An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

Sharing an email.

Hello Maam,

I’m a young single woman working as a professional. I want to share a
problem regarding my close friend who got married about two years ago.
Hers was an arranged marriage and there were no issues about her
pursuing a career after marriage. She is now pregnant with her first
child. But she isn’t mentally prepared to go through with this as it
will be detrimental to her career which is still in its formative years.

Her husband is strictly against an abortion as he wants to have
a kid. And though her mother in law wanted a gender test, her husband
strongly opposed the idea. She is considering having an abortion
without telling her husband about it. But I don’t know if that would
be the best option. It is inevitable that he would get to know about
it sooner or later.

Apart from the legal issues, where exactly do you think this problem
stands as per my friend’s married life? Should she give up a few years
of her career to save her marriage which is fine otherwise? I feel at
a loss to advise her on her problem and hence would like your views on
the matter. I don’t mind if you put this up on your blog since it
would provide a variety of sensible suggestions from your readers
which would help in solving this problem for her.

Also, I would like to know your views on whether a husband should have
a legal influence on his wife’s decision to undergo an abortion. Or even a reverse situation where a husband wants his wife to have an abortion if he is not prepared to have a child but she wants to continue with the pregnancy.

I’m still in the process of searching for the legal aspects in such situations.

Thanks and best wishes.

Related Posts:

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

Why I wanted payment for labour and the associated work. – The Bride

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

185 thoughts on “An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

  1. She should tell her Husband about abortion and explain him everything.
    without his knowledge if she goes ahead the family life will not remain same and she will lose the trust of her husband forever.

  2. tricky isn’t it? On one hand, it’s her body, she has the right to do what she wants. On the other hand, the husband has a right to know as it’s his baby too.

    That being said… right now… the situation is this. The woman is pregnant, she doesn’t want to be pregnant. She doesn’t want to tell her husband, I think it looks like she feels her views will not be considered and that she will be forced to have the baby that she doesn’t want.

    It’s her choice. If she doesn’t want the baby, she should abort. But she should tell the husband. Maybe afterwards, if she fears that he will otherwise not let her abort. But he deserves to know.

  3. If she does not feel she can carry the fetus to term, she should not carry it. Her body her choice. She could discuss it with her husband if she feels safe doing so, but not if she feels he will coerce her to carry it. A marriage cannot be saved by having a baby, it needs the spouses to actively connect with each other.

  4. Ideally, they should have been in this together, had a talk about it when they got married and figured out how it’s going to work in case of accidents or otherwise. These are emotional issues though and you can’t always be that rational about them.

    For couples in a relationship, I think if one partner is strongly against having the baby then the other one should not impose a baby on him/her. It’s a really big deal and you shouldn’t force it on your partner if you care about their well being. My husband says “it’s finally the woman’s choice, it’s going to come out of her”, which I agree with. Every person has the right to decide what happens to their body. As a woman, I still personally wouldn’t impose it on my partner, as long that decision didn’t medically threaten me and was made early enough that the baby wasn’t a ‘baby’ yet.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this situation can quite be ‘equal’. While neither partner should ideally impose a baby on the other, men can’t be allowed to force abortions on women. I’m not counting the morning after pill here, I mean abortion abortion. It is a medical procedure with risks and can have a negative impact on the woman’s health or even kill her. If those consequences come out of her own decision, fair enough, but no one should be able to force them on her. I think that’s what the law says and I agree with it.

    Also, the MIL had to ask for the gender test, eh? Just in case people forget she an indian MIL. Sigh.

    • I completely agree with your comment. Thankfully someone has come up with the most important thing which is the health of the pregnant woman.

      Obviously it is the woman’s body and her right to decide whether or not she wants to continue with the pregnancy. But we don’t really know if the husband in this case is against abortion because of a health risk to his wife or only for want of a baby.

      As you rightly said, any elective abortion is a medical procedure and comes with its risks of complications. It is not just like having an enema. If the wife is completely fine in health, it should be completely her call. But if she is not, then her decision has to be backed up by medical advice irrespective of the effects on her married life.

      As for the gender test, obviously such people don’t think it’s wrong, but probably they also don’t know it’s illegal.

      • Gender based abortion is wrong and illegal ?? Think again.

        Female feticide should be legalised. Prohibition of female feticide is nothing but moral policing. How can someone tell a woman to like a girl or even a boy ?

        Don’t believe your eyes ? Check this. http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2012/philosophy/abortion-do-you-value-the-life-of-a-human-above-that-of-an-animal.html/#comment-15721

        Sorry Mr. Aamir Khan, but you made a complete fool of yourself on national tv.

      • Dear indianhomemaker,

        I had commented twice on this space but I’m surprised that my comment was not published. I do not think my comment was abusive or racist or any of the sort which is not allowed on your blog. I accept it was purely sarcastic but it was not directed towards you or your post or your blog. Still if you feel that it does not qualify to be published here, it is entirely your decision.

        I have been a silent reader of your blog for close to two years and comment only when I feel strongly enough about something I read. Having experienced a near and dear one who was forced to abort female fetuses more than once even before I could be aware of her ordeal, it hurts when I see someone insulting Indian women by saying no woman is forced to abort a female fetus but they do it out of their will. That is what I wanted to bring to the notice of everyone through my comment.

        I’m not expecting this comment to be published. And I do not intend it to be published too. But I want you to introspect why you selectively removed my comment. In the past you have rightfully questioned random people on their mindsets because of their comments on various social platforms. I may be wrong in this particular matter but what should prevent anyone to question a warped mindset specially when the same person can be accused of double speak by appearing pro-feminist on your blog. Is questioning and debating someone’s views is so wrong that even my voice be suppressed ? Because the first thing one can see on your blog is the statement – I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it. Unless my words are offensive, I do not see why I cannot share my views with others. But in the end it is your blog and your decision.

        But again I will request you to introspect since I have admired you for expressing your views on an issue like female feticide in the past. A random person’s views would not and should not matter to you but what you think matters to me because your blog has provided me hope against hopelessness for females in India.

        • Dear Karan, This is a discussion about abortion and women having a say in what happens to their bodies, which is not the same as Sex Selection. Sex Selection has been discussed in many other posts. – IHM

        • Thank you IHM. I think I acted in haste to express my views when I saw someone mention gender test. I will keep in mind to comment at the appropriate place in future.

      • Generally speaking, there are no medical risks to the mother from an abortion performed in a medically competent way.

        More specifically, an abortion carries significantly LOWER risk than a pregnancy, thus for a pregnant woman having an abortion will be safer than the alternative of not having an abortion.

        I am sure exceptional circumstances could conceivably exist where continuing the pregnancy is the safer choice, but this is not the norm.

  5. Well, from a legal point of view, your friend does not need her husband’s permission to obtain an MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy), provided she has reasonable grounds for it. However, when she makes her decision, she should consider the fact that going ahead with this without the husband’s consent may be considered as grounds for spousal cruelty in court, with resultant consequences that might not be agreeable to her. The best course of action would be to consult a trusted attorney.

    From an ethical point of view, I personally feel that the final decision in this scenario should be the woman’s. It is her body, and therefore her choice. A marriage does not grant any inalienable right to have a child. If the husband can convince her to go ahead with it, that would be all well and good. If not, he’s simply out of luck. Perhaps a divorce would be in order. This is precisely why these things should be talked about beforehand.

    The reverse scenario is far more of a grey area. As far as personal rights are concerned, I’d still say, her body, her choice. I do not feel that a man (or woman, for that matter) should have the right to compel the mother to undergo an abortion procedure.

    Unfortunately, this logic also brings us to a position where the mother has an absolute right to opt out of a pregnancy for whatever reason, but the father does not, and may have to face all the attendant consequences (socioeconomic and personal) of having a child he did not want. Obviously, this is not an entirely fair outcome, and I am somewhat conflicted about what the best way to resolve that unfairness would be, if it can indeed even be resolved.

    The problem, to me, is that parenthood is inherently unequal in some respects. If we were an ovuliparous species, born of a reproductive process that occurred entirely outside a parent’s body, perhaps things would have been more equal. As it is, though, human females must bear nearly the entire burden of childbirth, which results in a situation where we must balance the absolute right of a woman to personal privacy, with not only the relative civil rights of both parents as equal individuals, but also the rights of the resultant offspring to be reasonably cared for.

    All in all, there are no cut and dried solutions; whatever we come up with is likely to be unfair to someone or the other.

    Since you are asking for personal perspectives, I’d say that if I were in this situation, I’d absolutely respect my partner’s choice to not have the child, even if I did want that child myself. Marriage isn’t a race. There will be plenty of time to have babies once they are both settled, and once they both want that.
    At this point of time, if she is not ready, she is not ready. It is as simple as that. No good can come out of forcing a person to shoulder a responsibility this large, when they expressly have no desire to do so.
    If she absolutely does not want this child, she should communicate this clearly to her husband, and then get the abortion, regardless of his opinion on the matter. I
    f she isn’t prepared for a child, she must not get pushed into having one just to ‘save’ a marriage that seems like it is almost certain to become fairly rocky regardless of which way she decides to go. Whatever she chooses, someone is probably going to be hurt. It would be best for everyone if she was just up front about what she wants now, and went ahead and did that; in doing so, she’d be saving both herself and her husband a lot of heartache in the future.

    Here’s wishing the best to her and hubby.

    • Praveen,

      Agree with almost everything you’ve said except for the following.

      “Unfortunately, this logic also brings us to a position where the mother has an absolute right to opt out of a pregnancy for whatever reason, but the father does not, and may have to face all the attendant consequences (socioeconomic and personal) of having a child he did not want.”

      IMO, if a man does not want to have a child then, he has to make sure that he does not have a child by taking precautions himself, rather than relying on his partner. I know women who have simply forgotten to take the pill or miscalculated their dates and ended up pregnant, without any intention of tricking the man. Once the stick turns blue or shows two lines then all that a man can do is try to reason with his partner and pray that she listens.

      As for the LW’s friend who is pregnant. I think this woman should simply take the weekend off, terminate the pregnancy and call it a miscarriage.

      While for the most part I do not advocate taking unilateral decisions in a relationship or going behind the spouse’s back, but this relationship is already unequal and unhealthy.

      TO me the husband saying that he “strictly wants a child” is simply immature and unthinking.This statement alone tells you a lot about the state of their relationship/marriage. Also most men who are very eager to have babies are not so eager when it comes to helping raise the child.

