My parenting journey started as a huge surprise. At 26, the last thing I was prepared to hear was that I was expecting. That too while juggling a crazy work schedule in New York. My husband and I had hoped to move to India, and settle down in our careers before we started a family.
However, life has a way of throwing out your well-laid plans and we began to prep for the arrival of our little one while my husband was still doing his MBA. I worked through my pregnancy, drove to work in the Bronx in the wee hours of the morning, ate all kinds of junk, didn’t make it to the gym, and while I knew better than to eat for two, I ate more than I was supposed to, using the demands on my work life as an excuse.
As a public health professional, and someone who ran outpatient units, that too in internal medicine, I had long hours and often had to drive from place to place for meetings, stopping on the way to snack, and then rushing home to feed my little Yorkshire terrier, who I was convinced had satiated my parenting desires for the time being.
I had severe sciatica that limited my mobility at times and I did what I could to prepare for the baby with the other constraints that I faced, however, given that I had never worked out a day in my life, I had no intention of starting it with a baby in my belly. I assumed my wellness goals were met by the pre-natal vitamins I took religiously.
It was only after my son was born and I had an impossible time losing the 18 kilograms I put on that I realised I should have been less impulsive and more focused on my recovery. As a decade-long patient of the polycystic ovarian syndrome, not only was it difficult for me to shed any weight (despite nursing around the clock), but my hormonal troubles actually got worse.
However, there’s a drive that parents have that I believe makes them even more efficient than before. I’m not quite sure how I got through my initial parenting journey alone in the States—it’s now a blur of boxes being packed, a lot of nights awake, and no time to breathe. And yet, I began to share tips and tricks online for other parents and started my journey as a writer during my maternity leave in 2014.
My blog, Mommy Diaries, that began as notes on my phone jotted down while nursing, has grown into a community of 170,000 readers, and 65,000 social media followers across Facebook and Instagram. And this remains my passion project that often gives me sanity and a place to vent, beyond my daily juggle.
We have moved to India, had another child, added another puppy to our family mix, and I got back to work, joining my family healthcare business. I also have a start-up, grown out of my awareness of what’s lacking in the baby care space in India, that keeps me on my toes through the week.
Yet somehow in the middle of all the chaos, I knew it was time to focus on my health and well-being too. Which has become a priority in every way, as my visit to the treadmill or pilates studio is now a part of my daily life. Parents really are more efficient, perhaps because we get used to the less sleep, or we want to be better human beings for our babies, but somehow, it’s easier to get it all done than I would have imagined.
Wellness though, for me, is about how you feel about yourself. Whether it is having a safe space to share your thoughts, a group of girlfriends you can vent to when you are low, or a machine to run off your stress at the end of the day, the goal is to feel better about yourself, which is something that every mother needs. Fitness too, can be a big part of this, and for me it now is—with the goal being strength and steadily increasing my own abilities day in and day out.