severe nausea, vomiting and discomfort during the first three months of pregnancy. No one around them knows what they are going through as it is forbidden in most families to share the news and hence they have no support especially at work. Imagine how different things would be if women had the necessary assistance when they most need it.
One in four pregnancies experience miscarriages and 85% miscarriages happen in the first trimester. Women are blamed each time and made to feel guilty by people who pass comments such as “She must have spoken about her pregnancy to people, instead of keeping it to herself in the first trimester” or “She must have exercised in her first trimester.” Everyone is quick to judge and slow to offer any support.
Kalki Koechlin also talks about the stigma related to abortion in society and the experiences that women face when they seek one. She talks about being judged by none other than her doctor and nurses who ask her questions like – “Are you married?”
Kalki rightly states that a decision to have a child is colossal and it is important to ask the right questions, like,” Do I have money to raise a child?” or ” How willing am I to change my routine, let go of control and rework my entire life around a new person?” These are the questions that are rarely addressed by people. Families expect a couple to immediately plan for babies after marriage but no one ever bothers if the couple is psychologically or financially ready for a child.
Kalki’s memoir is divided in ten chapters and addresses some bitter truths. She discusses the difference between male contraception and female contraception.
While the market for women’s contraceptives is thriving and we are flooded with advertisements that promote women’s contraceptive pills; there is hardly any discussion about men not wanting to use condoms stating they are a mood kill.
An excerpt reads: “Women have the IUD, the implant, the diaphragm, the ring. Women have pills, more pills and the morning-after pill. While we all know how slow the progress on the male contraception pill has been, we women have a bewildering assortment of hormonal pills we can choose and pop every day of the month along with varying degrees of side effects.”
Ultimately it is the woman who bears the consequences on an unplanned pregnancy.
Kalki presents the gritty realities of pregnancy and the constant fear that a mother goes through.
She talks about going through her anomaly scan at 18 weeks which detects if the child has Down’s syndrome or some other anomaly that might deter the child from having a regular life. “Yes we all know that a child is a ‘Gift from God’ but isn’t it high time we have a discussion about raising such a child. Do the parents have the financial means to support such a child? Are they in the correct emotional state to take care of him all his life knowing he might need assistance.”
Kalki rightly mentions that the least one can do is inform the women about their rights openly and give them their choices. It is easy to judge someone and make comments when you are not the one wearing the shoes.
Kalki Koechlin’s book is about motherhood, but almost anyone could read this book and resonate with it. It’s a beautiful account of how motherhood is messy, challenging and unbelievably tiring but also incredibly fulfilling!
Image source: Kalki Koechlin Instagram
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'Dr Saloni will take care of everything,' my MIL said. My cowardly husband refused to go against his mother’s wishes. I was left to fend for myself!
Some time ago, I went to a marriage ceremony with my parents. It was a very high-profile marriage – not the ones we usually were invited to – but in this case it was Ramesh uncle’s son’s marriage. Ramesh uncle was my father’s first cousin. He began his career as a humble elevator operator at the TIC business group. With his sheer hard work, grit, and the knack of sensing the right opportunities, within eighteen years he became the president of the company. My father and he were the best of friends during their school time.
Half an hour before the stipulated time, we left our house, hired an auto and reached the venue. All four of us were in our best outfits. Getting out of the auto and looking at each other, we were highly convinced that we were going to fit in just right. As we crossed the dazzling and beautiful portico, we felt very insignificant compared to the big lawn and building lying ahead.
Mother was wearing all the jewellery she had got, including the big old-fashioned necklace, earrings and shiny bangles. Father was wearing a velvet coat, brother had put on a light orange shirt with a black check coat, I myself was wearing a red salwar kurta with a net dupatta. I had put on a necklace with red beads which at the time of wearing looked very pretty to me. Now looking at the other guests, I felt all four of us must be looking like clowns who had come for a fancy-dress competition. I felt my brother and parents were also feeling self-conscious and uneasy now.
“What you call love is actually possessiveness. You made all my decisions for me. I would probably be happier without you in my life,” Revant screamed!
Revati’s life had changed when, after ten years of being an only child, her parents brought in a stranger into the house. She had looked at the young boy who had wide, frightened eyes, and she had fallen in love with him on sight. He was small-made and a lone tear hung below his eye as he looked around at the huge house with its crystal chandeliers and eye-catching artefacts.
Ma had hugged him impulsively.
“Come here, little one! Meet your sister, Revati!”
"What has Akash done himself to give you time for some self care? He wants you to take complete responsibility of the child and then wants you to be the trophy wife whom he can boast of?"
“What has Akash done himself to give you time for some self care? He wants you to take complete responsibility of the child and then wants you to be the trophy wife whom he can boast of?”
Here is the third winner of our November 2017 Muse of the Month contest, Anupama Dalmia.
The cue for this month was from the movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha. The woman who stands up to fat shaming. The protagonist is humiliated by her husband in front of his friends. She slaps him, packs her bag, leaves him, and goes to her parents’ home. They try to convince her to go back, saying that he must not have meant it, and should have kept quiet – to which she counters, “He insulted me and you want me to be quiet?”
Everything about Kalki Koechlin's journey to motherhood from her early pregnancy to the birth of her daughter Sappho shouts out that the new mom is an unapologetic feminist.
Everything about Kalki Koechlin’s journey to motherhood from her early pregnancy to the birth of her daughter Sappho shouts out that the new mom is an unapologetic feminist.
So Kalki Koechlin had a baby a few days ago, on the 7th of February. A baby girl. And at every step of the way from her pregnancy to now, Kalki has demonstrated joyfully what a true feminist she is.
Kalki Koechlin has announced today, that on the 7th of February, she gave birth to a baby girl with her boyfriend Guy Hershberg, whom they have named Sappho, (after the Ancient Greek poetess who is a known figure in feminist literature) sharing an image of the baby’s footprints on Instagram.