Aparna Johri

Mental Health

Overcoming Heartache

August 26, 2020
An Unexpected Journey

I was born to a loving mother and father in Uttar Pradesh in India, who provided me with a level of education that was rarely available to girls at the time. This allowed me to attend university, graduate as a BioTech Engineer and start working. I wasn’t interested in dating, as I thought a relationship would act as a distraction and would waste a lot of my time. However, after meeting someone online, I knew from the moment we met that he was the one. After six months of dating, we got married and I joined him in Bangalore.

After another six months of marriage, my husband and I began an interior design business alongside our full-time jobs and we balanced the competing workloads for three years. We wanted our lives to be more fulfilling than doing 9-5 jobs, coming home and watching television – we aspired for something different.

A Journey of Love and Loss

In 2011, we were over the moon to find out that I was pregnant and loved that our little family was growing. The miscarriage that followed was devastating and brought us tumbling back down to earth. I started to feel really ill and I was diagnosed with a severe infection. My husband provided me with unwavering support, despite the loss we were both going through. The feeling of not being able to keep my baby alive was really difficult to deal with.

The Power of Resilience

After my recovery, my husband’s parents moved in with us. My mother-in-law had been diagnosed with stage 4 blood cancer and I, therefore, quit my job to care for her full time. I nursed her to a near full recovery, but six months later, she was told that cancer had returned and more chemotherapy would be needed. She lost her brave battle in 2013. The passing of my mother-in-law was so hard for both of us, but we never really spoke about it. We would come home and it would be silent – the environment had completely changed.

A New Beginning

One month before we lost my mother-in-law, I found out I was pregnant again. My pregnancy had a lot of complications but in 2014, our son was born! We were so happy to have him in our lives and thought so much about how things had changed over the last four years. I went back into work and my husband had started working for Amazon.

After spending a couple of years with Amazon, he decided to start his own venture and went into an online sharing economy business. Everyone was telling him he was mad to be leaving his well-paid and a steady job to pursue something new, but we didn’t listen. I worked hard to support ourselves financially whilst my husband worked on the new business and cared for our son.

Inspiring Change

In 2017, we moved to Jakarta in Indonesia to work with a technology company. As we didn’t speak Indonesian, fitting in was difficult and I felt so lonely. I became unable to work and was quickly diagnosed with depression. I was also struggling with other health issues and made the decision to make some changes and better myself.

The next decision I made changed my life forever. I enrolled in a nutrition course and quickly began to understand the positive and negative impacts that food can have on the body. I, therefore, decided to be a nutrition and lifestyle consultant and “Healthy with Aparna” was born. I had put a lot of weight on during my depression, but I now know how to help both myself and others. I have done free talk shows, free online sessions; showing people how to make small changes with big results. My contributions to the field of health and nutrition have led to the Indian Government presenting me with an award for promoting female health.

In 2019, my husband received a promotion that required us to move to Singapore. The use of the English language was a welcome change and there were lots of social and charity events, as well as many volunteering opportunities. I immediately felt at home.
My aim is to create awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It’s not just about eating right, it’s about living right. People often come to me when they have a health problem and I am desperate to help them. I always encourage a long term plan because a healthy lifestyle can be better prevention than a cure.

I want to see more women living the life they aspire to have and pursuing a career that they truly desire. If you are not happy, it is difficult to help others achieve happiness – we should concentrate first and foremost on ourselves. I can help others now that I am happy and there is no better feeling!

Sometimes society is overwhelming, but I often remind myself that I cannot control the responses of other people – only my own. I am a good wife and a loving mother to our son. I am still exploring and learning – and will continue for the rest of my life.


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