Michelle Noronha is a Parental Blogger who began her journey of blogging during the lockdown. She has actively voiced her views on topics such as breastfeeding support and equal parenting. Besides this, Michelle Noronha is also known for giving recipes for healthy living.
Q) What pushed you to become a Parental Blogger?
Michelle Noronha- This wasn’t something I set out to do; there was never the intention of doing this. But I think from the time my child was approximately eight weeks or four or five months, I was a part of many parenting and support groups on Facebook.
During this, somewhere, I realized that blogging would be the perfect way of giving it back to people I got support from. I was also a moderator on two of these groups and am a very active member of many other parenting groups. So, this was blogging for me.
Becoming a Parental Blogger was just an extension of these Facebook support pages I was a part of. What tends to happen is that when you are a part of these Facebook groups, there are many restrictions and rules and a kind of language you need to follow. But when it’s your page, it’s not the same. So that was the reason why I decided to move and do my blogging with the help of Instagram.
My Instagram account has been active for many years, and I’ve been using it since the day it was launched, but I didn’t do much with it. During the lockdown in March 2020, was when I started blogging. Since then, I’ve been consistently posting.
Q) Talk to us about the importance of equal parenting
Michelle Noronha- I’ve always believed in the importance of equal parenting; I don’t see parenting as a mother’s role or a father’s role. Growing up, there was a lot of societal conditioning where the values of nurturing and bringing up a child were considered a mother’s job. And being disciplined and strict was considered the father’s work.
Unfortunately, that still holds in many homes where they believe that the mother has to do all of the nurturing, and the father will go out and bring in money. The value that the mother brings to the table in terms of parenting is highly underrated. I hate using the term housewife, so if you were to start paying the price for everything a homemaker does, I think she’d probably earn a lot more than everyone else. So, it’s a very highly thankless job.
I had a bad pregnancy, and my child is a rainbow baby because I’ve had a miscarriage. If I were to look at a biological parent, it’s just not a sperm donor; your partner’s job doesn’t end when a child is conceived; there’s so much more to it. To then conceive again was very scary because I had to give up my career, and the day I learned that I was pregnant and given my history, I was asked to be put on bed rest.
I was in the hospital for three or four days, and since then, for the next one and a half months, I was constantly on injections and complete bedrest to the point where I couldn’t even get up from bed. At that point, my partner took off from work; he started working from home and stepped in entirely to take care of me. We live in a nuclear family, so his role as a father started at that very moment.
There was no question of a child being born for him to become a father. The moment your wife conceived, that’s the day when a partner should step in, and I’ve been blessed with that. I grew up in a family where the mother was working, and the father was raising us, so I’ve seen my father be equal in everything. Growing up in that environment, I naturally expected the same from my partner.
I think my partner grew up in an environment where he wasn’t very privileged and lived alone without his parents. So, he was used to doing stuff by himself, and when we got married, we exchanged many rules.
A child is brought into the world by two people. So, I am shocked that some people end up saying things like, I think you’re fortunate that your husband is so helpful. For those who don’t have supportive partners, I think that’s sad because you sign up together, and somehow the other partner is not interested in it.
When I started blogging, I saw that when moms were working, there were fathers who ensured that they took their children to play. When you see that your partner is doing something, you must step up and do your job.
I don’t believe in glorifying fathers for doing their job; when a mother cleans, nobody claps because if a mother is doing whatever she’s doing, it’s considered her job, and if a father does, it becomes a big deal. However, I think our generation is bringing about the change, so I’m hoping the next generations will be absolutely and positively different.
Q) What changes did becoming a mom bring in you?
Michelle Noronha – I think I’m a completely different person. I am kinder and more empathetic and have learned to control my anger. The moment I became a mother, I realized that so much more came into my life, and I am doing things that I wasn’t doing before. The physical changes were massive for me because I gained excessive weight, which I’ve still not managed to lose.
These days when I’m on road trips, I constantly think that if something happens to me at this moment, what will my child do? Emotionally, I’m so much more concerned about things being uncertain. For me, that was shattering in many ways. But of course, when my child was 19 months old, I realized that I was ready to go back into the world, and thankfully it was the same role I left. It came back to me because they wanted me to join back.
Back then, I would stay in the office till midnight, but now I get out and leave early. I have also had meetings when breastfeeding my child because if your child needs you, you have to be there for your child, right? You have to do everything if your partner isn’t around.
But it’s made me more empathetic, and I have also learned to stand up for things and let them go. Right now, I believe that my child is constantly seeing and learning from me, so I constantly try and be a person who stands up for things because it is imperative.
From what I’m seeing now, I think my child is doing an excellent job. She’s very strong, speaks her mind, and knows what she wants. Even when I am with my extended family, I ensure I stand up for my child if a situation exists.
Q) We noticed that your husband is a cancer survivor. What did that situation teach you, and what were your major takeaways from that?
Michelle Noronha- I have goosebumps talking about this, but it’s not something that I shy away from talking about. We were fortunate that we found out in the early stages, but I live with a constant fear that what if it comes back? This was detected a month after I had a miscarriage, so I was physically and emotionally fragile in every possible aspect. So, it wasn’t easy for me because it’s like you’ve not gotten over one thing, and another one hits.
Also, around the same time, when my husband was going into surgery, my father had a massive heart attack. I was not allowed to tell many people about his cancer, so I had no support. So, everything was happening simultaneously, and I was moving from one place to another because the hospital was 40 kilometres away.
I learned that life is very unpredictable, right? You don’t know what will happen, and we take our lives and relationships for granted without realizing it. As a family, we realized that from here on, whatever happens, we need to celebrate every little moment of our lives. It may seem inconsequential to the world, but it’s very important to us.
For my husband, there were no symptoms, and suddenly, one day, cancer was detected. I also live in constant fear that what if my child gets it? Because I realized in my husband’s family, there have been people who’ve had cancer. So, now it’s in my head that a gene is probably causing it.
Nothing was easy, but we’ve done it. So, at present, we take a lot of care in everything. Regarding food, we’re more conscious about what we eat because I am very concerned about my child. After all, that would eventually end up messing up things. We became more aware and grateful for those who stood by us back then.
People who are there with you in your adversity are those who are going to stay. I’ve learned not to undermine anyone’s potential and to respect people. The relationship between my husband and me has strengthened, and his company supported us. He was at home for four months, but they continued to pay his salary even though he was not working.
Because of the support I had, I became more empathetic. Charity becomes very easy for us because I’ve seen my parents do well with whatever little they had. Adversity brings out the better in you; in our case, it’s brought out the best. As a couple, we’ve become much more robust and are always there for each other.
One very important thing I learned is to be mentally and financially secure because cancer is expensive. Fortunately for us, we had the means and insurance, but I believe it’s essential for everybody to save up because you don’t know when these things will come. Overall, it’s made us better versions of ourselves and our resources.
Michelle Noronha aims to educate people about parenting through Instagram and hopes that the upcoming generation holds a better take on parenting.
Check out the whole conversation on our YouTube Channel.