Motherhood is an adventure, a journey and a divine emotion. It is an incomparable feeling. However, the circumstances may not always be favourable for every woman, as pregnancy often results in suffering and ill-health due to lack of awareness and health care facilities. The fact is that pregnancy can be a physical and emotional roller coaster - and the complications that can come along with it. Sadly, in our part of the world most women have little or no knowledge about the importance of maternal health. And there are hardly any local books or info available on pregnancy. Keeping this in mind well-known TV personality, Juggun Kazim who is a mother of two boys, has recently written a book titled ‘Mom Matters’ in a bid to provide basic information to mothers-to-be. ‘Mom Matters’ caters to expectant moms who undergo complicated pregnancies.
From being an actor to a host, Juggun has done it all. She entered the entertainment industry at a relatively young age and proved herself as a versatile actor with a bunch of TV serials to her credit. Not only this. She has appeared in a number of advertisements and is also the ambassador of various brands. This week You! talks to Juggun Kazim. Here are the excerpts...
You! How did it all start?
Juggun Kazim: I remember when I was just four, someone asked me what I want to be when I grow up? My answer was: I want to be an actor. For me it has always been a struggle to keep my head above the water. I started out as an actor and did modelling along the way. I was told I was really short and fat. It was very offensive and hurtful to hear all these things. As time progressed I was acting, modelling and hosting shows. As a host I started getting a lot of positive feedback. It encouraged me to keep going.
You! From acting to modelling and hosting, what led you to write a book?
J.K: My own pregnancy experience. I got pregnant with my second son Hassan, 10 years after having Hamza. While the first pregnancy went by easily, the second one was extremely tough as I was really unwell and was put on bed rest. Throughout this difficult period I was constantly looking towards Western media to answer my ‘desi’ queries. Everything was very westernized, like I was told to eat avocados or add salmon to my diet, and most of the things mentioned aren’t easily available over here. Basically, the idea to create something that would primarily cater to Pakistani women like myself who undergo such situations.
You! What is ‘Mom Matters’ all about?
J.K: I became a mom relatively early in life. With my first born I realized that there still are certain things I wanted to do. Being a working mom in Pakistan is relatively tough and I wanted to help women understand that being a mom matters a lot and the issues that come along with it also need to be addressed in detail - this book associates with every mom.
You! What important points should women keep in mind before starting a family?
J.K: Pregnancy changes you in so many ways, be it emotional, psychological or physical. Everything is a bit crazy. So it is important to think long and hard before you decide to start a family. I firmly believe that in the first two to three years of marriage the couple should just focus on getting to know each other and then plan a baby. When you make that decision then be prepared for weight gain, morning sickness etc. I guess you have to read the book to know what I am really talking about.
You! As a mother, or concerned homemaker how can one give children a healthier lifestyle?
J.K: I think the most important thing is to follow what works for you. But there are some basic things that you need to understand. A child needs to have an active lifestyle, so he or she should be playing at least one sport actively. Along with that you need to ensure that your child eats healthy. I kind of overfed Hamza initially leading to weight issues which have now been resolved fortunately. So if you inculcate a healthy lifestyle at a very young age it’s something that they carry forward for the rest of their lives.
You! How can good parenting be achieved?
J.K: Parenting is a work in progress. I don’t think there is any set formula - it’s like a trial and error process. It’s a beautiful journey but a slightly scary one where you just follow your heart and gut.
You! What are the exercises that you have mentioned in the book?
J.K: I have focused more on strength training. Like in my case, I could exercise during my first pregnancy, but I wasn’t allowed to during my second one because I had a condition called placenta previa. If your gynaecologist allows it then you should go to a gym ideally, or walk everyday for half an hour and keep your cardio level up. Exercise cannot harm your baby, unless you’re doing it the wrong way.
You! In your opinion what makes a woman strong and beautiful?
J.K: I believe that every woman is beautiful and special in her own way. If any woman has the will to be strong and passionate enough to follow her heart, in my opinion, that is what makes her beautiful.
You! Who is your mentor and why?
J.K: My mother, aunties - Rehana and Shehla Saigol - have been amazing inspiration for me. My step-mom, Muneeze Bano - she has been a source of strength and love. The fifth inspiration is not in the world anymore; Amna Chachi. That’s why ‘Mum’ and ‘Mom related’ stuff means a lot to me. These five phenomenal women have inspired me throughout my life.
You! How do you keep a balance between work and family?
J.K: Just like parenting, finding a balance is also a work in progress. Some days you end up giving more time at work and less time at home and vice versa. I am in the middle of building my house so that takes a lot of my time, then there’s the morning show, the digital show, clothing line and so on. So finding a balance is really hard. Each day is different from the next but I make sure to give priority to my family.
You! What are three must do items on your life’s bucket list?
J.K: Actually the bucket list is very long but ‘Bungee Jumping’ and ‘Sky Diving’ are two things that I definitely want to do even though I am terrified of heights. The other is that I want to travel to every single country in the world because I feel the only time I get to travel is for work or once a year when I go on a family vacation and that too is short lived. Also, I want to work till the day I drop dead but I do want to take one month in my life at some point where I don’t work at all, and just relax and do stuff for entertainment and not for work.