The role that a supportive partner can play

Finding the right co-founder for your start-up is probably the core of how your enterprise will shape up. For me, the fact that my co-founder is my sister is a stroke of good fortune. In the 4+ years of operation of Suta, there have been many instances where we have balanced each other’s temperaments, been each other’s strength and coped with the good and bad decisions together. There was especially a time when I went through a lot physically as well as mentally. Apart from Taniya’s role, I also realised during this time how important it is for an entrepreneur to take care of her mental health. Here is an excerpt from our podcast about how much Taniya stood like a pillar and took up all work
single-handedly when I was going through tough times. “Looking at my Instagram posts people would think that I had a very easy pregnancy and I sailed through it like a hero, but that is far from the reality. After delivery, I suffered from depression. For one full month after I gave birth I couldn’t support Taniya at all. Most of the times I would be holding Ram in my arms and crying my heart out. I was a mess. I knew that I had to give time to Suta as well because it was expanding so fast and I had to take care of a new-born as well, all this along with my very vulnerable and fragile mental state at that time. It was extremely tough. I know that a lot of mothers go through this tough phase after delivery but while actually going through it I realised the intensity of it. For the first few days after Ram was born I just kept doubting myself. I felt so incompetent. My room was a mess sometimes, my house was a mess and I kept taking every opportunity to blame myself for everything. I had a lot of help. My mom was there, Taniya was
there, there was a nanny and I had a lot of support from family but the only thing I could think of was that I was not enough. I was constantly just feeding and cleaning up Ram and in retrospect I feel it should have been easy for me but at that time there was just so much self-doubt that was there in me along with the physical recovery that was happening. I was just so utterly hard on myself. This
was why I used to cry so much. Even when people were talking to me about something good I would just look at their face and start crying. I felt weak and this made my self- doubt even stronger. Now, I cannot imagine how I was that person. I would imagine that everybody was judging me including my mom and Taniya. I felt like the world was against me and ridiculed me for not doing enough. One
day, when I was almost over all of this, I cried out loud to my family and blamed them for judging me and making me feel this way. Even with Sidharth, one day when he was just coming home from office and I was working on something for Suta I just screamed out that he has just left me all alone in this journey and has done nothing to help me. The reality was that no one in my family was judging me and Sidharth was actually coming home early from office so that he could take care of Ram. In all my pain, I had just become blind to all the good things that were actually happening around me.
Parallelly, there were so many issues going on at Suta and Taniya was constantly firefighting, but I was not able to help her. On one side this seems unbelievable to me that I felt so weak and, on another side, I just feel proud of making it through such a difficult time. I think it took me around one a half months to get back to my normal self. I cannot pin-point the exact moment but each day I got better as I just tried to understand myself and give myself the space and time that I needed. I
remember that around a month after delivery we had a big meeting at Suta and we met a lot of customers and I went out after a long time on that day to do this meeting. I felt much better by that time, I was already getting better. After that I tried to work as usual and would go home every two hours to feed Ram.
I would just like to tell all mothers and just every person out there that you don’t have to be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time when you start having self-doubts. The struggles you are experiencing are yours and only you know how that feels so your own support is what you need first and foremost. Be kind to yourself and keep the faith that one day you will get over it. The world may not understand what you are doing or why you are doing certain things, that’s ok. What you are
going through is only yours and someone else may not understand that at all. You will always have to just keep doing your best and give yourself credit for that because you really deserve it. I’m not saying it is easy. I can’t imagine putting this fully into practice myself because at that time I was in such a negative place that I had no capacity to reflect. I would constantly be engaged. I used to stay awake at nights to text people, delegate work to employees, taking account of all the pending work and following up. I was so hollow inside, but I just kept myself away from any introspection by over- working. I had so many sleepless nights and my recovery got delayed. All this was driven by me feeling of inadequacy. It was just a very unhealthy cycle that kept going. But, giving yourself time is crucial. Easier said than done, but it surely is very important.”
What worked for me was that my business partner was able to be that stable rock of support when I needed her the most. Suta wouldn’t be what it is now if she wasn’t my partner. Finding your business partner is almost like finding your life partner. I don’t think there are any standard rules that you can tick and be sure that the partner is right for you. Aspects such as practical reasoning, instinct, same levels of passion, a balance of traits and skills that are different from yours but required for your business, and so much more have to be considered to find the right co-founder. But, It is extremely important and definitely worth the time and resources to find one.