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Guest Blogger The Girl Next Door as the name implies, is just another ordinary girl with ordinary dreams and ordinary desires – but she likes to imagine that she leads an extraordinary life, in her own way!
There are 3 words that every newly married Indian woman dreads. If you’ve been married for more than 2 months you would know exactly what I am talking about. You would have surely faced the inevitable question, “Any good news?”
I’ve been married for more than 3 years now and we are yet to have any kids – partly by choice and partly due to circumstances; so one can imagine the number of times I’ve been asked the very same question – in a variety of ways, ranging from the direct ones to the cleverly disguised, accusatory, persuasive and not to mention the inquisitive types.
In the beginning my answers were rather polite; soon they became quite sarcastic. Last year when I was subjected to yet another interrogation by yet another xyz, I replied, “Oh actually, we are waiting to see if the Mayan predictions are coming true. I mean if the world is going to end soon then no point in having a baby now right?” Sadly, my sarcasm was lost on the aforementioned interrogator.
However my patience is wearing thin and I’m running out of witty retorts. Whether we choose to have children or not is seriously nobody’s business. And what is even more irritating is why does no one pose these questions to the man of the house?!? Procreation afterall depends on him too na? Why should I always be the one to answer such unwanted questions? Grrr!
On a serious note, why do we make such a big issue out of having or not having children anyway? It’s not as if the human race is on the verge of extinction that breeding must be of the highest priority. Why “must” we all compulsorily have kids? Grow up, get married, have kids – why is the journey of life writ in stone for Indian women? The next person who asks me about my “family plans” is going to hear, “We have decided not to have any children, ever.” Hopefully that should be scandalous enough to shock them into silence!
I do like kids and I admire all mothers out there for their patience, strength, determination, perseverance and wisdom. Do I have it in me to be a good mom? Honestly, I don’t know.
Spending a day with my niece is enough to make me wonder from where mothers get their energy from. Yes children are so cute and it is fun to spend time with them – as long as you can hand them back to their respective mothers when they cry/scream/throw-up/poop. Mothers, truly, need to have the capacity to love unconditionally. A mother can simply not afford to feel lazy or fall sick. Is a mother born or does life mould her into one? Should a woman be selfless and sacrificing to become a mother or does she change after she becomes one?
Someday, when the time is right, I would like to become a mother. Someday I would like to hold a beautiful little baby in my arms and inhale its sweetness. Someday I would like to see my husband grow into a loving and responsible dad. Someday I would like to marvel at my own living miracle, which would bear testimony to the love and the life that we share.
But till then, I am going to enjoy my life; savouring every lazy Sunday morning, sipping piping hot coffee in bed, while watching the clouds float by, without anything else needing my attention; reveling in every long, warm and soothing shower without little hands hammering on the bathroom door, the freedom to eat last night’s reheated leftovers for lunch instead of worrying about making fresh food for sensitive tummies, the liberty to fight with my husband and cuss without worrying that little ears might be listening. In short, until my bundle of joy arrives in its own sweet time, I choose to live my life – carefree and a teeny bit selfishly! After all child“less” or child“free”– it all depends on how you see it.
*Photo credit: pascal79.
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Indian society is still immature. I doubt their are many Indian families who would choose to adopt an orphan rather than have children of their own and hence add to the overpopulation problem of our country. Most Indians think that a women’s life is unsuccessful as long as she is unmarried or without children.
the best part is some long lost aunt calling and saying ,”,she has good news,she is younger to u u see,when are you planning to have?????” as if we can reproduce asexually
We have all travelled this particular road. But there is also a growing trend in urban India of women choosing to marry late, and have children much later. I know of mothers who had their children in their late thirties and even early forties. I’m sure they faced a lot of flak from society as well. But most importantly, their children are loved and cherished that much more. Ultimately, as long as the couple agrees on what is right for their life, it is easy to ignore social inquisitiveness.
