Soha Ali Khan: “Kareena was the most excited for my pregnancy”
Plus, Soha and Kareena's advice for expecting mothers
Traversing the journey of motherhood is not easy — you need a strong support system, and a set of women who can guide you through the process. Fortunately for Soha Ali Khan Pataudi, she had both — her husband, Kunal Kemmu, and her mother Sharmila Tagore and sister-in-law Kareena Kapoor Khan. In a candid interview, Soha talks about her pregnancy, her learnings and advice for expecting mothers.
ELLE: Tell us about your journey of transitioning into a mother. Who was that one person who was constantly there with you?
Soha Ali Khan Pataudi: “Ever since I found out I was pregnant, Kunal never left my side. He wanted to discover everything together; he came with me to every scan and every appointment, and this was truly encouraging on days when I felt low and insecure of how I was looking. My mum was equally supportive, as was Kareena, who had just delivered Taimur. She was the most excited for me, and her enthusiasm helped me a lot.”
ELLE: What tips did Kareena give you?
SAKP: “Since everything was so fresh for her, she had answers for every question of mine. She would send me food that she enjoyed bingeing on, and it was very reassuring to have someone in the family to help with in terms of diet and nutrition. She advised practicing yoga, and gave me a couple of books as well: What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, Dr. Spock’s Pregnancy Guide by Dr. Marjorie Greenfield and 0 to 2 Baby & You – A Pediatrician’s Handbook for Practical Parenting by Dr. Mahesh Balsekar and Malvika Choudhary.”
ELLE: And out of all the advice you received, what would you give to expecting mothers?
SAKP: “A lot of women are not aware about how to manage the extra weight gain, and how to shed it post pregnancy. Practicing yoga proved really beneficial for me, during pregnancy and post it. Right up till the day of my delivery, I was working with my yoga instructor, who was making me do the holding chair pose, squats, a mended version of the suryanamaskar, pelvic floor exercises and some other simple ones using the big exercise ball. In my ninth month, he would literally make me sweep the floor, which apparently is one of the most effective forms of workout.”
ELLE: One thing you wish you knew during your pregnancy that would have made the process easier.
SAKP: “During my pregnancy, I became anaemic and there were times when I actually fainted due to the lack of iron in my diet. I wish I knew this before as I would have been more careful with my diet and taken additional supplements like iron, vitamins and minerals that would have averted this.”
ELLE: Skin care essentials during pregnancy?
SAKP: “I went through hormonal changes and pigmentation that put restrictions on the products I could use. However, I always kept myself hydrated, moisturised and always dabbed sunscreen on myself before I stepped out. Bio Oil helped me minimise stretch marks and the sooner you start using it, the better.”
ELLE: What’s life like post pregnancy? How do you divide your time between work, Inaaya and Kunal?
SAKP: “Dividing time is so difficult, but Inaaya isn’t demanding at all. She naps for three hours in a day, and when she’s awake, we’re either playing with her, reading to her or taking her out for a walk. I’ve not stopped my work — I recently took a trip to Sri Lanka when I had to be away from her, and though I missed her, I also feel it’s important that the child spends time without the mother as this makes them independent. Also, new mothers don’t look after themselves — they don’t diet, don’t exercise and don’t focus on their health. It’s important for mothers to take time out for themselves as well.”
ELLE: We recently saw you and Inaaya with Kareena and Taimur on a playdate. Is it something you do often?
SAKP: “Yes, it is. Inaaya and Taimur enjoy each other’s company — he’s very curious and he keeps watching her. Sometimes the two will hold hands or touch faces. We take them to Amrita Arora’s home which has a lush garden with swings and slides, or sometimes at Kareena’s home, where we’re playing with Taimur’s train sets. On other days, we take them to play football or to swim.”
ELLE: You come from a famous family and were always under constant scrutiny of the public. How would you compare your upbringing to Inaaya’s or Taimur’s?
SAKP: “I grew up in a big family with my cousins and grandparents around me. We also had a lot of dogs and huge gardens where we played cricket and slept under the stars. Today, Kunal and I live alone, and our families are far away, so I feel Inaaya misses out on a lot. What’s more, Inaaya and Taimur are always surrounded by the press wherever we go. I feel childhood is all about innocence — even if the parents have chosen to have a public life, the children should be allowed some privacy.”
ELLE: Congratulations on your short film Sound Proof being selected for the New York Indian Film Festival 2018. What other projects are in the pipeline?
SAKP: “Here’s a fun fact — I was actually 11 weeks pregnant when I was shooting for Sound Proof, so the film brings a lot of nostalgia. I’m working on a comedy script right now, attending events and launches, and also working on producing a biopic. Penguin has approached me to write a second book, but I feel it’s a little too ambitious at the moment.”