Some years ago an incident took place, which I haven’t been able to forget, till date. I was out one evening, walking my pet dog, when a woman residing in  my building met me for the first time, and the following conversation, or should I say interrogation, ensued..
   SHE : Is it your dog?
   I      : Yes.
    SHE : Why do you have a dog?
   I  : Because I like dogs.
  SHE : Don’t you have any children?
   I : No.
  SHE : Why ?
   I kept silent.
   SHE : Do you have a dog because you don’t have children?
 I was agitated and had no intentions to answer her questions so, I just mumbled something and walked away. Now, this woman didn’t even know my name, but, she wanted to know the reason why I didn’t have children! Being a stranger, she should have had the courtesy to simply ask me my name. And she being a stranger, I did not want to disclose any personal matters to her. But, what is it about a woman without a child, that arouses curiosity in people? Does the absence of a child make the woman different or incomplete? And why can’t people accept that there might be certain reasons behind such decisions, that is, reason why the woman is ‘ not a mother’? Why don’t people just leave us alone instead of badgering us with all sorts of questions?
    Agreed, that having a baby, or rather, creating a human being in her womb and bringing it safely into this world is a blessing bestowed by our creator on the woman. Agreed, that it is a privilege for the woman to be a part of this miracle called ‘child birth’, but, does not being able to use that privilege make her less of a woman? That is how it is perceived in our society So, If I look at myself from society’s point of view, I am not a complete woman, is that so? Am I a disgrace to my creator because I have not made use of His special blessing to me? I don’t think so.  I think , and know, that I, and many women like me, have made the right decision. We may not have brought a human being into this world, but, we did save a human being from leading a life of misery and pain had it been born in spite of the health risks involved. And doesn’t a mother do her best to protect her child from adversity? So, doesn’t that make us much more loving mothers?
    I do have a child, though-my pet dog, And he may not be born in my womb, but, he grew in my heart! I have brought him up well. I shower him with my maternal instincts and love him unconditionally. I look after his health and understand his moods and his needs perfectly well. And I just read that ” being a MOTHER doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means loving someone unconditionally and with your whole heart”!  So, we – I speak on behalf of all the women in a similar situation- may not have used our ‘ privileges ‘ ,but, we have surely used our hearts in a way He wanted us to, thus making Him proud of his creations!
    Every woman on earth is a mother, making use of her blessing and special privileges. She showers a child with her endless love and affection. The child may not belong to the human race, or may not be born to her, but, that does not make her less of a ‘mother’. And, I think, this is what the world needs to understand and appreciate.

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Published by shilpagupte

Do you know the secret to living a happy life? Eat. Pray. Love. Or, watch what you eat, wish well for all and fill your heart with love! That's precisely what I try to do through my blogs: 'Metanoia', the wellness blogazine, and 'Fictionista', my blog for fiction and non-fiction. Welcome to my virtual homes!

14 thoughts on “Motherhood

  1. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE is the only defination of 'MOTHER'.I totally agree with you Shilpa, this love can be for her own child, for other's children or for her pet. Love is love.Perhaps the Indian woman mindset is still such that she believes delivering a baby is the only purpose of her life.She is brought up in such a way that unfortunately she believes all can be well only when she delivers a baby.


  2. This resonates with me as I just published a blog post last week on this subject “I was born a mother.” I didn't have a baby until I was 40 years old but I was a mother long before I had children, You are right. Motherhood is nurturing and loving and giving and that is imparted to people, pets or children. She had no right to be so rude to you.


  3. I so hear you on this one Shilpa. Really?! Such an odd question as nowadays women may not even be fertile to carry a child! And I so agree with you in that my adopted cat was “my baby!” 😉 ❤


  4. People, right!! They ask questions as if they can't sleep if we don't answer them the way they want. I have one kid, 1 year after he was born people started telling that now its time for me to have another one. Honestly, I hate when someone else talk to me like that. I just get so much angry. No one cares how we live, how happy are we and all, but they have an opinion on how we should live. Its pathetic!


  5. So troe, Vinitha. Thats how people are. But, there is one thing I have learnt from such things, and that is I do not bother what goes on in other people's lives, neither do I go, give them my opinions as to what they should be doing and when and how etc.


  6. Good grief! That woman had a lot of nerve to approach you! I've certainly had my share of inappropriate comments too, Hubby and I love our dogs but never had any desire for human children. You are so right that we are all mothers and fathers in some way, just not necessarily the conventional one.


  7. The next time someone asks me such a question, I am going to be shameless and ask them, why they have children and not dogs! Hope that shuts their mouths! 🙂
    You are so true, Debbie! We are parents, but to different kind of babies.


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