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“My parents have only me as their son. Isn’t it my responsibility to take care of their needs and wishes at this age? The topic of adoption would devastate them.”
It was the dreaded day… I woke up but didn’t feel like getting up. I tossed and turned till my husband came closer to me and asked me lovingly, “Did you check?”
Surprisingly, this day is never forgotten!
Reluctantly, I got up and went with the kit into the bathroom. I have lost count of the number of kits used in the past one year since we had started the fertility treatment. I was excited the first few times and eager to check before anyone forced me to. But after numerous injections, tests and the hormonal upheavals in my body and mind, this just didn’t feel like something I’m keen to do.
My in-laws moved in to stay with us as soon as they got to know that their only son’s wife wasn’t able to conceive naturally within a few months of ‘trying’. They drove me to my wits’ end with constant comparisons with other relatives and families who were teeming with the joy of one or more children in their homes! They started pestering me to visit a fertility clinic as “their family had a history of healthy males and it must be I who had some problem”. The fertility specialist insisted on coming with the husband and so our trips together began…
The conclusion was clear- there was no physical ailment stopping us from having children. We could keep on trying for a year or so without any medical intervention, but since we were extremely eager- to- be-parents and under the pressure from our family, we started the treatment.
There were days when I just needed to sleep off the stress and then were the days when I just needed to be at work – to get some respite from the family that constantly reminded me of the ongoings of the biological cycle within me! No exam or interview had ever been so stressful than getting up to test for pregnancy every month for those few days…
My partner in this, my husband… we had built such a beautiful relationship in the past five years of togetherness; never had we thought that anything could come between us to disrupt our lives.
He had become more silent and had no say in front of his parents.
“Ajay, why don’t you tell them that we are in no hurry to have kids? We can even think of adoption. Right now, we have our hands full with our career goals,” I had asked him.
His cold reply made us drift apart emotionally. “My parents have only me as their son. Isn’t it my responsibility to take care of their needs and wishes at this age? The topic of adoption would devastate them. How will they face my sister’s family and other relatives? We’d better take this upon ourselves to get positive results as soon as possible.”
And so ended my one and only support I was seemingly trying to cling on to. My calls for help fell on deaf ears. I even looked towards my mother-in-law, trying to make her understand my problem, but their ‘stature’ in the community was of utmost importance to her, and a child in the family would surely bring them the coveted status!
The resilience in me surprised even me and I went on with the treatment and the emotional turmoils it brought along. All the treatment episodes were supposed to be hushed up lest the relatives got a whiff of this and gossip would spread faster than a forest fire defaming the family name in the community! I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone from my family either.
My love for children has always been very confusing to me but does that make me a bad person? I don’t know… but now I am all the more sure than ever before about what I want in life.
The past few days had put me through sleepless nights and I came up with this decision. Taking a deep breath, I went out of the bathroom without using the kit and told my husband, who was looking at me with eyes filled with curiosity, “I don’t want to have children.”
The shock on his face did not come as a surprise. Without uttering a word to me, he went out and told his family, and then all hell broke loose. They started cursing me and calling me names. I quietly packed my bags and told my husband to call me when he needed a life partner, not just a child-bearing being!
As I walk away from my so-called family, I heave a huge sigh of relief, as if a burden is lifted from my shoulders… definitely this is what it feels to be free!
Image source: a still from Ghost Stories
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