From a prime minister taking her infant to an official meeting to a rapper breastfeeding on her music video, the year 2018 bears testimony to how more and more women are coming forward to exercise their rights as a mother and an individual. As the year draws to a close, we walk you down memory lane to recall how some celebrity mothers, from actors to political leaders, battled patriarchy to experience motherhood on their own terms.
Sania Mirza and husband Shoaib Malik welcomed a baby boy in October 2018. The 31-year-old tennis player, who has always been an advocate of women’s rights, embraced motherhood only when she was ready and not because of any external pressure or prejudice about women. Sania taught us that motherhood is a choice that every woman in entitled to.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern made history this year by becoming the first female world leader to bring her three-month-old daughter to the United Nations General Assembly, along with her partner Clarke Gayford. Ardern has always reportedly aspired to achieve work-life balance. In an interview with Newstalk ZB, she had pointed out that she wasn’t the first woman to multitask. “I am not the first woman to work and have a baby. I know these are special circumstances but there will be many women who will have done this well before I have,” she had said. Ardern’s case was surely an eye-opener for all those who believe that a woman cannot simultaneously handle motherhood and her career and be successful at both, or has to give up one for the other.
Ace tennis player Serena Williams, once again, proved that postpartum depression in new mothers is totally normal, and isn’t something one needs to be ashamed of. “It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby,” she had written on her social media post. In an interview with Express Parenting, psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria revealed how nearly 50 per cent women go through postpartum blues. As rewarding as motherhood can be, it can also take a toll on your physical and mental health. No matter what society expects of you, there’s only so much you can do as a parent.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, whose heartfelt memoir Becoming has been gaining a lot of praise of late, drew our attention to the stigma surrounding miscarriage and infertility by revealing how she felt like a failure after having miscarried for the first time. The ex-FLOTUS expressed in a television interview, “I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them.” A lot of couples today opt for late parenthood because of which there might be physical complications in conceiving naturally. But that doesn’t mean one should lose hope, let alone feel ashamed about it. With advanced fertilisation treatments, a lot of couples today can even conceive with medical aid. Michelle too conceived her daughters Sasha and Malia through IVF at the age of 34, the former First Lady revealed in her book.
Bollywood actress Gul Panag’s pregnancy at 39 is, yet again, a testament to how a woman should welcome motherhood only when she is prepared to have raise children. Parenthood is a life-long commitment that not every person may be ready for. “I think having a baby is a very significant step in life, and like marriage, you should think it through carefully before committing to it. Have children when you are ready to welcome them and can raise them happily and responsibly, not when society says you must,” she had told Mumbai Mirror in interview.
International music sensation Cardi B grabbed headlines recently after being seen breastfeeding in her latest single Money. In that shot, Cardi is seen nursing her baby without any cover. Cardi B became a mother to a baby girl in July 2018. The rapper isn’t the first woman to make a statement about normalising breastfeeding but she did reinitiate the conversation on the taboo subject.