Over the years, your support has made Women’s Web the leading resource for women in India. Now, it is our turn to ask, how can we make this even more useful for you? Please take our short 5 minute questionnaire – your feedback is important to us!
The stigma of infertility is still strong in most parts of India - and most often, it is women who bear the brunt of it.
The stigma of infertility is still strong in most parts of India – and most often, it is women who bear the brunt of it.
She lay on a charpoy, a thin sheet covering her from head to toe. The hot April day, and the warm afternoon breeze made the sleepy village seem like a ghost town. Raja ka Tal is a small farming village in district Firozabad. It is here that I first met Poonam in a health camp.
“Bibiji, bachcha nahi ho raha he. Dawayee dijiye” (I am not able to have a baby. Give me medicine), she said. The treatment of Poonam’s primary infertility was beyond the scope of the mobile camp and the tiny village Raja ka Tal. She was handed over a referral slip for a check-up at Firozabad’s government hospital. She nodded faintly. I saw a tear roll down her eye when she left the camp.
Six months later, I saw a dead Poonam. Her body had thinned down considerably. “Bimar pad gayee, khana hajam nahi ho raha tha. Mar gayee” (She fell ill. She couldn’t take food anymore and passed away), said her mother. I saw her husband Rajbir at a distance, quiet and sombre.
I got the complete story from her friend Savitri. Poonam was married three years after puberty. Even after a year of marriage, she had not conceived. The taunts started and soon, Rajbir decided to marry again. It was for the want of a baby. The bride was none other than Poonam’s younger sister. For Poonam’s parents, it was a win-win situation; both daughters married at the cost of just one.
Within a month of this marriage, the news of an impending pregnancy reached Poonam. That is when the first signs of depression were noticeable. She would cry often, have temper tantrums, and developed a low degree fever. For those around her, it meant that she had gone mad. No efforts were made to treat her. It wasn’t really a priority. Within a span of four months, Poonam lay dead.
Cut to Bangalore.
I met Anusha at a plush coffee shop. The first thing I noticed was the disheveled hair and sullen eyes. “I have started my IVF and it’s taking a toll, physically and mentally”, she said. A long silence followed. This wasn’t the same energetic woman I had known five years back. “Ashok works late and travels often. But he still manages to be around for the IVF schedule. His presence is required, medically. Apart from this, we really don’t talk much”, she added.
“Why don’t you adopt?” I asked her. She said, “My in-laws had been dead against our love marriage. According to them, we are going through this infertility because we chose to marry without horoscopes being matched. Ashok would not go against them a second time. They wouldn’t accept a baby that is not of their blood. I hope God blesses me with a baby soon. I feel void and empty. It is killing me”.
First signs of depression?
Whether it is Raja ka Tal or Bangalore, the brunt of infertility is often faced by women. There exists in society, a certain element of stigma when a woman is unable to conceive. At a time when she needs mental support, she gets the taunts and bears the blame.
Much as it is important biologically for a woman to conceive, not being able to should not be the end of the road. Adoption regulations in India are getting easier, with even single women now able to adopt. A baby is all that matters for a childless couple. And adoption may well be the answer. It would reduce the mental trauma on the woman and provide a home to a child. It would bring about happiness in more than one life.
First published at author’s blog
Woman looking at pregnancy test image via Shutterstock
A blogger who writes on society and culture, hoping to bring about positive impact on as many people as possible. Read more posts on www.meotherwise.com. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Paromita advises all women to become financially independent, keep levelling up and have realistic expectations from life and relationships.
Heartfelt, emotional, and imaginative, Paromita Bardoloi’s use of language is fluid and so dreamlike sometimes that some of her posts border on the narration of a fable.
Her words have the power to touch the reader while also delivering some hard hitting truths. Paromita has no pretences in her writing and uses simple words which convey a wealth of meaning in the tradition of oral storytellers – no wonder, Paro is a much loved author on Women’s Web.
This June we celebrate twelve years of Women’s Web, a community built by you – our readers and contributors.
I watched a Tamil movie Kadaisi Vivasayi (The Last Farmer), recommended by my dad, on SonlyLiv, and many times over again since my first watch. If not for him, I’d have had no idea what I would have missed. What a piece of relevant and much needed art this movie is!
It is about an old farmer in a village (the only indigenous farmer left), who walks the path of trouble, quite unexpectedly, and tries to come out of it. I have tried my best to refrain from leaving spoilers, for I want the readers to certainly catch up on this masterpiece of director Manikandan (of Kakka Muttai fame).
The movie revolves around the farmer who goes about doing his everyday chores, sweeping his mud-house first thing in the morning, grazing the cows, etc and living a simple but contented life. He is happy doing his thing, until he invites trouble for himself out of the blue, primarily because he is illiterate and ignorant.