      Once she has terminated the pregnancy, she needs to work on getting some control over her own life and in her marriage and she can start by trying to not get pregnant if she does not want to be a mom yet.

      • I’m not sure I understand what it is that you are objecting to. Perhaps I was a bit vague in my original comment.

        In any case, I did not imply that contraception is the prerogative of the female partner. The man obviously must take precautions, but the problem, of course, is that there is no non-permanent method of contraception that is completely foolproof. Mistakes happen, contraception fails – it’s never perfect. My point was, women have more options than men when such a mistake does occur.

        This is, in some ways, unfair, but as I said, I cannot think of a system which would be fairer to both parties and still protect the child itself. At some level, we say ‘Just too bad’, and get on with asking for child support (which may not be a big drain for many men, but can mean the difference between fair comfort and bare sustenance for others). Obviously, we cannot compel anyone to undergo an abortion for any reason whatsoever, but I do wonder if there might be a legal way to make the system a little more equitable, at least from a purely financial perspective.

        Regarding the second part of your comment, I don’t see why this MUST be done behind his back. Not only is such a ploy unlikely to be entirely believable, it would also expose her to additional legal liability for no good reason. Moreover, if the marriage is already unequal and unhealthy, and salvaging the marriage is a priority, such an act does not help at all.

        To reiterate, I think it is in her best interests to let him know her decision, try to make him see her viewpoint, and go ahead with whatever she decides regardless of his opinion. If he remains absolutely opposed to her choice, perhaps it would be all for the best. Nothing tells you more about your relationship than the times that you strongly disagree with your partner.

      • Wow that is one strong comment. To me when he says he “strictly wants the child”, it could just be that ethically he may be against abortion. Some people are pro life and some are pro choice. So to a pro life person, maybe he feels very strongly against it. Why do you see that as an indicator of a relationship??Maybe a slightingly less aggressive post might actually help the girl

      • A small point of order: We do not know that the husband strictly wants a child. What we know is that a third party, who most likely was not even privy to the conversation between the lady in question and her husband, says that her friend’s husband is strictly against abortion as he wants a child.

        And that means that the man’s position has been filtered through two separate sets of perspectives. That is enough space to fit in an ocean of nuances.

    • However, when she makes her decision, she should consider the fact that going ahead with this without the husband’s consent may be considered as grounds for spousal cruelty in court, with resultant consequences that might not be agreeable to her.

      Does the law require his consent? If she is indirectly pressurized into bringing the baby to term, can she similarly use that as grounds for spousal cruelty? It seems quite ridiculous if she can’t exercise that right as well, although, just personally, its really bizarre that a husband can allege ‘spousal cruelty’ when the wife decides to terminate a pregnancy she is unprepared for. Her body, her decision. I would think that if she were to keep the child when she clearly doesn’t want to, she would be unlikely to be a good parent to said child.

      I agree with your point that it seems quite unfair that a man cannot similarly choose to unilaterally end his pregnant partner’s pregnancy if he doesn’t want the child, and he will likely be responsible for child support and such. But, like you said, its a tricky situation, and we don’t have a better solution for it yet that would be fair to both the parents and the child.

      • Does the law require his consent?

        No, it categorically does not.

        However, priorities are different in family law, and there have been instances of courts recognizing a non-consensual abortion (for want of a better term) as amounting to cruelty to the husband. Each case is different, of course, and a court may not necessarily see things in this manner; my point was, she should be well-advised of her own legal position and the options available to her husband in-laws.

  6. I think the husband at least has the right to know, if not make decisions for her.

    One more thing I’d like to say is, you can never really be 100% prepared for motherhood. You can only learn through hands on practice.
    I was also very apprehensive about having a baby early and waited for a long time to have one. But after having one, I realized that I am as good as any other new mother out there.
    I have friends/cousins who’ve had their baby at a young age, while they were still establishing themselves in their careers. After they had one, either everything fell in place like they wanted, or their priorities changed. The point being, they somehow managed. If your friend weren’t pregnant, then probably it would’ve made sense to wait for sometime. But since she is already pregnant, I’d say go with the flow.

    • I think its good that your situation worked out, but I don’t agree that she should just “go with the flow”. Only she can be the judge of whether she is ready (physically, emotionally, financially) to be a mother, and it should be her choice as to whether she continues with the pregnancy or not. It is likely that many women might feel apprehensive about a pregnancy, which I would think would be normal – after all, it is something that is bound to have a huge effect on their life. But, there is a huge difference between apprehension and unpreparedness. If she feels that she is unprepared for motherhood at the moment, then she should do what she feels is best for her, and if that means an abortion, then so be it, as long as she is informed about the possible risks and consequences.

  7. Here is the thing. No matter whose sperm it is, the fetus is residing in the body of the woman and she has complete rights over any course of action she chooses to take. She need not take the consent of anyone (even the owner of the sperm) before choosing to keep or abort her baby. This may be unfair in cases where a person does not want to become a father, but the mother chooses to have the baby anyway and expects the father to pay child support. I hope there will be laws in the future to address this.

    That said, it is not ideal in a marriage to withhold information about decisions that will have a major impact. Maybe after this, the couple may be heading for a divorce. And it is certainly not fair to the husband that he does not know. But such matters are a personal choice and there is no legal jurisdiction over anyone’s personal legally allowed decisions.

    Also give a thought to the lady who is in a situation where she does not want to become a mother but is being pressured by society/ husband to continue with the pregnancy. If she feels she cannot safely disclose her decision to her husband, then it is in her benefit to have the abortion without his consent.

      • but legally, if she goes for abortion without consensus with husband.

        Husband get a clear ground for getting separated especially when Indian system put motherhood over careerhood. In fact subjected woman can get title as a very selfish woman.

        • In a good system *anyone* can divorce. No reason should be required beyond no desire to continue the marriage. Forcing a human being to remain married against her/his will is an abuse.

          Furthermore, in systems that do require proof of “wrongdoing” to grant a divorce, the result is many useless, expensive and damaging court-cases where intimate partners fling shit at eachothers in full public view, perhaps observed by their shared children (if any). That’s just sad. A divorce is bad enough as it is, without needing to make a public spectacle out of it.

  8. marriage means giving up one’s desires for sake of the other. it’s sacrifice. marriage is not meant to give happiness but happiness is certainly a byproduct of a healthy marriage where both are willing to sacrifice for the sake of other…

    She needs to decide whether marriage or career is more important to her… my two cents if it helps — unless she’s willing to divorce for the sake of her career, aborting their child is a definite no-no. the husband might forgive her and move on or might divorce her, i don’t know but that’s a moot point considering where her priorities in life lie.

    career and money can always be lost and gotten through hard work and luck but life and trust of the other person can never be brought back even with hard work…

    I would advise her to choose marriage since her career can be over when she’s retired but her marriage will be w/her till death does her apart!

    even if she chooses divorce, career will still end when she retires but the memories will never fade…

    • I would give a thumbs down to comment only because some people do not want parenthood irrespective of whether their career is affected. it is not right to force parenthood on them by holding their marriage hostage.

      And choosing career over marriage is not a bad thing. It is just a choice the person makes depending on what makes them happy. Some people are happy being married while some are happy climbing the corporate ladder. Just because they did not choose marriage does not make them a lesser person. Just like career and money can come later, maybe an awesome husband can come later on too when they are ready for it.

      The only thing I agree with is that marriage is based on trust and withholding information is not fair to the other partner.

        • Career is not always about climbing ‘the corporate ladder’ when policies framed by such profit based companies stop us from having a life outside of work. We work close to 10+ hrs a day 5 days a week with just an hour of break per day. Earned leaves have to planned in advance and informed much ahead else we are threatened a pay cut. This is exclusive to entry level jobs in IT firms. I personally think profit based firms care only about profit and encourage herd mentality. I refuse to work 10 hrs a day, travel 2 hrs to get to home, deal with house politics and still have a life. The best of my time must be given at office and the rest of my time is spent tired at home. Who calls this a career? Most of us entry level job holders confuse exploitation to career. My husband was transferred to a remote place because he was encouraging employee union. What kind of justice is this where I have no say? I think most of the profit based giants are taking advantage of lack of labour laws that protect employees to the max advantage. This they artfully term ‘career’.
          Career is skill based. It does not stop you from having a life. It does not stop you from spending time with your loved ones. It keeps you happy. It does not force you to choose. I gave up my so called Investment banking job that sucked the life out of me to something that gave me the liberty to include my loved ones in that 24hrs of my time. I was able to devote the best of my time towards family. My husband is not my competitor. He’s my equal.

        • @MK, If you gave up a job you didn’t like and prefer spending time at home, more power to you. However, some of us like our careers and feel fulfilled rather than exploited. Let’s keep in mind that people have different circumstances and the same choice does not work for everyone.

        • @ Carvaka,
          If that is the case then you are among the rare. Most of us are unfulfilled working for such corporate houses that demand 10 hrs of min day’s work. We are middle class people who don’t have maids for everything. So managing work and home is difficult. I am willing to work for a reasonable time and pay but no one in such organisations listen. We don’t even have an employee union and I used to work in one of the top 5 IT companies in India. This lack of time led to disagreements in simple household chores and other important things which wouldnt’ve have otherwise if we had time for family. Most of the time was spent in either sleeping or being lethargic when one has to do everything without having the luxury of hiring maids. Communication breaks, disinterest in many things that one was interested in before working 10hrs a day, stress etc. I am not speaking for all but for the 100 people out of the 200 (in my floor) my ex employer hired. This kind of taxing on one’s mental and psychological well being has led to divorce, miscarriage, affairs, obesity, stress, rage, impotency, depression etc all in the name of career. I know atleast 2 people in each category.
          So good for you if you’re happy. I belong to the other half which is not and experienced the peril of working for such houses.

        • @ MK,

          You could have had the best, most comfortable job in the world and I would still support your right to choose to stay at home instead. I would support the same right for your husband too. You don’t need to explain why you left at all, as far as I’m concerned. My point is simply, as I said:

          “Let’s keep in mind that people have different circumstances and the same choice does not work for everyone.”

          I do not think I am among the rare. I know women who liked their jobs and were made to give up and men who hate their jobs and are made to carry on. Let’s please not generalise.You have the right to decide that your career or job was not a priority and someone else (like the OP) is equally valid in deciding that theirs is. That’s all.

