Category Archives: My Voice

Sexual Abuse Survivors – The Ugly Reality

// This article was first published on the prestigious platform “Incredible Women of India”. Below is the link to the article:

Sexual Abuse Survivors – The Ugly Reality

“Oh, poor thing has been scarred for life.”

“She has become a big blot on the family’s reputation.”

“That is really sad… but she should have been more careful.”

“Why were you out so late in the night?”

“She has lost everything along with her dignity.”

“How will we face the society now? We are ruined!”

“Better go home and forget about the incident, a case will only subject you to more humiliation.”

These are just some of the awful things we say, and in doing so, continue to victimize the victims of sexual abuse. They face this everywhere – in their homes, at the police station, at the hospital, at their workplaces, in their neighbourhood. Through our insensitive words and actions, we only add insult to their injury.

A pimple reminded me of a simple lesson in parenting

//This article has been published by Women’s Web and is also available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/teaching-kids-to-be-accepting-lesson-in-parenting/

For parents, their children are the most beautiful living creatures in the whole wide world. But after becoming a Mother, I realized that the reverse holds true as well. Can you imagine someone calling my “Aadhar card” picture beautiful? Well, yes that someone is none other than my 28 months old daughter. Because of the obvious shift in priorities, I have barely bothered about the way I have looked since the time parenthood happened. But, she never fails to shower me with accolades, more so on the most unexpected occasions.

So, a nasty pimple popped up on my forehead yesterday, and my little one was enamoured by this irritating bump on my face. She exclaimed with exhilaration – “Mummy ka pimple sundar lag raha hai” (Translated to “Mummy is looking pretty with the pimple”). Only a child can find a pimple on the mother’s face beautiful! I was evidently amused by her compliment and laughed uproariously. But she seemed a bit vexed with my laughter because she was expecting a heartfelt “Thank You” from me for her admiration, as that is how I usually respond to her praises. I was about to reason with her by saying – “How can this pimple be pretty darling?”, and then refrained from doing so as soon as realization dawned – the realization that I was unnecessarily feeding in the ridiculous notion in her head that a pimple is ugly; the realization that however much we want to believe that our soul is what truly makes us beautiful, certain perceptions are too deeply etched in our minds and subconsciously we pass them on to our children.

Yes, I Am Still Breastfeeding My Toddler. No, It’s Not A Bad Habit.

// This article was written as a part of “Stop Judging” campaign carried out by www.mycity4kids.com and is also available at below link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/yes-i-am-still-breastfeeding-my-toddler-no-its-not-a-bad-habit-stopjudging

If you are a breastfeeding mother, then you must have heard the following questions or advices umpteen times.

“Are you still breastfeeding your toddler? Stop doing it and wean him/her quickly. It’s a bad habit which they need to get rid of soon”. 

“Your milk is not sufficient and the child needs top milk for nutrition and strength. “

“Breast milk is just water after a year.” 

“You still nurse to sleep? Don’t be lazy to put your child to sleep by other means.”

“Isn’t is embarrassing when your child tugs at you for a feed at a public place?”

And so on and so forth. Phew!

Well, my daughter is almost 26 months old and we are still having a strong breastfeeding relationship. I nurse her to sleep most of the time and though the frequency of the feeds has reduced, I have no intention to wean her off my milk anytime soon.  While there is so much noise and judgement surrounding formula milk and formula feeding mothers, the ones like me aren’t spared either. I met someone a couple of days back who casually inquired about my daughter’s diet. The conversation steered towards the brand of milk I use and I informed the lady that I still primarily rely on breast milk for my daughter along with the usual solid foods, of course. To say that the lady was aghast would be an understatement. She chided me on being a careless mother by depriving my daughter of good nutrition. She also didn’t hesitate to cross the line and stated that I am responsible for developing the bad habit of breastfeeding and nursing to sleep in my daughter even at this age, by giving in to her demands. Honestly, I was in no mood to debate so I just cut short the conversation and moved on.

Personally, I don’t get affected by people judging me for my choices as I take complete responsibility for what I do and I do it because I feel it is right. I also do my own research when it comes to parenting, hence I take such comments with a pinch of salt. But, I know there are many mothers out there who are constantly judged for everything they do as a parent and this takes a toll on them. There are many who don’t have the luxury of a sea of information at their disposal on one click. Such mothers, who are unfortunately not so well-informed, start losing confidence in their parenting skills after being the target of unnecessary and harsh judgements. Why do we need to do this?

