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The Magic of Mother’s Milk - Embracing motherhood with Anupama Kumar Vijayanand

If you have fallen in love with Anupama Kumar Vijayanand’s Instagram videos and reels well, welcome to the club! We too are obsessed with her enlightening posts that are so relatable to every woman and empowers us in a way that we never thought of. She team is keen on giving our readers the best of the world’s curated information and we couldn’t think of anyone other than Anupama to bring to you first-hand information on childbirth, postpartum lifestyle and breast milk donation. In an insightful tête-à-tête with her, we could gather so much information about motherhood and quoting Anupama ``Information and education are all that one should have to feel confident and drive your world forward.”

Anupama Kumar Vijayan is from Tirupur and was professionally a software engineer but now she is a popular childbirth, pregnancy fitness and lactation educator and also the director of Vriksham Pregnancy Care Pvt. Ltd. Anupama says that her company’s core foundation is for women to feel safe and connected with sufficient answers for their pregnancy-related queries. She says “We basically empower women with information, guidance and support for pre-pregnancy health, breastfeeding, postpartum care and everything in and out of pregnancy.” While she has been the driving force of Vriksham for the past 9-10 years, what made her switch from an engineer to an educator is a very interesting tale.

“During my first pregnancy, I was at the mercy of everyone around me who bombarded with myths and reasonless rituals on pregnancy. Though I was a well educated professional, it was a phase where I felt I was the only one who didn’t know anything surrounded by people who seemed to have a PhD in this subject,” Anupama jokes in her witful manner. “Pregnancy is an overwhelming phase where everyone including the watchman and stranger you meet at the road has their share of advice for you making you feel more confused and clueless and scared.”

We couldn’t agree more. Every woman indeed goes through her own unspoken emotional trauma during pregnancy flooded with so many queries and unnecessary advice not knowing which is right and which is wrong. Her own struggles motivated her to start Virsham to help women with factual data and queries about pregnancy. It wasn’t just an overnight success. Anupama worked for 9 to 10 certifications both in India and abroad to become an educator.

She reminisces, “ My first pregnancy at 26 was cesarean. I exclusively did not breastfeed for one year and fell into the trap of formula milk. I thought I was not having enough milk. But my second pregnancy at 38 was a natural birth and this time it was much healthier than the first majorly because I had the knowledge, I had my information.” During this period she was affected with dengue and other hurdles but this superwoman continues to breastfeed her infant and still donates her milk helping several other babies to build their strength. She says,” There will be people who would still think that you aren’t having enough milk or pull your confidence down. My mission is to spread awareness and provide women with information to trust in their own body, work on their confidence and believe that their body can produce enough milk. Women need the information to make informed decisions.”

A lot of women feel helpless and fall under the thrust of elders around them to make basic choices about her own child and her own body before and after childbirth. No matter how professionally qualified one is or how well educated one is, the first childbirth definitely puts women in the hands of her family and friend’s decisions and assumptions. Anupama aims to break these complex emotions down into simpler terms and empower women with all the knowledge that they should know.

She is also a part of the Sanjeevani Breastmilk Donation Drive. This organisation collects milk from mothers in Tirupur and Coimbatore and donate it to the NICU of the Coimbatore GH. A lot of orphaned premature babies and infants who lost parents are devoid of breastmilk access. An infant requires about 30 to 50 ml of milk per day and apart from all the medicine and doses that they give the child, it’s breastmilk that works like magic. Breast milk not only builds strong immunity in these kids but also helps them fight deadly diseases. Anupama organization brings forth lactating mothers to donate their milk and help these children build their health.” Nothing can beat the power of mother’s milk,” she asserts.

Anupama has been part of the organisation for the last 2-3 years. When she became pregnant with her second child, she compliments her firstborn’s matured mindfulness that motivated her to donate breast milk. “Ahan used to arrange the breast milk bags and bottles in our refrigerator. He is used to the fact that there is always breastmilk on the fridge and while I became pregnant he was insistent that I should also donate and I think that’s beautiful how he also became a part of it growing up watching these.” She has donated about 4 to 5 litres of breastmilk and continues to feed her child, Ayaan too. “We live in an era where society assumes that mothers won’t be able to provide enough for her child. But it’s not true. The more you provide, the more your body generates. It’s like ‘Akshayapatra,” she chuckles, making her powerful point. “ Thus, there is no harm in donating breast milk. In fact, it's better for your child as it helps the mothers to increase the milk supply to meet the demand. A lot of new mothers, though they want to donate milk, are unaware of how to ahead with it. There were days when women poured out their excess milk to the Tulsi plant, ignorant about the fact that it could actually save a child.” One could freeze their excess milk and contact a donating centre to make it useful for a child. This is as noble as blood donation or anything that you can think of.

Educating us on the divinity of breastmilk donation Anupama also briefs us on the pain women go through during the postpartum phase. It’s very common to see new moms being very possessive and obsessive about their newborns, this is just a phase where your natural reflexes are spiked with protective mode intense hormones doing their role. Often families and friends don’t get it! Anupama says, “Postpartum is least talked about. That’s the prime time of the struggle of the mothers. During maternity everyone glorifies you and once the kid is out of you, so are the thoughts of you from their mind- just out! Everything is new to the mother with hormones dripping down, mood swings and other pains both emotionally and physically. You become more defensive of your child, call it maternal instincts. The family should embrace all these changes as well because this is normal.” Anupama states that it's not the childbirth but the postpartum phase that made her ready to face any challenges in the world, that made her believe that if she can do this, she can do anything!

Even today when women are expected to pull on their widest smile and pose pretty and love their newborn child more than herself, we love how Anupama says, representing the voice of hundred mothers out there to give them new moms their own sweet time to understand and get accustomed to changes in their life. It doesn’t make one a bad mother or is appropriate to be judged as the mother is as new as the baby to the world in her new phase of life. Just embrace the changes and help her find herself back amidst all the chaos and spotlight on the new baby.

Love, Team She


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