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From Dealing With Death to Career Slump: 3 Moms Tell Their Stories

Pranjalee was ready to announce her pregnancy, when her mom was diagnosed with a disorder and died soon after.

Published
Women
5 min read
Stories of new moms.
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Pranjalee Thanekar Lahiri was ready to make the ‘big announcement’ when her mother was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. But just as she was in the third trimester of her pregnancy, her mother succumbed to her illness.

On one hand, she was giving birth to a new life while on the other, she had lost one. Her whole world had come crashing down. She began to wonder if she was happy anymore about the life she’d give birth to?

Pranjalee was ready to make the ‘big announcement’ when her mother was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder.
Pranjalee was ready to make the ‘big announcement’ when her mother was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder.
(Photo Courtesy: Pranjalee Thanekar Lahiri)
Despite the fact that I was carrying a baby inside me, I suddenly felt empty. With mom not around, I had lost my support system. Every time I thought about the baby, flashbacks of my own childhood would appear in front of my eyes. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to take care of the baby without my mother.
Pranjalee

The turmoil didn’t end there. After she delivered her child, she suffered severe post partum depression. She hated herself, her body, the baby and everything around her. She confined herself to the house because she had no confidence in herself. Her life had turned on its head.

“He gave me hope,” says Pranjalee.
“He gave me hope,” says Pranjalee.
(Photo Courtesy: Pranjalee Thanekar Lahiri)

However, over the next few months she began to realise that she had truly been blessed to have her son Priyansh.

He gave me hope. Of course, it needed a lot of will power to reclaim myself from what had become of me, but Priyansh was my light at the end of the tunnel. With each passing month, I coped with my mom’s death better.
Pranjalee
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Surgeries Galore

For Aarti Kapur Singh, too, there was a series of struggles before she finally embraced motherhood.

Although I was very happy that I was becoming a mother, it was a very difficult phase of my life. I shifted three cities – moving from Mumbai to Delhi to Chandigarh. Adjusting to different climes took a toll on me. I began putting on a lot of weight – I developed hypothyroid. I was also diagnosed with a spinal cord abscess, a rare condition that can cause permanent damage to the spinal cord. This was life-threatening to my baby. I was even told I may lose him.
Aarti
“Although I was very happy that I was becoming a mother, it was a very difficult phase of my life,,” says Aarti.
“Although I was very happy that I was becoming a mother, it was a very difficult phase of my life,,” says Aarti.
(Photo Courtesy: Aarti Kapur Singh)

Aarti remembers how the medicines took a toll on her health, “which is definitely not the best way to be when you are expecting your first child.”

I did not have much help at home, except for my parents. To make matters worse, my husband was away in another city.
Aarti

As traumatic as this phase was turning out to be for her, she knew she could not lose hope. She underwent surgery. Soon after, during her delivery she underwent a C section. However, when the baby was only 8 months old, the spinal cord abscess re-occurred. This meant that she would have to go under the knife again.

Today when she looks back, she is glad she fought with an iron fist.
Today when she looks back, she is glad she fought with an iron fist.
(Photo Courtesy: Aarti Kapur Singh)
These three surgeries in less than 19 months totally threw my life out of gear. My spine had taken the shock of 3 epidurals in close succession. By that time, life had thrown everything bad at me. It was very easy to lose hope.
Aarti

But today when she looks back, she is glad she fought with an iron fist. “Motherhood makes you strong and I passed with flying colours”, she confides.

Giving up Her Dream Job

Sayali Umbarkar Bari, who lives in Seattle and works for a multinational company, had her own set of struggles before she became a mother. She was presented with an exciting opportunity at work, pretty much her dream project that she'd wanted to be a part of for the longest time. But acknowledging that she was soon going to be on a maternity break, she had to pass on the opportunity.

Acknowledging that she was soon going to be on a maternity break, she had to pass on the opportunity.
Acknowledging that she was soon going to be on a maternity break, she had to pass on the opportunity.
(Photo Courtesy: Sayali Umbarkar Bari)
I had been called upon to lead a very high visibility project. It would have been instrumental in the growth of my career. But I sacrificed it all and chose to go on a break instead. For a girl like me who was very career-oriented, it was a big sacrifice to make. It made me feel like a loser.
Sayali

During this phase, she developed food sensitivities, amongst other complications. She hated most vegetables that the doctor asked her to eat. She couldn’t stand the smell of frying oil. She was throwing up almost all the time.

“Everything comes together and becomes better because of your loved one,” she says.
“Everything comes together and becomes better because of your loved one,” she says.
(Photo Courtesy: Sayali Umbarkar Bari)

Even after her delivery and the short maternity break, when Sayali finally went back to work, her struggles weren’t over. A saga of sleepless nights, taking care of her baby and long hours at work meant complete burnout. It was taking a toll on her body and health and she was at a breaking point. She wanted to quit her job – the very one that she'd worked hard to attain. She wanted to let it all go.

But she didn’t. Mustering her guts, Sayali rallied and worked and managed to get a promotion as well.

Everything comes together and becomes better because of your loved one. Since I knew I had limited time on hand and I couldn’t take work home anymore, I was more focused and productive at work. I was prioritising better and setting the right expectations about deadlines. I was more inspired and motivated at work. In my mind, I wanted to set a good example for my daughter.
Sayali
“In my mind, I wanted to set a good example for my daughter,” she says.
“In my mind, I wanted to set a good example for my daughter,” she says.
(Photo Courtesy: Sayali Umbarkar Bari)
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(A freelance food and fashion blogger, Pranjali Bhonde Pethe aims at getting people and their favourite food and style closer through her blog moipalate. Email her at pranjali.bhonde@gmail.com and follow her on @moipalate.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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