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4-min read

Motherhood Is An Incredible Game Changer, Says Priyanka Raina

On Mother's Day, Priyanka explains why motherhood has been an emotional phase for her, her battle with Postpartum Depression and her dedicated efforts to help India's underprivileged mothers. Excerpts from an interview

News18.com

Updated:May 12, 2019, 9:11 AM IST
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Motherhood Is An Incredible Game Changer, Says Priyanka Raina
On Mother's Day, Priyanka explains why motherhood has been an emotional phase for her, her battle with Postpartum Depression and her dedicated efforts to help India's underprivileged mothers. Excerpts from an interview

It was a couple of years back, on their daughter's first birthday in 2017 to be more precise, that cricketer Suresh Raina and wife Priyanka announced the Gracia Raina Foundation (GRF). What started as a project that helped them to enlighten women and adolescent girls about reproductive and sexual health soon evolved into a way of life. On Mother's Day, Priyanka explains why motherhood has been an emotional phase for her, her battle with Postpartum Depression and her dedicated efforts to help India's underprivileged mothers. Excerpts from an interview

Motherhood: An Incredible Game Changer

When we are young, we focus on our career. The focus isn't really towards motherhood. When the child is born, the mother is also born. So all that new, overwhelming experience that comes into the picture - it is definitely a game changer. After Gracia, I stopped working. So it was an emotional phase, a phase of having a lot of new experiences coming into the picture, a lot of new advises coming into the picture. It was a phase where I had to figure out yourself 'What am I going to do?' The focus now is entirely on the new life that you are blessed with. It is a blessing and at the same time, a phase full of curiosity. It is a phase full of knowing how, what to do, how to take care of the child. Am I doing it good? Also brings a lot of pressure. I feel in the sense of you wanting to be a perfect mother and you just wanting to make it all perfect for your child. It is like getting back to your college when you have to pass all exams.

Postpartum Depression: Real, But Stigmatised

Postpartum Depression is a very important topic to discuss and speak about. Since I have been working in the foundation with a lot of mothers, who have just given birth, I know it exists. A lot of the times the realisation is not there, women do feel something new is happening. There is some negativity. They feel like crying. There is no realisation that it is very normal to feel like that. Yes, Postpartum Depression exists. It is a phase in which women need a lot of support. And how you can make it comfortable for her. It isn't just physical, but mentally too a lot of attention is required. When we go to work in slums in rural areas, PDP is like an alien term. People don't want to talk about it. And as you said, it is important to make them feel better and that it is normal to feel like that and that a simple thing can make it a lot better. I too experienced Postpartum Depression. I surely did feel a lot of things going on, crying a lot of times for no reason, felt negative for no reason. In the beginning it was like 'what is going on?', 'What is wrong with me?' And so at least for the first 9 months - I noticed that it was a phase where I had to deal with a lot of emotions - positive and negative - at the same time.

Anti-Mom Bias Is Real

New mothers joining back after delivery does make some doubt their productivity. At the same time, we need to make policies and schemes to ensure we make workplace more healthy for working mothers so that they feel more comfortable. It is important to not just have health possibilities and health care, but also make places more comfortable for new mothers, which also includes workplace. It is about having flexible terms when it comes to joining back at work.

The pressure to be a perfect mother, perfect wife and perfect worker is huge and only you alone can break it. Thoughts like ' I want to give the best to my child, to my husband, to my family' do dominate our thought process. We have to be nice, not so harsh on ourselves. It is fine to take rest and ask for help from your family and partner. And family and husband should pitch in and give the support that a new mother needs. The same pressure also exists on men, they aren't really expressive. It is new for them too. But i look at it as a partnership. Both men and women go through the changes. You have to support and help each other to go through that phase.

Successful Women Don't Owe An Apology To Anyone

I have been speaking to women where they are made to feel that they focus too much on their career, not giving back to people who need her the most, thinking too much about your career, not looking after your child. That conditioning is there to some extent. But I feel, it is changing. Thanks to women who are fighting for themselves, raising their concerns and change we are able to bring in to the society now. It's all about equality, opportunities are equal. If the platform is given to men, it should be given to women too. There is nothing for which you have to feel sorry about. You have to back each other up

Gracia Raina Foundation Dedicated to India's Underprivileged Mothers

We started the foundation in 2017 and it has been almost 2 years that we have been working with young girls and women (who are pregnant) on their health. So the objective that we started with was to keep women in their reproductive phase going through pregnancy or the various issues they are dealing with, to help them with knowledge, awareness and also provide them a platform where they can connect with health experts and know more about it. We noticed there were a lot of problems which they are facing today are because of the gaps that are existing.

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