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Even after 3 years of marriage, if you haven't had a kid, people wonder if there's something wrong with you. But what if you're simply not ready for it?
Even after 3 years of marriage, if you haven’t had a kid, people wonder if there’s something wrong with you. But what if you’re simply not ready for it?
In our society, family planning is a matter of public concern. Once you get married, you are expected to procreate immediately, as if it is the only reason you got married for.
I have already elaborated this social trauma earlier in my post, “Is the Sole Purpose of Getting Married to Become a Licensed Baby-producing Machine.” But even delivering good news has consequences!
Once you cross the three year mark of your married life without having any children, it is assumed that you have infertility issues. No matter how much you try to explain that nothing’s wrong with you, nobody listens.
They assume that you are lying. Worse, the wife is automatically assumed to be one with some problem with her reproductive system. Aunties will suggest that you consult a doctor.
When we decided that we are ready to start a family, we sought out a non-commercial gynaecologist and obstetrician for guidance. She prescribed nothing but prenatal supplements for me.
We announced our pregnancy in the seventh year of our marriage. Planning a baby so late is blasphemy in our society. Matters were worse because my sisters-in-law, who got married four years after us, were pregnant within a year of their weddings.
So relatives and acquaintances assumed that something was wrong with us. Let alone women, even my brother-in-law asked why did we start seeing a doctor in the first place and if I had any other issue before conceiving.
Having children is life long responsibility and we wanted to take time before plunging into parenthood. Also, being eldest in the family already meant a lot of responsibilities and we wanted things to settle down before the baby arrived.
But who is interested in such explanations! Nobody believed we consulted a doctor just for guidance. The spice of the matter was in simply gossiping that we had medical problems.
So here I am now, mother of almost two month old girl cherub, born through normal delivery. However, I am still under scrutiny for having a baby after seven years of marriage.
Women in the family are citing my example as a case of successful treatment. They want me to share the details of my doctor with other couples without children. Most of these couples, I am sure, haven’t decided yet whether they want to start a family.
I know I can’t go on explaining why we had a baby late (going by societal standards) But please people, keep your concerns to your kind selves and mind your own business. It is my life and my body.
I know my priorities and concerns of my life better than anyone else. And don’t even start advising now that our little girl should have a sibling soon to play with!
So ladies, if you are in the same ship as me, don’t give a fig to what aunties and other people are saying to or about you. Start a family when you want to and are ready. If are not keen on having kids, it is entirely up to you. At the end of the day, it is your and your partner’s decision, and nobody else’s. Period.
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: