Life has never been easy on me and I take it as a compliment. If I hadn’t faced any challenges; I could have ended being no one and doing nothing. I am what I am today because of what life has made me and I am very proud of it. I have felt like a warrior throughout my life; fighting, getting wounded and defeated again and again. Yet I am thankful that life gave me courage of standing up again to fight again and again. Some battles might have not ended with a glory but as we say “YOU never lose until you give up”.
Today, I am a happy and proud mother of a handsome 7.5 year old son. Running my own training company with the help of the most loving, caring and motivating husband, who has been my mentor in all these years. In my journey I have been through many ups and downs but that has helped me to grow. There were many struggles, but being a mom after 13 long years of wait was the most difficult yet beautiful of them all. It was like a ray of hope, a reason to believe in power of positivism. I actually got my “second life” after having a child in my arms. I had had 3 miscarriages (twins too); a complex anatomy, a history of various failed medical treatments like IUI and IVF for conception. My desperation for becoming a mother was so strong that I opted for surrogating too, paid a hefty amount to a “womb on hire” but that too failed!
Finally, life knocks at my door and I got to know that I was expecting. I didn’t want to feel anything and just went to see the doctors without expectations. Every month, at the time of check up I was prepared; for a negative verdict! My medical history forced me to be on complete bed rest until he was born in the 7th month. All these months I couldn’t stop thinking about everything that could happen; both good and bad. One fine day I had some cramps and went to see the doctor. He just asked what I had for breakfast and if we could operate immediately. We said yes without giving it a second thought. And there he was a premature baby with 1.5 Kg weight, less looking like a “human child”. For next 15 days he was hospitalized in NICU and I could see him only for few minutes every day, couldn’t hold him or feel him. There were several failed attempts of feeding and there were disappointments of not being able to perform the most beautiful job of a mother. Despite doctor’s apprehensions, I brought him home and worked hard to feed him and make him grow. The first 6 months were a real challenge and I had to act as a machine rather than a mother. Spending hours in making feeds, sanitizing, washing, and sterilizing apart from what every mother has to go through. Didn’t have a support system and helpers were rejected fearing chances of infection. There was no place for emotions just chores and my hard work paid off well. He turned out to be the most beautiful, healthy, adorable and cutest child in the world and I could now enjoy fruits of mother hood holding him, loving him and enjoying every moment of it.
Motherhood made me think on many levels. I cherished the Joyous moments and could understand how glorious motherhood is, but also felt that nobody actually prepares you for the challenges which you would face as a mother. We see other mothers having a cute baby in their hands and just wish the same for ourselves. It actually feels like heaven to have one of your own but creating, developing and raising a life is so much of a responsibility, not just of physical well being but of shaping a personality.
As a toddler my son would imitate me, follow me blindly. We were so much in love and had a wonderful time as if we were just two of us in the world and nobody else was around. Along with emotional fury there were many challenges at every stage of growing; the troublesome two, naughty three and so on. I was clueless and started looking for answers. I asked other mothers and was surprised that they avoided admitting that “the challenges exist” and they made me feel as if I am the only one thinking these as “problems”. I observed denial among mothers for quite a long. I thought of finding a solution by myself and started searching for answers whenever he used to sleep. My research background helped me a lot and I made a structure of the major concerns and designed a program around that. The idea of starting special program for women struck into my mind. After initial discussion with my husband, who encouraged me to the level that we started planning setting up a training company where we could deliver some workshops and programs for women to help change their lives. The idea of changing others’ lives had always been on my mind. The transformations in my own life were so radical that “Change” became the centre of every program on which I was working.
Along with motherhood, these programs were targeting towards confidence building, improving self esteem, improvement in physical appearance, communication skills improvement, dressing sense, and so on. Everything which was a concern in my own life at one point of time or the other had become my concern for others and I started on figuring out the best way to help them.
Talking about challenges, there have been many and I don’t know how to begin with them, so I guess chronological order would be a good idea.
As long as I can remember my self esteem was quite low. The reasons which I could understand later were my physical conditions and the illness caused by that. I was diagnosed with a severe physical disorder “Scoliosis” at the age of seven and after three years of medical investigations and experiments I went through a surgery at the age of 10. My childhood memories are full of pain, suffering, restrictions, inferiorities and confusion. I used to think a lot about “Karma and destiny “and my curiosities made me a spiritual person. Facing the constant struggle of being different yet acting normal was not easy. I had a fair share of complexes and negative behavioural traits which helped people around me to label me as rude, incompetent and mediocre. Nobody around me could understand me or reason of my pain. I don’t think that there was a sudden resurgence when I decided to change myself; rather there were series of failed attempts to get appreciation of what so ever I felt I had good in me. My grades started to improve; I used to look at myself in the mirror for hours to explore if I could make myself better. The teen years were confusing as they usually are with everyone but my struggle was to attain trust of my parents so that they stop looking at me as liability and look at me with admiration.
