What Saif Said To Me When We Discussed Having Kids

Cover of ‘Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Pregnancy Bible’

I am extremely passionate about whatever I do, whether it’s getting in front of the camera eating a 12-inch pepperoni pizza or writing this book. I do everything with determination and grit. I jumped at the idea of doing this book. I want you and every woman to know that things for me were just as normal (or difficult) as they are for you.

I had the same paranoias as every other mom-to-be, the same crazy symptoms, the same fears. And I also had the same excitement, the same wonder too. With this book I wanted you to be part of my journey and know that being pregnant is an amazing thing. And I also wanted to create a book that would give you the most authoritative and useful information not just about your trimesters but on issues such as postpartum depression, breastfeeding woes, nutrition, self-care and even on exactly what to shop for (I overdid it with Taimur!).

People think a celebrity pregnancy is super glamorous. And I did try and make it look like that when I was out and about! But I didn’t feel that glamorous – who does when they are pregnant? I gained a lot of weight, got pregnancy spots and was ready to sleep by five every evening! Sounds familiar? In this book, I have been totally honest about everything I went through, from my crazy eating to fainting on a photo shoot out of exhaustion. I hope it will make you smile and comfort you too.

I decided when I got pregnant that I wouldn’t hide anything. I was out there being as normal as I possibly could. And I wanted to bring that same spirit to this book. I am also super proud that I carried on my work right to the very end. Even though I have to admit I pushed myself too hard during Jeh’s time.

The truth is I love being a mom. And I love acting. And I didn’t want to give up on anything, even through my pregnancy. In fact after I got married, I did think hard about my decision to have a family. I thought people would see me differently.

But Saif told me I could do it all. He and I have worked hard to build a strong foundation for our relationship, and I truly believe my kids will always have that to stand on. And, hopefully, Jeh will be as confident as Taimur, because of his parents.

My mother-in-law was also among the first to tell me that I had to keep working. Her advice was to do whatever I wanted but with confidence. She did some great work in the movies after her marriage and kids and was a real inspiration. My mother is also a strong role model for me, and she and my father both told me I must keep at it. So I thought what the heck! I plunged headlong into not one but two pregnancies and I now have these two tots in my life who make every day feel a little crazy, a little special, a little exhausting, and a little rewarding.

And so here I am – writing these words, working, being a mommy, being active, being real. You know, my life often feels like the tree pose – where you’re balancing on one leg. I think women do that beautifully.

I remember when I first held Taimur to my chest, properly, after the anaesthesia and grogginess had faded. My little boy became real to me that moment. The moment of birth I think for so many of us is too hazy. The reckoning comes later. As I held my little baby, smelling his infant smells, aware of how fragile and precious he was, I told myself I’d do it on my own, on my terms.

I set my own rules for Taimur, and those will apply for Jeh too. It was simple – to do the best I could and relax. I wasn’t the most perfect mom the first time around. There is joy in messing up. I didn’t know how to clean Taimur’s poop or put on his diaper properly in the beginning. His pee leaked so often because his mother didn’t secure his diaper perfectly. But here is some advice – mother to mother: it’s about you and your comfort; do what is easy, do what works. When a mother is confident and comfortable, the baby senses it too.

It’s why I returned to work so quickly. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I knew I wanted to work till the day I popped and as soon as I could after. That being a mom was never going to be my only identity. Returning to work post-baby was heart- wrenching. I am sure that’s the case with most mothers who get back to work. I remember leaving Taimur behind and going to night shoots with a crew of 150 people. I was so torn – trying to be professional on the shoot, while aching for my baby.

I have jumped back into my commitments soon after having Jeh too, though I definitely feel less rushed. It’s normal to feel guilty. But trust me when I say Taimur doesn’t love me any less today because I got my life back soon after I had him, and neither will Jeh. There is nothing like doing what you want to do. I will have one kid at my hand and another in my lap. I will be a mom and I will go back to work. I will rock all of it.

I am also so happy and grateful that I had my mother’s help with Taimur. Yes, she is older now, which means Jeh is a challenge. She may be less hands-on, but she is a pair of reliable eyes for me, and I take much comfort in that.

We women place so much pressure on ourselves – we want to do it all. But everyone needs a little help. Take it. Hold that hand. Whether it’s from family or household help. I would not have been half as functional without the help of my nurse who guided me through Taimur’s time and is now with me for Jeh too. I am deeply grateful for both the women who helped me look after my babies and for the domestic staff who have looked after me and my family all these years. Saif and I are both working parents. Our lives would hardly be possible without them. And I want you to know that I don’t have to be on Instagram putting a child to my breast to prove I am a hands-on mom. I just do the best I can, every single day. 

You know, I was relaxed because I was prepared for both my kids and I had my rules in place. I am quite a freak when it comes to being organized! Of course, nothing fully prepares you for the actual birth and a live, kicking baby in your arms. There are so many unknowns. And there are so many things to which I still don’t know how I will react. But that’s what being a mom is. I always wanted kids. And I married the man I love. My kids are a symbol of my love, my life and my commitment. I may keep making mistakes. But I will power through.

Kareena Kapoor Khan

(Published with permission of Juggernaut from ‘Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Pregnancy Bible’. Order your copy here.)

Disclaimer: The author and publisher of the book are solely responsible for the contents of the book or any excerpt derived therefrom. NDTV shall not be responsible or liable for any claims arising from the contents of the book including any claims of defamation, infringement of intellectual property rights or any other right of any third party or of law.

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