From believing motherhood is a joyride to assuming that becoming a mother is a natural choice for all women, society continues to set unrealistic ideas about pregnancy and motherhood for women even today.
But these women shut down society’s flawed perceptions like a boss, expertly debunking misconceived notions about pregnancy and motherhood:
Mona Singh on freezing her eggs so that she can enjoy life and explore the world with her partner before becoming a mother.
Actor Mona Singh said she had her eggs frozen at the age of 34, as, even though she loves babies, she is not mentally prepared to have one right now. Instead, she wants to travel the world and spend time with her husband.
I have frozen my eggs and now I am free. I did that at the age of 34. Because I have gotten married now, I want to chill with my partner and travel the world with him. I haven’t done that yet. I have always travelled with my family or friends. I want to do that with my husband now. Even though I love kids, if you ask me now, I am not mentally prepared to have one. Later in life, I would definitely think about it.
Anita Hassanandani, Gul Panag, and Kishwer Merchant on the ‘ticking biological clock’ and the right age to get pregnant.
Both Gul Panag and Anita became mothers at the age of 39. Both of them believed that it was important for them to become mothers when they, themselves, were ready to raise a child and not when society thought they were ready – thus debunking the idea of a ‘ticking biological clock’.
Having a baby is a very significant step in life, and like marriage, you should think it through carefully before committing to it. Have children when you are ready to welcome them and can raise them happily and responsibly, not when society says you must.”
The age-factor did play on my mind. Many people told me that it’s going to be tough, it overwhelms you. But once I conceived naturally, I realised that age is just a number. You need to be mentally and physically fit for everything to fall in place. Jo naseeb mein likha hota hai, woh toh hota hi hai.
-Anita H. Reddy
Though it was an unplanned pregnancy, Kishwer and Suyyash were thrilled to welcome a new life, because they were ready to be parents.
Suyyash and my parents have wanted this since long and were quite after us to have a baby, but yet it’s an unplanned baby. Suyyash and I are extremely thrilled. It is a blessing to conceive at this age naturally.
-Kishwer to TOI
Sameera Reddy and Kim Kardashian West on post-partum depression and difficulties during pregnancy.
People are quick to presume that motherhood is an absolute joyride. However, the fact of the matter is, even for women who choose to be mothers, pregnancy can be physically and emotionally tiring. And post-partum depression is a very real thing – something actor Sameera Reddy bravely talked about at the KSP Awards 2019.
Much like Sameera, Kim Kardashian West also talked about how pregnancy is not for everyone, and just because some women enjoy it, does not mean every woman has to.
I’m gonna keep it real: For me, pregnancy is the worst experience of my life! LOL! I don’t enjoy one moment of it and I don’t understand people who enjoy it. My mom and Kourtney clearly did! More power to them, but I just don’t relate! I’m not sure why I don’t like the experience like others do. Maybe it’s the swelling, the backaches, or just the complete mind-fuck of how your body expands and nothing fits. I just always feel like I’m not in my own skin. It’s hard to explain. I don’t feel sexy, either—I feel insecure, and most of the time I just feel gross.”
-Kim Kardashian West
NZ PM Jacinda Ardern on being a working mother
People often presume that women can’t juggle motherhood and corporate jobs, but New Zealand PM debunked that notion like a pro. She returned to work, six weeks after giving birth, and even made announcements from her home when she was breastfeeding, normalizing the concept of working mothers.
She also brought her 3-month-old baby to the United Nations General Assembly, setting a clear example for the world that just like men, women too, can do both – run a country, and raise a child.
I cannot stress how much the @UN – and the governments that comprise it – need this. https://t.co/d9NHkms96R— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) September 25, 2018
And when she was asked misogynistic questions, that incidentally working fathers never have to face, she had the perfect response.
Australian senator Larissa Waters, who helped normalize breastfeeding.
From the time in 2003, when Victorian MP Kirstie Marshall was asked to leave from the state parliament for breastfeeding her 11-day old baby girl, to 2017, when Larissa Waters gave a speech while breastfeeding, women certainly led the change in making workplaces more equal.
