Be it in choosing her life partner or that famous forehand shot, Sania Mirza has always written her own rules, on and off the court. Ever the rebel, she is not one to shy away from taking matters into her own hands and that’s evident in the way she juggles marriage, motherhood and a thriving sports career these days.
Sania may be on maternity leave from tennis right now but she’s focused on getting back in form as soon as possible. To her, motherhood doesn’t come at the cost of her dreams and she’s determined to prove that to women across the world.
“In many ways, motherhood does change your life but in other ways, it will be what you want it to be,” Mrs Shoaib Malik – who welcomed son Izhan late last year – told L’Officiel recently. “It is the best thing that has happened to me, indeed. But that doesn’t mean my life is at a standstill now.”
But being a sports icon, wife and now a mother must be difficult, no? Sania recommends efficient time management to anyone juggling different roles. “The sports thing was natural but being a mother and wife is completely different,” she said. “It’s about managing your time and emotions and compartmentalising things a little bit. I agree, it’s easier said than done but motherhood is the most satisfying thing I‘ve experienced. No matter what I do in my life now, this will be my biggest achievement.”
So how does Sania plan to get her career back on track? When asked about it, the Indian tennis sensation revealed, “My whole plan is to try and get fit – lose all the baby weight first. I’ve gotten strong again. My body is back to where it was but I am still preparing myself to resume tennis.”
Fitness is, naturally, an indispensable aspect of her life. “It’s something very close to my heart,” Sania shared. “I put on 23 kilos while pregnant and even though I used to walk about five kilometers every day, I still had Izhan two weeks before my due date. I was doing yoga, walks and exercising throughout my pregnancy.”
Post-delivery, Sania lost 26 kilos over five months via exercise and diet. That is not to say the sports star succumbed to social pressure to lose baby fat. As said earlier, Sania is not one to scramble for acceptance. “There are a lot of opinions out there. In today’s world, we are surrounded by more negativity than positivity and the negative aspects about a person sell more than the positive,” she explained. “All we have to do is be thick-skinned and stop being affected by such instances.”
For Sania, being a good human being is what matters most. “Treat people well. Respect them. Only then will you be able to achieve whatever you want in life. If you’re not good, it’s not worth it. Hopefully, I can instill these values in Izhan as well.”
Unlike most other celebrities, Sania and Shoaib are strictly against parading their first-born before the media. “This is something we have to deal with smartly, especially in today’s world where these things are very difficult to block out,” said the new mama. “But as a parent, it’s my job to create a normal environment for Izhan. I will learn along the way. Parenthood teaches you new things every day.”
If you want to follow in Sania’s footsteps, adopt her mantra of simplicity. “My advice would be to find joy in the small things. There are good and bad days; you just have to deliver your best and stay true to yourself,” she concluded. “Oh and keep reminding yourself that life doesn’t stop when you have a child. Stabilise your professional and personal lives but of course, don’t be too hard on yourself. You can take a break on rough days. Everything else will fall into place.”
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