During the course of pregnancy, and even after it, a woman’s body undergoes many changes. One of the most common repercussions is weight gain; and many women find it difficult to lose these kilos even after the delivery of the child. The result, more often than not, is low self-esteem, and, subsequently, relationship issues with the husband.
However, a new survey now suggests that an increasing number of men are getting more and more involved with the fitness levels of their wives, and are taking a keen interest in helping them get back into shape.
Conducted by global information and measurement company AC Nielsen, the research covered major Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Pune, among a few others. It concluded that 89% of new fathers and dads-to-be are actively taking steps to turn their wives into ‘yummy mummies’.
Best foot forward
Kunal Basu, a 33-year-old IT professional, is part of this growing breed. “When my mother was expecting my youngest brother, my father was perpetually travelling. So, there was no one to take care of her. As a result, she could not take out time for herself, and she put on a lot of weight,” says Basu.
Having seen his mother’s plight, Basu wanted to lend his wife all his support during her pregnancy. “My wife, Puja (26), is working, and is three-months pregnant. I don’t want her to feel burdened, and depressed about the changes her body is undergoing. So, I do the household chores, and ensure she exercises and eats healthy. If she feels fitter, she will also be happy, and will enjoy this phase,” he says.
Psychologist Neha Shah attributes this change in attitude among men to celebrity inspiration. “More and more celebs are flaunting their baby bumps, and also their svelte figures not very long after delivering their babies. This trend is inspiring young dads. They, too, want trophy wives; they want them to look as good as the likes of Shakira, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty Kundra or Malaika Arora Khan. So, young dads, nowadays, share household work and enrol their wives in gyms to give them that extra motivation,” she says.
Rahul Verma, entrepreneur, who has a six-month-old baby, is helping his wife get back into shape to boost her confidence. “I wanted to make sure that my wife, who is just 28, does not lose her confidence. Many women feel they are no longer attractive, and in the process, they get into a depressive state, and sometimes even need counselling. So, I asked her to go for yoga sessions from the very start. I also helped her with the application of anti-stretch mark lotions. I send her to spas regularly. In fact, she will also be going for aqua-aerobics classes soon, because I heard it helps reduce post-pregnancy weight faster.”
Motivation is the key
Relationship counsellor Kinjal Pandya feels that this change and encouragement is good for expectant and new mothers. “Most marriages now take place only after a man and woman get to know each other well. So, they both want to enjoy their lives even after marriage, and even after becoming parents. With the availability of the latest body-contouring outfits, beauty products and exercise regimes, a man can make sure his wife stays fit; all she needs is some encouragement,” says Pandya.
*Help out with household chores whenever you can
*Spend quality time with your baby, so that the mother can also get some me time
*Learn how to bathe your baby, change nappies, warm the milk and prepare the baby’s food, so that you can lend a helping hand when needed
*Do your bit in the kitchen; cook for your wife maybe
*Encourage her as much as possible. Tell her she’s doing a great job
*Ensure she uses the right oils and lotions to get rid of stretch-marks and other scars that may have been caused due to her pregnancy
*Let her talk about the labour process as many times as necessary; be patient and be a good listener
— Dr Kiran Coelho, gynaecologist