      • Don’t want to sound rude or condescending, but climbing the corporate ladder should not be projected as a dichotomy to being happily married or as the only other option than staying at home. There is an assumption which I have noted from many people here that success is about having a corporate job. Again, excuse me but selling toothpaste or swelling a banks profit is not the only worthwhile thing in the world just because it pays more than just about anything. Some people want to resolve the riddles of the universe, teach kids or write poems.

        • There was no dearth of people who advised me to give up job when I was pregnant. “You should give up job, otherwise the child will not grow up to be filial’” “you should not give so much importance to career”. A friend gave up her job because her daughter did not want her to work . She would leave no chance to advise me whenever my child would cry “she needs your attention. For women, nothing is more important than children. See, I gave up my job”. I did give her a fitting reply then. For some reason, people seem to think that they know what is good for us. I did not give up my job. I always wanted to work and be financially independent. I work in a publishing firm and I learn lot of new things everyday which is gratifying. Why should anyone have a problem with that? My child is growing well and the same people who asked me to give up job say I am raising my child well. Why is career of a woman always associated with words like ‘giving up’ ‘not important’ ‘why give importance to money’ ‘not worth’ ‘children will be unfilial when mothers work’etc? Career, from my experience, can be gratifying. To each his/her own. Why generalize, just like Carvaka said?

          Coming to the LW, I think she should inform her husband about her decision to abort. It should be a collective decision, taking into consideration the risks involved.

    • “marriage means giving up one’s desires for sake of the other. it’s sacrifice. ”
      Only for the woman, it seems? Actually you are wrong. Marriage does not mean sacrificing your desires. Marriage means understanding each other and supporting each other’s dreams and happiness. I think my definition leads to a happy couple and yours leads to a happy man (questionable unless he’s a sadist).

      “her marriage will be w/her till death does her apart!”
      What’s the point of having a marriage till death if it’s all about sacrifice and being unhappy? Why would you want such a thing forever? Either your definition of marriage if flawed or this assertion is. Unless you believe staying married is in itself an aim for women.

      “She needs to decide whether marriage or career is more important to her”
      What if she doesn’t want a baby just because she doesn’t want one right now, and the career is just an excuse? Or are women not allowed to have opinions like that, even about something that happens to their body? Oh sorry, ofcourse they’re not. Forgot about the whole sacrifice thing.

      I think men (like the OP’s guy) would not take for granted that they can control their partners if people stopped saying stuff like ‘marriage is sacrifice’ to women. Such advice is exactly what results in long unhappy marriages.

    • She’s does not WANT motherhood at this time in her life. Are you suggesting that she should be forced to continue the pregnancy even thought she is not ready for motherhood?

      Do you fully understand how badly an unwilling and unhappy mother can emotionally traumatise her child? Many psychological disorders have their roots in early childhood and in a fearful, uncertain attachment style with the primary parent, usually a mother.

  9. Okay, the marriage is not so fine as it is shown to be except this problem, as the couple and family have serious disagreements on one of the most important aspects in marriage – kids

    Career or not, please do not have kids if you are not ready for them because it is irreversible. Better not have kids than mess up an individual coz you did not want a child.

    I believe in an equal partnership, you would be discussing such decisions with your partner before proceeding. But at the end of the day, it is her body. It is mainly her decision to go with the pregnancy or not.

    To bust other misconceptions, kids do not save marriages. the people in the marriage save their marriages. And staying together just because of a kid does not mean that the parents are in a good marriage.

    The decision to choose career or a child is a choice for your friend to make. Do what makes you happy and feels best to you in that time moment. Would she make a good mother if she did not want that child?

    • “please do not have kids if you are not ready for them because it is irreversible.”

      Exactly. For people saying ‘go with the flow’, this is not about career, this is about being forced to have a baby you are not ready for. Whatever be the reason.

      • Agree. Let’s say she had the baby to placate her husband/save her marriage
        (in spite of not really wanting to). What then? She would turn resentful sooner or later, and there’s a high chance that she wouldn’t be able to bond with this child.
        It’s really amazing how people seem to ignore what being an ‘unwanted pregnancy’ can mean for the CHILD.
        NOT wanting to be a parent is a valid and powerful feeling that should NOT be ignored for the sake of the kid- it’s better to terminate a pregnancy than to emotionally harm a child.

  10. No, she should not abort. It would be wrong to take a unilateral decision in this matter.
    She must talk to her husband and convince him if she can.
    If she can’t then her career must take a temporary back seat while she goes through this pregnancy and the early years of her child’s infancy. Any married woman will have to make this temporary sacrifice at some stage in her life unless she and her husband have agreed previously that they will not raise a family.
    It may be easier to have the child now. Postponing it will make it even more difficult in future as she would have progressed in her career and have more to lose from a career break than now.

    Sbe can always get back her career, but she may never again be happy with her married life if she does what she is contemplating. Any husband will feel cheated.

    May be I am old fashioned in my thinking but these are the feelings that come to my mind right away.

    Glad to note her husband refused a gender test.
    It shows he is progressive in his thinking and he does not deserve to be kept in the dark like this.

    Regarding the second question, I am not knowledgeable about the legal position. May be PT can help?
    Regards
    GV (Camp :California)

    • GVji,

      I have a feeling a lot is not being said here, it is not only about making a choice between career and marriage.

      This kind of problem shows deeper roots. Lack of empowerment of women for their own lives. Like couples not discussing kids, when to have them and all, very little decision making power for women in marriages regarding kids,

      After all, do you think a woman who has kids when and if she doesn’t want them will make a nice mother? She will be resentful and angry and I imagine what kind of MIL she will become.

      • Traditionally the in laws decide when a daughter in law gets pregnant, abortion, works, gives up work, eats, sleeps, even has her period, visits her parents… And this control is just a part of that. Traditionally the fact that the husband wants this baby would be seen as the only thing that matters here.

        • If one doesn’t want kids they shouldn’t be forced to ave them. Maybe it’s not right to pick career over baby but its her choice. I would much rather she ave taken precautions but too late for that now. If she feels her career will be impacted then don’t have the baby. Whatever she chooses should feel right to her.
          She should also tell her husband. Hiding stuff is never good for trust and without trust its not a marriage.
          You should have kids when you both are ready not to bond a marriage, please your MIL, get it over with, save a marriage or any number of idiotic reasons we Indians choose to have a kid . Have a child if you truly want one nt because every Tom and his brother are having one.

        • Sorry for the thumbsdown,its a mistake.meant to click the thumbsup this touchscreen thingamajig is so annoying

      • I did not state that the woman must not have an abortion at all.
        I only opined that it would be improper to do so without even informing the husband.
        There is no indication that the woman does not want a child ever.
        She merely does not want it now due to career reasons.
        In my opinion, for a career women, having a child at any time, will have an impact on her career and there is no option but to live with it. The longer it is postponed, the more difficult it becomes. It would have been fine if she had not got pregnant. She should have ensured that. But accidents do happen and she must not be blamed for getting pregnant. But once she got pregnant, I cannot accept the argument that it is her decision alone and that she need not consult the husband. It must be a joint decision and if there is disagreement, then she has the difficult choice of risking her marriage or risking her career. I would not advise risking her marriage since it is clear that the husband is otherwise okay. I also feel that risking a career is only a perceived risk, not a surety. Lot’s of women take a break for childbirth and resume successfully. Why should we assume this lady is not capable of it?
        Just my opinion of course. Feel free to disagree.
        Regards
        GV

        • Correction: Instead of “she should have ensured that” please read, “they should have ensured that”.
          I agree that avoiding pregnancy when one is not ready for parenthood should be a joint responsibility between the husband and wife.
          Regards
          GV

        • One of the rarer times I am disagreeing with you GVji! Timing matters in career a lot! Just imagine having worked really hard and being close to a promotion and then facing the prospect of that being taken away because you will be temporarily unavailable!

          While it is definitely unfair to the husband to not have information, abortion is a right of the mother and she does not need consent from anyone! I shudder to think of a situation where I could potentially be forced to be a mother against my will!

          And no, not every married woman desires to be a parent. I have one child and it takes a LOT of effort to raise her. I dont think I would have been so willing about the sacrifices in my routine if not for the fact that I chose to have her and I desired having her in my life.

        • Of course, ideally I would def prefer her having an honest discussion with her husband. But if she cannot, that shows you a deeper issue in the marriage, that of inequality and the woman not having control over her own body.

          I feel the career is an excuse and the real issues are not being stated. To me it seems like a lack of control over her own life, her own body and inability to discuss pivotal issues in a marriage. ANd she being a typical Indian is shamed from talking openly about it.

          We often assume, if the husband does not beat his wife/treat her badly, she should be happy in a marriage. Maybe not. Maybe the wife feels guilty not being happy in a marriage where everything else according to her peers is good including a nice husband.

          At the end of it, if someone does not want to become a mother, they should not, no matter the reason because parenthood is irreversible. You can divorce but you cannot undo becoming a mother. And you may potentially be bringing a future human into this world, you have no right to mess them up because you cannot take control of your life.

        • I agree Sos. It is much deeper and career is an excuse. Not able to talk to your own husband is a signal. I also think the husband should also listen to what his wife has to say. Just commanding is not the answer.

        • GVji, women need not give up career once they become mothers. Flexi hours, work from home and an understanding boss who gives time offs when needed will help them continue with the job. Of course not everyone may have such options and so they give up career. I just wanted to say that it is not mandatory for women to give up job when they become mothers. And I have to tell you that resuming work after child birth may not always work because one has to compromise with salary, work profile etc.

      • Wow..This is so tricky. She should have right over her decision as a woman and its her body. On the other hand, the husband has every right to know. Its His baby too. But In India its not such an easy decision, there are so many layers of social/gender issues related to it.
        I pursued my career and did not marry until my late twenties. Since I had trouble concieving my opinion will be based on that. I am a career woman and when I saw my baby’s heart beat @ 6 weeks, there was no promotion, no raise, no career award I recieved that could even come close to it. Having said that, I have always had freedom of choice in my life and with that freedom comes responsibility. So anyways, Should she have the choice, yes! She should.
        Should she tell her husband, I think so.
        Would I personally do it? NO.
        Does it make her a bad person? NO.
        I do believe she should have used birth control though.
        My best Friend had one and its decision she regrets to this day.
        I had another friend who had one because she didnt wnat kids period.she still has no kids. I supported her, but a part of me was torn.

    • GV ji,

      Instead of
      “She must talk to her husband and convince him if she can.
      If she can’t then her career must take a temporary back seat ”

      Why Not ….
      ” she must talk to her husband he should convince her if he can. If he can’t , then he must support her through her decision.”

