Deepti Sharma is the Founder and CEO FoodtoEat, a community-minded catering concierge service that connects immigrant, women and minority-owned food vendors to opportunities for growth. She is also a Co-Founder of Bikky, a platform solving customer engagement for restaurants and an incredibly powerful public speaker. She will give you chills. She currently lives in Queens with her husband Abhinav and two children Zubin (almost four) and Chetan (almost two).
I first got pregnant August of 2015. My husband and I had been trying. I had turned 30 that year. In truth, I had gone back and forth on wanting kids. One day I wanted kids and the next day I didn't...
As I got older, I started understanding myself as a woman and was trying to own my femininity. I began to wonder what it would be like to be pregnant. I also understood that it is a privilege to even be able to give birth. There are a lot of women that don't have that ability. I said to myself "If my body allows for it, I'd love to have a biological baby--at least one.”
My husband ended up in the hospital and almost had kidney failure. I was driving home to pick some stuff up for him and thought to myself that if something happened, I would have no piece of him. Yes, I would have his family, but I wouldn't have him. That just drove me insane. I think immediately, when I got back to the hospital, I walked into the room and was like, "We need to have kids!"
Over the next 10 days in the hospital, we started having the conversation. When I was younger, I didn't think I would get married so young. I thought I'd get married maybe at 30 or 35, kids, maybe 40. It wasn't in my timeline to have a baby at the time that I did it, but I did. I believe in letting life happen to you sometime. It's important that we don't plan every part of it, because I think that drives us insane.
I found out that I was pregnant, right before we had to go to our friend’s wedding in New Orleans. I was in my bathroom and had this feeling. I didn't want to check the stick because I knew I had this wedding--I wanted to drink my last glass of wine for the summer! (I knew when I got pregnant, I didn't want to drink. Other people do and that's totally fine. For myself, I just knew I wouldn't want to.)
My reaction when I found out I got pregnant, with each of my children actually, was the same.
Literally, I said that out loud because I knew that life was going change. It was never going to be just me and my husband. We would never get to do the same things that we were able to do without kids. Sure, we get to travel without them here and there. But our hearts are in a very different place. Your mind, body and soul belong to them.
After finding out, I just handed the stick to my husband. I said, "We should do more of these and make sure."
My first time being pregnant I developed hypoglycemia. My blood sugar levels would drop out of nowhere even though I was eating regularly. I fainted a couple of times. I blacked out driving by myself once. For me, both times, pregnancy was not fun.
It was winter during my second pregnancy and I remember one night…I had on a big jacket and chunky scarf and got on the train and started feeling really hot and lightheaded. I couldn't sit in the train. I got off and started laying on the platform.
I was at the station near our house. I could have called my husband to come get me or help me. But, I think, because I have this entrepreneur mentality, I felt like I needed to go to work. "I'm breathing, I'm fine," I thought. I stood up, got back on the train and went to work. That was probably a stupid idea, but that was my mentality at the time.
Spirituality and roots.
My aunt, Dr. Dev Bala Ramanathan, was my OB for both babies. She was not my gynecologist, but when I got pregnant, I couldn't have imagined anybody else taking me through this process. She's also a Hindu priestess.
There aren't very many Hindu women at the heads of temples. I never grew up knowing one. So, to have a woman as my OB but also be a spiritual figure in our community is a big deal. There's something about having the person who brought me and my kids into the world to also be a spiritual leader. I felt like my kids were being blessed as they were coming out, as weird as that may sound.
In the seventh month, we did what’s called the “godh bharai,” which literally means "fill the lap abundance." Usually there are prayers that are recited to help remove all obstacles for the parents as they enter this new phase in their life. It was nice to be surrounded by my family as we were entering the last trimester. I remember my aunt saying that I had two heartbeats inside of me during that ceremony and it was something I hadn't spent much time thinking about. As a working mother I was constantly on the go and didn’t take the time to really understand all the changes that I was going through or what was really happening. I was growing a human!
She explained the scientific methodology of how a baby is formed alongside the spiritual side of all the changes that are happening in a woman and in your relationship with your partner. That was really heartwarming.
The Labor Process.
When I went to my aunt for the weekly checkup the week I was due with my first baby, she told me I was definitely dilated and it could happen today or it could happen in two weeks. That Friday night I stayed at my parent’s. We had a really great South Indian dinner. My husband and I watched Kung Fu Panda. I have no idea why.
And then something didn't feel good. I was pretty sure my water broke much earlier in the day. For me, it just felt like I was peeing in my pants. But, honestly, at that point in pregnancy, your vagina is all sorts of weird. You don't know what's going on down there.
I called my aunt and she said we should go to the hospital and check in. We got there around midnight and I didn't give birth until 9:50AMish the next morning.
I got an epidural probably an hour after I was checked in. I have a high threshold for pain, but I went in not feeling as though getting an epidural was an ethical question for me. And I definitely still felt all the ripping pain of pushing out a baby.
During labor with my first child, I probably pushed for two or three hours. He got tangled in the umbilical cord and my aunt literally went in and turned him around. I couldn't believe that was a thing one could even do.
After both pregnancies, I went back to work within three weeks. I breastfed both times, which, also, was a mind-fuck. They say, "breast is best" and in the hospital, I found that they pushed breastfeeding so heavily. Honestly, I don't know what I would have done if society hadn't put pressure on me. But I enjoyed breastfeeding.
I faced a lot of postpartum depression with my second kid. I went through a lot and I didn't even know how to identify it. There's still not much being written about it. We're waiting for celebrities to write about it, but there's substance in hearing a regular woman talk about, say, the crazy rage that I had against my husband but no one else. There were things that I couldn't even explain...constant days of depression where I felt I didn't want to do anything.
I remember pumping for the first time…less than an ounce if breastmilk came out and I was losing my shit. A ton of women go through that, but you instantly feel, like, am I not a good enough mother? My body is literally rejecting motherhood right now. Women drive themselves insane. And no matter how many articles you read, no matter how many people tell you it's okay, you think you're the exception.
It takes a village.
My kids adore their grandparents and they were a big part of our childcare before the kids went to daycare full time. Our parents--who are still working full-time--helped watch our kids three days a week and my mother-in-law would come from Long Island to watch them the other two days.
No matter how old I am, I still feel like a kid sometimes. I still feel like I'm my parents' child. We have a very close relationship. We can't do anything without each other. When I travel or go away for work, I feel like a part of me is missing. But I hope my kids are able to have both of dependency and independency--maybe a little bit more independence than I did.
I used to get annoyed when people would ask me what gender baby I was having. It really bothered me because, would your reaction have changed based on my answer? I didn't care what the gender of the baby would be, but I was interested because I knew the nurses and the technicians knew something that I didn't.
In terms of the gender, as in, what is my child being born as, did it matter? No. But as I had been thinking about my relationship with my mother, there is something that my brother doesn't share with my mom. There is a relationship that women have with each other that made me wonder, would I have the same relationship with the two boys that I'm raising? But when people ask me the sex of my kids, I always say, "I have two boys for now." I say that because I want to leave the question open to whether they may have a gender change or, if not them, then somebody they may know. Your kids hear you and see you. Your words matter.
Interviews and stories on hillhousehome.com are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
You can follow Deepti on Instagram @deeptinyc