Being Women

Balancing Between Mind And Body – This Is How I Survived

Planning a baby and delivering can take a toll on your mental and physical well- being. Every woman has to go through it which can’t be avoided but you can always work towards getting better. Our mind and health are inter-connected and thus we must strive towards maintaining a balance between the two.

Mind and body. How co-related these terms are, how profusely intertwined, so much so that you forget your inner self. 

Since childhood, I have been an active child. Not athletic or birthed with supreme immunity, but active. I mostly walk 10,000 steps a day, and I have had quality walking capacity since childhood. I walk and talk on phones, I hate sitting, and due to my high anxiety levels, I am usually on-the-go. The reason my house is always clean is that I can’t sit. My ex-roommates can vouch for my cleanliness freak mode. After all, they came up with a name for me – ‘chota battery’.

Honestly, it’s not a boon, it’s a hurdle because a lot of work gets done when you have your mind and body aligned and focused on work, for example, writing. One needs to be physically and mentally prepared, on the desk, for that piece of rhythmic writing. I have to work to get into a focus position to work. Now, that’s the body bit, don’t get me started on the mind.

I can’t stop thinking. My mind works while I eat, talk, meditate, write, watch a movie, basically all the time. I wish I had an off button, but I have none. At a given time, during a conversation, if you ask me what I am thinking, I can talk about a parallel thought which was running in my head. It’s chaotic up here, and it makes me exhausted. My mind repeals focus. Total machhi bazaar (fish market).

Anyhow, seven years back, I thought becoming a mother will be lenient on my body, if not easy for me. I mean the majority went through this and aced it, I too will be able to do that. I thought. And then when it started, it was a mess. I already had a nausea-infused pregnancy, but due to the project, home, and team shift for me, nine months crawled by. Not ran, because I felt that duration.

But the time I remember most is the time after giving birth. I was at my lowest then. I lost a lot of strength and blood with the placenta. For the initial days after childbirth, I was yellow. Again, something which is considered better, it was a normal delivery, but then Mysha was delivered with the help of forceps ( don’t ask me why my Gynecologist thought it was helpful), and that gave me 14 stitches.

Those stitches took their own time to heal, and the mental health refused to align with my body.

Four months. It took me four months to get back to walk . A part of me was convinced that I would never be able to walk the same way again. I talked, I laughed, I did the routine, but I was severely depressed.

I thought I was stronger, compared to most. At almost midnight on January 28, 2012, in the frigid temperatures, Shahzeel and I landed in London. We were relocating from India so you can access the mental and physical baggage we hauled on our shoulders – two homesick hearts weighed more than four life-size suitcases weighing 23 kgs each. Catering to the latter part, we took a tube from the airport to Oxford station. Now, London is known for its iconic ‘almost-vertical’ staircases. The same when gazed from the bottom, seem to merge in the sky. Yup, that tall.

And another iconic discovery we made that night at that particular London Underground was the missing escalators. To cut the story short (I know it’s becoming lengthy), at some point, we decided to manually lift those four suitcases, one at a time, all the way up. He took one up and asked me to wait so he could come to fetch another. I couldn’t, and I shared the load by carrying two, much to his discomfort.

I vividly recall the moment of feeling that 23 kgs of weight on my hands climbing those endless vertical stairs, mentally quitting and lifting each second, till I made it to the top and thought, “Wow! I am strong. I can do this.”

And he told me, “If your lower back kills you later, don’t complain.” He was making me aware that I weighed 47 kgs then and carried 23 kgs. I could bear challenging weights and hold planks and stayed in a small frame, and it worked for me until my daughter’s 3.05 kgs weight in my arms till 5 AM every night (walking and putting her to sleep) got to me.

In those initial months, I remember always being low on energy and appetite. I broke down multiple times, contemplating, telling myself, “I’m not cut out for this. I can’t do this. Motherhood ain’t for me.” Still uncommon and unheard, but sustaining an inter-faith marriage, that too saffron and green was easier than birthing and raising a child when there are four born every second, around the world.

A day that I will never forget happened two months after she was born. I was sitting on my donut cushion (my 14 stitches made me sit on it for long) on the striped-brown sofa at my home watching TV when I felt the need to hydrate my body. A bottle was placed a little out of my reach on the walnut-coloured center table ahead of me. All I had to do was reach out to it, and I kept thinking I need to, but my body physically refused to do so.

I felt so helpless, so ‘bebas’ at that hour. First time in my life, I was not able to bring my body together to collect water. I could not pick my hand weight, forget lifting 350 grams of a water bottle. I sat there pondering if this is what it will be now. I had hope clenched in my fist, but then time, and again, it left my corner.

I can visualize those days when I sat with her at home looking at the clock, which said 7 PM, and an eternity went by, and the clock said 7:30 PM. They said having a child will change your life, and it did, but then they did not say which way. I thought I would never get out of it, and I wanted my child to grow up fast. People often say, “Bachhe kab bade hotey hai pata hi nahi chalta”. I did not say that as I felt that time. Now that she is a grown-up, I often contemplate why I felt the other way round, and it’s pretty simple actually – What holds for one, can never be the same for the other.

I was so broken in the first year of parenting that when I bound, I glued stronger. I always claimed that I am on my foot all day long, till she came, and I could not bend to grab a water bottle.

I guess, when you fall harder, you rise stronger, and even if not ‘stronger’, you do rise. Stronger is always debatable.

Of course, your family binds you, gives you perspective, and open new avenues, but nothing makes you stand than YOU.

What I did forget at those testing times is hawa apna rukh badal deti hai.

Today as I sit in my backyard post trying some acro-yoga with her, I can’t help but reminisce the days left behind. I thought I was not cut out for her, and here we are cutting edges with our moves.

Life is so unpredictable. I thought my academic ladder and placement would be a roadblock, but, somehow it accelerated. Then, I thought that my marriage would act as a thrust on me due to its out-of-the-box quotient, but that sailed without oars. But then, something as vanilla (in plain book terms) as raising a child, drowned me and enveloped me with all possible shortcomings. But again, life has its ways to teach you – it’s not the same for all. There is no mould to its dealings, and no two souls will deal with the same milestone the same way. That’s how humans get so many stories because they all are so different, and hell yeah, so amazing.

By Saumya Srivastav

With a degree in MBA finance and being a part of the market research for almost six years, Saumya Srivastav believes that writing is where she actually belongs. In the last four years of her writing career, she has built a viewership of 12 million, and her articles have found places in several writing portals, and more importantly, in people’s hearts. You can contact her at

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