      As Praveen said above, it can never be equal , but since its her body, i think the final decision should be hers.

    • “Any married woman will have to make this temporary sacrifice at some stage in her life unless she and her husband have agreed previously that they will not raise a family.”

      I would like to say a loud and clear NO in response to this. My husband and I plan to both take some time out or go part time when we have a baby. I will not be making a ‘temporary sacrifice’. Please stop making it sound like women have no choice but to make ‘sacrifices’.

      “Sbe can always get back her career, but she may never again be happy with her married life if she does what she is contemplating. Any husband will feel cheated.”
      I urge you to question yourself as to why you look at the husband as the primary important character here. Why not say that she may never be happy again if she has an unwanted baby? Won’t the wife feel betrayed that the husband imposed a BABY on her without her consent? What right does he have to ignore her well being and force this upon her?

      I find your reply is entirely husband-centric on an issue which affects the woman and her body more. You seem to be telling her that she must submit to whatever he wishes in order to save her marriage (if she cannot convince him). What is he asks her to give up her job and sit at home and she cannot convince him? What if he asks her to be beaten every night and she cannot convince him? Where do you draw the line, if you think a woman should sacrifice her well being for the man’s wishes?

      • “take some time out or go part time”, point being that if we both do it, we have to take out much lesser time individually and hence neither’s career will be majorly affected. If a woman or a man chooses to stay home, good for them, but making that ‘sacrifice’ is not inevitable for every woman, as implied in the comment I replied to.

    • I am sorry, but this is almost like you are advocating slavery. She must discuss with another person a decision that will give up 9 months of her life to begin with,, her health for that nine months and the contingent problems thereafter, any promotions or career advancements and the relegation to the mommy track, all because the other person who has just donated the sperm has feelings that need to be considered. Is she only a walking womb and not a person? Parenthood is hard- motherhood more so. Shouldn’t the decision be more on the person who is going to pay more for it?

  11. I don’t think anyone is ever mentally prepared to be a mother. And I do think the husband has a right to know. Preferably beforehand. Because if they can’t navigate this together now then it will be a canker. And having to deal with the physical, emotional and familial effects of the abortion would be harder without her husband’s support.

    On the flip side, if he insists and she goes along without willingness, then she will resent the child.

    If they can talk it out and arrive at a spot that works for both, good for them. If not, then she will have to do what works for her knowing full well that it might be something her hubby never forgives her for. Good wishes to all of them.

  12. Personally, I feel abortion is no less than murder (unless there’s risk for mom or baby’s life). I dont buy this ‘my body, so i can do what I like’ in this case. Agree with IHM that traditionally ‘others’ decide (or rather interfere) when a girl should pop a child. But in this case, the girl s educated & all that. She can decide for herself.
    I dont want to sound harsh, but if one is not ready for pregnancy for whatever reasons like career, finance, relationship issues etc etc, one should just take precautions (c’mon, even female condoms are available in market for those with partners who dont cooperate).
    And if that doesnt work… well, too bad.

    • Even educated, working career women are abused by spouses, in-laws and the like. I’m sure you would know that already if you’ve read more of this blog.
      Education has nothing to do with independence or mindset, unfortunately.
      You can find completely illiterate people who are extremely intelligent and worldly-wise and educated people who are scum of the earth.

      We don’t know anything else about the story other than the fact that the woman is not ready to have a child, to the point that she is considering abortion without informing her husband. She would not choose this route if her husband was the kind to support her decision.
      I understand that *you* feel abortion is no less than murder. But that is your opinion, which cannot be forced on to someone else.

      “well, too bad” is not good enough for a country that is already extremely overpopulated. Why bring a child into this world when the mother does not want one?

    • 1. She’s not a girl. She’s an adult woman.
      2. Every kind of birth control can fail. Except abstinence.
      3. Too bad? A child growing up with a mother who didn’t want him/her, and a mother’s life (and consequently a marriage) ruined…is too bad. How trivial can this issue be?

  13. Her body her choice. If she does not want the child, the husband has absolutely no right to force it onto her.

    In the reverse situation, again, unfortunately, same logic of her body her choice applies. The husband can not force her to have abortion. But perhaps he should be allowed to legally opt out ( if done within some prescribed reasonable time-frame?) from the parenting and financial responsibilities towards the child as it was the woman’s sole choice to bring the child into the world. However, I am not really sure of the soundness of this last argument.

  14. It is a women’s choice, no second question about that. Her body, her choice. Whether she tells the husband or not is a matter of how they deal with communication within their marriage. People should stop pointing fingers and shaming women when she dare raises her voice/desire in the messed up Indian male dominated society. I am glad she is fully considering all her options and hopefully is courageous enough to take a decision that she feels is best for her, not her husband/MIL/society.
    Regarding couple of comments above with the attitude about woman’s career taking a set back for the child as a defacto matter of fact, WHY does it have to be this way? After the actual physical birth and recovery for medical purposes, why cannot the husband/mil pitch in and look after the baby while the woman goes back to work? She has invested years in education and hard work. Why throw it all away and take few years off when she doesn’t want to? Yes it will set back her career and have negative impact, no doubt about it. Why is this an acceptable sacrifice that we only expect from the woman and not the man? Unless this attitude changes, women will remain second class citizen with negligible power at top of the economic and political ladder. Look at Marrisa Mayer, the yahoo CEO, she gave birth and went back to her high powered CEO job. She obviously does not have crappy Indian society and mother-in-law bullsh*t holding her back from realizing her full potential.

    • I am sorry. But I do not consider Yahoo CEO as an ideal example. You can imagine the pressure of that CEO chair to leave behind a just born. I think at that level every second is money. Even if nobody is holding her back, she did leave her baby in the care of ‘someone’ while she came back to work. My mother is a homemaker. She is no less of CEO. With her energy, people skill, financial decision making skill, rearing 2 children and running a beautiful home she is also a bloody good example.

      • Also my mother suffers from Arthiritis that has bent her fingers and toes. She’s also had a knee replacement surgery. This has not stopped her from doing what she does best. Now that’s a career. My family=career=good health=me=my life. Not one over the other.
        People, talk to your families. Encourage a path for honest and open communication. Encourage your husband to give more to family. Encourage yourself. I think family is a beautiful concept that will stay with you during every storm and sunshine you face in your lifetime. There are many of us who live for family. Who love their children. Who build families on communication, trust and respect.

      • If a woman wants to stay home and raise her children, that is HER choice and I respect that. But the same choice to stay home must not be enforced or expected from ALL mothers. There are women out there who want to reach pinnacle of professional success and don’t want to waste these precious years changing diapers and dealing with a crying infant 24/7. Such tasks can be easily done by the father or the MIL who are so desperate to have a baby right away and have no respect for wishes of the wife/DIL. One does not reach the top with large gaps on your resume and as long as ONLY women are expected to “sacrifice” for the sake of their marriage men will continue to rule the world and evils of patriarchy would prevail. Also, I am not afraid to consider Fortune 500 CEO women as a role models to look upto, women need to dream big and shoot for the stars and demand equality from their partners in marriage. I may not be a Yahoo CEO ever, but I would require my husband to equally contribute to child care duties or get a fulltime nanny, otherwise no babies. I have absolutely zero desire to put my career on hold at an in-appropriate time just so the family lineage continues as per hubby/MIL’s schedule while they sit and twiddle their thumbs with zero skin in the game.

        • I agree with most of what you have said about patriarchy. But why must a woman or a man who is ‘successful’ in the corporate world alone be considered example? There are many women amongst us who have never had the kind of opportunities this Yahoo CEO must have had. If my designation defined who I was then I’d be sorry for myself. Career is subjective really.
          By giving my mother’s example I am merely stating that career is not everything but a part. She has made the best of whatever was given to her. I think it is commendable that she raised her children despite physical pain. I would call her successful too. Her Arthiritis stopped her from working. Is it right to just write her off just because she could not continue working and climb the corporate ladder? Who knows the kind of sacrifice the Yahoo CEO must have done to reach there? The amount of time away from family, travelling miles, jet lag, dependence on staff..etc. I personally think it was possible only through support from loved ones back home encouraging her to pursue what she wants to. I think there lies her strength. It is insanely selfish of a person to claim they did it all by themselves.

        • We are all willing to work our life off for a businessman who buys a pvt jet with the profit he makes out of our time and jets off to exotic islands with his family but are unwilling to give 12hrs out of 24hrs to our loved ones without bringing in gender inequality. Wow. Whatever happened to falling in love?

        • Exactly my point, AnnonDiva. It is a woman’s choice if she wants to be a stay-at-home mum. Why should working mothers be made to feel bad about leaving the child with ‘someone’ and go to work? That ‘someone’ could be grandparents, a good child care facility or a caring helper. What makes people think that working mothers do not care for their families, and children in particular? Why do people always have to show examples of stay-at-home mums as ideal mothers? Each family has its own priority. Who are we to judge why a woman is leaving the child behind and going to work? Why in few families we see stay- at-home dads? They may be doing what is best for them. Why dont we just respect that?
          Some of my friends who once held good jobs but gave up after child birth express their frustration of staying at home and not being able to get back to corporate world. One of them was keen to work but the husband wouldn’t allow stating that his salary is enough for the family. I have few friends who gave up their jobs on their own accord. There is no reason to belittle stay-at-home mums ,at the same time there is no reason to belittle working mothers and make them feel guilty by glorifying stay-at-home mums. To each his/her own. My own sister was very clear that she would not work after her post graduation but would instead focus on her artwork which she was keen on and which was her passion and hobby. She is a very outdoors person, makes friends, is energetic,dynamic and finds time to pursue her hobby. I ,on the other hand, was focused on academics, always wanted to work and worked my way to achieve my current position. I appreciate her energy and her dynamism while she appreciates that I work and is supportive of it. If in a family there is so much diversity in terms of thinking and pursuing interests what more when you are talking of different families, who you do not even know!

      • So, it sounds like your issue is about leaving the child in ‘someone’s care while a woman goes out to work. Why didn’t your dad stay home to raise you and your sibling then, while your mum pursued her dreams? Why don’t men have to make this sacrifice, sorry I meant ‘happy decision for family’?

        Your mum did great if she made herself happy, but many women want other things in life and use available child care options. Let’s not shame them just to make the ones that choose to stay home feel better (seems to be what you’re doing here). There are plenty of happy babies in happy families where the mother had the choice to pursue her dreams too.

