Kamana Gautam is a mother of two – a tandem Baby-wearing Mom, a lactation counselor, a natural birther and a breastfeeder. With a massive following on social media, her posts resonate with mothers and others who react with love and comments. I’ve been following her for months now and I am so excited to feature her on the Times of Amma.
Kamana, you are such an inspiration to Moms on Instagram. Could you tell us about your journey to the babywearing, breastfeeding Mom that you are today?
Honestly, till about Jan 2015 I did not know anything about babywearing ergonomically. All I had seen were the non ergonomic ones in Delhi malls where the child literally hangs by their legs. Around that time, husband and I shifted to Hyderabad – And Hyderbad, being a new city and I did not know anybody. Researching for avenues to make my life easy via Facebook made me learn about babywearing. Once I learnt the nuances, it was a matter of time before babywearing became an integral part of my life. So much so that during pregnancy and after the birth of my 2nd child, I did not panic if something went the unplanned way. For example : the maid taking a day off without informing me or the Husband coming back home late from work. I just knew my babywearing carriers will help me manage my two under two.
It has been a joy to see you post inspirational photos of everyday mothers nursing in public. We would love to hear more about this project.
Well, I am a certified lactation counsellor and hence, nursing in public is something which I hold close to my heart. I want to bring out the ladies who have been breastfeeding successfully without any support, and to have them talk about their journey. This way, one does not need to search for inspiration as it is always around you. Since I started this, I get messages literally every day about breastfeeding moms. India's initiation rate in the world for breastfeeding is very high, but after 3 months it drops down drastically. I want to bring out more stories to inspire women to continue feeding their child after that 3 month barrier
Do you find it easier to balance your passion projects with parenting as you are a baby-wearing Mom?
Yes! I am able to manage because of the support mommy communities and my virtual friends provide me. It is quite tough as 90% of the times, either or both my kids want my attention. It is a challenge I have accepted, and babywearing helps me join my passion and parenting together
Earlier this year, you were struck by Bells Palsy. While a lesser human being would have cowered away from posting about this on social media, you kept it real, inspiring thousands. Could you tell us about how you dealt with this shocking diagnosis and what motivated you to put it out there?
When I got the confirmation of what I have been stuck with, I was shattered to the core. It took me a bit of time to regain my composure and think of the future. In addition to my medication and rest, my thought went as to how I could use this as an opportunity to put a thought in folks who look up to me. And that’s when the thought of using Instagram as the medium came in. People have habit judging others via pictures. They make a whole story from one picture online, mainly the happy and beautiful ones. But they would not see the other side because “they want to see what they want to see”. My feed has always been about how I feel from my heart. And it is pertinent for me to show them that anyone’s life is not always beautiful. There are ups and downs. So if you can post the upsides on one’s life, then definitely one should post the downsides as well.
You have had your share of trolls. Especially after you shared pictures of your natural birth. What do you have to say to people who get offended at natural processes like giving birth and breastfeeding?
I am sure people do not get offended with Breastfeeding or of natural birth. What offends them is the pictures. To spread a message there are different mediums like speech, write ups etc. I don’t get offended if I do not find someone’s pic not in good taste. I believe everybody has their comfort zone but judging or degrading the person on that basis is wrong. I feel pity for them – because they are ignorant and they do not feel the urge to cross over from their comfort zone to learn about the other side
A lot of your posts are on embracing our bodies, the way they are. What tips would you have for mothers who find it hard to accept their post-partum bodies?
"Stop comparing yourself with others who loses weight so quickly". Every body is unique and should be celebrated as such. One should stop looking at pictures of celebrities after babies in magazines and newspapers so as to not compare themselves. his is motherhood, it is the most loveliest job. I understand its very difficult to ‘not’ feel okay about ones body after giving birth of a baby. I feel the same sometimes when i see clothes hanging in the closet and I am not able to wear them. It is very sad that a mother has to go through so much body shaming after the birth of the child. The society will never be satisfied from you. Even if you look amazing there will be people who will find some fault one way or the other. Nobody is perfect.
Think - What is more powerful and empowering than delivering a baby. We have to set our standards and not follow ones given by the society. Focus on keeping your inner bodyhealthy than your outer body. Even if you are losing weight, ones goal should be to gain strength and not look at the numbers. Once you achieve that, your weight number will come down automatically
And finally, is there anything you would like to share with mothers who have had less than enjoyable birth experiences the first time and would like to go natural for the next?
Trust your body and trust yourself. If you are planning for a second child, Your body definitely deserves a second chance to show you its potential and to empower you. I feel there is nothing more beautiful than the birth of your child the natural way, if possible.
Thank you, Kamana for taking the time out to talk to the Times Of Amma. We wish you and your family much joy and happiness.
For more conversations with inspiring mothers like Kamana, follow the Times of Amma on Facebook and Instagram.
Credits: All photographs used in the article are courtesy Kamana Gautam's Instagram Account.