Monday, January 12, 2015

This, that, AND the other

Not taking away anything from the men, but if you ask the other half of the world with breasts and uteruses, they'll tell you that being a woman is hard work. Juggling roles and hormones is tough game and I've had my share. To be fair, I've had a fairly easy life with a lot of freedom of choice. I thought I could do anything but then the baby came along. Any mother will tell you this. A child turns your world around. A child challenges every notion of the self, pushes every limit you may have created in your head. It's all about finding one's balance and sanity after the first few months of childbirth.You have to take charge of your body, your career, and your brand new role of a mother.You have to realign all your social relationships with respect to this little creature who you are now responsible for. When a woman gives birth, she has to be reborn too.

I admit I had it easy when it came to finding my feet in my career again. I had (and still have) an incredible support system in my husband and in-laws and going back to work was easy. What wasn't easy was getting back my body. I grew up with a lot of body image issues, and pregnancy was the baap of them all. I found no solace in calling - as some mothers do - my stretch marks my battle scars. I constantly thought of myself as one big cow. But I waited and bade my time. The day my son started sleeping through the night, I started hitting the gym. Though never quite fond of physical activities, I took up gymming with religious zeal. I was going to get my body and love for myself back. I started weight training and surprised myself by loving it so much. Over two years, I trained hard and was almost competing with the boys. I had the 'beauty' bit sorted. Now it was time to work that brain.

Here lay the next important challenge. I decided to take my first step towards that long dreamt-of PhD. Keeping aside my earlier masters degree in psychology, I enrolled for a masters program in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology to be able to do a doctorate in culture studies. I also decided to do two post-graduate diplomas - one in mythology and one in mysticism along with it - from the University. This entailed giving up on every known comfort - the comfort of a career, the comfort of a pay packet, the comfort of a known domain, the comfort of independence. It meant going through the rigmarole of academic discipline, examinations, assignments all over again and to top it all, endure the poverty of student life.

But I couldn't settle for one love, could I? I used my AND and became a mother and a professional and a fitness enthusiast and an academician. And I am finally me.

 “This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus".


Haellii said...

Having a firm support system is priceless and does go a long way in allowing you do things for yourself. Your life is so fascinating, Urmi and it gives me hope that I can get back to a lot of things I have put on pause for now. Motherhood does change you and it's hard work to not resent that fact alone. You've done admirably so far <3

Anonymous said...

There's a lonely kind of joy in doing a PhD ... trials tribulation and all. At journey's end just remember its whether you are satisfied or not that's all that matters. A PhD is a hard jouney and it'll teach you things about yourself, your loved ones and your friends that you did not know. Welcome to the world of academia :)

Urmi Chanda Vaz said...

Thank you so much, Reena and Kurush. I dream of big things and it cannot happen without such loving encouragement from friends like you.