Motherhood.

          C H I L D R E N.
   People are always so curious about this particular area  of our life, isn’t it? A married couple has to face this question from time to time: “Do you have kids?” When some of us reply in the affirmative, the response is,
       “You do? Wow! Aren’t they a blessing?!”
But, heaven forbid if one was to reply in the negative! The instant reaction is arched eyebrows that hit the roof, indignation writ large on the face and eyes that bore holes through your conscience, asking you,
         “NO? You DON’T have kids!? WHY? Don’t you like kids?”
       It fills the couple with such guilt, as if they have committed sacrilege, or some such thing! God help such couples. Especially, the woman.

      It is a matter of great  concern for the society if a woman hasn’t had a child. An avalanche of whys and wherefores follows the woman everywhere she goes. Her replies, which fail to satiate people’s curiosity, are followed with counterarguments that can wreck havoc on her psyche. Her decisions are then  dissected some more; a sadistic pleasure derived out of the entire exercise.  Finally, after having had  their fill of fodder for gossip and discussed the minutest details of the woman’s life, life gets back to normal – for the society and for the poor woman.
      Maybe they find greener pastures and leave that woman in peace! I know. I have been through the entire  roller-coaster ride of being interrogated, ridiculed…Ugh! Now that I am way past the childbearing age, I am able to live in peace. Another reason why I am living in peace is, I brought home a dog and brought him up as my child. Of course, it had its own set of teething troubles. For, when I did get him home a decade ago, there  began another round of questioning.
      “Why an animal?Why not adopt a child?Why not make use of the latest fertility treatments?Who will be your support in your old age?” Aargh! As if it made any difference in their lives that I brought home an animal!
        It amuses me, the kind of reasons people come up with! Do they really worry who will care for me in my old age? As if every child cares for his parents when they get old. A countless sad stories we have heard of children literally throwing their parents out of their own homes…I don’t even want to think about it!
     It is the most personal matter – childbirth – and it should be left to the woman to decide if she wants to have any. It definitely will not make her incomplete.  It should not! A woman is complete the way she is! Yes, there’s this notion that making use of the ability to give birth to a child through one’s womb, is being thankful to our Creator for His blessing. But, not putting that womb to good use is not going to hurt the Creator’s sentiments; He knows why we do what we do!
           I wonder when the day will arise when decisions as intimate as marriage and having children will be the concerned person’s prerogative. It can be stifling following societal norms when the heart isn’t ready for such momentous decisions. There could be reasons why someone would prefer staying single for the rest of their lives, or why someone might decide to give up the thought of bringing a child into this world. It’s their life, why must the world  bother?
        Just let people be!
     

   

24 Replies to “Motherhood.”

  1. It is sad but that is the way our nosey society is. Before you are married, they are worried sick why you aren't. Then they are worried that you have no children. And then they are worried why you have only one or not a girl/boy. There is no end to this. All one has to do is to block them out. As long as the couple are happy, it is none of anyone's business to butt their noses in their private decisions.

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  2. As Rachna says, Shilpa, this will be a never-ending loop since society is not going to change any time soon. As long as you are happy with your life choices, what other people think should not matter to you in the least.Trust me on this.

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  3. Misery loves company? No, I'm only joking. I love my own kids, but they do drive me crazy sometimes. My son, who I always thought would make an excellent father, has chosen a girl who doesn't want children. The nos have it in the relationship, so I won't be expecting two-legged grandchildren from this pair (although apparently I'm already the grandma of a four-footed, furry creature). It's very hard for me, but I'm trying my best to accept that decision. I do agree that as a society we need to work harder at letting others be who they were meant to be, whether we understand or not.

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  4. It is not at all easy to be in that space where people constantly pry upon your childless status. Just an year into the marriage is also made out to be a great deal if the woman does not pregnant. If the childless woman is a career woman then she is outcasted as a selfish being. I had my son after 5 years of marriage so you may realise I must have been through all this and some more since I lived in Joint family. Now the question is when is the second one coming and my blunt answer is never. One is enough.

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  5. Yep! People suck. Trust me. They get into it as well for other things. Like how many animals you own, how you raise a child, how you treat your dog, if you rent or own, go to church don't go, etc. People are nosy and selfish and incredibly discriminatory. I think the key is to drown out their negativity by just being awesome. And maybe taking them down a peg or two.

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  6. True Shilpa. I remember people hinting about having a baby soon in the first week of getting married. It was ridiculous. Hubbyband me hadn't even gotten to start living and know each other and here were people talking aboutbrining in another lofe.

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  7. Yes, Shailaja. And, I AM happy! People do get taken aback when I say that I don't want kids and now I am way beyond that age. But, it does not matter to me anymore how they feel. It's how I feel that matters!

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  8. I can understand how you must feel, Cathy. Just yesterday I had this argument with my father. But, thats how parents will feel. But, its okay, really. It's the other people's meddling that gets on the nerves!

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  9. I've met a couple who decided not to have kids because they wanted to be free of any attachment and this was way back in the 90s. They were strong and nothing bothered them. And eventually people just stopped asking because no one knew how to respond to their reason for not wanting children.

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  10. I was nodding my head all along, Shilpa. It just doesn't stop. You have one kid, people will ask when's the second coming? No second? Hawww…how come? SO cruel of you to not wish another…one MUST have at least two..and so on. It's not easy to shut the annoying noises out but we can try and we must for our sanity's sake. Hugs to you, Shilpa. I understand.

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  11. I especially like this line because it gets to the heart of the intention: “Do they really worry who will care for me in my old age?” I, too, did not have children and am long past the age when I could have had them. Fortunately, I'm not asked this question often. Thanks for posting on yeah write.

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  12. Shilpa people always have a problem with the way others lead a life if it is even a tiny bit different. If you don't have kids they'll ask why you don't, if you have one – they'll ask why you have only one, if you have boys – they'll ask don't you miss having a girl, and if you have girls, you just must have a boy!! It is unending, really. We had our share of questions because we decided to postpone having children. Sigh! One learns to live with it and pass a caustic remark or two to shut up the busy bodies. Sometimes having twenty children doesn't make a family complete and sometimes a pet can be your entire family.

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  13. Tulika, you are so right. People's questions are never-ending. Whatever you do, they are never happy! But, this entire experience has taught me to keep my nose out of other people's business. So, in a way, I am glad I had to go through it all! And, yes, a pet can and does become an entire family! 🙂 ❤

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