Like most women in that life stage, my life encompassed juggling multiple balls in the air – kids, work, home, husband and family and like most women in that life stage, I got lost in those roles, trying to play each to the best of my ability. 13 years into my marriage, in 2022, my mother needed a heart transplant and while I was commuting between Delhi where we lived and Chennai where the transplant was meant to happen, my husband fell in love with someone else.
Going through a life-changing surgery for my one living parent and realising that my marriage was over, took me to rock bottom rapidly. The only problem was that I couldn’t stay there. I had an eight-year-old and a five-year-old to raise myself. I had a single, newly transplanted mother to support emotionally and I had a house to run and bills to pay. When I look back at those years, they were strewn with the humiliation of being ‘left for another woman’ and the pain of being alone and the feeling of being overwhelmed at having to handle everything on my own.
As time went on, I learned to manage my children and earn a living. It required a lot of organisation, planning and giving up some things to be able to focus on others that were a priority. Everything had an opportunity cost. When I look back at those years, the opportunity cost was my friendships and myself – my priorities, desires and my self-care. People and solutions showed up even though life was hard and seemed like there would be no respite. My children slowly grew to be more independent and the conditions in our home helped my children become stronger and more capable. Work was my saviour, my cocoon, my drug, and my outlet from all the pain that was building inside me since my father’s death, my mother’s transplant, and since my marriage broke. I realised that the more I put into my children and my work, the more I got back.
I have been featured in the 50 Women of Pure Wonder in India and recipient of the Pride of India Award 2017. I have over two decades of experience creating innovative brands in women’s care and women’s health in India for the past 15 years. Under my leadership, a popular Indian chain of women and child hospitals expanded to become an all-encompassing solution for all women’s healthcare needs. I was the mastermind behind India’s first and only comprehensive holistic health chain spanning the nation.
Most recently, I founded The Woman’s Company, which focuses on creating and providing women of today with tailor-made intimate wellness and hygiene products; customized for and embracing the changing phases of their bodies; while being mindful of the depleting environment. The bouquet of products in the first phase includes biodegradable pads, menstrual cups, tampons, razors and urination devices.
Over the years while my work has impacted many people, I have found that my personal life has inspired me even more. I have always been open and shared my life’s strife and difficulties openly and this has led to many people all over the world responding to my blog, my writing or articles on how it has resonated with them and how they have gained a sense of strength through my story.
Anika Parashar is the Founder and CEO of The Woman‘s Company. The views expressed are the author’s own.
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