        • No. That is not my issue. My issue is why must a woman who holds a CEO position be considered an example to others? Why not someone who considers her family priority along with her career? Why must I not spend time with my husband or my child?
          My dad couldn’t stay home because either of them had to work. My mother’s arthritis forced her to stop working. Oh yes she had dreams of continuing to work but guess what it was not my dad nor her MIL who stopped her but a disease. Now what? She was shattered but with my father’s support she did what she could. So can the letter writer. I think a clear communication with her husband can definitely help her.

        • Why must I not spend time with my husband or my child?

          No one is insinuating that you shouldn’t.

          The Yahoo CEO example was used because she has achieved a measure of professional success that most people with similar (or even greater) opportunities will never even approach in their lifetimes. While I respect an individual’s right to choose whatever career (or lack thereof) makes them happy, I do not feel one can correctly say that this makes each one of us equally successful in our own right. As an executive, I am obviously less successful than Mayer, even though I probably had sufficient opportunities to advance in my career. This does not really bother me, because I did achieve many of my personal goals, and I struck a balance between my personal life and career that worked for me – there are no one-size-fits-all solutions here.

          While it is indeed silly to claim that she did everything by herself, it is just as silly to deny and negate the tremendous hard work and talent that go into reaching what is perhaps the very pinnacle of your field.

          That said, being a parent is so different from being an executive that any comparison between the relative success achieved at those is bound to be meaningless. It is the classic apples to oranges comparison. Your mother is not equally successful as Mayer; rather, they achieved success at different things.

          That’s a crucial distinction, and it must be made with due respect to both individuals, sans any adverse judgment of either.

        • I agree PT. Don’t you think personal and professional lives are interlinked? One is not possible without the other. You struck a balance that many of us are struggling with for our own reasons. I am merely highlighting the amount of sacrifice or time and support that one must give/receive to achieve whatever CEO has achieved.
          You are a successful executive because you are smart enough to understand the importance of personal goals/life. Hence you talk of balance and did what you had to do. For someone to climb any ladder demands confidence in one’s ability. Why s the letter writer scared of her husband’s reaction then? Why the secrecy? What is stopping her from confiding in her husband her desire for a career ? Why this lack of respect for one’s thought? I think to become a CEO one must cross a lot of personal hurdles. Doubts, guilt, loneliness etc. Some of us are gullible and easily believe in the glamorous life of a CEO that is shown on T.v or internet. How many CEOs have many of us met in real life and asked their stories?
          PT you are one of them and so is my mother.

    • @MK, I’m confused. I don’t see why you would object to the Yahoo CEO being a role model to a career oriented married woman. It’s like hearing all of that and saying ‘but you could be a stay-at-home-mom too’. The woman in OP’s question wants to carry on her career, as the yahoo CEO did even post baby. If a woman had written in saying that she wants to stay at home with her kids but feels pressured to work, then a stay-at-home-mom’s example would be a great example. It’s not a question of which is a better choice, it’s a question of which suits one better.

      One cannot control a disease like arthritis and however one manages it to achieve a fulfilling life is great. Pregnancy and having a baby are things that women CAN control and are not like a disease that you must accommodate. So these cases are quite different.

      Again, I have just as much respect for stay-at-home-moms as CEOs, I just don’t understand why we need to quote stay-at-home-moms as role models to women who don’t want to stay-at-home or vice versa. It’s like saying one or the other is better, when they’re both just as valid choices.

      • No Carvaka, I am not picking one over the other. My mother was a working woman who was forced to quit. From an outsider’s eyes she isn’t an example merely one who ‘spends time at home’. She thinks like you and me. Empowering women, equality in decision making etc. Is it wrong to bring this aspect to light? Why so much importance to glamorous designations? Why aren’t we told of the sacrifices? The pressures of that chair. The pressure on her family? Aren’t they important too? Why do we easily accept a CEO is all too important and not the people behind her who are left nameless?
        You are very right with pregnancy as a choice. I was merely responding to CEOs as examples to working women. A CEO can also be a homemaker who’s doing a spiffing job managing a home.

        • ” I was merely responding to CEOs as examples to working women. A CEO can also be a homemaker who’s doing a spiffing job managing a home.”

          Well, a homemaker is not a CEO. By calling a good ‘homemaker’ a ‘CEO’, you somehow imply that being a CEO is the standard to live up to. Maybe, instead of the this, you meant that the CEO might be a good homemaker too and that aspect is never spoken of. In this case, even if the CEO was a rubbish homemaker, she would still be a great CEO. What does one have to do with the other? Maybe her husband or staff takes care of the home. Why impose this responsibility on women if they haven’t said that they aspire to it? Why present the homemaker role model to someone who is talking about her career?

          I personally couldn’t care less about managing the home.. it’s a necessity and between me and hubby, it gets done. That’s it. My mum cared a great deal about it and did a great job too. Both are fine choices to make. Why force only one on everyone?

          “Why so much importance to glamorous designations?”

          Again, if you are speaking to a married woman who has career ambitions, ofcourse you would give her the pregnant CEO’s example. If you want to be a homemaker, you should be given a good homemaker’s example. That’s simply how role models work! If I want to be an astronaut, I would idolise Neil Armstrong, not Shahrukh Khan. I do not understand what is the logical flaw in the CEO’s example here.

        • @MK: I think to become a CEO one must cross a lot of personal hurdles. Doubts, guilt, loneliness etc. What makes you think to become a CEO one has to cross what you call personal hurdles doubt, guilt and loneliness? Why do you think you cannot use postive connotations? You seem to glorify women only when they take on a sacrificial role. Why should SAHMs be considered role models for working mothers? I agree with Carvaka. If you want to be a good homemaker, consider an ideal home maker as an example and like wise for a working woman. Why is it people leave no stone unturned to preach that family is important, having child is most defining moment of a woman’s life etc etc if a woman is successful in her career and try to make her feel guilty for having chosen to be career woman?To become a CEO, a person needs lot of confidence, academic credentials, leadership abilities, decision making capabilities, excellent trace record etc. Why would you be bothered if a successful woman CEO is exemplified for returning to work as a CEO after child birth? How does that affect the credentials of a SAHM? It is not about glamourous designations. Your designation in the corporate world indicates your experience, your and capabilities.
          For your comments, it appears you are comparing apples with oranges.

      • She is just defending her choices without understanding that.

        1. Both a CEO and a Homemaker can be role model.
        2. It is personal choice.
        3. In a growing economy & country of hypocrites ( both are responsible) CEO’s tend to come up as choice of majority. Come on, for us in India still money counts as many people swear by ( Paisa khuda toh nahi par khuda kasam khuda e kam bhi nhi). People think they can buy happiness.

        and lady is not able to accept third fact.

    • @Mk,

      Just read your comment about working for a businessman. What if you are that businessman/ businesswoman yourself? Or what if you are a poet? Or what if you LIKE working in a regular job for a businessmen? It sounds like you’re saying that the only valid choice for women is to stay home and give “12hrs out of 24hrs to our loved ones”. Perhaps you are more egalitarian and mean this for everyone, men and women. In which case, who feeds the said loved ones? What if you need two incomes to support said loved ones?

      Also, are you sure the loved ones need you for 12 hours.. what about when they go to school and nap etc? Couldn’t you contribute financially by working then? I’m not actually asking you this and I would never judge your personal decisions. Just showing how a stay-at-home mum’s choices can be questioned too. A holier-than-thou approach is really not constructive because it can easily be flipped on you. People are in different situations and have the right to make decisions that work for them, without facing judgement.

  15. Im writing out this comment, fully expecting a truck load of thumbs downs!

    Wanted to give your friend a different perspective…my ‘been there, done that’ story. I too was obsessed with my work and career. And we (husband and I together) decided to postpone a baby, till I was ‘settled’ in my career. I managed to grow to in the organization and then we decided to ‘try and have a baby’. When you have spent years trying to avoid a baby, you naturally think that all you have to do is avoid protection and the baby will be made. But alas that is not how it happened.
    We tried various assisted reproductive techniques, lost a baby along the way. And all that while I kept wishing we hadnt delayed the baby. My biological clock was ticking very very loudly and let me tell you the expenses for the infertility treatment are huge too.
    So all the while, when I was struggling with dr appointments, treatment, ultrasound visits, avoiding people because I hated anyone that had a baby, my career had to slow down. The career for which I had delayed my baby plans, was stagnating because I really didnt want to take on a promotion because it meant more travel, and how could I travel when I knew I had to be with my husband on the days I ovulated???!
    Anyway thankfully the story has a happy ending. I have a beautiful child now and am a stay at home mom!
    Anyway, Im not asking that your friend have this baby and stay home, Im just asking her to think this through. My post is not about whether she should share the news of the baby with her husband. I am sharing my story so that she makes an informed decision and realizes that unfortunately for some of us, the baby doesnt happen when we decide the time is right. Sometimes nature has a way of deciding things for us.
    Good luck to your friend in whatever she decides. Im sure this is a tough decision for her

    • Of course, she should consider whether she really wants to have the baby and the repercussions of an abortion before she makes her decision. It is obviously easy for us to say ” abort! don’t abort” like flipping a switch, but it is not an easy decision to make.

      There are SO many things to consider before a decision can be made.
      But, again, AFTER considering all of this, it is up to her to decide how she wants to move ahead. It is a choice that she has to make, and a very difficult one at that. And SHE is the one to decide which is the right choice for her.

      All I’m saying is that she have the right to make that choice.

    • Or you could have adopted and saved yourself the trouble of expensive fertility treatments. Just saying.

      You did what you thought worked for you at that time. You now feel in retrospect that it could have been handled better, but the important detail missing is that YOU made those choices for yourself. They are your mistakes and your successes. I doubt you would have felt the same way if your were FORCED to have a child when you were not ready for it – even if it meant saving money on infertility treatments in the future.

      And maybe, just maybe people are ready to risk it. Just because they make that choice does not mean they are wrong. People make mistakes. It is better to make your own mistakes than to live through someone else’s mistakes.

      • Off topic here, but heres a thought…never ever say “Just adopt” to anyone. There is nothing ‘just’ about it. Ask any person who has tried to or managed to adopt. Please take the time out to read this
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenni-levy/just-adopt_b_2348952.html?ir=
        It will perhaps help you understand that just throwing statement like ‘Just adopt’ isnt really helpful.
        Again, if you read my post Im not forcing her to have the baby. Im asking her to make an informed decision.

