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It is unfair that my SIL is staying with us for over 3 years but now even when I am pregnant, I am forbidden from going to my parents' house!
It is unfair that my SIL is staying with us for over 3 years but now even when I am pregnant, I am forbidden from going to my parents’ house!
In India, there is a social standard, that a girl travels to her parents’ house during her pregnancy and when she travels differs for each woman. Every woman dreams of giving birth to a healthy baby. That is probably why she goes to her parents’ house because she knows they will take better care of her.
I am a daughter and a daughter-in-law too. And it is time for me to go through this phase, but my mother-in-law thinks otherwise. When her own daughter’s pregnancy was confirmed, she came here and it has been three years to that, she just never went back.
Initially, her husband said it would be comfortable here as the doctor is here for consultation. Since then he kept giving reasons for not taking them. My SIL also didn’t want to leave this house as she doesn’t have to do anything here.
Right from taking care of the baby all to bathing, feeding, burping and putting the baby to sleep at night, my mother-in-law does everything. As a working woman, I had to take up additional responsibilities during this time and corona only worsened the situation.
After my pregnancy was confirmed, I told my MIL that I would like to go back to my parents’ house. As it is, I am not well, plus there are additional responsibilities and chores. I am worried I may not be able to handle it all. My MIL is willing to take up the responsibilities but I won’t be comfortable here.
There are a few reasons I say I won’t be comfortable staying here during my pregnancy. For one, if I get any cravings, my husband won’t be able to get me anything. But if I were at home, my parents would get me anything I wanted, when I wanted it.
Secondly, I would be jealous of the dual behaviour my in-laws have towards their daughter and daughter-in-law. When she was pregnant, my SIL had some really horrible mood swings where she could curse all of us for no reason except her hormones. She could vent out easily but I won’t be able to do it here since it isn’t my house but is my husband’s mother’s house.
As the daughter-in-law, I am not allowed to go out on walks or for any sort of exercise, especially with the risk of the virus. But at my parents’ place, I have more space to exercise which is what I need right now.
My in-laws are pretty orthodox so I need to have a dupatta over my head or wear a saree all the time. And I am sure it will be very uncomfortable in the last trimester of my pregnancy. But I can avoid all of that at my parents’ place.
When my sister-in-law was pregnant, my husband and I had to vacate our bedroom for her as it has an attached washroom. And we took the spare bedroom. Three years later, I have adjusted to the new room but I would be more comfortable if there were an attached bathroom, especially since I am also working from home.
My MIL has asked her to exchange rooms with us after the baby turned a year old. But she always said she’d travel back to her husband, so why to change again! It has been over a year to this and she’s still here.
My SIL also keeps demanding golden kadas, which we cannot afford right now, but, my MIL says we should give her whatever she wants. Most of my husband’s salary goes into paying off multiple loans. Thus, right now, my only chance of delivery in a decent hospital is my office’s medical insurance. However, there are a lot of things that will not be claimed there.
If I had any kadas, I would’ve given them to her. But at my wedding, I didn’t get any gold bangles or kadas since my husband and in-laws had just paid for her wedding. They didn’t have money to buy any gold for me. And soon after our wedding, she got pregnant, so her responsibility also fell on us.
I told my husband and mother-in-law that they were wrong in stopping me when their own daughter has been staying with us for over three years. Why is there this difference?
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Kumkum Bhagya
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
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The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
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