Dotty, You do not need to fulfil my dreams

//This article was first published on the popular parenting platform ZenParent and is available at below link:

https://zenparent.in/zencorner/i-dont-expect-my-child-to-fulfill-my-dreams/

This article has been published by Women’s Web and is available on the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/let-our-children-live-their-dream-not-ours/

A fun part of parenting is sharing your little one’s antics with your close friends and family members. It is a great way to make the people who adore your child a part of the child’s growth journey. Recently, I shared an entertaining dance video of my daughter wherein she is grooving to the tunes of one of the latest hits of Bollywood. I cherish the moments when my daughter and I dance together and it is lovely to bond with her over something that I am passionate about. It also helps keep her occupied for a good amount of time because once she puts on her dancing shoes, there is no stopping her.

Now let me come back to my point before I start digressing.  When I shared this video, everybody enjoyed watching it and I received the customary heartfelt reactions. While everyone had some nice things to say for her, it was the comment of one of my friends which got me thinking.”

Wow, she is good Anu. Looks like she will fulfill your dream of becoming a famous choreographer.”

Well, why do I need my daughter to fulfill my unfulfilled dreams? I can do it myself and am already doing it as best as I can. Yes, I will be ecstatic if she becomes a renowned choreographer, but I will be equally elated with whatever else she chooses to do, as long as she is blissfully traversing her chosen path and is taking responsibility of her actions.

I know the comment was well-intended or probably said in jest, but it is quite common in our culture to expect children to accomplish the dreams of their parents. Whether it is fulfilling our own unfilled dreams or the new ones we start weaving for our children once we become parents, it ultimately boils down to making us proud or gratifying us. But, it is not about US, it is about THEM!

The Blues of the Flu!

//This article has been sponsored by Dettol and was first published on mycity4kids. Below is the link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/the-blues-of-the-flu

As I caressed and cuddled her in my arms before placing her on the bed, I hoped that this time she would sleep peacefully for a longer duration. I had been awake for almost 40 hours at a stretch, barring short power naps in between, and I just didn’t have the energy and vigour left in me to be up even for a minute. I wanted to shut my eyes and stretch my legs. I wanted to give my back the rest it craved for. I wanted to get over the exhaustion that had seeped into every inch of my body. And more than anything, I wanted my daughter’s discomfort to end soon.

Aah, the blues of the flu! This is the scenario every time my toddler is down with it. The last time this happened was during the monsoons and needless to say, it was a gruelling time for both of us. Apart from the physical uneasiness and sickness associated with the seasonal flu, there is a lot more that comes along with it in a package deal. Kids become clingy and cranky, their appetite goes for a toss and they find it difficult to sleep due to the congestion. Also, there is a high chance of the infection getting passed on to the other family members. In our case, all 3 of us invariably fall sick when one catches the flu. And then begins the series of strenuous days and sleepless nights till everyone recovers from it.

It has been a relief that we survived the winters without getting affected majorly by infections, but it is not yet over. The spring season is here with beautiful weather and pleasant vibes in the surroundings. However, the weather change is also a seedbed for all kinds of infection due to the pollen in the air. This is the classic flu season and I am doing all that I can to keep my child protected.

Balanced and wholesome diet – You are what you eat! Undoubtedly, the most important contributor to overall health and well-being is a balanced and nutritious diet. It’s essential to offer variety of foods from all the food groups to not only the kids but also to adults. I include different fruits and vegetables in our diet to ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Since deficiency of vitamin C is known to affect body’s immune system, I try to include food items rich in vitamin C and iron in our menu. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of Iron in our body, hence it makes sense to group them together in a meal as much as possible.

The “wonder” herb Tulsi – While there are numerous home remedies to improve immunity and fight infections, I personally can vouch on the goodness of Tulsi. It is a powerful herb with medicinal properties and I have found it to be effective in battling against viral infections. Tulsi is known to contain hundreds of valuable compounds which possess strong antiseptic, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and immunity enhancing properties. Tulsi can also help in purifying the atmosphere. For centuries, it has been used in Ayurveda due to its diverse therapeutic properties. We either directly chew washed Tulsi leaves or drink Tulsi decoction obtained by boiling Tulsi leaves and then draining the water. Inhaling the vapours of tulsi leaves works well for clearing congestion.

Welcome to Toddlerhood

//This article has been published by Women’s Web and is available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/terrible-twos-8-tips-manage-toddler-tantrums/

Do you often oscillate between “Aww my child is such an angel” and “Did I really have to procreate”? Do you have a heart-melting moment with your child at one instant and a meltdown due to an irrational tantrum the very next minute? Is wrong color of cutlery for food one of the biggest catastrophes you take care of avoiding at your home? Is your child upset because he/she does not want to go out, but the fact of the matter is that you are actually not going out? Is your child annoyed because his/her pair of socks will not fit you and you cannot wear them? Welcome to toddler-hood! That phase when your child throws tantrums for the most bizarre reasons and at times you feel you are on the verge of losing your sanity; that phase when your little one surprises you and expresses love in the most endearing ways everyday and you cannot stop feeling blessed for this beautiful experience of life.