        • I said “just adopt” to prove that it is just as pointless as saying “just put your career on hold”. Both of them are complex issues that cannot be put into a simple sentence.

          What worked for you ( or did not ) may not pan out the same way for everyone else.

        • ” just as pointless as saying “just put your career on hold” I have said this in my past comments and I say this again…I have NOT asked her to put her career on hold. I have just shared my story to give her another perspective on it..not one where the husband has a right or not and whether she should abort or not

    • Thumbs Up Sonia!
      I can empathize with you.
      My daughter, married for 12 long years had her first baby recently.
      Her experiences were similar to yours.

      I am now busy cradling my 4month old grandson in my arms.
      This is my first and only grandchild, eagerly awaited all these years.
      We (wife and I) have come over here to California, for the express purpose of assisting my daughter cope up with the stresses and strains of managing a job and also looking after her new born baby, even though she is fortunate to have a husband who fully cooperates with her.
      Now, perhaps others can understand why I feel the way I do about this.
      My point is not that the lady must not have an abortion if she is mentally not ready for the child and also for career reasons.
      My principle objection is to her taking a unilateral decision in the matter without consulting her husband.
      Of course it is her body.
      But the child is not just hers. It is the husband’s child too.
      I hope they take a good JOINT decision whatever it is.

      Regards
      GV

      • Well, that’s evading the real issue here. Everyone hopes they take a joint decision, that would be ideal. If the OP has already said that the husband is ‘strictly against the abortion’ and if the discussions lead to the same assertion from him, what would your advice be then? Should the man’s assertion override the woman’s wishes about whether or not she goes through pregnancy and childbirth?

    • I also have been through a similar phase .
      when we married i told my husband i dnt want a baby and I will rethink about it after 3-4 years > i Never wanted a baby because I am afraid of the process .
      I do give my career a lot of importance and so to my time , my friends and my family as men in India do ( most of the woman dnt even think why they should think beyond husbands :))
      anyways 4 months after marriage hubby started talking abt baby , I was clear i did not want one . He was one responsible for contraception and I got pregnant.
      When i came to know i couldn;t stopped crying for 2 days . i was in 5th week and only had one week to decide. I knew my decision, he tried to persuade me but i was not ready for it yet . we were already going through lot of issues related to career and I was not sure i would like to spend rest of my life with him.
      I got an abortion and till date I never regretted it . it did effect my health as I had to join office in 2 days and could not rest . I was not happy doing it either , though I never wanted a kid it was not easy for me to abort one .
      It did change my equation with my husband , we separated within 2 months , i could never trust him and as per his version i killed his child . I am glad that i took divorce and right now am happy with my career and my life . I hope he is happy with his .

      who so ever mentioned that why we can’t have work life balance …I do have .I work 8-9 hrs a day / stay very close to office . stay in a spacious 2BHK apartment , work out daily , read and write , meet friends , spend 3 weeks a year with my parents and also take them out for holidays every year .Have time for my family and friends when they need me and most importantly have time for me , to cook and clean and dance whenever i want to . Fell in love , fell out of love..without feeling the compulsion of marrying the guy . have plans for my next 2 years that don’t involve a guy or a baby .. still don’t want a baby . why work life balance has to be between keeping in laws and bosses happy. why we forget that u have to keep ” U ” happy first .

      so
      1. If she is not ready , she is not ready .
      2. Not telling her husband might damage marriage , temporarily or permanently.
      3. Career is important for women and they have all the right to chose it over a guy or kids.
      4.Marriage is more than Kids and both partners need to see life in same direction before they start making babies.
      5.contraception fails , using more than one at a time should help.
      6. check for pills for abortion instead of medical procedure . its painless and harmless if done within 6 weeks of being pregnant.
      7.If she will tell husband , chances of him involving parents and in laws will complicate the situation, specially if she is living with joint family .

      Happiness means different thing to different people and they need to find their own path .

      • “why work life balance has to be between keeping in laws and bosses happy. why we forget that u have to keep ” U ” happy first .”
        “Happiness means different thing to different people and they need to find their own path .”

        So much wisdom!

        I have a guy friend who plans to take a break and stay home when him and his wife have babies. He even bakes! Happiness is different things to different people. Unfortunately judgement and shaming are readily available from people who have no business judging others’ choices.

        • Just realised that my guy friend’s example might come across as me saying that’s the right thing to do. Not at all.

          I only meant to give an example showing that both men and women suffer because of these social pressures, often sidelined as ‘women’s issues’. Everyone has the right to opt out of what society says they ‘should’ do and choose their own happiness, as you said. :)

        • I am far from a role model .ask my relatives …but yea i love my life and would not have liked it any other way .. ppl will get used to it .

          carvaka : I tell them ppl all the time , patriarchy is not doing anyone any favors. it puts everyone in cage , some get golden cage (men ) some get iron(women) but in the end its a cage that defines u and your movements and make you believe that you were born without wings ..:)

      • t puts everyone in cage , some get golden cage (men ) some get iron(women) but in the end its a cage that defines u and your movements and make you believe that you were born without wings ..:)

        I love the way you’ve put this! :) Never really pictured it like that, but it makes complete sense now that I think about it.

    • This is a major reality check.
      Aborting the first pregnancy can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes leading to subsequent problems with conception.
      The lady should consult a gynaecologist so that she can make a medically informed choice as well as a legally informed one.
      I’m not comfortable with her not sharing this with her husband- it would be a huge load for her to bear alone, if she does go in for an abortion. It is supposed to be a physically and emotionally draining experience.

      • That’s not a “reality check” – that’s unsubstantiated FUD. There’s no substantial link between medically performed abortions and subsequent infertility.

  16. You know, I can think of only one thing to say here, something I keep repeating time and again…

    A worthwhile marriage is an equal partnership, where husband and wife have the bandwidth to take decisions that work for them BOTH, without any imposition, even if they have to ‘agree to disagree’ to some things. Clearly, this young lady does not want a child, but is afraid of her husband’s reaction and feels compelled to go ahead in order to ‘save the marriage’. If one partner feels compelled to do something so completely against his/her wish in order to ‘save the marriage’, then clearly something is fundamentally wrong in the relationship. Having a child is not a magic solution for a successful or happy marriage.

    This is not to say that she should abort without talking it over with her husband. It is his child too. A child is a HUGE responsibility, and she is clearly not ready to take that up right now. The two of them have to talk it over, first. He may see her point of view and they can go ahead with the abortion, or she may see his and carry on with the pregnancy – either way, they should try and reach a consensus.

    If he remains stubborn without paying heed to her wishes, it is evident that he doesn’t give much thought to his wife’s happiness – in that case, she needs to do some serious thinking about whether this marriage is for her or not.

    Indians seem to have a wrong notion that no marriage is complete without children. People here churn out kids for all the wrong reasons, without realizing that a child is foremost a responsibility – they OWE the kid a good life. One thing is for sure – a child is not the solution to a problem marriage. It only makes things worse.

    • And yeah, if the husband is “strictly against abortion and wants to have a child”, is he willing to contribute effort and time to child-rearing so that his wife is able to manage her career too, instead of dumping the entire responsibility on his wife like many Indian husbands do? Does he pay heed to the importance of his wife’s wish to have a certain way of life?

      These are some fundamental questions that should be asked BEFORE getting into a marriage. Most unfortunately, many of us go in for quick arranged marriages without even trying to understand what either partner wants in life.

      • even if he is ready to take leave and let his mom take care of baby and also keeps a maid. she has to bear child for 9 months . she will go through physical and emotional changes .
        i have also noticed that whenever a working woman says NO to kids , its made an issue between career and family . There are always so many reasons behind this decision .

  17. Even if she were a home maker, with no career to hold her back, she should have a child only if she were ready and not because
    1) it has happened by chance
    And
    2) her husband,however progressive in his attitude,wants the child.
    I do not think the ‘progressive thinking’ husband would be willing to to quit his job and raise the kid once his wife delivers,so that the wife moves forward in her career,would he.? Then he has absolutely no right to expect it from his wife.

  18. If she’s late enough into her pregnancy where the gender is known (or can be), then wouldn’t she be too late for an abortion? I am guessing this’d be mid-2nd-trimester. Something does not add up about the story.

    • Even I have been thinking about this. At the risk of sounding pessimist, i have a feeling, the lady in the situation may not have the courage coz her entire family now knows about the pregnancy, she will give birth to the child and then for all our discussions, claim she is very happy and satisfied and urge her friend to get married and have children too.

      SOmething like she is a failure is she says her child does not make her happy. She will not be looked down upon in society coz she is a mother. Whether she gave up who she was and her dreams is another story we may never know.

  19. ALL ONE SIDED COMMENTS , HER BODY , HER CHOICE ETC., IF YOU HAVE TO LIE TO YOUR SPOUSE ON THESE MATTERS , WHY DID U MARRY IN FIRST PLACE. SURELY YOU ARE AWARE OF HOW TO HAVE SAFE SEX. NOW YOU FEEL CAREER IS IMPORTANT , SO IF CAREER WAS NOT IMPORTANT , BABY WAS OKAY ?? WARPED LOGIC , HE HAS NO RIGHTS TO DECIDE ?? WHAT IF U WANTED THE CHILD AND HE PREFERRED ABORTION , STILL UR CHOICE ?? EITHER WHICH WAY WOMAN’S CHOICE. HAHA WHAT A JOKE THIS IS TURNING OUT TO BE ,

    WHY MARRY IF ONLY YOUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE TO BE ACCEPTED

    • //SURELY YOU ARE AWARE OF HOW TO HAVE SAFE SEX. //

      And surely you’ve heard of contraceptive failure? Surely you know that no contraceptive is a hundred percent foolproof?

      //NOW YOU FEEL CAREER IS IMPORTANT , SO IF CAREER WAS NOT IMPORTANT , BABY WAS OKAY ??//
      Nobody ever said that! The point is, a woman might not want to have a baby at a particular point in time for n number of reasons. In this case the reason happens to be her career.
      It is not as if a woman who is not gainfully employed cannot not want to have a baby.

      //WARPED LOGIC , HE HAS NO RIGHTS TO DECIDE ?? //

      No matter how warped the logic sounds to you, the fact remains that a man has indeed no rights to decide whether a woman should or should not have an abortion. Like it or not, it is indeed her body that has to carry a baby to term, so it must be her choice. The husband, though, has every right to divorce her thereafter on grounds of spousal cruelty, irreconcilable differences, whatever.

