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I Was Petrified: Rupali Ganguly Looks Back On Her Postpartum Days

In a conversation with SheThePeople, Rupali Ganguly revisited the time she embraced motherhood and the challenges new moms face that many don't talk about.

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Rudrani Gupta
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Rupali Ganguly

Motherhood involves the ecstasy of seeing the little and cute palms of the babies, it also leads to changes that can turn the world upside down. But, is there a rulebook on how to be a perfect mother? Search engines tell you ridiculous things about motherhood...Being a mother means getting advice from people on how to traverse the path of motherhood- these are the questions and objections that Rupali Ganguly, famously known for her role in the TV serial Anupamaa, raises. Do you agree with her?   

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In a conversation with SheThePeople, Rupali Ganguly revisited and shared her journey of motherhood and postpartum depression. Ganguly shared that she couldn't breastfeed her child. She said, "I didn't lactate and so I felt less. I was completely paranoid. Postpartum depression is real." However, Ganguly also adds that this experience taught her to break the construct that breastfeeding is a must. Or that a mother starts lactating immediately after giving birth. 

Postpartum depression: How Rupali Ganguly traversed through it

As I mentioned before, society only talks about the beauty of motherhood. The joy of seeing the baby, the happiness of bringing a child into the world and the fulfilment of the so-called duty of a woman towards society and family (contestable of course, but let's focus on the perspective of society here)- are all that defines motherhood for the society. But what about the journey after giving birth? Is it as beautiful as society portrays or rather imagines it? Is it related to mothers' anticipation during the nine months of carrying the baby? No. 

Rather, the journey after giving birth is challenging enough to push mothers off the edge. It is messy, emotional, negative and even fatal. 

Talking about her postpartum journey, Rupali Ganguly said, "I was petrified. You have brought this little being to the earth and you have to be responsible. So I think the first thing every mother feels is fear."

Adding to this, Ganguly talked about how motherhood changed her personality. She said, "I was a very careless person, even during the pandemic. But after the birth of the child, I became a paranoid mother. I used to stand with a sanitiser at the door and ask people to sanitise themselves before touching my baby." 

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Ganguly also talked about how the body of women changes after motherhood. She said that the size of the waist increases to almost double. But she urges women to accept themselves. 

Motherhood is an individual journey

Motherhood, unfortunately, is not about an individual's journey. It is considered a social project on which every person feels entitled to inscribe their perspective. I am talking about the unsolicited advice people offer to mothers to become better or the mythical perfect. But Ganguly breaks this construct and emphasises the importance of women as individuals to learn about motherhood.

She said, "If you are a mother, people will give you various advice to become better mothers. But motherhood is an individual journey that is different for every woman. Every woman must have learnt something during the nine months."

However, Ganguly doesn't deny that motherhood is indeed a special and beautiful journey. She said, "The nine months when the baby is inside you are the most special. When you see the baby coming out of you is just so beautiful. Motherhood is a beautiful journey. Just enjoy it."

Reinstating the fakeness of societal perception of motherhood, Ganguly said, "There is no hard and fast rule about motherhood. Just because others did it, you don't have to follow. Each of us has different experiences with our babies and that is beautiful, something that should be cherished." 

So, let's accept motherhood as beautiful not in terms of societal conventions but in the varying defining of each individual mother. Society wouldn't change the child's nappies, would it?

Views expressed are the author's own.

rupali ganguly motherhood postpartum depression
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