By Shilpi Madan
"I know I’ll bounce back and I am not afraid of being judged. I wanted to share how I looked without make-up and my morning face and how it’s important for me to celebrate it," said actress Sameera Reddy as she shot for the #imperfectlyperfect campaign, in a series of wonderful videos and pictures celebrating her bump. Sam, as she is often called, is the star of Race, Taxi No 9211, Maine Dil Tujhko Diya and De Dana Dan, Kannada film Varadhanayaka fame. Cut to 2019. She is a doting mother to two kids, four-year-old son Hans, and few weeks old daughter Nyra.
Excerpts from a conversation that took place while Nyra nodded off and Hans was busy leaping around the house, refusing to nap:
Why a four-year gap between the kids?
Honestly, I would have liked a shorter gap, but once Hans was born, I went through postpartum depression. It took me a little while to swing out of it. Looking back, perhaps it worked out for the best as Hans is a sensitive child and I was able to give him enough time, prep him for the little one’s arrival. I don’t think he would have adjusted so well to Nyra if he were two.
Share with us how you managed to do that.
I think the first step to pulling yourself out, is to admit that there is a problem. As an actor, I was used to being in the limelight, staying svelte and slim, having a melee of people – spot boy, make-up artiste -around me. Suddenly I was out of shape, feeling exhausted and low. I’m a cheerful person otherwise. There is a big difference between baby blues and postpartum depression. I sought help in therapy, took homeopathy treatment and worked on myself. Cut to the present, the ease with which I confess to having experienced depression surprises many people as most are uncomfortable even admitting that they have experienced it. This needs to change.
That’s truly commendable. So when was the last time you cried?
Just days ago when my little baby girl smiled for the first time. I shed bucketfuls of tears! It was such an overwhelming, incredible experience.
Are you a hands-on mom?
Very! I have never had a nanny for my kids. I love bathing Nyra, enjoy doing everything for my children. It helps that my husband is a doting dad and extremely hands-on. He chips in tremendously before he leaves for work and after he returns in the evening.
One rule that you have set?
We eat breakfast and dinner at the table, all four of us, together with Nyra in her rocker. No television while eating; we chat, laugh, spend time together.
One word of advice to pregnant women?
Enjoy your pregnancy, celebrate your bump. The idea of yummy mummies is a societal construct that you don’t have to conform to. Enjoy your own freedom, own your quirks.
And once the baby arrives?
Don’t get worked up by the ‘leftover’ weight or clothes that do not fit. Give yourself time. Never let yourself be judged by others, or pushed by others who will insist that you give a top feed to your baby at night to get him or her to sleep better. If you are lactating well, breast feed. Follow you own instinct.
One thing you always carry with you?
A bottle of water for the kids and for me when I leave the house. It is a must. I am not the wet wipes and hand sanitiser kind of mother.
Is it different with a second child?
I used to be so paranoid about anyone else holding him. Now, with the second child, it is like, "You want to hold Nyra, here, pick her up!" (laughs) How times change! Also, I used to be so finicky about anyone kissing Hans. Now Hans licks Nyra’s hand, saying that’s how Mama Lion loves the Baby Lion. It is adorable.
What is the best part about being a mother?
It feels surreal that I have created a little life, a curious human who tells me "Chill, mom", and explains to me how rain clouds are formed. It is a very curious, beautiful feeling.
But then you knew that you would make a fab mom, right?
Well, my mom always thought so, even though I always thought I wasn’t cut out for family life. Thank God for moms!