This was almost a decade ago. During my early 20’s, fresh out of medical college, all I wanted to do was get married to my prince charming. All my friends did (of course to their respective boyfriends). Courtesy: Karan Johar and his larger-than-life cheesy movies that created a euphoric image of love and ‘happily ever after’.
So here I was at 23, married to my boyfriend of eight years, and all I wanted to do was- be by his side without really contemplating what I really wanted to do in life. I put my career and hobbies at stake just be his trophy wife. Before I could even settle in my new nest, I was pregnant with our first baby.
Having been operated for polycystic ovaries at the age of 17 and being told by your gynecologist that conceiving could be difficult later in life, this was an out of the world feeling. I took it as a blessing and enjoyed every moment until I delivered my beautiful son.
I had gained a good 30 kilos during the pregnancy and dealing with the post-partum depression was a tough job. Sailing through it was the roughest phase of my life. That was the biggest turning point of my life!
Suddenly the doors to the wonderland were shut for me. Reality hit me hard when my own family made it very clear that the baby was solely MY responsibility. At 24, I was all alone, handling a little life all by my own with no one by my side to support me physically, mentally and emotionally. My post pregnancy weight made things worse. I fall short of words to express what I went through.
When my son turned 5 months, I suggest my husband to go for a family vacation to unwind. My family members were reluctant. Nobody was bothered about me or the baby. My mother quipped, “Now your life is over! Just forget about traveling, all you have to do now is take care of your kid.”
“What a trap this was! Life is over at 24, was this a mistake that I gave birth to my little bundle of joy,” I retrospected.
But, I wasn’t ready to give up! I wasn’t ready to live with it! I took it up as a challenge that no matter what these 5 months have made me, I have emerged as a strong woman. I was capable to manage my insecurities, my baby and all the body shaming that came my way. Then why can’t I enjoy at the same time, I thought.
That was the beginning of my journey to conquer my insecurities and pursue my passion for travel and adventure. And by adventure I mean the challenges life throws at you when you least expect them. My son taught me what real adventure was and I grew up as a person with him.
Post the Goa vacay, I planned another trip to Dharamshala with my entire family. But the protocols remained the same…… YOUR child is ONLY YOUR responsibility!
I took it up as a challenge. We flew from Mumbai to Delhi, then from Delhi to Pathankot by an over night train and then drove for four hours from Pathankot to Dharamshala. My son was just seven months old and I carried a small hot plate with me to cook his food. I always had one bag handy that had his clothes, toys, baby wipes and diapers.
Wherever we halted for our food breaks, first I had to rush to the kitchen of the restaurant to make his food and then would I eat my own. It prepared me well as a traveller and my children as globe totters. My father in law was the only one who appreciated all my efforts n told me, “You get 100 on 100 for making this trip successful all by yourself and for managing such a small baby with elan.” I was overwhelmed with joy. I felt liberated, I was independent!
We women are so scared to realize our own potential that we restrict ourself from exploring various horizons. I thank that 24-year-old Shweta for the person I am today- Strong, independent and giving.
When girls my age was trying to be financially independent and choosing career over boyfriend, I was nursing a child and making a home out of a house. When they were going out clubbing and having fun, I was learning to cook for my family and feeding my child. I do not regret my decision, I never will. Life is what you make out of it, it doesn’t matter if anyone else believes in you or not, what matters the most is what you believe about yourself.
This article is written by Shweta Jogalekar. Shweta is a homeopathic doctor by profession and started her practice after son turned one as she wanted to do full justice by breastfeeding him for 2 years.Traveling is the reason which keeps her motivated in life. Her agenda is to travel as much as she can. Even till date no matter where ever she travels she pays for her own trip because she feels it is one thing which needs to be earned!!!
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