The next turning point was the stage when I started thinking about my career and chose to go for UPSC exams as most of our family members hail from that background. Soon, I was made to realize that “I might not be suitable for such a demanding career and it would be better if I settle for less challenging occupation as what if I fail and cause agony to the prestige of our family”. Needless to say that despite scoring 84% in 10th exams my family members used to still think that I was just a mediocre student who somehow by luck got the highest score not just in the family and third highest in the school! I was convinced to take up working in a private sector bank at the age of 19 reinforcing the fact that “I was so lucky to get such a prestigious job without much effort”. Next 4 years were a saga of mental harassment, physical extreme work and emotional bruising where I had to work from dawn to dusk to earn peanuts and moreover that was not what I had wished for! Still I was the luckiest one having a job despite my disabilities so despite my constant pleading to let me leave the job; I was never allowed to! All of a sudden I had to face the world full of politics, conspiracies, hatred and harassment. Just coming out from college, I was not prepared for the job or the life! Coming from a moderately conservative family and girls only schooling I had never been in company of males apart from my uncles and cousins, and now I was not just dealing with male colleagues but also with Public! Working in the service industry was quite close to mental molestation for a simple girl like me. My English was pathetic and I was centre of everybody’s entertainment. However I kept working hard, very sincerely as all I could think to make things better was to work hard and change my impression. However, that struggle taught me lots of things, which I appreciate now!
At the age of 20, life gave me a golden chance; and this time I was actually lucky, though at that time the feeling was not even close. One fine day I was proposed to get married to a very charming and handsome guy who used to be in our family relation too. Despite my initial rebellion, I was convinced to get married. I really thank God for that! My husband, Ravi I believe is exceptionally good in every term. It would be next to impossible for me to even pen down how many times he rescued me from drowning in my sorrows. No words, literally no words would ever be sufficient to describe his qualities. He became my father figure, a true lover, a mentor and the nicest husband one can ever be. My life started taking turns, the early years were full of struggle in almost every aspect. But it was also filled up with billion moments of joy .The small moments of joy were sufficient enough to make me think positive about life and gave me courage to face harassment, physical discomfort, financial struggle and failed relationships.
After 3 years of our marriage, we reached to common conclusion that I should leave the job and follow my dreams. As a first step I decided to continue my studies so filled up the forms for post graduation, studied hard and cleared that although we moved two times to two different cities meanwhile. Filled up form for UGC NET for and cleared that on 1356 position all over the country. Enrolled for Phd and continued it despite being relocated 5 times during that period. Coming from a Hindi medium background doing Phd in English was not even in my thoughts but after encouragement of my husband I opted for that. In this phase I worked on my English and improved grammar and communication skills to the extent that I could teach in English in later years.
Whenever, you work hard life gives you an opening. That’s what I have realized so far. When you think it is over; it is actually about to restart! We were located in Amritsar and it had been quite a long when I had stopped earning and that is the feeling which I find damaging for my self esteem. So, took a small job to work with a private sector bank again as an adhoc and decided to face the life but better prepared this time. I was changed now, could control my emotions better, could deal with people in a better way, and had learnt to exist in a work environment. I was now Confident!
Confidence is actually very funny! You can’t get it until you know what it is but on the other hand until you have it, you can’t actually understand it. During that time I applied for a lecturer’s job in a very prestigious college and was able to get it after a long grilling interview session. I can never forget those 60 minutes because they made me super confident! I faced a panel full of philanthropists, educationist and trustees and I could win over every argument! But without a small glitch my stories are never complete and this time when they got to know that I didn’t have 10th certificate of Punjabi language which was mandatory, my selection was in danger. But, I didn't lose my confidence and convinced them that I am capable of delivering my own subject and to comply the rules I will appear in 10th exam and will qualify soon. Thankfully, they liked my confidence and agreed. While working as a lecturer in that college, I learned the language starting from alphabets and then studied for the 10th syllabus. On the day of examination I was surrounded by kids who were wondering why the hell I was there! I cleared the exam with 62% marks . There was no looking back. Year after year I kept on moving in different cities and getting jobs as lecturer, Research Consultant and trainer. These years were golden years of my life in terms of job satisfaction, knowledge enrichment, skills development and appreciation.
My career and job satisfaction was there; but I was still facing trying times with every failed pregnancy. Despite everything there was a vacuum which couldn’t be filled by anyone. As mentioned every treatment failed and doctors started convincing that it couldn’t be done. Suggestions for adoption started coming but I was adamant that I deserve this simplest pleasure which Mother Nature has given to every female!
A constant battle of being positive when there was nothing to look up to wasn’t easy. There were moments of disappointment, failure, suicidal thoughts and giving up! And, there was a will to keep on trying and a hope that one fine day everything will be alright! Struggle makes you strong, as they say! I had become strong!
