Bipasha Basu: Karan and I are hoping we have a baby girl. We refer to our baby as ‘she’ – Exclusive – Times of India

“As soon as I get the hang of being a new mom, I will get back to work. It’s important for women to be completely independent… financially and emotionally. You have to learn to love yourself first. Then a soulmate comes or doesn’t come, doesn’t matter. Make your careers and then if love, marriage and babies have to happen, they will happen”

Bipasha Basu is Monica Geller of Friends. The mother-to-be has an Excel sheet ready for tasks to do, a practice she has inherited from her mom, and like Chandler Bing, husband Karan Singh Grover’s busy taking notes while sportingly teasing his extremely organised wife. Amid the ongoing renovation at their home to suit the needs of their baby, Bipasha spoke to Bombay Times about motherhood, women facing pressures like constant reminders of their biological clock ticking, others’ expectations, judgmental social media and more. Excerpts:

You will be stepping into a new phase of your life soon. Is this something you have been planning for a long time?

Karan and I were clear from the beginning that we wanted a baby. I don’t have any thoughts on why it is so late or why it took time. For me, this is the right time. I believe this is when we were supposed to have our baby. We believe in manifestation. From the time we have wanted a child, we have hoped for a baby girl. I know a baby is a beautiful gift, and we are supposed to be in acceptance of any gender, and the bigger picture is that, but we call our baby ‘she’. We believe it’s a she, and we have believed that since the time we decided to have a baby.

How different has your life been over the past few months?

My daily routine has changed. All pregnancies are different. A lot of pregnant women can do many activities. I have been told not to do much. I don’t have a physically active pregnancy, but I am active mentally. I am always multitasking. Slowing myself down was tough initially because I am an extremely active person. I know the need of the hour and right now, I am doing what’s right for my baby and I have made changes in my lifestyle accordingly. After you deliver the child, there is no need to give up your professional life. I won’t. I did take a long break to have a baby and enjoy my married life. I know that as soon as I have my baby and get the hang of being a new mom, I will get back to work immediately.

How has this phase further evolved your relationship with Karan?

Karan and I are soulmates. We are great friends. We have been evolving as people since the time we met. We have been together for almost eight years. This new journey of parenthood is going to help evolve our equation even more. Throughout the pregnancy, Karan has been a hands-on husband. He would not let me do anything because I was extremely sick initially. He has evolved a lot during this phase because he has never seen me this inactive. He had to look into everything — house, work, my condition, doctor, appointments… all of it. That’s the way a relationship should be.

Are there life lessons related to motherhood that you wish to imbibe from your mother?

There are zillions of things that I would like to carry forward from my mom. Cleanliness is next to godliness. It cleanses your life also, and she taught us that. A clean way of living makes you value yourself and everything around you. It detoxes your mind. She taught us to value time. I am always on time, even when others are late. I love that about my mother. I would want my child to learn that. These are basic things that take you a long way, professionally and personally. Things like eating home food and learning to cook so that your child eats nutritious food… all these little things are actually building blocks of life. My mother is extremely organised, so that also has helped me a lot. It simplifies and lessens the chaos in your life. She prioritised love and bonding time with family over everything. The core of every relationship should be love and pure love. A life driven by love is a good goal to have.

Many women are now embracing marriage and motherhood when they are ready – which could be in their 30s and 40s, much against the set pattern of society. There’s still a lot of pressure to get married and have babies at a certain age as you are constantly reminded of your biological clock. How do you perceive this?

This current culture, where people have an opinion on everything you say or do and not just the age-old societal pressure, can affect you. Constant opinions are thrown at you on social media, and that can take a toll on you. You have to rise above that. You have to take charge of your life and stay unaffected by someone else’s opinion. They won’t come and live your life. All they can do is say something nasty. If you want to protect yourself, just deflect those comments. You don’t have to absorb it. The day you let others’ opinions affect you, is the day you go down. It’s a tough life for all of us because people are judgmental, and now, they have a platform (social media) to voice those judgements.

Take us through your personal experience and challenges as a mother-to-be, who chose not to be hurried by the usual trappings.

Every individual is going through some kind of struggle. Some like to share their struggles and some don’t. That’s a personal journey. Did I face any struggles in the last two years? I did, but it’s something that I keep to myself. I want to say this to all the ladies — nothing is constant in today’s world. The only constant is you. It’s very important to be completely independent – financially and emotionally. You have to learn to love yourself just the way you are. Then a soulmate comes or doesn’t come, it doesn’t matter. It is very important that you embrace, protect and love yourself first. Please go out there, make your careers and then if love, marriage and babies have to happen, they will happen. Everything will happen if it has to happen. Don’t do anything due to pressure because that will never yield the results that you want. It will not give you the happiness you seek, and nothing is bigger than your own happiness.

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