I’m talking About Body Issues & Postpartum Depression Because I Know What It’s Like

I have always had body issue. There, I said it. 

And I don’t even think it’s unique to me. Everyone I know – okay, almost everyone I know, has body issues, or at least has had them at some point in life. I will not go too far to say that only women suffer from it, but it definitely seems higher in us women folk. Why is that?

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Skinny or Not, Love Yourself. No Body Issues!

I know, I know – the society! It tells us that we are expected to be breathtakingly beautiful, every one of us, mind you. And we have to be a certain shape – Pear? Hour glass? Light pole? It’s tough to keep up with the trends, and a certain weight to be considered beautiful. Or attractive. 

The Perfect Body a crap that’s been sold to us for many generations.  

If tomorrow all the women woke up and decided that they are okay with the bodies they have, just think how many industries would go out of business.

The body dreams that they sell us, and that we buy – they are bullshit, we know, but we still want to be good looking. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. 
What’s wrong is having issues with our bodies, ignoring our physical tendencies, our genetics, other vital factors and wanting to be a certain type, and having low self esteem when the bodies refuse to cooperate with our idea of the “perfect body”.It’s ridiculous, it’s downright stupid and I have been both of those. All my life, I have been extremely thin. From as early as I can remember, I was skinny and didn’t want to be. I wanted to have a “good” figure – taking inspiration from the movies and magazine ads. My friends in school called me “skinny like a teenage boy” with affection and I would cringe.

In college a friend who was voluptuous and pretty happy with her body, told me wisely that a girl should have the right amount of weight at the right places and I nodded seriously at this piece of deep gyan. I knew I needed to put on some weight – not to be appealing to boys, pffttt, I was never that shallow thank God, but to look good in the various dresses I always imagined myself wearing – again, taking inspiration from the movies and magazine ads. I wanted to be glamorous and how!

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So. Damn. True.

I would drown glasses of banana shake because someone said it would make me gain weight. Nothing happened. I loved fried food and for years while I was in hostel and then working, at least 2 of my daily meals consisted entirely of greasy fried food with a little too much cheese. Didn’t make me gain weight. I was always talking about how thin I was and wore tees that were two sizes too big for me. There was a phase, in my MBA days I think, when I started wearing layers to look “better”. The anti-fit denims came in fashion at the right time, I embraced the trend with a passion that bordered on insanity. What can I say, I was young and stupid.

Then, something changed.

Suddenly Size Zero was in! Everyone now wanted to be skinny – my friends who were telling me to gain weight were now asking me how to keep it away. And as if right on cue, I got pregnant.

And I haven’t been skinny since then. It has been 3 years. 4, if you count pregnancy and you should because I was blissfully big during it. Gauri, my daughter, was 4 kgs and 200 gm when she was born. And at more than 4 kgs, she didn’t look chubby, instead she was healthy, long and strong which was good.

But my weight became a huge issue in my own mind. Now, for the first time in my life, I wanted to be skinny, and I couldn’t. I think I went through a long phase of sever postpartum depression, which I did not recognise until now. Looking back, the things I felt during the first year of pregnancy do not seem normal. I would cry for no reason at all, and well meaning people would tell me it’s the hormones. I would be up for three nights at a stretch even when Gauri was sleeping, and it would be casually attributed to “being a new mom”. I would refuse to go out or talk to people and for a very long time I felt perennially anxious and angry. 

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Don’t know how I survived it, and got through it because it felt fatal at the time. Studies say that postpartum depression is far more common than gestational diabetes, and yet we tend to ignore it. One in six new moms suffers from postpartum depression, according to recent studies, and the number is alarmingly high, considering how the mother’s mental health sets the stage for a family. The emotional pain that accompanies new motherhood in the midst of postpartum depression, is terrifying and isolating. 

And for me, the body changes during and post pregnancy also become a part of all that was not right with the world. I did not lose much of the weight I had gained during pregnancy. My tummy was still big, even after the delivery, making me look like I’m still pregnant. I would go to shop for clothes and pick everything in SMALL size by the habit of many, many years, and then the sale assistant would point out that XL Size is what I need.

Ouch, I know. 

It was terrible, I’ll not lie. My daughter is 3 now, and I am still a Size L, and I am in no way happy about my body. Hell no! I still hope I’d have  flat stomach and toned thigh. In theory, I know that this doesn’t matter. In practical life, I am often found clicking on link-bait spam mails that declare “Get Thin Without Exercise” right in the subject lines. 

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This is what I’m talking about! No Body Issues.

But between all this, I have managed to start working again. I take care of all Digital Media and Social Media for GIO Adventures. Full time, mind you! I have also revived my blog and try to be pretty regular at it. I have become part of the core team of an incredible startup called InkHorn Publishing India. I try and travel a lot, both national and international. I get invited to Luxury Hotels and Resorts in India to review them on my blog, which is something I am proud of. My first book is doing very well. I wrote my next book which will be out in Feb 2016 (yay, I know!). I write for Huffington Post India, among a few others. I cycle with my daughter every day. I never leave her with anyone other than the husband or myself so by default, we are constantly together, me working and she painting while talking nonstop. I read a lot, catching up with the lost times. And I hustle. 

And this gives me some confidence. 

I am always conscious about my body, but I am never not confident about myself. Yes, I now know the difference between my body, and me. I am more than my body. And confidence comes from things you do and things you know, from opinions you have and the kindness you show. It is not directly proportional to being skinny, is it?

I have also decided to be up front, to say NO as a complete sentence, to take no shit and to be kind even when I don’t feel like it. These are important things, not silly body issues. I’ve realized that my issues with my body will never be over, I will always want something almost impossible out of my poor exhausted carbs-craving body – size zero, thigh gap, collar bones as prominent as a skeleton’s, higher cheek bones – the list in endless.

But does all this make me the person I am? No.
Does my body type define me? No.
Is my weight who I am? No.
Is my inability to look stunning in a fitted bandaged dress affecting my ability work relentlessly toward where I want to be in life? No.
Is body issue even a real issue at at? Should not be. No.

Then, I say to myself, to hell with the body issues.

Real women have bodies. A certain size or shape doesn’t make it superior or inferior. There is no wrong way to have a body. Worry about keeping it fit and healthy, forget about fitting into definitions of Perfect. Forget Body Issues.


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Say No to Body Issues.

Losing weight is not my life goal.
I am destined for something much bigger and much more substantial than shedding 10kg.
It’s okay to not be size zero. Or pear shaped. Or whatever shape they tell you in currently in.
What matters is the magic in your heart and the fire in your soul.
Every other issue – unnecessary.

From now on, I will focus on being fit, rather than being thin. Say no to Body Issues. Who’s with me?

PS: I wrote this as a contribution to the Mental Health Week, but got late. I needed to address this issue anyway, so better late than never.

If you are suffering from Body Issues or PPD, or know someone who is, the following organizations will be of help: Postpartum Support International, Postpartum Progress, and The Postpartum Stress Center. Keep reading Aditi’s Monologue for more. Lots of love, stay strong!

Post Author: Aditi Mathur Kumar

Author of 2 books. TEDx Speaker. Travel Writer. Blogger. Addicted to Travel & Books. Digital Media Strategist. Social Media Girl. Army Wife. Mom. Curious. Crazy.

1 thought on “I’m talking About Body Issues & Postpartum Depression Because I Know What It’s Like

    […] I have felt a strong association with CRY – Child Rights and You, and it only grew stronger as I became a mother and began to see childhood under a new […]

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