Problems and pain have been part and parcel of my life ever since I took up boxing. And being a woman, it was all the more difficult to sustain and be consistent despite various changes my body had to undergo, especially post pregnancy.
Being a woman, the major drawback is that one has to tolerate more pain than men have to. And it starts with the menstrual cycle. Practising and playing during those days has always been extremely uncomfortable — there’s a dip in stamina, strength and power.
For me, however, the main problem occurred after my children were born. Mine was not a normal delivery, I had to undergo a C-section. Back, knee and joint pains became frequent visitors and refused to subside.
Yes, these physical changes proved to be a larger-than-life hurdle but that didn’t stop me from pursuing what I loved most, boxing.
Being out of the ring for two years, making a comeback was tough. Not because I was a woman, but because I had to tolerate shooting pain. Every part of my body hurt trying to get back into shape and build those muscles all over again.
I had to train differently in the beginning. With my body being delicate after the whole pregnancy cycle, I could not take to very hard training from the word go. Gradually, I increased the intensity of training. Luckily, in 2009, my sponsors arranged for a special physiotherapist who did wonders to ease my pain. Without my husband’s support, none of this would have been possible.
Women do have restrictions when it comes to their body. The physical changes that take place are not in our hands but that shouldn’t stop us from achieving our goals. It’s never easy.
Men are lucky in these aspects as they are free from such pain and don’t have any such disturbance. But that doesn’t make us any less capable.
Some people say that Mary Kom can say anything she wants now that she has won the Olympic medal. They don’t realise what I have gone through to reach this level.
All you need is the will to succeed and a positive mindset.
Youngsters who are just taking to the sport should consider themselves lucky. They are not under the control of boyfriends or husbands, their families extend full support to them. They are still free from responsibilities on the personal front. All they have to do is work hard and concentrate on what they are doing. Nothing should stop them.
In spite of being a married woman and a mother of two, if I can do this, they definitely can.
—As told to Krithika Gopalkrishnan