Nikesh Shukla: “Becoming a dad has changed the way I view my creative practice”

Mental Health

Father of two and author of the recently released Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home, shares how being a dad completely changed his perspective on life and writing, on Happiful’s podcast I am. I have

Nikesh Shukla’s podcast Brown Baby has the most joyful intro music I have heard in recent times. It’s been lovingly created by one of his two young daughters, bashing a musical instrument and singing the words of the title in the enthusiastic way only a child can.

The podcast came about as a result of Nikesh’s most recent book Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home. It’s a beautiful, poignant memoir in which he writes about the world and his journey into fatherhood as if speaking to his first-born. He addresses huge subjects including race, feminism, the loss of his own parent and mental health, sharing memories of his childhood and feelings around learning to be a dad, without his mum.

With his experience of fatherhood at the centre of both his recent offering (Nikesh has a huge list of titles to his name and edited the highly acclaimed book of essays The Good Immigrant) and also his podcast, it’s fair to say that his role as a parent is one that’s shaping his creative output and conversations at this stage in his life.

“I do think that becoming a dad has changed the way I view my creative practice, I view my writing, I view who it’s for,” he shares on Happiful’s podcast. “It’s changed everything, it’s changed the way I work and the opportunities that I take.”

Nikesh is all too aware that women are often questioned by the media about becoming a parent (regardless of whether it’s relevant to the wider conversation), whereas the impact of having children is not a regular question for men, in many instances.

“I see women who are parents are constantly asked about how becoming a mother has affected whatever artform or whatever creative practice they have. Men are never asked that.”

With the release of his book, and the brilliant ongoing conversations on the podcast, Nikesh hopes that sharing his own honest experiences of being a parent will help to reassure others that they’re not alone in considering the huge questions that come with having children.

“A lot of my thoughts about being a parent have come from conversations with other parents and the book is a series of conversations, and I decided that I wanted to put those conversations that I was having ‘out there’. I think that the book is an open hearted love letter, an act of love, and hopefully it will resonate.

“Basically, it’s the book I wish I’d read before I had my first kid and it’s the podcast I wish I could have listened to at 2am in the morning when I was walking around Bristol with my daughter in a pram, desperate for her to go to sleep.”

Listen to Nikesh’s episode of I am. I have.

Check out Nikesh’s writing.

A feature on Nikesh’s thoughts around fatherhood, writing, honest discussions around race, and mental health will be in the April edition of Happiful Magazine.

If you’d like to find the right therapist for you, visit Counselling Directory.

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