Breaking up with myself..

Growing up in an idyllic small town in India in the ’80s and the ‘90s set me up with dreams of independence and visions of a career in far away, glamorous cities.

True to small-town grit and some divine intervention, life took me to the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune and then to the logical next step in Media life – Maximum City, Mumbai.

By the time 30’s came knocking, I had my Self-Identity and world view etched in concrete. I knew who I was- my career was my salvation, my identity, my badge of honour. Without the defining lines of my profession, I was lost. So, it was but natural that even marriage was accommodated into it. I was like a credit card with unlimited spending capacity, swiped endlessly, indefatigably and enthusiastically for my career.

And then stepped into my life, three alphabets –  I.V.F. Everything was fine but I just couldn’t get pregnant. After a lot of doctor visits, some soul searching and a litany of home truths from my sisterhood tribe, I had a hallelujah moment of revelation – my womb was already occupied. I was not mentally prepared to usurp my career baby for the real deal. It was a difficult and an unpalatable truth to acknowledge – that I was subconsciously sabotaging my pregnancy. As soon as the problem was identified, my systematic and responsible self, took over. Lists were made and a schedule charted to get IVF and work running parallel.

A work project was already underway, and so I made sure schedules and the timings of my two daily injections and multiple scans were seamlessly woven with deadlines and script-narrations. My husband pitched in, turning co-writer and injection giver. My eggs were extracted and the momentous event was hardly a blip in my emotional radar, as Husband and I would reach home after a long day of script discussion and fall dead into our bed. I congratulated myself on dodging the famed emotional pitfalls of the IVF hormones, with work. I had it all under control.

A month after Embryo transfer, I entered the elite club of first-time IVF ‘Success’. It was deemed a twin pregnancy. Double beginners luck. I charged ahead with renewed vigour, another notch added to my I-can-do-it’ belt.

And then, one evening after a long day, a slight discomfort. Then more… Finally, I rushed to the toilet to find a small blob of tissue coming out of me. Not even much blood. It was no longer a twin pregnancy.

I was prescribed complete bed rest. I had a script to finish and another script to write. Complete bed rest meant ample time to write. Perfect.

I finished the script with only one hiccup – a short tense stint at the hospital. Then it was back to bed rest.

The First trimester ended and I still had my baby inside me. Confidence raised its now ugly head and some pep talks to myself later, I started work on the next script. I finished it one early morning. Words poured out on paper, blood trickling down my thighs. There was no ignoring it any longer. I had to choose which baby to carry to full term.

But first, I had to break up with myself- with my Self-Identity. I painfully accepted that I was not one of those lucky ones who could work till the day her water broke. I was still subconsciously sabotaging my only chance at motherhood. I had to reconstruct my Self-Identity. Easier said than done!

Nature took over and ensured that I spent the next 6 months in complete bed rest. Even trips to the bathroom were curtailed. I had all the time in the world to undo my identity, for something I had no guarantee would be a reality.

The human mind is a very powerful tool. Add the miracles of our body to it and it’s a potent mix. Pregnancy hormones and the life growing inside me ensured that I could think of nothing else. I was kept on a short leash and then, 2 weeks before the due date, another emergency ensured that I didn’t have time for much else for the next year.

So maybe I did break up with my Self-Identity successfully. Or maybe, for a woman especially, Self-Identity is an organic evolving entity. Nurturing, preserving, defending, guarding, loving, sacrificing, every verb adds to it and takes a toll on it. To us. On us. So no matter what your current Identity tells you, there’s another waiting just a ‘need’ away.


5 thoughts on “Breaking up with myself..”

  1. Beautifully articulated. Kudos to you, it takes immense strength and bravery to make choices, accept, reconstruct and flourish.

  2. Shalini Shrivastav

    Beautifully written. You have put across a very important point – why does identity have to rest upon the hook of career? It’s so vital not to link or have our identity depend on anything – even a job. It’s our right to redefine and reinvent as we go along.


    1. Thank you. Yes, We do tend to associate self identity with our careers, don’t we? Or our children. Or cooking skills; Or our beautiful homes; oh! The list is endless.

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