Mother’s Day: Celebrity moms redefining motherhood
Till a few years ago, actresses weren’t so open about their motherhood journey. Most would stay away from the limelight during and post-pregnancy. All that has changed now. Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kalki Koechlin, Neha Dhupia, Sameera Reddy are new-age celebrity moms who are redefining motherhood.
Like other women, celeb moms too prefer working during pregnancy. When Kareena Kapoor Khan announced her pregnancy in 2016, she did not let that slow down her work. She was shooting for Veere Di Wedding before going on a maternity break and was back to work within a few months. During her pregnancy, she walked the ramp, did photoshoots and even shot for a few advertisements.
Kalki: Thanking her doula
Kalki Koechlin, who had a baby girl in February 2020, regularly shared her pictures during and post-pregnancy. She opted for water birth and shared a photograph and a note describing her labour and the kind of assistance the doula provided.
Kalki wrote: “Doula. I can’t experience childbirth and not talk about this word. The word comes from the ancient Greeks and meant ‘a woman’s maid’, it is now a support system of women for women during the process of pregnancy, labour and postpartum care. I didn’t know about the function of a doula myself until I got pregnant. No matter how much you read up, prepare or ask your doctor, there are challenges in childbirth that one can only know from experience and practice. A doula provides massages, breathing techniques and exercises during active labour, other support like hypnobirthing, a birth plan for the hospital, your first bonding with your baby, breastfeeding and so many other essentials which believe me, when you’re a first time mum, feel like your first day at a new school all over again! In this photo I’m with my doula @newbeginningzz…”
Neha: Handling postpartum weight
Neha Dhupia, who has been trolled for her postpartum weight, prefers to give it back. Last year, when she was fat-shammed by an online magazine, she answered back by writing a post that had a screenshot of the magazine which had fat-shamed her, along with a caption which read, “I don’t owe anyone an explanation because fat-shaming like this doesn’t bother me one bit. But I do want to address this as a larger problem because fat-shaming needs to stop for EVERYONE not just celebs. As a new mom I want to be fit, healthy and energetic for my daughter. So, I work out every day, sometimes twice a day because for me...’ Fitness’ is a priority and not ‘fitting into’ society’s standards regarding looks. And I hope in the future people are kinder to each other while making such vapid and vile comments. To quote @pattonoswalt ... “Be Kind. It’s chaos out there.”
The trolls did not stop Neha from appearing in public or shooting for Roadies or her chat show #NoFilterNeha.
Sameera: Imperfectly perfect mom
Sameera Reddy, who welcomed her second child in July 2019, started #Imperfectlyperfect, a movement that aims to help new mums battle the challenges of motherhood and parenting. The campaign bore out of her own journey during her first pregnancy which included battling postpartum depression, excess weight gain and medical complications during pregnancy. During her second pregnancy, she spoke at length about the challenges. Her underwater maternity photoshoot in a bikini was lauded.
She captioned the pictures saying, “I wanted to celebrate the beauty of the bump in my 9th month. At a time when we feel the most vulnerable, tired, scared, excited and at our biggest and most beautiful! I look forward to sharing it with you guys and I know the positivity will resonate because we all are at different phases of our lives with unique sizes and we need to love and accept ourselves at every level #imperfectlyperfect.”
Brave enough to talk about challenges
Chhavi Mittal, TV actress and co-founder of the digital company — Shitty Ideas Trending (SIT), was not only shooting for SIT but also taking care of production work during her pregnancy. But her childbirth experience last year wasn’t a smooth one. She shared her ordeal on social media which got immense support and response from her fans and other women.
Through her post, she raised a few important questions: “Why was I given a drug to hasten dilation when I was already progressing fast? Why was my husband stopped from entering the OT when there was no such protocol? Why was the doctor in such a rush to perform the surgery when the NST was normal and I was calm? Why was I given a sleeping drug right after the baby was pulled out? Why was I not treated with kindness by another woman, a mother, my “care provider” in the most vulnerable moment of my life!.”
But her motherhood journey has been great. “If we can talk about other things in life, why not motherhood,” she says, adding that greater awareness has helped women. “This is a period when one has to be healthy and there is no reason why you should stop doing regular activities and taking care of your health,” Chhavi adds.
Sameera had the option of not talking about her struggles during her first pregnancy, but she did.
“It was shocking to me that I spent almost years feeling down and low after having achieved so much in life. I had thought of myself as a very confident person. I realised that all those were the expectations from society and maybe what I wanted from myself. I felt very bad that I couldn’t live up to my expectations. I realised that so many women could be having similar feelings. We are so hard on ourselves. But I did get out of it and thought I owed it to other women. Whether they wanted it or not, I had to say it,” says the mother of two.
When celebrities come forward and talk about their motherhood journey, women connect. Like Sameera says that someone had to be brave enough and start the conversation. “When I started speaking out, quite a few people started trolling me, but the majority supported me. This whole unattainable and aspiring thing that you want to create even when your hormones are all over the place is something that I choose not to do. But there are many actors who keep on that glamorous image and are like, ‘We just finished giving a baby’. I completely had a meltdown and it was tough,” she says.
Social media has helped too
Social media too has made it possible for actresses to share their joys and challenges.
TV star Mahi Vij, who had a baby girl last October, feels glad that women get inspired by her motherhood journey. Along with her husband Jay Bhanushali, she has been posting videos on TikTok sharing her experiences. “Gone are the days when you used to be on the bed for months recovering from childbirth. Recovery happens faster if you are up on your feet. Every day, I get a lot of questions from women asking me about my pregnancy and motherhood, and I feel so happy. That’s the reason I am coming with my own YouTube channel, where I will be putting up videos because it’s not possible to individually talk to everyone,” she says.
“Also, because of the internet, people get to understand a lot of things and myths are easier to break,” Chhavi rightly points out.
Celeb moms have indeed started a dialogue, and this is helping other women to gain understanding and support from them in their motherhood journeys.