      // WHAT IF U WANTED THE CHILD AND HE PREFERRED ABORTION , STILL UR CHOICE ??//

      Of course! Of course it is still her choice. You cannot force anyone to undergo a surgical process if they’re not willing! The law requires everyone undergoing any surgical procedure to sign a consent form beforehand, remember?

      //EITHER WHICH WAY WOMAN’S CHOICE. //

      Well, all I can say is , I wish it was the man’s body which had to bear a child to term. Then it would have been the man’s choice either which way!!

      //WHY MARRY IF ONLY YOUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE TO BE ACCEPTED//

      If you think autonomy over her body amounts to all the terms and conditions being hers, good luck to you.

  20. i’m sorry… i will have to disagree with most comments here. Her body, her choice and all that is fine.

    1. but how will you feel if your husband goes out and gets a “nasbandi” bcs he never wants to have a baby? his body, his right, right? a child is about a partnership. you made one together. you cannot abort one alone. unless you are willing to live with the idea that your husband can also take such a decision alone. personally, i dont want my husband to take that decision alone. bcs it affects BOTH our lives, even if only his body is involved. likewise, a child involves BOTH lives and that of the whole family. irrespective of the legal right or wrong, is it morally right, to take a decision that affects everyone, just because you can?

    2. how advanced is she in her own pregnancy? is it safe for her? some women who have a botched up first pregnancy abortion tend to face issues in subsequent gestations. you dont want issues like that. please ensure your personal safety first. you are going to need post operative care. its not like the advertisement – you are not on your feet in half an hour. you need a lot of rest, and a lot of moral support, to deal with the after effects of what you have just done.

    3. i agree, in general, with that view, that it is much easier to take a career break, if you want, early in your career, rather than later. you have a lot more openings at junior levels than at senior levels.

    4. this is not gender specific. family, relationships are glass balls and career is a rubber ball. for EVERYONE. we always tell people – men and women, to put their families first. because a glass ball, once broken, is never mended. but a rubber ball bounces right back. this is true for EVERYONE. not just women. but if you want to be a career focused person and are absolutely sure of your decision, at the very least, you owe your partner – married or not, the courtesy of information and consent.

    ok, bring on the thumbs downs..

    • I think there lies a difference here. While “nasbandi” pertains to sterilization, abortion isn’t sterilization. I think it would be questionable if a woman undergoes sterilization without her husband’s knowledge. I’m not too sure about the laws, but I think even the law says so.

      Though you are right about the effects of an abortion on subsequent pregnancies as has been proved by medical studies. After all, an abortion is a medical/surgical procedure and comes with the possible risks any other medical/surgical procedures have.

      • Both men and women are free to do what ever they want with their own bodies. Abortion or sterilization, it doesn’t matter. If the partner/spouse doesn’t agree. He or she can consider divorce.

    • No thumbs down from me, but I disagree with all but your second point.

      1. If he wants such a procedure to be performed on him, no one in the world has the right to stop him from getting it done. Marriage is not a free pass to have a child; the decision to have a child must still arise out of mutual consent. Your husband’s decision does affect both of your lives, but that does not grant you the right to make personal medical decisions for him.

      2. I agree; those factors must be considered.

      3. Not true at all. While there are a lot more entry-level positions than senior positions, there are also many, many, MANY more candidates at those levels. There will always be much more competition for ‘Assistant Trainee’ than ‘Vice President – Contracts’. Once your credentials and experience is established, a break (especially one taken for a well-understood reason such as pregnancy) may not be as harmful to your career as a break taken at a time when you are still fairly new to the industry and do not have the necessary contacts/references/reputation to easily overcome such a break. An added benefit is that you are likely to be more financially and professionally stable by then, which is always a good thing when it comes to having a baby.

      4. I don’t agree entirely. There are some things which a career may never recover from. A gap on your CV at just the wrong time is one of those things. And even setting that aside, there is such a thing as reasonable compromise. Putting family first (even if one were to agree that that is the right course of action under every circumstance) does not mean one has to agree to each one of their demands. When the glass ball forces you into a demanding, 24×7 role that you never wanted to assume, and possibly damages your career and well-being in the process, perhaps that glass ball isn’t even worth protecting.

    • If my husband was so sure that he never wanted kids that he wanted a nasbandi, if he was absolutely sure, I would NEVER force him kids on him. Why would you have kids with someone who really doesn’t want any?

      Also, if this was me, I would have discussed this sort of thing before marriage. We did discuss it. If he still changed his mind and decided no kids ever, I would not impose my whims on him. This would not lead to a divorce, I chose him – with or without any future kids. I love him more than our imaginary kids and while it would be a setback (maybe), I would deal with it. Just as I would if we turned out to be infertile.

      Also, Kay makes an excellent point. No kids NOW and no kids EVER is not the same thing.

  21. We don’t know in this case if the pregnancy was accidental or planned.

    To most of the commentators who say the women alone has the right to decide what to do – I would like to know opinion on :-

    Say the pregnancy was accidental – whoever’s fault it may be ( may be because the guy didn’t use a condom or the women forgot to take her pills) should it always be the women who is going to decide whether to abort or not? And the guy should have absolutely no say in it?

    • Your question is one I have had long discussions/fights over with a friend of mine. He believe the father gets a say…I only go as far as a father’s right to know and decide whether he would support the mother in her decision or not.

      And either way, the woman knows that it her decision and her responsibility. It can only be her decision because it is her body and her life. No one else has the right to impose a decision. Advise, coax, persuade….sure. Impose, no.

      • Well i agree, but – in case of an unmarried couple if the women decides to have the baby – should the father be forced to share the expenses of raising the child?

        • I would argue against that. IF you wish to have a baby without the willing consent of your partner, then you do not expect them to fork over money to make your life easy. It is unfair.

          And to add emphasis, I’d add this much: I am a single mum of two. When my marriage ended, I didn’t ask my ex for either child support or maintenance. A few years later when he said he wanted to pay for their education, I was glad to accept – it means I can put away more for their future needs. But when I decided to have my babies, I knew that I was accepting a life long responsibility. They are *mine* to love, protect and nurture and that means the financial bit is mine too. The buck stops here, as the saying goes.

  22. I somehow don’t agree with career can be on hold baby can be on hold etc., there is not ONE choice . it is very different and depends on a lot of factors and the type of family and relationship one builds.
    The old adage that family is for life and work is temporary I feel doesn’t hold much water nowadays, Some ( male or female) needs to have a career/work/whatever to be happy some need a relationship. career can wait so can a relationship . Dynamics are constantly changing , what i want is not necessarily what my parents or my kids want .
    there is nothing wrong is having a baby at 25 or 35 or 45 . neither is having a flourishing career and hooking up at 45 yrs :-)
    There is also a lot of subtle pressure from family and parents and what they think and feel etc., even with couples who are independent , it is very hard to get away from this, so we have babies for quite a few wrong reasons, actually we get married for a whole host of wrong reasons and perpetuate the misery.
    i have seen plenty of marriages because ‘ it was time’, my parents wanted me to, my friends were all getting married, she looks good, he makes good money, etc., etc., some idiotic ones like ‘ i need a companion’, i need someone to cook’ and worse ‘ someone to care for my parents’… sigh no budhi, no dhimmag , act like idiots and repent later.

    • Well said, we marry for the wrong reasons, we have kids for the wrong reasons and we perpetuate the misery by putting additional pressure on our peers and kids because we did the same thing

    • “there is nothing wrong is having a baby at 25 or 35 or 45″. There is nothing wrong I agree. But unfortunately there is a biological clock that is ticking so loudly. Having a baby at 35 is not easy. Conceiving is tough enough, staying pregnant is even tougher. And then some of the risks like Downs go up marginally with age. In the infertility group that I was a part of, most of the moms were in the age of 35-40, struggling to have their first baby.
      Not saying she should have this baby right now, if she never ever wants a baby that is fine too. But if someday she does want a baby, then there are somethings that one needs to think about-age, a botched up abortion etc. Research all of this and make an informed decision. My post has nothing to do with her husband or him forcing his wishes upon her. It is more about her own body and about understanding it in order to make a choice

      • I agree Sonia but let us not forget we are a sexist as well as an ageist society.

        A healthy happy woman at 45 may be able to become a mother and have a healthy pregnancy compared to a 20 year old who is not ready, completely undernourished (like eating junk food, lots of calories and little proper nutrition too) and emotionally not ready with little self confidence and maturity. What will such a mother teach her child? Not to love oneself? Poor self esteem?

        This is a side of story we all ignore and there is this general tendency to scare women into a zero sum game- you are too old, get married now or else there will no good men left, you cannot have kids etc.

        At the end of the day, if you make decisions with the knowledge and information oyu have at that point of time in life, later on, even if you change, if it is your decision, you will and must learn to live with it.

        Everyone can make mistakes, including postponing having kids. Why do we hold women to ransom and scare them saying you will definitely regret it in future (sacrificing a kid now for a career) like many commentors say here in this post?

        • I so agree with you SOS. Let her decide. She might even feel she made the right choice even later. But people somehow can’t seem to take the fact that some women want different things in life. They just wait for a chance to see even a tiny bit of regret or guilt in them and when they don’t they keep reminding them at some point of time they will. Don’t we all ponder about ups and downs of life. Women are reminded that it is because of their decision to delay marriage and children. We all feel down at times and when a single woman is, everybody concludes its because of her not being married with children

      • I think there are four aspects to consider before having baby:
        woman should be physically ready. good nutrition, exercise, all blood work in order. she should be mentally ready to endure sharing her body with a foetus for 9months and if breastfeeding with the baby for months afterward. Handing sleep deprivation! age is just a tiny part of it.
        she must be emotionally ready. fears, lingering issues, doubts, blackmail. a healthy relationship with self and partner if any. Adequate time since wedding etc
        She must be financially secure. Raising babies is expensive business so is pregnancy with Checkups and scans. Insurance!
        Finally practical aspects should be in place. Big enough home, maternity leave, a good doctor, finding help.

        All this is assuming she wants a baby in the first place! I don’t think any couple should plan/go through with a pregnancy without discussing all of the 4 areas in detail. If a woman is uncomfortable in any way it will be torture. For mom and baby. And by extension, any decent husband.

