Being a mother is a wonderful job. I want to congratulate every mother, including myself, who are successfully handling this responsibility. I want to thank my husband, too, for taking on that role in my absence.

When I came to Melbourne to do my Master’s degree, I realised that staying away from my 3-year-old daughter Ira was going to be hard. People had told me before. But my answer was, “though I agree that being a mother is a blessing, is that the end of a woman’s life?”

In Indian society, there are plenty of highly educated women who gave up their career, their passion and their ambition to bring up their children. But they have no idea that they are also losing their identity.

My mother was the most independent woman and my first role model. She told me to be a strong and independent lady who would never depend on another person, even her husband. You have permission to be strong, to be smart, to learn or not to learn, to wed or to stay single, to have children or not have children. It’s your life and you have a choice.

To be strong, you may have to make a tough decision, but you should believe in yourself. A woman can stand alone, but it doesn’t mean that she is alone, just strong enough to manage everything on her own.

But for an Indian woman, her family is first no matter what. She is there to make sure her spouse, her children, and her family is content, but can forget her own existence and sense of self. She can forget that she has a right to live, a right to dream, and strive hard to turn that dream in to a reality. A family should push you to be yourself and achieve, but most importantly stand by you even when you want to stand alone.

My husband encouraged me to pursue higher education. He knew that I wouldn’t give up and quit even after giving birth to our daughter. He stood by me. He’s a real, gentle man who can understand his wife’s dream of a career.

“A man is truly gentle if he can understand a woman’s well-being.”

I made the decision to go to La Trobe University. It took a lot of effort to get here – looking after my home, my daughter and concentrating on studying. But when I think of my daughter, I know that it’s worth it.

You should be your child’s first role model, their mother, and let them learn from you. Don’t be idle, chase your dream, or they will never understand the value of chasing life. Wake up, be ambitious, and give your everything.

Make yourself a powerful woman. The world is your oyster.

By Gayatari Vedpathak
Photo by Henri Meilhac
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