My daughter has recently turned 2 and I now realize why the term “Terrible Twos” has been coined. Toddler tantrums can make your hackles rise and can be really exasperating. There are times when I want to scream my lungs out or even spank my kid when a tantrum becomes unmanageable. There are also times when I feel like leaving everything and running away to the Himalayas. But, the only thing that helps me be a gentle parent is the constant reminder to myself that however much the tantrum seems irrelevant to me, it means a big deal for her. This is the age when kids go through myriad of changes developmentally and they start exercising their independence. If it is hard for us, it is also hard for them.  In my experience, being firm yet gentle is much more effective in handling tantrums than yelling though the natural temptation is to react with the latter approach. I am not an expert but I would love to share few tips with fellow parents based on my experience which may be helpful during this roller coaster called toddler-hood.

That one question was a life altering one

My article titled “That one question was a life altering one” was written for SheThePeople.TV on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The theme was “The power of One”.

Below is the link to the article:

http://shethepeople.tv/to-a-woman-who-taught-me-lifes-biggest-lesson/

 

 

 

Can we please stop advising couples to have a baby to solve their marital woes?

//This article has been published on popular platforms like Women’s Web and Youth Ki Awaaz and is also available on the below links:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/03/having-a-baby-no-solution-for-marital-problems/

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2017/03/can-we-please-stop-advising-couples-to-have-a-kid-to-solve-their-marital-woes/

 

“Mom, are you free now? As I had told you, I need to discuss something very important with you.” 

The nervousness and sense of urgency in Kavita’s voice was evident now. Aradhana Aunty was at the bank when Kavita had called her earlier in the day.

“Yes beta, go on. Am back home now. All OK?”, Aunty asked worried.

“Mom, nothing is OK. I don’t know where to start.”, Kavita paused and then continued.

“My marriage isn’t working out. Vishal and I just don’t get along. I don’t think we are meant to be. “

There was a stoic silence. Kavita started fumbling for words but took a deep breath and gathered her thoughts.

Return Gift ideas for your child’s Birthday

//This article has been published by ZenParent and is also available on the below link:

10 great return gift ideas for your child’s birthday

It looks like you are preparing for your daughter’s wedding. You are so busy.“, my mom had joked once, just a day before my daughter’s first birthday. We both had guffawed at her comment, but she was right. We had planned a grand celebration with all our loved ones, family and friends, to raise a toast to this special milestone of our lives. There were so many aspects of the party to be taken care of and we were doing all that we could to make it a memorable day for us as well as the guests. The only thing that made me a tad bit anxious was “Return Gifts” for all the children, which has become one of the highlights of any birthday celebration today, be it a large scale one or a small gathering. For kids, return gifts have become the prime attraction of a birthday party and they wait with much eagerness and zest to know what goodies they will be taking home. When we were children, I remember how elated we would be even on receiving a Natraj pencil. Back then, return gift concept was not that prevalent so being presented with anything was a huge deal. Sometimes, I wonder how did such a transformation take place. But then, that was a different era altogether. A lot has changed, and so has the importance of return gifts in project “Birthday Party”!

Through this article, I intend to share some ideas which I believe make for great return gifts and also a few pointers to where you can buy them from. Some common and popular items like tiffin boxes, water bottles, stationery items, coloring books, color sets and cutlery are wonderful gifts. But if you have already presented them in the past and are looking for more ideas, this list might help you.

I don’t think I can do it

// This article has been sponsored by Dettol and has been first published at the following link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/i-dont-think-i-can-do-it

I still clearly recall that moment. I remember all the questions that sprinted through my mind in a split second. “What have I done to myself?” “Will I ever be my usual self again?” “Will this pain ever subside?” “How will I take care of my little one”? And then I looked at my mom and my doula, who were both giving me an assuring glance. It appeared as though they could read what was on my mind.

“Come on Anupama. You can do it. Just hold on to us and try to get up with our support”, encouraged my doula who was immensely supportive during my entire birthing process and post it too.

“No, I don’t think I can do it. Forget about getting up from the bed, I don’t think I can do anything a new mom is expected to do. I just want to get back to feeling normal”, my inner voice screamed. But, all I could mutter defeatedly was a “No”.