Just after the big announcement about the name change, it is now time to meet the one of the hosts for the Life of Real Moms March 2018 Challenge.
If you are new, Life of Real Moms is a 15-day long, prompt based Photo Challenge that happens every month on Instagram with the objective of building a community, and you can read all about how it started and how you can play along, by clicking here.
As a part of this challenge, every month two or more Insta-Moms will bring to you a lovely theme-based photo contest with exciting prizes and fun games.
And the first Host for LORM March 2018 is…
Namrata Shetty, here! An instamommy sine June ’17, I spout a perfectly imperfect take on my motherhood stint from behind my pseudo moniker @snamzz on instagram, which is mostly slices of life out of our two-dler household.
My feed is mostly an abbreviated online journal of my life post motherhood and more about my chronicles as a mother. I mostly articulate what changes she’s brought about in my life and the way she’s influenced me for the better. While in real life, most days I am balancing and on some days, losing my battles between the extremes of helicopter parenting and free range parenting. (Hazards of being a Libran mom, I guess!).
Let’s get to know Namrata a little better
Tell us how your motherhood journey began.
Tell us a bit about your professional life.
Namrata says, “By mistake. (Insert laughter here.) Like many of my other life plans, motherhood also happened to me by fluke. All my life, with my education choices, career choices, I have ended miles away from where I started. From being a biochem graduate to ending up doing my post grad studies in visual communication, from planning to be a visual artist to ending up doing copywriting, I have always drifted away from a planned life. Similarly, after getting married and landing up in a new city, there I was, scouting for job opportunities while recuperating from a torn ligament, complaining of back pains which I contributed to all the sitting around I did, that I found myself pregnant. Honestly my first reaction wasn’t sheer bliss or jubilation but one of derailment. Once again life had shown me who’s the boss. It took me one whole month to overcome my shock and surprise and another eight to be happy about being a mother. I had a bad pregnancy ride and I couldn’t help but feel resentful about it. Resentful of my luck, resentful of other women who glide easily and happily through the whole ordeal of it. Yes, it was an ordeal for me, as opposed to the glowing, gushing experience it is for most. So there! That’s how I got inducted to this new lifestyle change.”
What about the pregnancy made it such a harrowing experience for you?
Namrata says, “I have always been prone to nausea. Long bus rides, train rides, nervousness, anxiety, and excitement, all these get me nauseous. So when I first found myself pregnant I was one month into it and the news got me all anxious. And that’s where the nausea started. But even though I was coming to terms with it, the nausea wouldn’t go away. Turns out it was morning sickness but it was more of a ‘mourning’ sickness since it lasted all day.
Slowly the sickness turned into a debilitating one where I couldn’t hold in any food or liquid consumed. The sickness was so extreme that I couldn’t even sleep. All I could manage were max 1-2 hrs of exhausted pass-outs. Even plain drinking water had me puking my guts out. From a weight of 61 kgs I dropped down to 53 kgs in 3 months and all the while I was taking increasing doses of morning sickness pills which hardly made a dent. With all the reading I did on pregnancy, this was an unheard chapter.
What to expect when you are expecting never had me expecting this. Finally, in my fifth month I got a name for it. Hyperemesis Gravidarum. For the uninitiated that’s medical jargon for extreme morning sickness or as I call it – morning sickness on steroids. I had to be hospitalised for a week. I remember breaking down in my ob-gyn’s office when informed that I could even suffer a miscarriage as due to extreme dehydration my body had gone into an extreme ketonic state and started shutting down. Ketonic state is when due to lack of food and water, your body starts eating up its own stored fat sources in turn turning you into a skeleton shell case.
The truth is I didn’t break down because of the possibility of the miscarriage itself but the fact that if I lost this child, I would have to get pregnant again (since I did want a child someday) and I couldn’t go through nine more months of this again. Now that 5 months had already passed, I wanted to get this done and over with. The hospitalisation did bring some respite though. I was still nauseous for the rest of the pregnancy, but I was on medication and complete bed rest till I delivered. The pills didn’t cure me but they made life manageable.
Also, I still couldn’t stomach solid food and had to resort to a liquid diet which made me weigh 56 kgs in my final month of pregnancy. This is also why you won’t see me posting pictures of my pregnant self ‘coz there aren’t any. I didn’t want to document that stage of my life. I don’t know if I might regret it someday but for now the emotional scars that I still carry keep those regrets away. I don’t know if I want to get pregnant a second time. My heart and mind both say no for now.”
If you could be have an entire day to yourself – just to yourself – how would you spend the day?
Namrata says, “READ! READ! And READ some more… I live for major read-a-thon sessions. From reading an entire book in one sitting to reading a single book over an entire month, I feel untethered. But things are a-changin’. I’m slowly but steadily getting back to doing what makes me the most happy and that is reading.”
What do you love the most about Instagram? How has it changed your life?
Namrata says, “I remember that as a new mom I spent hours and hours using Google as a surrogate nanny looking for tips, suggestions, and the many what-to-dos and what-nots revolving around motherhood. And while I did find answers to my doubts and queries, I was left feeling like a complete and total nincompoop. I was floundering in a sea of my own conceived incompetencies and self-doubts. What I lacked was a sense of assurance, a feeling of being part of something bigger and worthwhile.