Breastfeeding is a normal part of motherhood, and yet women all over the globe have often been shamed for breastfeeding in public. But Australian senator Larissa Waters scripted history when she breastfed her child while giving a speech in the parliament.
So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli #auspol pic.twitter.com/w34nxWxG0y— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) May 9, 2017
Neha Dhupia and Chrissy Teigen on weight gain during, and after pregnancy.
Fat-shaming is never okay, but to fat-shame pregnant women, who are growing a whole human being inside themselves, is the absolute worst. And yet, society sets unrealistic standards, especially for celebrities, when it comes to shedding weight after pregnancy and instantly slimming down after giving birth.
However, actor Neha Dhupia did not take this lying down and called out a magazine for commenting on her pregnancy weight gain. She added that while the article did not bother her, the practice of fat-shaming needed to end, once and for all.
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I don’t owe anyone an explanation because fatshaming like this doesn’t bother me one bit. But I do want to address this as a larger problem because fatshaming needs to stop for EVERYONE not just celebs. As a new mom i want to be fit, healthy and energetic for my daughter. So I work out everyday, sometimes twice a day because for me…’Fitness’ is a priority and not ‘fitting into’ society’s standards regarding looks. And I hope in the future people are kinder to each other while making such vapid and vile comments. To quote @pattonoswalt … “Be Kind. It’s chaos out there.”
Chrissy Teigen also shared that it’s important for women to give time to themselves, and not ‘go crazy’ trying to lose weight.
You just realize you have to give yourself time and understand that you pushed out a baby, and it took this long to put on the weight, and it’s not going to peel right off, and that’s OK. Enjoy your baby. don’t go crazy.
Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigan on the pain of miscarriages and the illogical stigma around it.
One of the more insidious ways in which a patriarchal society shuns women is by adding an arbitrary and unnecessary sense of shame to a subject as traumatic and painful (especially for the woman but for both parents) as miscarriage. But Meghan Markle chose to speak about her own experience.
When Meghan Markle wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times, about her own experience with miscarriage, she helped break the illogical taboo that surrounds the subject. And gave words to the pain many women and parents have experienced, but few have had the strength or space to express.
Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning. Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same.
Not just Meghan Markle, even Chrissy Teigan shared her own miscarriage ordeal on social media, while also defending Markle against people who tried to belittle her for sharing her experience.
Meghan Markle made the brave decision to open up about her miscarriage. Before that, Chrissy Teigen shared grief about her stillbirth.— 🌹Furqan Reisen #RideAbove🌹 (@FurqanReisen) December 5, 2020
Dear Mum, opening up about pregnancy loss is powerful https://t.co/mShuhaEPux via @Doha News
Chrissy Teigen, Meghan Markle, Halsey, and Christina Perri did not disclose their miscarriage’s to get attention or for publicity. They did it to help other people going through similar situations. I can’t even fathom the level of apathy you must have to say that. pic.twitter.com/9nHjYYjNaj— Keiley Kaiser (@keileykaiser) November 25, 2020
When I had my miscarriage late in pregnancy, I no idea that it could happen. Empty soothing words, and people asking, “what did you do(that caused this)?”. So yes, I am thankful that people like @chrissyteigen and Meghan Markle are talking about it.— Madhumitha (@vmads90) November 25, 2020
I suffered a miscarriage 26 years ago. Miscarriages weren’t discussed. I applaud you & Meghan Markle for your bravery for speaking up & helping others. BTW, my rainbow baby got married last Friday. I am grateful for him always.— Tara Mulligan (@tamull) November 25, 2020
Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigens pieces on miscarriages is what’s gonna make talking about it easier. Women need to know that thyr not alone and that their grief is valid. It’s almost as if people expect you to not grieve a miscarriage. But any loss of a baby u wanted is a loss.— Mrs 005 (@Ndeshi_005) November 26, 2020
Kudos to these women for being real and honest about motherhood and pregnancy, because just like no two women are the same, no two pregnancies are the same. And women should experience motherhood and pregnancy on their own terms.
Just like every human has individual likes and dislikes, motherhood too should be a choice, and not a pre-decided expectation because of your gender.