Rise And Strive

Motherhood not only confers upon a woman the responsibility of raising a child, but it also changes how she is perceived in society and at her workplace. It can necessitate her to take more than available leaves from work, and even put her job security at risk. Needless to say, significant social and personal adjustments are necessary to cope with such a situation.

A working mother especially one who has the good fortune to be able to balance her home and work, enjoys the stimulation that a job or career provides. She develops the ability to raise a useful member of society and at the same time gains financial independence. Along with motherhood, work adds to the completeness of being a woman. But a woman has to go through a huge amount of struggle for this which unknowingly leads to several mental health concerns that are hard to overcome.

I am Tumpa Mukherjee, Assistant Teacher at Purwanchal Vidyamandir School, and like many other women, I too faced abundant difficulties in my journey of being a mother. Due to certain reasons, when I completed my 2nd trimester during my pregnancy period, there was a misbalance in my level of hormones and I gradually started to become skinny, pale and malnutrition-ed. In a society where pregnancy is linked to unparalleled glow and natural beauty, I felt insecure and gloomy each time I saw myself in the mirror. I remember crying, losing my temper, sulking, and drowning internally, one day at a time. To a point, that it dawned upon me that if I continued to feel that way about myself, it will not only affect me but my child too. So, I decided to use the superpowers that came with the gift of motherhood and embarked on a journey to master my mind instead of letting it master me.

I didn’t allow my insecurities to conquer my mind and with a courageous resolve, I strived to fight my fears. As my determination strengthened, so did my spirit. I began to feel better, and slowly with sheer self-acceptance, I started feeling better too. Time lapsed, and as my child grew up to be a bit older and independent, I started my job as a teacher. However, this wasn’t a smooth sail as the road forward required balance and commitment. Along with my roles and responsibilities at work, I had to concentrate on my child’s assignments and school performance too.

It was during this phase of my life that I learnt the true value of support. No matter what turmoil I faced in my path to strike a justified balance, I had ardent support of my husband. Not only did he support me with household chores, but also shared responsibility for my daughter’s education. My daughter too matured very early as she started listening to what I explained to her and did all her work on time.

Life, however, is all about change and impermanence. It’s all about the ups and downs. And, the road downhill was just around the corner for me when I had to do a Teacher’s Training Course for continuing my job. Those were the toughest days of my life. I used to start my day early in the morning as I had to go to school and didn’t even get adequate time to sleep or eat properly due to back to back classes. After a hectic day, I almost felt lifeless and drained when I went back home. I could hardly manage to keep my eyes open or catch up with my daughter or husband. Little did I know that what was coming was harder than what was already happening. My daughter’s exam results came out and her grades deteriorated significantly. This was a reality check to reinstate that now, the situation wasn’t just taking a toll on me, but it had started impacting my family too.

I internalised this way too deeply and started blaming myself for the resulting changes. I felt selfish and unworthy as a mother. Somewhere I had started seeing myself as someone who ruthlessly chased her dreams at the cost of putting my daughter’s future at stake. All problems I faced in my life, although seemingly insurmountable at the moment, taught me that we can overcome everything. So instead of giving in, I realised that all I needed was to make sure that I didn’t cloud my mind with overwhelming emotions and channelised my energies to find the appropriate solution.

After sitting with my feeling for a while and addressing them one by one, I decided to neither give up on my dreams nor neglect my child. It was time for me to strike that work-life balance, for which I made a thorough timetable and ensured to follow it. Even if this step seems like a redundant one, it required disciple and had an efficient outcome. For me, one small step each day. Is what got me out of the chaos I thought I was trapped in.

In the end, I’d just like to say that my heart goes out to all women who are currently mustering courage and patience from each ounce of their body to persevere in this timeless struggle. I know there must be times when you feel like giving up, but trust me, this too shall pass. It will all get better. Just give it some more time. This time has its purpose as well. Remember each moment when you felt jailed behind an impossible-to-open lock, but each lock has a key to it. Dont’give up! And most importantly, know that mental health is real. Mental health concerns are not something to be shamed, ridiculed, or overlooked. Your experience is valid too. It cane feel nigger than it really is. Talk to someone. Talk to yourself and get to know yourself better. Trust me, this makes a big difference. If you still feel a lag, don’t shy away from seeking professional help from a counsellor or a therapist. This doesn’t make you any smaller or weaker. Rather, it makes you resilient.

Always remember, you are strong! You are invincible! You are a woman!

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