Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin is writing a book based on her experiences in motherhood. The actress, who gave birth to her daughter Sappho last year, wants to openly talk about the struggles new mums face and questions why people don’t talk about it more
With her graphic memoir, which is being illustrated by Valeriya Polyanychko, Koechlin hopes to encourage open discussions on the good and the bad of motherhood, without worrying over image issues.
“The reason I wrote it is because I was amazed that so few people talk about the difficulties of pregnancy and motherhood. We only hear about how wonderful this experience is, which of course it is, but there’s a whole plethora of physical and mental changes that take a lot out of a person,” Koechlin told Hindustan Times.
“People think that if you say bad things about your experiences of being a mother, it’s going to take away from your love for your child!”
Sappho was born a year ago to Koechlin and her boyfriend Guy Hershberg in Goa. It is believed the ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ actress had opted for a water birth.
Soon after the birth or her baby, Koechlin had penned a raw letter on Instagram, where she spoke about the pain of delivery. “Please welcome Sappho. Born 07/02/20. She just spent 9 months wrapped up like a momo in my uterus. Let’s give her some space. Thank you for all the good wishes and positive energy pouring in. And respect to all the women who go through the intense and gruesome experience of birth, be it vaginal or C-section, so many of whom are not given credit or support for the biggest challenges they face, but are expected to do it out of some kind of duty. The process takes a huge toll both psychological and physical and should have the backing of an entire community to truly heal.”
The actress revealed that it was in the first trimester of her pregnancy that the idea of writing a book took root. “That was when I started drawing cartoons of how horrible I was feeling because I was vomiting, had suddenly lost my sense of energy of self, couldn’t think straight or work properly,” she told Hindustan Times. “I was very frustrated with my body for betraying me because it was so tired all the time and I wasn’t able to function to my full capacity.”
Soon after the birth of Sappho, the COVID-19 pandemic reared its head and Koechlin said she realised she was struggling.
“I suffered from postpartum depression. And it’s something that shouldn’t be labelled as extreme exhaustion. If any human being is woken up every two hours, every night and all day long, they are going to be depressed! Sleep deprivation is a form of torture; that’s why it’s used in torture chambers...
“People just don’t talk about how difficult it is. It’s a period of your life that you are supposed to just get through or you are supposed to get medical help and you are labelled as depressed. But it’s like doing an extreme sport. You’ve to go through such an intense, grueling training and most of us are not warned or told how to prepare for it... we are just thrown into it and then we have to deal with it. I felt that many times, so alone, and also we were in a lockdown and we couldn’t go out or meet people,” she told the Indian daily.
“So I didn’t know if this was normal and if this was what every woman went through. And if this is what every woman went through, then why are we not talking about it? I had a terrible iron deficiency, so had extreme exhaustion due to that. I spoke to my therapist and gynaecologist, who helped me with certain coping mechanisms and medication... all those things are there to help you, but just the mental load of going through this and not knowing if you are alone in it, is huge. And it’s really important that people know that this happens a lot and happens lot more than it’s admitted,” she added.
Aside from Koechlin, Bollywood actress Esha Deol Takhtani also released her first book last year on parenting titled ‘Amma Mia’. The book is a hands-on guide to take control of the child’s diet.