Priyanka Raina, the director and founder of Gracia Raina Foundation, has spent several years putting underprivileged women’s reproductive health at the forefront of her mission. Through her NGO, she supports women hailing from marginalised communities to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, choices, and family planning by providing them with healthcare professionals.
Last year, the mother of two, who is married to cricket star Suresh Raina, decided to venture into a baby-care line, taking her passion for maternal and newborn health care one level higher.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. How did you come up with an idea of launching a baby-care line?
I started working on Maaté when my daughter was about 7 months old. I was very keen on giving the purest and best quality care to her. One fine day I decided to start with this brand and fill the gap. After thorough research with doctors, formulation experts, and manufacturers, I finally found a good team that could relate to the brand philosophy. The quality and efficacy of the products stood above anything else for me.
All products consciously formulated using the best ingredients nature has to offer without any chemicals or toxic elements. The word Maaté means ‘mother’ in Sanskrit and that is exactly the core of the brand- how a mother nurtures her child and how she nourishes, cleanses and comforts her baby.
Q. What were the main things that you had to check off the list in terms of attracting more and more people to the brand?
Just like me, every parent wants nothing but the best for their children. When it comes to baby wellness, they are extra cautious to choose something they can trust. Trust comes with transparency and results. Hence, our brand ethos is to bring out the best quality products with a focus on efficacy and results. The next thing is to build a relationship with parents where they can know more about us as a brand and our products. We are not just a baby care brand- our focus is on baby wellness and providing the best of nature to nurture the baby.
Q. How do you want to use this platform and your position as an independent entrepreneur?
This brand is the first of its kind in India. Hence, any such platform helps us spread awareness and build relationships for the brand. It helps me tell my story and share the work, insights, and emotions behind creating this labour of love. This journey had two facets to it, a mother who is satisfied with the products and would use it on her own children and an entrepreneur who has been working relentlessly to make sure the brand reaches out to every household. Both the facets are equally important and have their own shares of experiences to share.
Q. You have a six-month-old son. Even with an “easy” baby, the newborn phase is hard. How is that going?
For sure with the second child, you are much more experienced and relaxed. With Rio it has been much more smooth compared to Gracia. Gracia was the firstborn and while you have your first baby there are just so many unknowns in the journey of motherhood and additionally, you tend to have so many dilemmas as well. With the second one you know, you have been there and done that. One thing I have realised with my second baby is the more relaxed you are, the easier the whole process is. When you’re happy, your baby is happiest.
Q. Parenting can be exhausting at times and both Suresh and you have so many different jobs. What do you do that’s just for you?
There are no set roles for us but yes Suresh travels much more so there is nothing which I don’t do or depend on him for and vice versa.
We always back each other up to be there for the kids. One thing which I always keep for myself though is reading out to Gracia before going to bed and putting her to sleep. That is really a mumma-baby time we thoroughly cherish.
Q. Is Suresh a hands-on father?
He absolutely is! He is much more fun too. Mumma is usually the bad cop (smiles). I have all the boring things on my plate like homework and online classes. He makes sure to inculcate some really good habits in the kids like working out, sports and healthy eating, etc.
Q. Where do you go when you both have a parenting challenge?
To each other! We may not always agree on things but communication is the key and when comes to parenting your child it’s really just the two of you who know what’s best for your kids.
Q. How do Suresh and you spend family time with your kids? What might we find you doing on a random Saturday afternoon?
Most likely working out in the park or swimming. We love it and kids love it too. We try concluding it with a picnic with our favourite foods and board games.
Q. What’s the very best part about being parents for both of you?
Knowing more about ourselves and learning new skills each day. We have learnt to be much more patient, setting the right priorities, and thinking of the other one first. These things are very important for us to learn and implement before we can teach it to our children. Setting the right examples is what kids learn from.
Q. Now that Suresh has announced his retirement from international cricket, how are you looking forward to spending this time with him?
Irrespective of retirement, we will continue to focus on raising our children into beautiful human beings and doing things that matter to us as a family.