We had a conversation with Sukhneet Wadhwa Gujral where she shares her story of motherhood and how she adapted to the changes in her life.

Pregnancy can make you feel a number of things. While it is a amazing experience, it is also transformative. What women go through during and after pregnancy often goes underappreciated and mainly because most of us are unaware of the process and experience. Pregnancy can bring significant physical, emotional, and mental changes for women that can be challenging to deal with. Some physical changes can be irreversible and going through that feeling alone is tough. It’s a lot more exhausting for working women who have to go through this transformative change with keeping their work-life managed. Juggling your personal life and a career can be particularly stressful as they must adapt to a new lifestyle and balance the demands of their job with the needs of their growing baby. It’s good if they have planned to ease their way out of this through their support system and help but in many cases, women don’t even get that. And all of this makes us remember the old saying “What’s bigger than a mother’s sacrifice?”. We had a conversation with fashion influencer and mother, Sukhneet Wadhwa Gujral where she shared her experience with pregnancy and how she coped with these physical and mental changes.

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What kind of physical and mental changes did you experience during your pregnancy? Could you tell us about how you coped with both?

So, I was one of those people who can never imagine themselves in the role of a mother. Finding out about a positive test result can have a different impact on different women, it can make you feel happy, sad or confused and I was one of those confused ones. There were a lot of physical changes that women go through generally during and post-pregnancy. In my case, I did yoga, managed my diet, kept myself informed, used all sorts of medications and creams for stretch marks but only after the pregnancy did I realize that some changes are here to stay for longer. During pregnancy, my body went through a number of changes but I was sure that it is just for now and it will be back to normal once I deliver the baby but that’s not the case for many as they might get some irreversible changes in their body. I gained a lot of weight, had stretch marks and my body looked a certain way which was absolutely different from how I used to look and it takes a while to accept your body as it is. I used to talk to myself in the mirror to assure myself that it’s going to be fine. There are some things that only you can do for yourself and this was one of those things. There was also a lot going on in my head right from the beginning. When I found out about my pregnancy, I was very confused and hysterical. I have a certain lifestyle and I couldn’t even imagine my life keeping someone else’s needs in mind. I had help around me and even then I felt clueless and being a mother for the first time is a completely different experience. Self-doubt and confusion are the biggest factors that make mothers fall apart during this time and patience and self-love is the only way out of this and that’s what I did.

How did you manage your responsibilities of being a new mother while also maintaining your own self-care routine?

There’s a very important piece of advice that I got from a close friend of mine. She said that this kid is coming to your life and it’s not the other way around. You don’t need to accommodate your whole life around him but that child has to adjust with your lifestyle. And that moved me. My child needs to have a routine that goes well with me as well. Suppose I have a meeting or let’s say if I’m usually busy from 3pm to 5pm then, I will make sure that his nap time falls in that gap, so I can have that chunk of time for me. Motherhood doesn’t mean that you won’t party or hang out with your friends. And I’m also not saying that one’s life goes back to normal just after the delivery. Things about motherhood are slow and you should not want things to change miraculously. Most women feel selfish in taking care of themselves but that shouldn’t be the case. If you don’t care for yourself and if you don’t do enough for yourself, you won’t ever be able to provide that loving and understanding environment for your child to grow. 

What kind of challenges came with being a working mother and how did you tackle them? 

I wish I could say that it came easy to me but it didn’t. Time management was a big issue and it felt like no amount of time is ever going to be enough for you to complete all your tasks. Being a new mother, you have to adapt to a completely new lifestyle. Your sleep cycle has changed, your body is still weak, you have to take care of a baby and over that you also have to work. So after delivering my baby I went on a 6-8 months break from my work but I also had to realize that when I do get back to work, I shouldn’t be feeling the guilt of losing that time. That time that I took to rest was important but a lot of women often go hard on themselves and set unrealistic goals. Also, I’m an advocate of body positivity through my content but we often don’t realize how much of that we need during pregnancy. I had a healthy weight my whole life and suddenly, I look different and I’m not sure if I will ever be able to reverse this change. But with time, I realized that the only way out of this is with self-love. And it is not just important for your own personal well-being, it is also essential to ensure that your child has a happy life. But at the end of the day when you see that child, you feel good. It feels magical and it is coming from a person who wasn’t sure if they wanted to get pregnant. When you are with your child, you forget all the struggles and like many women, it’s kind of my coping mechanism. 

What role did your support system (family, friends, partner) play in helping you through these new changes?

Keeping a support system by your side is how you win the biggest battles. My family was by my side whenever I needed them and that was one of the most beautiful aspects of my pregnancy. Most women are shy in asking for help but that shouldn’t be the case. I know it doesn’t come easy for everybody but if it does for you it’s like you have won half of the battle. One should accept the fact that they can’t handle everything single handedly, especially when you are a working mother. Not only my family but also the nanny I had. One of the biggest challenges I faced after I got back to my work was leaving my child behind with somebody and that somebody has to be someone I trust. When a woman becomes a mother, there is this constant worrying about your child and you can’t help it as you cannot stop being a mother but having people you trust around can really help you. Also, the industry I’m working in also wants me to look a certain way and I cannot manage it all if I don’t ask for that kind of help. 

What advice would you give to women who are expecting a baby and are preparing for physical and emotional changes of pregnancy and motherhood? 

Everyone’s process and experience with motherhood is different. The most important advice that I can give to somebody would be to build and rely on your support system. Also, you will surely find yourself surrounded with questions and many people will tell you what they think would be the best for you but when it comes to trusting, you should always seek a professional’s help. Having a supportive gynecologist is what helped me during my process. Also, don’t lose yourself in the process, motherhood is just a part of your life and not the cause of your entire existence. It’s not selfish for you to take care of yourself. 

What’s your take on this? Let us know in the comments below!

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