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Harps told Gi she was born and raised in Southall, in a “warm and fuzzy” upbringing along with her sisters, her “three pillars of support”. She always knew she wanted to be a Mum, but had a very clear plan of how that was going to look. In her mind, she would be married by the age of 22 and have three kids by the age of 25 – the classic fairytale. In reality, she didn’t get married until she was 26 and didn’t start trying for a baby until two years later. The first month they started trying, Harps got pregnant with Arjun. While conceiving was straightforward, the birth was less so, and this led to Harps “passing out” for the first five hours after Arjun was born, and in turn, feeling disconnected from her son.
She said: “When I woke up I just saw Preetam cooing over his precious little boy and he had tears streaming down his face and he was just so happy and I was just like “this person just feels like a bit of a stranger to me, like why don’t I feel a connection?”. I think I had it in my head it was because of those five hours. I missed out on the skin to skin, I missed out on his first feed, he had to be bottle-fed at that time. I felt disconnected. I didn’t feel how I’d imagined I was going to feel”.
From there, despite forging a connection with Arjun, her feelings of post-natal depression began to grow and it was a conversation with her sister Goov that led to the birth of Baby Brain Memoirs. Harps said she wrote her first blog post about her birth story and overnight she received tonnes of messages, especially from South Asian women “saying “oh my god we feel the same way but we thought it was just us!”” She added: “It was this real feeling of not sharing it because it was almost considered failure.“
While she was pregnant with her second son, Harps was closely monitored, both for her mental health and for the wellbeing of her baby. She had 13 scans in total and everything seemed in order, but both she and Preetam still had a niggling feeling that something bad was going to happen during her planned c-section. When Saajan was born, they received the surprise diagnosis of his Down’s syndrome.
Despite the initial shock and emotional barrage that came with this news, Harps and the family have created a life that is truly special. While it might not be the life she imagined, it is unique and beautiful in many, many ways. Harps is incredibly passionate about changing the narrative around people living with Down’s Syndrome and speaks extremely honestly about those early days and what led her to where she is now with Saajan – who clearly brings her and her family so much joy and love.
Watch Gi’s chat with Harps below or listen to the whole episode wherever you usually get your podcasts. We’re in all of the regular places! You can also listen to all the other episodes of Happy Mum Happy Baby here.