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Alia Interview: I Want Both Motherhood And My Career. Like All Working Moms?

In a recent interview, 29-year-old Alia Bhatt, spoke about how she is loving motherhood and has more objective clarity, but being a mother is not her only identity.

In a recent interview, 29-year-old Alia Bhatt, spoke about how she is loving motherhood and has more objective clarity, but that is not her only identity. Bhatt got married at the peak of her career and recently had a baby, emphasizes on striking a balance between motherhood and her career goals without giving up on either.

[There is no right or wrong in life. What works for me might not work for someone else. I have always been someone who listens to my heart. You can’t plan life. Life plans itself, and you just have to follow that path. Whether it’s films or anything else, I always let my heart decide. Yes, at the peak of my career, I decided to get married and have a baby. But who says that marriage or motherhood will change anything to do with my work?]

Motherhood is a permanent choice

In 2022, we saw many celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor,  Kriti Agarwal had children, and we all know no two pregnancies are similar, but they have one common message– that pregnancy and motherhood is a life altering decision. And people were willing to do it, despite the risk!

In a country that is obsessed with their daughter’s getting married young and starting a family, many at times at the cost of their dreams, watching celebs embark on motherhood and talking about life after pregnancy is eye-opening.

Then I looked around me, I was suddenly becoming the cool aunt to many newborns!

A noticeable number of people I know, friends, classmates, former colleagues, neighbour’s children have embraced motherhood which is a remarkable and tough job! And might I remind you, pregnancy is scary!

Should motherhood decide your work life decision?

Every time I see a friend announce their pregnancy on social media, my instant reaction is respect, followed by concern.

Ever since I turned adult; I have seen friends get married at 19 and quit college and become mother at 20 and some had to quit a well-paying job to look after their newborn as they had no support or helping hands beside them. Few among them have chosen to continue working and few have put career on hold, and after talking to them all, I concluded everyone is having a hard time making that choice!

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And these issues are not limited to my little circle of acquaintances but common and shared experiences across generations of women in India that!

Is that how motherhood is supposed to be?

A friend who is a school teacher made a comment which stuck with me, “After a woman becomes mother— there is tremendous loss, and they don’t realize this loss until their children have reach adulthood.” He further went on to explain with example of the parents of his students.

A parent used to be a head nurse, but after the birth of her son, her life was eclipsed by lack of daycare options and unhelpful conservative in-laws. Another child was asked to fill in a questionary asking parents’ name and occupation, and the seven-year old had written, Maa in the box asking for mother’s name.

These incidents are everywhere, and when I mentioned this to my mother, her reaction was, “Yeah, this is sad reality, look at me how many friends do I have?”

Women are expected to stretch themselves so much for their family and children, they sometimes erase away not only their needs and identities, but even their name too! My friends’ mothers have no friends, my aunts are so busy running the lives of their young adult children, that they have no hobbies or option of recreation!

Years back, when a classmate had announced the birth of her daughter, the nosy feminist in me called her asking about her job? “What about it? I am a mother first, and the job can wait, actually everything can wait.”

It was her choice, but it was not a choice for the previous generations, where many women were forced to quit or took a career break and couldn’t return. I wanted to say all this, but I was not going to stress a new mom.

Someone’s mother

Few months back I met her and the little girl at a wedding, and her first words were, how exhausted she was and everyone in our hometown now knew her as, Pori Maina’er Maa, Pori Maina’s Mother! It was history repeating in again, my 68 year-old-aunt is still called as, Babai’er Maa, Babai’s Mom!

My friend was missing her job as banker, she didn’t have time for small pleasures like watching film in theatre or meet friends for coffee. For four years, she was raising her daughter— she now feels too old to reignite friendships she put on hold and hang out with unmarried people.

And she definitely doesn’t like the loss of financial autonomy and thinks no one will hire or being old and a mother! 29 is not old! She is Alia Bhatt’s age!

Being a mother and having personal goals are not opposing factors— maintaining one’s own hobbies and career needs should not come at the expense of guilt, and nor should motherhood be build on the pedestal of personal loss! And we, the daughters of mothers who had to compromise on their personal needs and lost their identity, we owe a better life to them.

We as society have to tell women that childbirth and motherhood are not a fullstop to career goals, hobbies, or friendship! Motherhood is certainly a semicolon, where we pause and then continue living our life.

Yes, it will be tough, we all cannot achieve everything like Alia Bhatt, but, how can we raise healthy, well-adjusted and happy children if we don’t prioritize ourselves?

Image source: Alia Bhatt’s Instagram, edited on CanvaPro

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Aritra Paul

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