June 25, 2021

Poonam Bhandari – Life, me and my Jia

Poonam Bhandari, a PR and communications professional along with being a mum shares an incredible story with Mums and Stories.

This is a story of grit, determination and hope and life has given this wonderful daughter and mum rich experiences.

“They say life is sometimes stranger than fiction. It is, indeed, as I look at the lives of others and at some of my own life experiences…

Where do I begin from? It would have been an ordinary life, born into a business family, but for a few events that changed the course of my life forever…

I had read somewhere that a mother is the only one who carries you in her womb for 9 months, in her arms for 3 years and in her heart forever…but in my case my mother carried me in her arms for 10 years as I was diagnosed with bone TB when I was a mere 4 year old.

After being in and out of hospitals for 7 years, when I thought life was getting better, I lost my mother to small pox, a disease supposed to be eradicated in the world. My world seemed to have ended. I didn’t know where life was taking me.

The troubles and the sorrow did not end here. My father remarried and here I was, along with my 4 siblings, dealing with a step mother. When we thought life was settling into a routine, my father passed away of uncontrolled diabetes.

Here I was, once again thrown off gear by fate – not yet 16, both parents gone – with an older sibling, a sister on the threshold of marriage, and 3 younger siblings – all of us clueless and perplexed by what had happened. We did not know how we were going to face the road ahead of us – poverty and uncertain times that stared at us in the face.

But eventually, as life chugged along, I entered college, taking over the responsibility of running the family along with my younger brother, I met the man of my dreams… but again, the clichés of “far from a bed of roses” dogged my life.

After five years of courtship, I married him but without the consent of my family and his parents. My husband and I began life all by ourselves, without family support and very often, felt like orphans.

After about 2 years of struggle, things started looking up. Both our families accepted our relationship. By this time, the stress had taken its toll on my health – I discovered, to my dismay, I was suffering from diabetes and high BP.

Meanwhile, as the years passed and we surmounted our financial and emotional ups and downs, pressure was building from both our families to have a child. I was sick and tired of the taboos attached to it. I wanted a child too, but as it was not happening even after 10 years of married bliss, I decided to give up. Life was not going to be tied down to these notions, I decided.

But then, miracles happen and they have happened to me.

After 11 years, we were blessed with a daughter who was born premature. If I had to tell you, I had a high risk pregnancy, due to my diabetes, and my child was born at an unheard 6.5 months into my pregnancy and weighed a mere 550 grams! She was delivered against all odds and doctor warnings.

The doctors were certain that she might not survive for more than a month and even if she did, she would definitely be handicapped either physically or mentally, they observed. My husband and I persisted on having her, and our little bundle was in the NICU for three full months into her birth.

Today, she is a healthy, cute and naughty kid, and she is our greatest joy, having given my husband and me a new purpose in our relationship.

You might ask, what was the flip side of all the experiences so far?

Plenty, if I may say. But I learnt to take life in my stride. Hailing from a traditional family, I managed to become one of the first girls to complete a graduation in commerce.

I have a post graduate in Public Relations, besides a full-fledged MBA in marketing & HR under my belt. The last year of my MBA was completed while I conceived and delivered my child.

I went out into the real world and have more than 10 years of work experience in various fields like investment advising, banking, call center and Public Relations.

There were tough, trying moments – moments which drove me to psychiatric despair, but there were many other moments of joy, happiness that ran in parallel to these troubles. I am a happy person by nature and love to socialize, and have always looked towards the brighter side of life, with ample of the never-say-die spirit. I guess I got this from my mother who was a very calm and composed person.

Amidst all this, my siblings, close cousins, my husband and some very dear friends have been a great support to me. All these people stood by me through thick and thin. We all agree that difficult situations can be overcome only if one has a good support system. It would be unfair if I didn’t mention my brother, who gave up his education to earn the bread and butter for the family after my father’s untimely death. He sacrificed quite a bit of his dreams to provide a life and education for his siblings, including me, his older sister. Life has a way of showing people their true strengths and my biggest assets and strengths have definitely been the siblings with whom I have fought many battles against the big, bad world and we have emerged successful in our own way. My siblings are well settled and we all live very close to one another.

What next? My daughter will turn 4 in May. As I stand on the cusp of another decade, I have dreams – small and big. For one, I know, I will start working again (ending the post motherhood hiatus) to become the independent and free spirited woman that I know I always will be, no matter what. I love to read, and acquire know-how.

The fear of stagnation keeps me up to date and I will not sit idling away my time. I might also turn entrepreneur, I do not know…
The quest to seek one’s life and identity never ends …”

Didn’t we mention you will be reading a worthy story. Mums and stories is glad that we are able to feature this amazing story on this space.

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