Baby on board!

ByShriya Mohan
Aug 26, 2013 12:15 PM IST

An entertaining and enriching book on pregnancy and new motherhood feels like a burst of fresh air in a vacuum of Indian books on the subject. Shriya Mohan writes.

I’m Pregnant, Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot!
Lalita Iyer
Rs. 295 pp 250


So the line decided to emerge after all, magically turning from a watery watermelon pink to a decisive red. Positive! You’re pregnant. Now what? Mom, dad, Google, YouTube, ob-gyn, friends, cousins… The search for information is ravenous. You are flooded with advice at every corner — What to eat, what to wear, how much to walk, how to sleep, what music to listen to, what to read… and more. The advice has just begun. There are nine months and more of it coming your way, making you feel like you are drowning in a flood of do’s and don’ts. And yet, after watching your 25th YouTube video and reading your 39th article on pregnancy, you’re still searching for something real to read. Someone suggests What To Expect When You’re Expecting, other mommy friends suggest Kaz Cooke’s Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth (which again gives you a week-by-week lowdown), and Naomi Wolf’s hugely popular Misconceptions, but you want something closer home.

Along comes Lalita Iyer with her new book I’m Pregnant, Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot! and it feels like a gush of fresh air inside a vacuum of Indian books on pregnancy. Finally, here is a book that focuses on you as a person and not just a week-to-week update on your growing foetus. Iyer tells you the inside stuff nobody is willing to reveal, shocking you, making you laugh and preparing you for the tough battles ahead — the pregnancy fellowship programme, the birth mutiny, work bitches, the myth of the hands-on-daddy, boob wars and the total loss of privacy, the sisterhood of over competitive mommies, and most important of all, how to keep your head above water amidst all this madness.

Being a mother is one helluva tough job, says Iyer, who had her baby at 40, just when her family and relatives had given up on her. “The tipping point to spilling the book was realising how difficult it was for most women (including me) to reclaim our work terrain post-pregnancy. Women are caught off-guard by changing work dynamics post-baby,” says Iyer, who is now the Managing Editor of Filmfare Magazine. The book is interspersed with delightful illustrations showing Iyer’s journey through pregnancy. My favourite one was of flying superwoman Iyer (with boots, a mini halter dress and a cape) with her breasts connected to giant breast suction pumps, filling milk into cylinders attached to her gadget dress. With a happy breastfed child waving from her back, Iyer flies into the cosmos, having kicked away the boxes of baby food lying below her. In the chapter Much Ado About The Boob, vouching for the benefits of natural weaning while breastfeeding, starting from a better emotional connection with the baby to a super immunity having passed anti-bodies through breast milk (her son has never been taken to a pediatrician since his birth), Iyer inspires women to go natural all the way. This book is a must read for all husbands, friends and family of a pregnant woman, and definitely for the top management in organisations with a female workforce.

Shriya Mohan is a journalist and researcher

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