Having children is one of the most complex decisions that most people do not think twice about. Also it is great that you are taking time to smell the roses because once you have a kid it will be a while before you can even think of smelling anything 🙂 I have a eight month old and nothing is more joyful than being with him but am glad he was born when he was born because any time earlier I wouldnt have been prepared and couldn’t have coped with the demands. A mother is definetly not born and not every minute is pure joy but in the long run it is worth it. Take your time but you will never be ready, know what I mean? 🙂
On our very first anniversary we declared for the benefit of “all concerned” that we plan to have children only after our 5th wedding anniversary…that did shut up everyone on our faces atleast…indirect suggestions were always floating around, but they were blatantly ignored!
It was a pleasure to read such a well written piece! Thank you!
whether u have a child early or late, they bring a lot of joy and make life worthwhile as long as they are children. But once they grow up and have minds of their own, start criticising you, be ungrateful, it does make one wonder whether it was worth it at all the joys and the sorrows of bringing them up. But then the cycle of life goes on and when they go through all these experiences life would have moved a full circle for you!
You echoed my sentiments in this post. I have been married for more than 2 years now but have been entertaining the “any good news?” question right after our marriage was barely six months old. My husband’s cousins and aunts always want to know when we will have a baby. Some months ago, my mother-in-law decided that i should be taken to a doctor for “treatment” to have a baby, assuming that I was having a medical problem. She keeps telling my mother to talk to me about having a kid. Sigh! The good thing is that me and my husband have a good laugh at all this and continue to live our lives. Living in a joint family is bad enough. Sulking over the eccentric demands of in-laws is just not worth any effort.
How about a polite “Mind your f*cking business”? No? They try “When the time is right for us. Now let’s move on to things that are any of your business.”
My wife and I are married for 3 years now and the poor girl indeed faces the question much more than I do :).
That said, that late marriage and late children is a boon to India and mankind. It will be 50-60 more years, but women empowerment/education leading to fewer kids born well into woman’s 30s will start reducing world’s population for good – all of East Asia/W-Europe are examples.
It is sad that people (especially MIL) see us as baby making machines. I went through the same @#$# before my daughter was born. After she was born, she wants me to have another one and preferably a son 🙂
I truly think that we should have kids only and only when the Mother is ready. After the kid is born 95% of the upbringing is done by the mother and unless she is ready for a total lifestyle change things will get tough for everybody.
Tell me about it…i have been married three years and now even my sister in laws have started suggesting that I should have a baby as it will make everybody so happy.I wonder if anybody is even considering my happiness or even my view on that matter.
I definitely don’t like and agree with the pressure that the newly wed girls receive. I believe new couples should work on making their relationship strong before they have children. Also they need to mentally and emotionally prepare to be parents. I think educated couples should raise more children because they have the resources to raise healthy children in every way. The poor and uneducated due to lack of knowledge get married early and have children by dozens who are sick and not well educated. So today as a country we have high rate of infant mortality rate, anemic women and 40 to 60 percent of illiteracy still exist.
Sure…..Its very very very essential to have children only when we are completely ready. I had my kid though even if I was so ready. It was the pressure that was getting to me and I blatantly believed all the talks of the MIL saying that I will look after the kid even if have to crawl on the floor. Sadly though now its me crawling on the floor now and I took a long time to stop resenting the fact that I had to give up big time on my career and my lifestyle. I love my daughter with all my heart and never want to let her go….but I always envy the lives of my childless friends who keep taking of on the whim for trips and other stuff….I only live in the hope that this is not forever my daughter will go and I can finally do the “whim” thing…..hope…..
Its waiting for my daughter to grow…..man…u need an edit button…..
Wonderful article..like these are my thoughts exactly! I am in my third year of marriage, and so very tired of fending questions, I am seriously running out of witty sarcasm laden retorts for ‘good news mongers’ (who sadly never get it). Yes, and no one ever asks my husband about it…as if he has no role to play in us having a baby! ergghh. Thanks to the author…best wishes.
