While the whole world was celebrating mother’s day, Kareena Kapoor Khan was in Delhi to share her experience of being a mother for the past 17 months, at a panel discussion organised by UNICEF India, highlighting the importance of mothers and survival of their newborns.
With Kareena stepping back into her work shoes with Veere Di Wedding, many are wondering how she manages her time between work and Taimur. “Saif and I make sure that when one is working the other is home with Taimur. Also, in an urban set up we have the facility of having babysitters and I’m glad to have the best ones ever since my delivery. And not to forget, grandparents are always there for rescue,” shared Kareena, who returned to acting after a gap of two years.
For Kareena the experience of being a mother has been overwhelming with love but “love is only the foundation on which we build the future of the child,” said Kareena who goes on to stress the need to have a safe pair of hands not only for the newborn but also for the mother. “During the nine months of pregnancy, a mother needs a safe pair of hands — giving comfort and strength at a time when she is most vulnerable along with ensuring the newborn enters the world in good hands with a good health. However, institutional delivery is not something associated with privilege, rather it is every single pregnant lady and every new born’s right,” shared a proud mother.
She believes that the journey only starts with the delivery of the newborn. Breastfeeding is the core foundation of bringing up a healthy baby. It should be initiated within the first hour of birth, provided exclusively for six months, and continued up to two years or beyond with the provision of safe and appropriate complementary foods. It is one of the most powerful practices for promoting child survival and well-being. “When I was told about the importance of breastfeeding, I made up my mind that for six months my baby will have nothing but my breast milk. I was nervous and scared that the baby won’t latch on. However, with the help of my lactation consultant and the guidance from my family I did manage it,” said the 37-years-old actor.
In addition to improving child survival and protecting against life-threatening and illnesses, breastfeeding promotes healthy growth and boosts early child development. Along with supporting healthy brain development, and is associated with higher performance in intelligence tests among children and adolescents across all income levels.
But it’s not just the institutional care that helps the mother’s and the newborn’s health, a support system is what helps the recuperating mother. “I give full credit to Saif who has been my constant support system. Post delivery I was excessively tired but the doctor emphasises on kangaroo care — a method of caring for a premature baby in which the infant is held in skin-to-skin contact with a parent, typically the mother — since I was recuperating, it was essential that the father steps in to provide the same love and care for the newborn. The fact that I’m here on mother’s day is because back home, Taimur is celebrating father’s day with Saif,” shared Kareena, who believes that motherhood should be made an empowering experience with quality healthcare and a support system.
As the celebrity advocate of UNICEF India, the Bollywood actor highlights the direct link between education and the survival of the newborn. However, she goes on to stress that women today, “If not five, then they are at least three steps ahead of men, be it on the professional or domestic level. Also, women are born multi-taskers. My mother-in-law is a perfect example of a multi-tasker, she is not only a prominent face in the film industry but a proud mother of three, a great homemaker and has been passionately and actively involved in social work in the country as well as across the border,” shared Kareena.