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What’s It Like To Be Child Free In India, By Choice? Not Easy For Sure

What is it like to be child free in India, by choice? In a country where marriage and child birth is an obsession, its certainly not easy!

What is it like to be child free in India, by choice? In a country where marriage and child birth is an obsession, its certainly not easy!

The new age India is rapidly witnessing changes in almost every sphere. Many people are choosing to stay single, marry in the same gender, or make other decisions which are supposedly not as per social norms. While a lot of these new changes have gradually made their place in the mainstream society, a few concepts are not yet understood well enough to be accepted. Choosing to have children or not is one such desperate cry for personal freedom.

Around the world, many child free women are strongly holding on to this personal choice. In India though, being child free is as unfathomable as seeing dinosaurs in broad daylight. So even though you may decide to be child-free, people insist on believing that you are child-less. Because in India every woman ought to want to have children; in fact that is what they are born to do.

So how does it feel to be child-free/child-less in India?

First of all people do not understand why anyone would not want children.

First of all people do not understand why anyone would not want children. No amount of logical, emotional, honest conversation helps. You may have decided to be child free for a couple of years, if not forever, yet people will be desperate to convince you otherwise. Therefore, the first thing you will experience is that any conversation related to any topic in the world will eventually end in the prospect of you having children. It will always start as a question, then as soon as they will realize that having children is not on your list of to-do things, it will become a full fledged debate, sometimes a heated argument (if you can’t keep your cool, that is).

The second thing you will almost always notice is how people will make you feel that something is wrong with your life. Worse, they will try every possible way to make you believe how empty your life is. In the beginning, such encounters will leave you frustrated, angry, exhausted and so on. But eventually your patience will teach you to handle them. But one thing is for sure: because in India everybody and anybody is interested in your reproductive prowess, such encounters are guaranteed to be many.

The last thing any person wants is alienation in any form. And being child free will earn you just that.

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The last thing any person wants is alienation in any form. And being child free will earn you just that. So while you would be ignorantly sitting in the cosiness of your child free haven, the entire colony/building would be celebrating some tiny tot’s birthday. Almost as a conspiracy! Not only will you be categorically not invited, but at other times amidst mothers, you will feel out of place or even out of this world. Because needless to say, you will not be trusted enough to give your two cents about good parenting.

And if all this does not fluster you, wait for the day you grow a tummy. All eyes will turn into x-ray machines, trying to decipher the stage of your pregnancy. The disappointment on their faces will make you feel like nothing short of a criminal, when you announce that it’s just fat.

Eventually, some people succumb to this enormous pressure of having a child and thus grudgingly start a family, while there are some who feel that  their time has come and they voluntarily decide to take the plunge. And then there are those, who stand firmly by their decision and live a child free life, happily amidst this madness.

Having a child is not a social obligation; in fact it is not an obligation at all but a very intimate decision that affects at the most three lives at once. Whatever a person’s personal choice be, the worst a society can do is make them feel guilty or worse still, unwanted.

A child free woman is neither evil nor selfish (unlike what many people would like to believe). In fact, she is honest and courageous enough to stand by her choice. It is high time the world let her be and gave the right of the uterus to whom it rightfully belongs.

Empty swing image via Shutterstock

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Gita Negi

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