And that’s what I found on Instagram. Even though I did use Instagram on a regular basis earlier, marriage and motherhood made me take a sabbatical. And while motherhood does bring a sense of liberation, it can also be extremely isolating with its share of new worries and anxieties. On account of a nuclear family setup here and being away from family and friends, one fine day I abruptly decided to get back to it. And that’s where this Alice fell down the rabbit hole. I got re-acquainted with Instagram in a whole new way. I have met some amazing women/moms, formed some beautiful friendships and barring a few mama-don’t-preach self-entitled souls, I have discovered a beautiful and supportive tribe of mamas who have been there, done that and make no issues about sharing their triumphs and failures in a positive light so as to not make the other moms out there feel insufficient, but rather endorsed and enriched by every new quota of information. Overall, it has been a great positive experience thanks to all the amazing insights, warm camaraderie and positive back-patting.”
Is there anything you miss from your life before you became a mom?
Namrata says, “That would be a big fat NO!!! I know I might crib occasionally about the lack of free time, bone-deep tiredness and sleep deprivation but I enjoy being a mother along with all the paradox of good, bad, and ugly that it brings. I agree motherhood has been a crazy rollercoaster of a ride but it’s also been one of those addictive rides that while it did scare me when I was on it but once over I would still go back and line up a second time purely for the sheer thrill of it.”
What’s the hardest part about being a mom; the biggest challenge according to you? How do you deal with it?
Namrata says, “For me, it has undoubtedly been my lack of patience. For the longest time, my impatience has been my biggest shortcoming. But with a headstrong baby onboard, it’s an altogether different ball game. But it has also been one challenge I was due for. I have wanted to slow down and calm down for years now and so I was totally up for it. I am still working on keeping a tight lid on my impatience and not lose my shit during the many unexpected outbursts and meltdowns. It’s still a work in progress but I have definitely come a long way on being a better version of myself.”
And the easiest part?
Namrata says, “LOVE. Pure, unadulterated, selfless love. It was a case of love at first sight and I fell deeply and madly in love with this mini dictator. I am still falling. I thought my love for my parents and brother was infinite but my love for my daughter goes even beyond that. But then again this is something she’s taught me. Her capacity to love me in spite of my many shortcomings and fails has reciprocated this abundance of love in me.”
If there was one thing you could change about your motherhood journey or one thing you wish you could have done differently, what would it be?
Namrata says, “Pre-baby: I wish my pregnancy journey had been an easier and happier time for me. Post-baby: nothing. Okay maybe I would like her to not be such a fussy eater and happily gulp down everything I dish out. But otherwise, she’s been a made-to-order baby just for me. *touchwood*.”
What is the one biggest lesson motherhood has taught you?
Namrata says, “Oh, the lessons have been many! But living life in the moment supercedes all. Enjoying it by the moments and minutes in it rather than by day counts. Open my eyes to the many small moments of happiness that surpass us in a day but we are so busy chalking up our to-do lists that we fail to slow down and notice them.”
How has connecting with other people on social media been for you (moms in particular)? Would you recommend it to others? Why? Or why not?
Namrata says, “It has been amazing. First and foremost, just the knowledge that you are not alone in this and there are a multitude of women sailing in the same boat as you, is such a confidence booster. For me my fellow Insta-moms have made me see the many different aspects and sides of being a mom. It’s been like a happy shopping trip down the aisle. I have picked up, assimilated, tried on for size, and discarded the many different styles and fits of motherhood from these mamas. And so many of them have been downright helpful through plain DMs. So if you are thinking of diving in, go right ahead!!”
Have you been subject to mom judgement online? How did you deal with it?
Namrata says, “I haven’t been subject to it because I think the moms I have interacted with have been too polite and non-judgemental. But yes, I have been into some unsavoury discussions concerning my daughter’s screen time. With no house help around and with no other elders to supervise her, some days the only way I can get my chores done or take a breather is by indulging her in some screen time. But it’s supervised so there has been no addiction and that makes me ok with it. Plus my lil one is not one for playing by herself and needs me around constantly. So this mama did what she had to do to get some undisturbed ME time..”
What’s your biggest challenge on Social Media?
Namrata says, “Not getting obsessed with it. Like I said earlier, life as a mom can be pretty isolating with you functioning according to the baby’s schedule and moods. You can’t go out, you can’t read, and you can’t sleep. As a new mom, this was the breath of fresh air I needed. But where to draw the line on sharing and over sharing can become blurred at times. Also I don’t want to become a stage mother where I become so caught up in capturing and posting her pictures that I miss living them out with her. This is also a reason why I often take self mandated detox breaks from social media often.”
How do you manage to keep it real when you look at other’s seemingly perfect lives on Instagram?
Namrata says, “Simple. I never judge a book by its cover. Frankly, in spite of Instagram being a visual merchandise, the things that attracted me in the first place and made me stay tuned were the beautiful content and heart-felt stories I found here. Which is also what made me start following @wearerealmoms (now @lifeofrealmoms.) I am aware enough to realize that some of the so called candids out there are staged, the precious moments captured are staged and the beautiful glossy pictures have been subject to a multitude of edits and filters. Hell, even I do those. But the writing, the observations, honest and transparent and sometimes, truly blunt is what seals the deal for me. I don’t know if its sounds wrong considering I am co-hosting a photo challenge but that’s the absolute truth. The pictures may catch my eye but the stories capture my soul.
And on that note, thank you @lifeofrealmoms for giving me this chance to get that much closer to these stories and the people behind them. From being awe-struck at the word-plays and blown away by the recounting as a fellow mom to being a participant, and to this day where I am co-hosting a challenge myself. I believe this has also been like a journey in itself just like motherhood, where both have made a deep impact on me and in turn, made a better mother out of me.”
That was so, so, beautifully said. Thank you, Namrata, for being a part of the LORM family. It’s so good to get to know you a little better.
Don’t forget to check out and follow Namrata on Instagram.
Details of LORM March 2018 will be up soon! Stay tuned.
for Life of Real Moms