Ask for help and don’t be scared to say #MujheSabNahiPata

All of us have often heard this quote, “Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother”.  But does motherhood come with a manual? No, it doesn’t. Then why does the society expect that a mother should know everything, have answer to every question, and solutions to all the problems related to her children? Why have we forgotten that she is as human as anyone else and is learning every day from experiences?

Recently, SC Johnson’s All Out has launched a hard-hitting and brilliant campaign with a message that encourages mothers to say #MujheSabNahiPata. A short film, (https://www.facebook.com/AllOutIN/videos/256425565275319/ ) which appropriately captures a mother’s dilemma when her child suffers from dengue, catching her off-guard, has touched a chord with millions of mothers, across the country. The ad which is relatable to all moms who have had to face the pressures of societal conditioning has gone viral and within no time garnered over 85 million views.

It indeed takes a tough mom to say #MujheSabNahiPata because we are always susceptible to judgement, if we don’t know anything related to our children, and it gets worse if god forbid, anything serious happens to them. To further discuss this topic, All Out in association with First Moms Club (FMC) and Mom Junction organised an event where moms from various walks of life, with kids of various age groups, gathered to discuss about motherhood and yes #MujheSabNahiPata.

The event began with a panel discussion comprising Ruchita Dar Shah, Founder, FMC; Dr. Samir Dalwai, renowned paediatrician; Ms. Rupal Patel, child psychologist and parenting coach; moderated by Ms. Chandrama Deshmukh of Mom Junction. The cherry on the cake was the presence of celebrity mom Sonali Bendre on the panel who is the voice of the campaign. Sharing her story of being a mother she said that people expected that as a celebrity, she would have it easy with an army of help around her. But like all other moms, she had her share of anxiety and guilt while raising her son. Speaking about how the campaign is a platform for mothers to feel empowered, she inspired all of us in the audience to let go of our inhibitions and share more, so that together, everyone can grow as parents.

The moms in the audience opened their hearts to share their #MujheSabNahiPata stories. Some women shared poignant incidences where they spoke about how they were blamed and shamed for delivering babies through C-section, their inability to breastfeed and how they were accused of being negligent when their kids fell ill. Shah, being the founder of one of the largest online mom community, shared that the motive behind FMC was to create a platform where moms could share, ask, and vent without being judged. Apart from sharing his experience of meeting anxious moms as a paediatrician, Dr Dalwai also shed light on the often-missed signs and symptoms of dengue and tips that mothers can practice for staying more guarded from the disease. He also spoke about the reoccurrence of the disease and myths people have around platelet counts, fluctuating fever and children’s activity levels during dengue.

To me, the film and the discussion on dengue brought back bitter memories. A few years ago, when my son was diagnosed with this deadly illness, I went through hell as it was my #MujheSabNahiPata moment.  Like all moms, I felt guilty as to why I couldn’t shield my son from this tough time. I wondered why despite me maintaining hygiene in the house, the virus affected my son. Something I didn’t know was cleared during the session when Dr. Dalwai mentioned that dengue-carrying mosquitoes breed in clean water and could infect even during daytime.

The crux of the discussion was that in a world of constantly emerging threats, it is okay for moms to not know everything and that they should accept this fact without fear and guilt. After all, parenting is an everyday learning process and moms discover new aspects of it with each passing day and year of the child’s life.

At the end of this wonderful session, all of us pledged to keep reminding ourselves and other moms that it is okay to not know everything, and it’s okay to admit #MujheSabNahiPata. We marked the pledge by tying a knot in our scarves and dupattas, a traditional practice followed by women to remind themselves of something that they may forget. I would urge you all to share your stories with each other in the comments section to be better prepared for the future.

I would like to sign off by saying, “Moms, if you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”

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