There was a girl who wished to give birth to a hundred Pandavas. Growing up, her desire to have a child pragmatically evolved but failed to materialize. Nonetheless, giving up was not her type; what happened further is magic. Meet Real Mom Karishma- An ex-journalist, yoga junkie (not going upside down kind but using to untangle perception, conditioning, and to unlearn/learn), and founder of Soulkatha. Hailing from Kalleda, she lives with her 2 kids in Hyderabad. Today she is sharing her tumultuous journey when her desire of giving birth to a child was resurrected with sheer perseverance.
Amma has spent most of her life empowering rural kids to stand on their two feet mentoring thousands of students through the Rural Development Foundation. She’s the earth that the pillars and roof of the 5 schools and a junior college are built on. Bapu has supported RDF and helped take an RDF kid to represent India at the Olympics. He helps people get water to their farms, builds bridges, rescues ruined ancient temples, restoring them brick for brick, is a voracious reader, and is an out-of-the-mold thought breaker. He is also a very hands-on Thathaih especially enthusiastic about cleaning his grandkid’s poop.
When I was four years old, in the dusty and dry town of Warangal in the almost hinterland of India, my Thathiah (grandfather), Erraballi Venkatram Narsaiyya asked me a question – what do you want to be?
Without a pause, as though I was waiting for someone to ask me this question in my whole long life. I looked at him and told him that I wanted to be the mother of 100 Pandavas – I clariﬁed that unlike the epic tale of India Mahabharatha, where Gandhari birthed a 100 Kauravas who were the bad guys, I would want 100 children who were ‘good’ like the Pandavas.
I went on to tell him that unlike the Kauravas who were all sons I would have girls and boys. He laughed. He always found joy in the small things and so his reaction was typical. In the coming years, I was recognized as the girl who wanted to birth a 100 Pandavas.
As fate would have it:
From 4, I became 14. From 100, I changed the number to 13. At 21 I stayed ﬁrm at the number 9. And by 25 when I was unable to ﬁnd a partner, I doubted if giving birth to a child was my cup of tea. So I thought maybe I would adopt two kids and it seemed reasonable. But lo and behold I found someone and at 27, three seemed like a practical number.
At 29 I discovered I actually could not have the privilege of giving birth to a child. It just was not happening and then after many years and tests later, we found a possible reason – a genetic anomaly. It could have been the very reason my grandmother had had three stillbirths. I tried everything. EVERYTHING. Treatments, therapy, pottery, anything it would take.
My self discovery:
It was then that my journey into self-discovery was enabled by my yoga teacher Kamala. Yoga got faith back in the game. Without knowing it I had decided that either yoga could give me my children or make the pain stop. After five brutally enlightening years of self-discovery and disappointments, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl. Blast the bloody genetics!
I told my Dr. Evita, a gorgeous lady in and out, on the day she was born, ‘I will be back soon to deliver my next one soon. My family was aghast because I had been nauseous, mostly bed-ridden, anxious, and had depression to the point of suicide during the last nine months. It was a combination of wanting my baby child and my pregnancy hormones being just the way they were. Yoga and every healing therapy, energy, and science from reiki to EFT that I had learned to help me get pregnant, got me through it. Everyone told me I couldn’t and more importantly, shouldn’t. Two years and more miscarriages later, another gorgeous child was born. Only the divine could have been given me these.
And here comes the next one:
Another nine months of nausea, anxiety, and severe depression but this time I knew what was coming. This time I knew how to cope. The millions of tools in the yoga arsenal got me here. And I knew something had changed in me forever when I held my ﬁrst born in my arms because I knew how her mind, her patterns, her subconscious was blank and how to be kind of parent to help her ﬁll it with love and the power to be herself. The wisdom that yoga taught me without teaching it to me. (When I saw how people treated children I was so enraged it made me howl. By the time my younger baby came along, I was learning and growing at a pace that made me really embrace the most authentic version of human and mother in me that I wanted.)
It’s pretty awesome being me. I am in awe of how I can still ﬁnd faith to ﬁght and live another day. Blaming nothing and no one for where I am. And taking full responsibility for my actions and happiness.Karishma
When you enjoy your child for who she is/he is, parenting is easy…nay, magical. It’s when we are playing by other people’s rules that the game is not fun. Make your own! Shed the expectations that society or your family has of you as a mother. Find your strengths, play to them and enjoy your mom-moments. It might be 15 minutes day, but be present guilt-free and enjoy it! I have been really lucky to have parents, who have helped me in every step of the baby journey. Without Amma, I would not have made it past my pregnancy. Without Bapu, I would not have been able to catch up on my sleep and my sleep is my sanity.
A village to raise my kids:
My village is also our maids, farmhands, and their kids who have taken on my brand of parenting/companionship with my kids – humoring me by not teaching them about boogeymen and never-ever telling them white-lies. They play, let them help in the kitchen, teach them about village life – the insects, herbs, birds, and trees – such a privilege.
I am also very grateful to my ex-husband/their father for supporting me in the way I parent and adopting it as his own. He and his mum are part of my kid’s village.
I do everything I want to do or, I will get there.
My list of parenting dos don’ts:
- Apologize and admit your mistake
- Never beat my kids.
- Never yell at them when having a bad day
- Tell them they are loved in words
- Pay attention when the kids speak
- Positive narrative
- Build conﬁdence
- Just be present instead of offering
Being a working mother is challenging because you wish you could spend more time with your kids but it’s also fulfilling. I feel like I have more flavors and zest in my time with the kids when I focus on things outside of the kids. It’s a mixed bowl of more sweet than sour.
I want them to feel deeply comfortable in their skin. Just insanely happy with who they are, just the way they are. (And kind to the earth, the world and themselves). I believe that when this happens, everything else will fall into place. They will naturally vibrate to reach their highest version of themselves. As a parent, I hope I can play my role in enabling this. Because I strongly believe that my responsibility ends with giving birth to a child.