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From compering at the US Open to painting in the patio of her beautiful Delhi home, and writing her second book, 33-year-old Tina Sharma Tiwari has her hands full! But with their naughty antics, her super active boys – Jaivijay, 4.5 years, and Dev Aditya, three – make sure she lives well over 24 hours a day! Here’s her story... as she narrates it!
I am a sports journalist and author (and also a closet artist!) After several years in the wilderness during my late teens and early 20s, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I came to the realisation that to be happy, I had to do what I love for a living. And I had always loved sports. So I changed careers and cities to start afresh and what happened next confirmed my strong belief in destiny and serendipity.
I had moved to Delhi to work and live on my own, much against the wishes of my parents in Mumbai. But somehow I felt the capital was calling out to me. Today, I can look back and see how precisely fate had designed that path for me, as I not only embarked upon a successful and satisfying career as a sports reporter and eventually presenter, but also met the only man on the planet who could have made me rethink my aversion to marriage. A fierce feminist and intended spinster, I met my husband through my flat-mate during my early years in Delhi. He was a childhood friend of hers and used to visit her at our apartment. Upon meeting this gentle, kind, compassionate, fun, easy-going and totally non-chauvinistic man, I decided nothing could be better than spending the rest of my life with him. So I proposed!
The rest, as cliché goes, is history. My pregnancy was planned and we conceived in the first attempt, so we didn’t have to wait long. My son was born a couple of months short of our second anniversary and by that time, we felt emotionally ready and eager to start a family. I had always wanted a ‘truckload’ of kids so there was no sense in waiting longer. Initially, the plan was to have five kids – seriously – but after having two, I have reassessed those plans. Two are enough, for now. Maybe three eventually!
Both my pregnancies were rather uneventful. Both started right on cue on the first attempt, so there was never any disappointment and I ate my way through a 20 kilo weight gain both times, so clearly, I was thriving. I did have extreme morning sickness during the first four months of the first pregnancy and was mostly furious about the term ‘morning sickness’ because it lasted all day and all night. But the good thing about nausea brought about by pregnancy is that you can be throwing up one minute and eating the next. I know some women have it so bad that they can’t even retain water, but it was not like that for me. I was pretty happy till my seventh month both times, after which I had just gotten so big that sleeping comfortably became impossible. But then again, I believe that happens to almost all women, so who am I to complain?
I was abroad when I was expecting Jaivijay because my husband was posted in Den Haag, Holland, at the time. It was wonderful. I was the master of my own fate. I cooked, cleaned, played house and also wrote my debut novel during those idyllic months. My husband and I travelled a lot around Europe during my second trimester and so it was a really happy time in my life. I was taking care of myself and my ever-supportive hubby was always there for me. It was perfect! For the second pregnancy I was back in India with my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and aunties galore telling me what to eat (like some awful ghee-soaked laddoos), what not to do (like driving) and generally making a big fuss about the pregnancy. So yes, it was fun too, but a bit tiresome.
I had attended Lamaze classes the first time around and found them helpful on two counts. Firstly, I got to meet 15 other heavily pregnant women (we were all between our seventh and ninth months) and it was cathartic to be able to crib and complain en masse with people who were going through the same aches and pains. I mean, where else will you find more than half a dozen women who weigh in excess of 70 kilos, sitting together and complaining about how they can’t sleep because their stomachs are too big? It was a wonderful sisterhood. Plus, on the few occasions that the husbands also attended, they too were thrilled to find other unfortunate sods who were at the receiving end of a ferociously hormonal woman. We made some lifelong friends during those classes and our children are now friends. Secondly, and more importantly perhaps, the Lamaze classes got me through a nearly painless second delivery. I think we are all too anxious and petrified during our first labour. If only I had concentrated more on the breathing and relaxation techniques, instead of trying to hit the nurse or scream at my mother, I think I would have found my first delivery much easier too. I realised that the second time round, when I had ‘been there, done that’ and was calm enough to actually apply what I had learned at the Lamaze classes. I was joking around and laughing till half an hour before the baby was born and my husband and mother were so shocked, they thought I had been possessed by some benign spirit.
My first delivery was a nightmare. Being a firm believer in natural childbirth, and egged on by my doctor and Lamaze coach to do the same, I was all prepared for a normal delivery – or so I thought. But things spun out of control when I did not feel the baby move for almost 48 hours! There was still a week to go for my due date. My Lamaze coach was convinced that it was just due to the baby settling down for birth, but my doctor heeded my panicked phone calls and admitted me into the hospital for an immediate induction. So yes, it was still a normal delivery, but the pains were induced and were downright terrifying. I honestly thought I was going to die. Having always had a high pain threshold, I was somewhat mentally prepared for intense pain, but nothing could have prepared me for labour pains! It was like being repeatedly hit in the gut with a jackhammer, nonstop for 12 hours! And finally the feeling that my insides will explode. At that stage, I begged for an epidural, but I was too dilated already and it was too late. By the time the baby arrived, I had banished my mother from the delivery room (she kept saying ‘Thank God I’m already done with all this’), nearly hit one nurse, bitten someone’s hand (I honestly don’t remember whose it was, but possibly another nurse) and told my husband that I hated him!