This article is like a slap on the face of those inquisitive, can’t-mind-their-own-business people. It’s very irritating when they poke their noses into things that do not concern them in any way. Motherhood is a choice!
Same thing happened with me Snehal Naik…. And seriously its so irritating…
All this is fine if the husband and wife both agree. What if the husband wants a baby and the wife is still not ready ???!!! Now that’s a tricky situation!
We have been married for 4.5 years and I turned 30 recently. i had the above attitude for the first 4 years. But now I feel that I should have listened to elders. We have been trying for 8 months, but we are not able to conceive. I agree that you should have the choice when to have kids, but as you age, it becomes difficult to conceive. May be that’s the reason our parents pressurize to have kids before 30.
Well, I was feeling exactly 100 % same as this post since I got married. I was even popped up with “when are you giving good news question” the next day of our wedding even though wedding lasted whole night and we did not celebrate the first night yet!!!
These questions were really annoying for first 2 yrs and then we started to think about family planning and tried for a year and came to know certain issues I had in conceiving. So we were trying hard but I was NOT able to conceive. But finally miracle happened and I have a bundle of joy (my son) that is 21 month old now. What I have learned in this whole process is sooner you have kids better it is. Also it is NOT that I felt on top of the world after I delivered baby … Its not easy but its aaall worth it. Nature molds you in mother. But what I have learned and observed is my friends who had kids earlier are happier now. We feel we are kind of late but still better late than never. It would have been better if we would have planned about having kid early in life. And I understand why people in India keep asking such questions. It is kind of preparing you mentally for the next phase of life.
So well said, dear! And it is not just old ladies who don’t have much to do; it is females your age who will not stop advising you . I still remember this girl in the building I had moved in , just a few months ago, who dropped in on my first wedding anniversary. I gave her a nice big piece of cake , and a few goodies, merrily informing her of the occasion. And her jaw dropped! What, and you are not yet planning a baby?
I was amazed ! Can’t we at least enjoy our first wedding anniversary, without changing nappies. You can certainly wait a couple of years and then settle down to blissful motherhood ( as I eventually did)
Amazing article… But its time to move on. Being a mother does not necessarily requires you to deliver a baby biologically. There are kids in orphanages who require a family… I have a son and a daughter. Son is biological and we adopted our daughter.
Love your article! Says everything exactly the way I feel.
Actually, what hurts more is the stigma attached to a woman without a children. I do not have children because of medical issues and i am pretty straightforward when someone asks me, ‘your children?’ as i tell them i can’t have children and they look at me with guilt, sympathy and some other expression i have not been able to decipher. Some even say, “Sorry’. I ask why yaar, i am ok with it, why aren’t you? I love children and when I go to Kerala, i prefer hanging with them rather the so-called adults but even then, i hear comments that say that I hang out with children because I dont have one of my own. Really! Then this is how things will be. It is not just in India but I think world over. I was reading one interview of actress Jennifer Aniston online and below were comments on her being in her 40s and not having children yet. When will people grow up?
Reading this article makes me feel that the younger lot of Indian women today who consider themselves to be very ‘modern and educated’ are really not so very mature.
We are trying to ape western women who take umbrage at the drop of a hat.
If someone within the family or friend circle asks this ‘terrible’ question is it something so very abnormal?
In case someone becomes very insistent then it could be considered as something second degree.
Best is to just smile and say something innocuous then move away.
Why have we become so touchy and over-sensitive?
What is the point of making a mountain of a molehill?
Maybe now I shall have to show ‘tolerance ‘ towards the torrent of rebuttals that will be aimed at me due to my harmless comment!
Problem is that the older generation always feel they can say/do whatever they want and the younger generation shouldn’t take umbridge. Instead of admiring the younger women of being conscious of her own desires they irritate her with stupid questions.
I don’t stand with the people who start to question others personal life about their family plan. Keep respect. It’s none of our business to ask about others personal plan. They have their own choice and plan.
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