October 24th, 2016
Shefali Vaidya is a mum to triplets: two sons and a daughter – Aadit, Arjun, and Ananya who are now ten years of age. She loves her travels with her kids and writes about them. She is often seen behind her camera, as she clicks her children and the places she goes to with them.
Shefali shares with Mums and Stories her journey into motherhood and on her work, “My pregnancy was a medical nightmare. Every possible complication a pregnancy could possibly have, I had it. It was also a very isolating experience as I was in the US, away from my family. It took me ten long years to look at the experience objectively enough to find humor in it. I am blogging about it primarily because of my children, and yes, it if can give even a single person some courage, it is worth the effort. The response has been very encouraging. I have had many mums tell me that reading my blog gave them strength and helped them cope with post-partum depression.
I still remember the exact moment when I discovered I was expecting triplets. My doctor performed the ultrasound and cheerfully announced that he could hear three different heartbeats. Since our doctor had a penchant for practical jokes, both my husband and I thought it was another of his jokes. As it turned out, the joke was on us!
Obviously, it is much more challenging and interesting to raise multiples than to raise a single child. It is also more fun. The early years are particularly challenging and exhausting. The first few months of my children’s life was sheer drudgery for me; round the clock feeding, endless cycles of laundry, sterilizing the bottles, dealing with three screaming infants at once, sleepless nights, post-partum depression and more challenges.
I was lucky. I had a family who stood solidly behind me. Over the years, it has been not just me or my husband, but my mother, my mother in law, my brother and his wife who have shared taken the responsibility of raising the kids. We moved back to India when the triplets were ten months old. It has been a memorable journey.
It is possible to do everything you want in life if you really want it. I have a full life. I travel, I write, I garden, I photograph and I am a mum to triplets. If I can’t do any of these things leaving my kids behind, I take them with me wherever possible. If something is really important for you, you will find a way to squeeze it in your life.
My kids have been with us on numerous holidays. They are growing up as global gypsies. The children love to travel and rarely complain about anything, be it long drives, serpentine queues at the airports or different cuisines from what they are normally used to eating. They have stayed at some of the best resorts in the world and they have stayed in basic tents and dormitories with shared toilets. They have taken every experience in their stride. Recently, I took them on a three-week road trip to Himachal Pradesh. It was just me and the kids. No fixed plan, no itinerary, no hotel bookings. Just a map, a car, a driver, three curious kids and one mad momma!
Before we set out for a vacation, we research the place together with the children. I show them pictures of the place, tell them stories, and talk to them about the history of the place. That helps the trio to mentally prepare for the trip. I click a lot of pictures so that when we come back, we spend some wonderful hours together going through the pictures of the trip and reliving the memories. Now that the kids are older, I encourage them to keep their own travel diaries where they can record their experiences in their own words.
I have been working in media for the last fifteen years, in TV, print as well in new interactive media. I wouldn’t say there are fewer women writing about politics, but there are very few women who write the kind of stuff that I do – political satire. I write such pieces because I enjoy pointing out the inconsistencies.
I grew up in a joint family in a little village in Goa. It was a great place to spend one’s childhood. I had lots of people at home who could give me time, lots of places I could wander off too and a lot of freedom. My mum is a home-maker, who raised me to be an independent child.
For me being a mother is at once the most universal as well as the most isolating experience of life. I am really fortunate that I am blessed with triplets and a very supportive family that has helped raise the kids. They say – it takes a village to raise a child. I agree. I would advice all new mums to invest in relationships more than anything else. Hired help can take care of the physical chores, but when you need emotional succor, it is only your family or friends that can help you.
Motherhood has been a wonderful, exhausting, exasperating, edifying, exhilarating ongoing journey and probably the most creative thing I have done in my life.”