When her son Aayan was six months old, Pooja Kawatra, an influencer and cancer survivor, found solace in creating a blog to connect with other mothers who are also navigating the challenges of raising children in a foreign land. Moving to Singapore 17 years ago from Delhi, she discovered that she was expecting her first child and had no familial support, which posed emotional and logistical hurdles.
Initially reluctant about blogging, she started by sharing her parenting experiences and baby recipes on her website, www.theMumsandBabies, in 2011. The blog helped her to connect with other expat mothers, offering mutual support in their parenting journeys.
“Blogging was never my cup of tea and if someone had asked me to do it years back, my expression would be like ‘No way!’,” shared Pooja.
A journey through darkness into light
When Aayan was just nine months old, Pooja was diagnosed with Stage 2 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She felt overwhelmed as she went through nine cycles of chemotherapy before going into remission a year later.
“I believe my cancer journey has taught me to appreciate and treasure so much. My blog has become a space for journalling my kids’ milestones and family memories, a legacy I wish to leave behind for my family,” said Pooja.
Venturing into Instagram after the birth of her daughter, Kaira, who is now 11 years old, Pooja has seamlessly merged content creation into her life, and also decided to step away from her 13-year career in the reinsurance and transitions industry.
“I feel we are never prepared to become a “parent” at any point in time but knowing that you are expecting a child just changes every emotion in you. Parenthood is an overwhelming journey,” said Pooja.
“Becoming a first-time parent is full of joy, love and a lot of anxiety about what is best for my kids, whether we are doing it right, sleepless nights to school alarms. We learned something every single day, with mistakes, guilt and a lot of new experiences.”
Striking a good balance
Balancing her influencer commitments and family life is no easy feat. Pooja’s Google calendar is peppered with appointments, deadlines, and family events. Her understanding spouse, Nikhil, plays a pivotal role in maintaining this equilibrium, ensuring that family remains the top priority.
Self-care is paramount in Pooja's bustling life. Engaging in activities like writing, traveling, experimenting with recipes, and enjoying family board games, helps her recharge amidst her busy schedule.
“Making time for detoxifying routines is very important, and you can do that in whatever way you love. For me, it can be just sitting in the comfort of my home, or travelling to new places.”
Her advice to aspiring parents pursuing their passions amid parenting responsibilities?
“Embrace your dreams, give your 100%, and stay determined,” she said.
“Stay focused on your dreams because success won’t come in a day or two, it takes years of passion to reach there. Don’t compare your journey with anyone, or you can't learn anything from it.”