We are Pregnant, an urban Indian woman’s companion through pregnancy

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“We are Pregnant” is a light-hearted pregnancy companion book aimed at the urban Indian woman living through her pregnancy. This book will be her go-to friend and act as a “voice of reason” when she needs information on any minor pregnancy aches, pain, and sickness she might be going through. The book also would help her deal with the innumerable peaks and troughs her mind and body go through as the pregnancy hormones are on a rampage. She could also simply snuggle in bed with a light happy read which will help her unwind after a long pregnant day. The book is full of tips and tricks to stay happy and healthy during these months. It also attempts to bust many myths surrounding pregnancy and beyond. Monalisa Bandyopadhyay, the author of “We are Pregnant”, had read her fair share of pregnancy books, but, none of those books were written for the Indian woman living in Indian conditions, and surrounded by innumerable Indian customs. And the ones for the Indian audience sounded more like DIY handbooks with loads of medical jargons. So, in this book, she is not emphasizing on medical questions; here, she wants to answer her questions about why she is feeling what she is feeling, things she should do, things she should think about, what she should eat, how she should have fun, and of course, about looking good. during her pregnancy. Here are a few excerpts of an interview with Monalisa.

What is “We are pregnant” all about? 

“We are Pregnant” is a light-hearted pregnancy companion book aimed at the urban Indian woman living through her pregnancy. This book will be her go-to friend and act as a “voice of reason” when she needs information on any minor pregnancy aches, pain, and sickness she might be going through. It would also help her deal with the innumerable peaks and troughs her mind and body go through as the pregnancy hormones are on a rampage. She could also simply snuggle in bed with a light happy read which will help her unwind after a long pregnant day. The book is full of tips and tricks to stay happy and healthy during these months. It also attempts to bust many myths surrounding pregnancy and beyond.

Why did you want to write a book about pregnancy?

After moving to London, and taking a sabbatical to help my child settle in a new country, I started keeping a journal about my days filled with my son’s laughter and play. That got me thinking about my happy pregnant days and took the form of this book.

How comfortable were you writing about pregnancy?

Before this book, my literary skills have been limited to a short editorial stint for my college department wall magazine, my B-school reports, and numerous strategy and marketing write-ups and presentations in my 15-year long career. But this was a topic close to my heart, so the word seemed to just flow.

There are so many books written about pregnancy, what makes “We are pregnant” different?

There are similar informative but light-hearted pregnancy books, which are very successful in the US and UK, but as mentioned earlier, they do not address the issues faced by the Indian woman. I struggle to think of even one such book in the Indian market which is written in the same vein. The recent publication “Pregnancy notes” with a celebrity foreword focuses mostly on eating healthy during pregnancy and losing weight post-pregnancy. It sounds very much like the write-ups and post-pregnancy scenarios of the Hollywood stars, which create an illusion of a post-pregnancy body, close to impossible for a real woman to achieve. Yet another pregnancy book was written by an Indian author, “I’m Pregnant, not terminally ILL, you idiot” stresses more on child-rearing aspects than the actual pregnancy days.

How does it feel to see your book in the book store?

Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 looking its ugly head, I am yet to get that high, but the reviews on Amazon.in definitely warms my heart and tells me that the book has connected with the audience.

We believe having a small kid at home is a task, how tough or easy was it for you to write this book?

Thankfully, by the time I started writing this book, my son was a school-goer. Actually, this book has been a long project, so, I have worked on it in the school mornings during my sabbatical, as well as on my commute from work.

Is this indefinite or what’s the long-term plan?

… not sure about this

How has your life changed after having a kid?

Definitely! And if I may add, for the better!!!

Water birthing though is an old technique; it is gaining popularity these days, what Is your opinion about it?

The book has contributions from two renowned obstetricians from Mumbai, who are actually the pioneers of water-birthing in India. During my pregnancy, I had plans to try out the pain-relief provided by water-birthing techniques, but, due to medical reasons, I had to undergo a c-section. But I have definitely heard some good first-hand stories from the other parents.

How important was your mother’s role in your pregnancy?

My mom was there with me during the last few weeks of my pregnancy, and of course, all throughout on phone. I think her presence was a god-send during the first few months after child-birth, as with the first child, you are swimming in the deep end with no tutorials. I still remember how one night when all of us failed to put my son to sleep, she did her magic, and he finally dozed off. My husband nicknamed her “Sachin Tendulkar” after that feat

Could you throw some light on fitness during pregnancy?

As mentioned in the book, I was very focused on my fitness during pregnancy. I am not a very regular exerciser, but during the pregnancy days, I felt a positive difference in doing my regular dose of Jane Fonda. The thot that whatever exercise I was doing the would have a cascading effect even post child-birth, and in getting back to shape, was a definite push for me, towards the exercise mat.

What is your opinion on pregnancy and age?

The world over women of all ages is going through pregnancy. So, I think medical science has made the whole biological clock argument a lot weaker. Possibly there are fewer chances of things going haywire if you are young, but that is not to say that you have to plan your entire life around the clock.

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