Former super model Vaneeza Ahmed dons many hats. Having started her career as a model, she has forayed into acting and is currently working as the Creative Director for Hum TV and also has a lawn label under her name. However, none of these hats can compare to the one she’s donned recently — being a mother to her two-month-old baby girl Inaaya. Between numerous nap times, nappy changes and milk feeds, Vaneeza took out the time to speak to The Express Tribune about her new role.
Has motherhood changed you?
Vaneeza: Completely! I don’t even think about work anymore. My priorities are totally different now. However, it’s a natural thing and that just happens to you as you realise that another life is completely dependent on you. You also become much closer to God and learn to appreciate your own mother.
Every working woman steps into motherhood thinking she’ll be able to balance. What were your preconceptions about motherhood?
I didn’t expect my entire lifestyle to majorly change. But the most important thing for me was my child’s sleep. But these days, I have no social life and I only sleep when she’s asleep. However, I didn’t come into this thinking that life wouldn’t change at all. I had already done everything that I wanted to in life and in my career. I got married when I felt it was the right time for me to do so and had a baby a year-and-a-half later, when I felt I was ready for it. So there are no regrets and I enjoy every minute of this phase, even when she’s crying in the middle of the night.
You’re still very much a business woman with your extensive lawn campaigns and production.
I have honestly decided that I can’t do exhibitions and cannot frequent the factory any more. Once I had to leave my exhibition midway because my daughter started crying. Now I design from home. I can’t leave my daughter alone and I don’t want to be one of those mothers who leave their kids with maids.
It’s become a style statement to have a maid. You didn’t succumb to pressure?
It depends on the kind of person you are. I like doing things on my own. When I began working with Hum TV, I learnt how to do production and produced programmes. When I took up lawn, I learnt Photoshop and drawing. I hate dependencies. Also, it depends on your family set-up. My mother didn’t have maids for us, so I don’t see why I should.
You chose to marry and have a child comparatively later in life than most women. What would you say to the common perceptions regarding late marriages and subsequent late motherhood?
I had a normal pregnancy and would have had a natural delivery if the doctors here hadn’t pushed for a caesarean. Complications with pregnancies can happen at any time when you don’t take care of yourself. I was very careful with my diet. I had all those vegetables like tindaas, gobi and karelas, that I never ate in my life just so my child would grow healthy. I even drank lots of milk and still do, which I hate. I made sure I didn’t eat any packaged food and switched to brown rice and brown sugar. The result was that my baby was nine pounds at birth. So if you’re healthy, your child will also be healthy.
Do you see Mother’s Day as just another western construct or do you truly believe in celebrating it?
Ideally, everyday should be Mother’s Day, but we tend to take relationships for granted and are so lazy that we don’t learn to value something till its lost. But, if we have a designated day, we make that necessary effort to celebrate that relationship. For me, Mother’s Day would just be another excuse to tell my mom that I love her.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.