Mary Kom redefines motherhood and what it means to be a sportswoman in India, by making her nation and family proud. She just became the first ever Indian female boxer to win a gold medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, despite the fact that this has been her first ever appearance at the CWG. She dedicated her win to her three sons, Rechungvar, Khupneivar and Prince.

MC Mary Kom has been balancing motherhood and a physically intense sport like boxing for over ten years now. She is a testimony to a women’s strength and determination. Time and again she has proved that motherhood doesn’t mean putting an end to individual aspirations and goals.

After she got married and started a family with her footballer husband, Karung Onkholer Kom, not many expected “Magnificent Mary” to come back to the ring.

But she stumped everyone by resuming her training after becoming a parent. Kom not only resumed boxing but returned to the ring stronger than ever. She won a silver medal at 2008 Asian Women’s Boxing Championship, after which there was no stopping her.

Life as a mother and a sportswoman has not been easy for her.

In 2011, her three-and-half-year-old son Khupneivar had to undergo a heart surgery, due to a congenital heart defect. Kom had to make a tough call by choosing between representing her country and nursing her unwell child. Her supportive husband helped her make that decision and took care of their son, while Kom went on to participate in Asian Cup. As per a report from The Times of India, Mary won a Gold medal at that tournament and then flew back to India to be by her son’s side as he underwent the surgery.

Mary Kom recalled another incident, when she felt conflicted between following her dreams and being there for her children.

“At one point, the insurgency in Manipur resulted in a blockade of the national highway for three months, so no supplies were reaching our hometown. I was away at a training camp in another city, but my mind was constantly on the fact that the family was running out of baby food for the twins. In the end, I appealed to my sponsors who somehow managed to get tins of baby food delivered to my home. It was only when that happened that I could go back to training, with my mind at peace.”

I was away at a training camp in another city, but my mind was constantly on the fact that the family was running out of baby food for the twins.

Kom has made us proud once again by clinching a gold for India at 2018 Gold Coast Games. This success must have come at a great personal cost, as she had to spend time away from her children.

Indian mothers often find themselves facing this guilt,to make a choice between career or personal goals and one’s maternal duties is never an easy one to make. Many Indian women end up sacrificing their careers on the other hand, those who choose to balance both, feel they are failing on both fronts. All they need is empathy and support from their families.

Mary Kom is India’s most decorated boxer today. She has been won the prestigious Arjuna Award and Padma Bhushan awards. Her husband and family have supported her through her journey to follow her dreams. Kom is a supermom and a super sportswoman. Her punches contain strength and power of a mother, who knows what a struggle it is to overcome social stigma.

Motherhood doesn’t weaken women. In fact it makes them stronger. What makes us weak are social norms, which expect us to prioritise our children above everything else.

But, if we want to leave a better and equal society for our kids, then we have to show them that motherhood shouldn’t stop women from becoming sports legends, acclaimed artists or breakthrough entrepreneurs.

Kom’s achievements are a vital part of the legacy that we as women want to leave to our future generations. Here’s to wish her that she breaks many more records and social conventions.

Also Read : Boxer Mary Kom Hits Gold In Maiden CWG Final

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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