Motherhood brings along its own share of varied experiences. From bouts of nervousness to excitement, pregnancy cramps, morning sickness to those happy sweet moments of togetherness with your loving partner in the cosy corner of privacy — all add charm to your life’s most forever to-be-cherished stage.
Gone are those days when only the womenfolk of the house, a gynaecologist or a midwife would know about the details of a pregnant woman’s psychological and physical transition. The whole affair used to be rather an awkward phase and often filled with a sense of shyness. Now, look at today’s moms-to-be. They throw inhibitions to the wind, abandon the usual blushes and unabashedly flaunt their baby bumps on the beach, along the ramp, in selfies, on the red carpet, on social media and even attract the chasing paparazzis’ flashbulbs. Think of actress Kareena Kapoor Khan and how she walked the ramp almost to the end of her pregnancy.
Right from Hollywood hotties down to the desi divas, all have dared to show off the budding bellies with effortless élan. Old world superstitions like ‘evil eye’ stalking the mom-to-be are now obsolete. The new woman believes in sharing the happy news with the public. Mummies like Kim Kardashian, Mila Kunis, Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, Amanda Seyfried have confidently put their pregnant tummies on display. Back home, glamorous would-be mothers joining the gang besides Khan, are Carol Gracias, Shweta Salve, Genelia D’Souza, Shweta Tiwari, Teejay Sidhu etc.
Vasudha Jha, family, career and life coach, observes that “in a patriarchal society, it was never easy for a woman to come out of her conservative shell and party about her pregnancy. However, the present-day trend of shooting photos of baby bumps, baby-mooning with partners at beautiful locations proves that women have trudged a long way in shedding those stereotypical garbs of keeping pregnancy under the wraps”.
Trend-watchers explain that modern women consider pregnancy a condition to celebrate and revel in. So why hide it from the rest of the world? Moreover, the 21st century fitness and grooming conscious women are visibly more proud of their bodies. So they need no excuse to lie low about their physical attributes. “Since childhood, facing the slur of body-shaming has been common for women across decades. Everyone seems to find a reason or two to comment on the female form - good, bad or ugly; and scars left behind from this embarrassment could have taken a huge toll to cope with,” says Jha. On the contrary, this current display of confidence in a changing body is worth appreciating, she stresses. “Also the baby-mooning phase shows that women are now at an equal footing with their male counterparts; and they are not willing to settle for anything less than what makes them happy.”
Motherhood in the past was not an individual choice for women. Often they had to submit to familial and societal pressures. But today, women appear to be more vocal about their personal matters. They opt for ‘the-family-way’ terms when they want to and not whenever they are asked to. For, motherhood no longer just ‘happens’ to them, and this trend shows greater mental and emotional preparedness for an important stage in their life.
Responding to wardrobe diktats for expecting women, designer Amy Billimoria insists that “showing off the baby bump is definitely a new fashion fad. Wearing high-waisted, empire dresses with bias cuts any day looks and feels way more comfy on both tall and short frames. Add to this, asymmetric drape hems and oversized shirt dresses in ferns, peaches and yellows. Also big floral prints look nice if one has the height to carry it”. Cotton lycra capri length jumpsuits flaunting the bump in early pregnancy weeks are worth trying for both body types, she recommends.
Just as trends are followed to decide on the wedding trousseau for the D-day, similarly, the latest fashion must-haves for most moms-to-be is a huge rage. “There is greater awareness and acceptance now to try out novel looks and funky silhouettes,” she notes.
Talking of striking a fine balance between office and pregnancy, Pooja Sharma Dimri, consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist and surgeon, admits that today’s working women confront a lot of stress in life. “As a result, many moms-to-be in IT service or other sectors prefer to work from home before going on a maternity leave. Also I feel, they should go for some ante-natal and meditation classes.”
Excessive use of gadgets like mobile phones and laptops is another cause for concern during those months. “The habit can be harmful as they cause physical and mental distress. Sitting on the laptop whole day may lead to backache and pain in the neck, besides eye-straining which can even aggravate in pregnancy,” cautions Dimri.
Nevertheless in this e-age, a complete switch-off of batteries may not be always plausible but their use should necessarily be minimised while on maternity break. “This in fact would not only offset the physical and mental side-effects of a rampant gadget usage, but also helps reestablishing one’s interpersonal relationships,” she says.
Echoing her observation, Shefali Batra of Mindframes, counselling psychiatrist, cognitive therapist and wellness consultant, remarks that “switching off the batteries and going absolutely minus gadgets is never going to be easy. However, following a wholesome regime is compulsory to benefit the baby and the mother’s heath”.
As a matter of fact, scientific studies evince that the X-rays are harmful to the fetus, because the source emits damaging radiation. Therefore, distancing oneself from mobile phones, microwaves, I-pads and Wi-Fi routers are highly prescribed, wherever possible. Although the risk according to research is minimal, it’s still better to maintain a safe distance from e-equipment.
Pregnancy-suitable exercises, meditation, yoga and a protocol of rest in the daily routine are recommended by doctors and care-givers.
Time- management is the key and prioritising the tasks becomes very important. “For, pregnancy should not be a tumultuous struggle but a normal natural process to soak in and live with. From a mother’s perspective, a healthy mind in a healthy body is paramount,” Batra elaborates.
Thankfully, the current-day options to redress these hitches are easily available through prenatal counselling. “That way, they become more aware and remain ready for any kind of sentimental upheavals and hormonal swings which may ensue in the process. Also they could build upon their spousal relationship as well as favourably deal with the new arrival in their wombs,” assures Batra.
Images: Kareena Kapoor images by Sandip Roy / Baby bump courtesy Internet Wallpaper