In 2010, the birth of my son and such struggles were quite a reason for starting “YOU Can Change”. In 2014, after 4 years of extensive research the company was launched. The commercial aspect wasn’t lucrative in the initial years but it started to gear up later. However, everyday meeting new people, knowing their problems and helping them to overcome was the biggest satisfaction I started getting. That’s it; this was my purpose of life! Helping others to overcome what I had faced; fear, lack of confidence, low self esteem, language barriers, lack of soft skills, motherhood problems, relationship problems and so on.
Since then “YOU can Change” has been instrumental in changing lives of hundreds of people. We launched many programs especially for housewives as during my sabbaticals I could understand their pain of not having any identity. The programs are designed for enhancing their confidence level, giving them constructive ways to engage themselves, helping them to start their career if they wish to, motivating them to bring positive changes in their personality, guiding them for better relationship handling and empowering them by giving them knowledge about their legal rights and health. An overall approach of inspiring them to look good, feel good and be good is maintained in our every program.
We are also doing programs for the “would be brides and mothers” to help prepare them for their new role. We also try to help the girls who struggle with their self esteem due to their physical appearance. We help them to be beautiful inside out. Every life which is transformed due to our programs encourages us further more.
Along with that we have made a “Rise n Shine Club” for all the participants (including Alumni’s) and we try to promote them for various work opportunities within the circle and outside that. As an employer also we encourage mothers by giving them part time work or work from home related to content development, marketing or designing.
Till 2016 we were right on track and were changing lives of many with overwhelming response and great job satisfaction, when life took another turn. I started having unbearable pain and my mobility started getting affected. After series of medical treatment and investigation it was revealed that the surgery of my backbone which took place 30 odd years back was now showing side effects. The problem from where my life started getting difficult was here again! The best diagnosis so far is that there is no cure for the pain and the curve in the spine can’t be rectified any further because of several other complications. There were nerve blocks, physiotherapy and medicines but nothing seemed to work.
Here I was with incomplete commitments, unbearable pain, a six year old demanding child, a growing company and a house to run with very little resources! I used to get injections and stand-up somehow on my feet to deliver trainings. The work started getting affected, no matter how much I tried. And, my dear husband was there again to rescue me handling everything and replacing me everywhere with a smile on his face!
Few months passed and there was another major pain attack. My physical capabilities had become unpredictable. I might be fit for work one day and not on another. I was losing my son, his love, his trust and there were obvious negative changes in his behaviour. I could hardly spend time with him and had to give excuse for not being able to do every single thing which I have been doing with him. A fairly smart, happy and intelligent child had now become aggressive, negative and least interested in studies. On the other hand, my confidence started slipping. I had worked for years to develop a dressing sense to cover up my physical abnormalities and now they had started becoming obvious again. My self esteem was at stake! People around me started noticing what was wrong with me; which used to be a reason of embarrassment for me. I had never liked to talk about my medical problems with anyone before! Till date nobody actually knew about these problems as I never felt like taking sympathy for this. Now, it had become impossible to hide. My world was falling apart AGAIN!
There were people, family and friends who could try to understand but there were no medical practitioners who could understand my desperation of being fit again when I said “Do whatever it takes but I don’t want to be bed ridden. I have so much to do”. I was being misunderstood as under depression and was medicated for that. But, as a matter of fact “after going through so much I had become strong and was not even close to that ” .
Long hours of standing or sitting had become difficult for me and pain had become as natural as breathing. Despite the new limitations I kept on working and soon developed coexistence with every limitation. Now, I am prepared for having less mobility and physical capacity. Moreover, this time I decided to accept my physical deformities and stop trying to hide them. Acceptance was the only way I could give myself my confidence back ! I started talking about it, when somebody pointed out “hey! Something is going wrong with your body. I started admitting it and talk about it. As if “I came out of closet”. Sounds weird but for me “acting normal and appearing normal had always been a major concern”.
Anyway, here I am today working on a cause with all my possible strength and limited resources! I would like to give my fresh introduction now “ I am Dr. Balpreet Arora. A mother, a wife, an educationist, a soft skills trainer, a motivational speaker, an entrepreneur, an activist and a human being who has an eye for perfection , sympathy for every pain, commitment for every possible positive change, attitude for maintaining self dignity, courage to face day to day problems and determination for not to stop trying until I succeed!
With the strongest desire to make a difference in life of others, who might not be as lucky as I am to have such a supportive husband, to all those who might feel like giving up and couldn’t have courage to start again, to guide all those who have questions and nobody to give honest answers to, to those who suffer in silence just because they feel they have no other option, to those who want to improve themselves because they have equal rights to do so, to those who are not favourite kids of mother nature but have a desire to be so! I commit myself and am prepared to press “restart” button again and again in my own life too until I can!