Mumbai: A dive into parenthood comes with its ups and downs. Actress Sameera Reddy, who is expecting her second baby soon, says her first pregnancy left her feeling torn between the reality and the pressure to portray an "unreal life" as a celebrity.
Sameera, whose last big screen outing was in 2012 with the film "Tezz", married businessman Akshai Varde in 2014. She delivered her first born, a son in 2015.
"I got pregnant in just a couple of months after my marriage. The game plan was to have the pregnancy and bounce back and getting in the limelight again. But I have never experienced anything like that... It was just the opposite.
"It was the worst case scenario of what I could've imagined in terms of my body and the way I fell apart as a person because the pregnancy was very tough for me," Sameera told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
Just last month, Sameera gave trolls a befitting reply saying that everyone cannot be like actress Kareena Kapoor Khan, who returned to her svelte figure post-pregnancy in no time.
This time around, Sameera has embraced how "she has a bump and a bit of weight that will come on".
"I will not look glamorous all the time. But I wanted to come out and say Hey! it's okay to be like this'," she told IANS.
Recounting the experience of her first pregnancy, she said: "I had placenta previa, which had me on bed rest for almost four to five months after the pregnancy. I just started putting on weight and falling into some kind of place in my head because it went from shows, award functions and a glamorous lifestyle to just not being able to handle what pregnancy was doing to me."
She became a recluse. In hindsight, she feels it was a "cowardly act".
"There is so much pressure upon us as actors or people in the public eye to portray we have this unreal life. I was also buying into it and trying to provide to it as an actor. I was also trying to keep up with that and say, 'Hey! look at I am so perfect'. (But) I was the poster girl of what a pregnancy shouldn't be," she added.
After delivering her son, Sameera said she touched 102 kg.
"From being that 'sexy Sam', I went to this. I put on 32 kg up and couldn't recognise myself. I was a complete mess," added the actress, who has featured in films like "Race", "No Entry" and "Taxi Number 9211".
Being ridiculed took a toll on her mental health.
"I would leave the house and they said, 'Is this Sameera Reddy? What happened to her?' That pushed me into a further hole."
Sameera said there came a point she couldn't bear any glare.
"Everyone knew I was feeling depressed, but I was a good mother. To top it all, I got this auto ailment called Alopecia areata, which made me lose patches of my hair after almost six months of giving birth. But it did not have anything to do with my pregnancy."
All of this combined led her to have a meltdown.
"I worked very hard. I got help in terms of therapy and understood that I was lost and confused as a person... What I was as an actor and where I am today as a mother and a wife."