If a woman wants to have a child or not, it is the woman’s choice. We have no business judging her on that!
In a world where celebrities like Jennifer Aniston are quoted time and again as saying “I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on women, that you’ve failed yourself because you haven’t procreated”, do we still see the image of a mother in every woman and associate all women with kids (and the other way round)?
Here’s a couple of situations that evoke ‘frowns’, eye-rolling and exchange of glances…
At the teeniest level, women not going all ‘kuchikoo’ with kids (whether they have one or not) spark a conversation. I have an unmarried friend who always said she had headaches when she heard babies crying on her flight or in the same restaurant as her. All she got when she was honest about it was ‘stares’.
There was this other friend (a mom herself) who, when asked for advice about new-borns, was brutally honest about how hard the job is. And the response she got was “God, I wouldn’t expect that from a woman!” She loves her kids, and does everything to run the family well, but just can’t afford to be honest about how hard it is.
At ‘border-line crime’ level, women choosing not to have kids is a…well, you know what! We do hear about urban couples choosing not to have kids today (and it makes news), either because they want to live their lives to the fullest or for some other personal reason. However, it’s far from not being a ‘taboo’, and hard for people to be ‘open’ about the decision. “Log kya kahenge” and “is it okay in our culture” are certainly questions many people need to think about before making the leap.
The frowns are either ‘ignored & not talked about’, or ‘ignored when talked about’. I hope I’m not the only one who thinks they’re rude. A woman could be a nurturing mom even if she doesn’t pet every kid she comes across. Likewise, a lady could choose not to have kids of her own, but be nice and warm to others.
I think that at the very basic level, it all boils down to the fact that in India, women are looked at as ‘mothers’. Today, our society is constantly battling the topic of ‘how we look at women’, ‘how we should respect (and not harm) them’ as they are the source of all love and life.
At this juncture, the thought about ‘woman as an independent being who may not want to be a mom’ is, but of course, taboo! It’s natural for a topic like this to be side-lined, when we are discussing ‘crimes against women’. However, I feel this is just another branch emanating from the same very knotty root our country is trying to extricate itself from. The very basic thing every NGO and every other Facebook post screams about.
Just as every male out there prefers doing a different thing with his life, women could think and make choices. A 25 year old mom might love playing with every kid in the park; a 40 year-old woman who does not have a child might enjoy teaching in kindergarten; a mom of four may choose not to pet every other kid she comes across. To each, her own!
Reminds me of the controversial ‘My Choice’ video of Deepika Padukone… ‘My choice to have your baby or not’…. ‘My choice, to adore kids or not’.
Image source: youtube