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Dr. Surabhi Chhabra is a mother, emergency and trauma specialist, pregnancy and postpartum coach, mentor, and motivational speaker. She imparts awareness regarding pregnancy and postpartum through her Instagram handle.
IcyTales is in conversation with Dr. Surabhi Chhabra about her experiences as a doctor and a coach.
Q) Can you say something about yourself to the readers?
Dr. Surabhi Chhabra: I am Dr. Surabhi. I have done my master’s in Emergency Medicine and Trauma. I have done my post-graduation in Hospital Management. I am a mother, and I coach pregnant women on how to go about their pregnancy, considering all the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes during pregnancy and postpartum.
I am the head and consultant of the emergency department in a corporate hospital in Delhi NCR.
Q) When did you realize you wanted to work as a pregnancy coach?
Dr. Surabhi Chhabra: This started during my pregnancy itself. When I was pregnant, I worked for all nine months in the emergency, and that’s when I realized that we know everything about the physical aspect, like what pregnancy is about and the challenges I will face. Still, when it was about the mental aspect, I was not confident about it.
So that’s when I realized that we usually think about the child when we see a pregnant woman. For example, is the kid doing well? Is the kid healthy? But nobody asks the pregnant woman how she is feeling emotionally and mentally. This happened to me, also. Nobody asked me how I was feeling mentally and emotionally.
I then realized how important it is for a pregnant woman to be well-equipped with her mental and emotional health. This was when I decided that I wanted to coach pregnant women about emotional and mental health through mentoring and counselling.
Q)What are some common conditions new mothers go through and usually need help for?
Dr. Surabhi Chhabra: The number one thing that first-time mothers usually face problems with is balancing their careers and motherhood at the same time. When I say career, I do not mean like a job only. It is also about managing the household when a mother is a full-time stay-at-home mom. So managing the household, the baby, and the hormones is a big challenge for her.
They should take it very slowly and with grace, considering that they have developed a baby inside their body and their body has undergone so much change. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times. They should be proud of themselves.
They are also fighting the thoughts about going back to their work or not, and if they go, will they be able to manage both things properly, and if they do not, would that make them a bad mother?
At this stage, they need a lot of support from their partner, family, or maybe a coach. So I believe these are some challenges that pregnant women face. Women usually do not share these thoughts with anyone and keep juggling them within their minds. I think that is why there is an increase in postpartum depression these days.
Q)When did you work towards awareness about postpartum depression? Was it something you felt during your life? How did you overcome it?
Dr. Surabhi Chhabra: I am a very ambitious person. I had a lot of support during my pregnancy, but I had to sit back at home and feed my child for three to four months, so I was constantly thinking about when I would work again.
Will I be able to go back? Because my work needs proper dedication, I cannot work from home or maybe work six hours a day. If there is a patient in the emergency I have to stay long longer, then who will take care of my kid? I think that was the biggest challenge.
My family supported me, which helped a lot, but I still had some issues. I had panic attacks because of my career, but I could handle touchwood well. I read many books during that particular time of pregnancy and took many sessions myself.
So this helped me a lot, and that’s what made me a coach for other women. Any woman can get it, and I think it’s completely normal, but it’s not bad.
Q)There is a lack of knowledge about postpartum depression in society. What would you say to the women on how to identify that they are going through it?
Q)Your videos on Instagram are very motivating and inspiring. What is your inspiration in life? What keeps you motivated to coach others?
Q)What, according to you, is the role of the partner and family during the pregnancy?
Dr. Surabhi Chhabra: It takes a village to raise a child. The first responder to pregnant women is the people within the family. So the vibrations and thoughts of those people must be positive because it affects the child also. Every pregnant lady deserves a supporting person.
The woman is creating a new life, so along with taking care of the baby, the mother should be taken care of too. Mother is the life-giver. She should be mentally and emotionally taken care of. So partner and family support are mandatory.
Q) Many myths about pregnancy, food, travel, and other things exist. How should one deal with such myths?
Dr. Surabhi Chhabra: I think there are some myths and some not. For example, it is suggested that the pregnant woman should not travel much. It is somewhat correct because there might be some complications in the pregnancy, and putting pressure on the body can cause harm to the baby.
You can have normal travel but in moderation. Everything during pregnancy should be moderated. Eat everything but in moderation, and do not introduce anything new. There should be scientific and research-based evidence for everything you do, and it should be adopted with proper awareness.