        • SB you nailed it. I need to copy paste and save this list. Next time my husband or anybody asks me when we are having children…I’ll just show them the checklist. You made my life easier

  23. This is simple. There are two people involved which decide about a third one, the baby. It is a not a decision to be carried out when one person decides. It’s to be carried out when both agree, that is to have a child. So when one doesn’t want it should not be carried out. Simple. And those who say that to save her marriage she should have the baby, again saving a marriage is for both husband and wife. Here the onus lies on husband not the wife. He can save the marriage by understanding that the baby should come only when both of them want. Her responsibility is to inform her husband about the pregnancy and her decision to have an abortion. Why not the husband save the marriage by not forcing her? All those who have put forward the view that marriage is beautiful and lasting…why not advice that to the husband.

    Just because most people want children doesn’t mean all do.

      • Thanks Cavarka

        Let me make it simpler. Incase of planning to have a baby it’s both man and woman who decide. If either doesn’t want it either the man or the woman it shouldn’t be carried out at that time or even later. In case of unplanned pregnancy it’s only the woman who decides whether she wants an abortion or she wants to have the baby. All those who feel its unfair and inequality for men, well maybe that’s natures way of balancing the inequality for woman carrying a womb because nobody can force the woman to abort or carry out the pregnancy. Why is it so difficult for people to understand? So it’s not really upto her to save the marriage. It’s all upto the husband. He has to accept what she does to her body. And please just refusing for a gender test doesn’t make her husband progressive. Its time we stop giving credit to breadcrumbs. If he really is progressive the woman would not be going through this. So I would advice the woman to inform her husband and not have a child if she doesn’t want to. The ball is in the husbands court to save the marriage.

  24. I like the thought of equality instead of only ‘her right’…. Nature has made a woman a child bearer… I feel for a lot of men out there who really love kids and really want one but there wives dont just as I feel for the women… The father deserves to know…. Its his li’l baby too…. Specially more cuz the letter says that he does seem to be a nice guy….

    • I agree that yes the father deserves to know. What I don’t agree with is this predefined role of child bearer that is stuck to me that I should somehow automatically follow.

      If there are guys out there with an overwhelming urge to have kids, there are many many channels apart from marriage – adoption, surrogate mothers. Please don’t dump this enormous responsibility on unwilling women just because they have the capacity to carry a fetus.

    • Yes the thought of equality is likeable. So two people have equal rights to decide to have the baby and plan it. That is when both want. Isn’t that equality? But to abort or carry out the pregnancy is only the woman’s decision. You think nature has been unfair to men by making women child bearer. Well I would love to give my uterus to a man with all the strain of periods and cramps. Than sure he can decide to abort or have the baby.

      Sure some men love kids. But it’s totally different from being a mother. Just being a favourite uncle to ur nieces and nephews doesn’t mean he can force his wife to spend sleepless nights changing nappies, feeding, having giving up career or hobbies because there is only so much time in a day so that he can have some few hours playing with his son. If someone loves kids there are avenues to carry that out. Why not sponsor a child, take up his responsibility, play with him or even coach a kids football team. These are just few examples.

  25. we are all making a few assumptions here.
    1. that the break she will take in her career is going to be a very career limiting move. if i had a female employee who wanted to have a baby 2 years into her marriage, i wouldnt think of it as a career limiting move. besides, we dont know her age. we dont know what her definition of “formative” is.

    2. that she has spoken to her husband about supporting in child care post natal, and he has refused. that he expects her to take an extended maternity leave or take the primary burden of child rearing while she doesnt want to. we dont know whether that discussion has happened yet.
    3 months of mat leave in india is her right. no one can deny her that.

    while i am for equality and all that, i dont understand these assumptions about her perceived reality or about her marital condition.

    What would your advice be to a man whose wife has conceived, accidently or otherwise, and he is telling her to abort bcs he is not ready to be a father?

    • Ideally, a couple should discuss this before getting married – how, if, when to have kids, what to do in case accidental.

      This is a major issue and people in India mainly do not discuss it at all. Like women are not humans and have no decision in this matter. Marry, give birth.

      So, if the couple has already reached a consensus on what to do in this case, well they do what they decided.

      Either way it is to talk among each other and respect and listen.

      If woman wants and guy does not want, they may separate if the woman insists on going ahead, if the guy had made his intentions clear beforehand.

      Point is:
      - Every human has the right to have an autonomy over their own bodies, which is absent in our society (guys included, how many guys marry the girls their parents chose due to emotional blackmailing?)
      - Couples discuss beforehand.
      - Better separate beforehand if you cannot reach a consensus on this issue or reconcile with your partners decision

      • I agree this is not going to end well. If she aborts the husband will be upset and resent her. If she keeps the baby she will resent him and be unhappy.

        These are things that should have been discussed before. If they both want kids, when and beliefs about abortion.

  26. To be honest, she has put herself in a fix by telling her husband about the pregnancy. Had she been smarter, she should have tried to find out how he felt about aborting a baby before telling him and once she knew the answer, she should have gone in for a termination at an early stage without getting into all these dilemma.

    As of now, obviously, there are no easy answers. She has only two choices – to save her marriage (she needs to figure out whether she will be happy in one where a decision of this kind is forced on her) or save her career (she needs to figure out whether she would be okay risking the marriage for her career). Basically she needs to evaluate what this marriage means to her.

  27. When a couple has a child, is it the couple’s child or the mother’s child? When as women, we want for parenting to be shared/distributed as equally as possible, I find it incomprehensible to say it is the woman’s choice because she carries the child. Parenthood is much more than pregnancy.

    The fact that a relationship is not strong enough to resolve issues does not mean a person’s rights to know of their child/fetus/zygote is compromised. This is how a person tries to avoid conflict. I can’t get over a decision as important as this being something a single person’s prerogative while anything a husband does without his wife’s knowledge would be jumped upon in this forum.

    Plus, what is this about one’s life going for a toss when a child is born? Parents are losers career wise? In this day and age, there are ways for people to balance it most of the time. Don’t see how a few years will make a difference in any case, getting back after a break is ALWAYS difficult!

    • “Plus, what is this about one’s life going for a toss when a child is born? Parents are losers career wise? In this day and age, there are ways for people to balance it most of the time. Don’t see how a few years will make a difference in any case, getting back after a break is ALWAYS difficult!”

      I so agree.

      That’s what I don’t understand. Babies are work, I agree, but I don’t think they are detrimental for a career. When having a baby is in the agenda, then few years here and there shouldn’t really matter.
      Career wise, yes, there’ll be some setbacks. One will need to find a balance. That is a given. There is no escape. But it doesn’t have to stop someone from working altogether.

      • What if the woman had said she is simply not ready and does not want a child now?

        The point here is not whether parents are losers career-wise (I have posted many comments arguing that parenthood need not affect a woman’s/ man’s career negatively). The woman in question has said she is not ready. The point is, should a woman be forced to carry a child if she is not willing or ready for whatever reason, career or not.

        Everyone realises that the ideal scenario would be one in which the husband and wife made a joint decision. The letter writer has presented a scenario that is past this stage and does not look like it’s heading in a mutual decision zone.

        If they cannot agree jointly at all, then one of them will have to override the other. It’s only fair to then say that at this point, it’s her prerogative to control her womb. The alternative is saying that it is his right to control her womb against her wishes. As someone said, that sounds like slavery.

        • @Carvaka – I completely agree that it’s her body, her decision. Nobody should force her todo anything. Ultimately, she is the one taking decisions, she is the one facing the consequences of her actions – good or bad.

          For me, “not being ready” = being scared

          My point is – there is no right or wrong time to have a baby. You face the same emotional issues irrespective of whether you are 25 or 35. Having a baby need not be as detrimental as it is made out to be. So if she is scared, or if she is doubtful to have a baby right now, then all I want to say is – don’t be scared, you have to face the same issues whenever you are having a baby.
          So, if she wants the baby in the long run, then she shouldn’t get an abortion just because she is perceiving it to be a threat to her career. It can be a totally different experience. Lot of women are doing just fine in their careers even with a baby.

          I also think that one is never really ready for a baby. I never was!

          Ultimately it is up to her what she wants, I am just giving my perspective.
          My advice to her has got nothing to do with what her husband is asking her to do or not to do.

    • I think most of the commenters agree that it is only fair that the husband knows about her decision in this matter.

      Parenting comes into picture after the child leaves the mother’s womb and is physically out of her body. Which means that a father can equally shoulder the responsibility of caring for the child. Our body is our prerogative. Once a child is “born” and becomes an individual capable of survival outside the body of a woman, the rights of the child are modified accordingly.

      And for your last point, yes there are parents who balance it. But that does not make it less hard or exhausting. It is harder to put in more effort at work when you have to juggle schedules to care for a child. And precisely because it is difficult, some people don’t that break in their lives. There is no need for a condescending tone.

      • absolutely. also it depends on person to person. some might enjoy it, for some it might be very hard and some might even resent it if forced on them.

  28. ok, here’s a scenario: a couple marries young (against their parents wishes). a year later, they both plan on getting graduate degrees – in separate places. however major contraceptive fail and they discover a baby is on the way. the women says she thinks she can balance it and isn’t sure she wants to abort. the man says he wants kids but he’d resent a baby born at this stage and would rather abort. also he doesn’t want to be an absentee father or for either of them not to get the degree they so wanted (he’s 23, she’s 22). now what would you say?

    • It is still the woman prerogative to abort or to continue. The relationship may suffer because of the differences or may not. Dont know.

      I do agree that it is unfair to hoist parenthood on an unwilling father who took the necessary precautions to not procreate and made his opinion on the fetus known before it was too late. I hope in the future there are laws for unwilling fathers to get out of the obligation of being a parent when such is the case.

    • This question has been answered many times in the above comments but I will try to provide some perspective.

      Let’s look at your question from the other end. Let’s say this woman had an abortion already. Say this woman suffers one of the following possible side effects of an abortion (http://www.midlandlifecenter.org/abortion-risksprocedures):
      • Inability to get pregnant due to infection or complication of an operation
      • Allergic reaction to the medicines
      • Hemorrhage (heavy bleeding) possibly requiring treatment with an operation, a blood transfusion, or both
      • Incomplete removal of the unborn child, placenta, or contents of the uterus, requiring an operation
      • Death.

      Now, would you prefer that she had put herself in this situation of her own will or that she was forced to go into the operation by her husband against her wishes? Should he be allowed to force these consequences on her? What would you say?

        • No these risks are always there. Pretty much the same risks are there in childbirth too (except for partial removal of child). Which is exactly why the woman has the right to a bigger say in whether she wants to go for abortion/pregnancy and should not be forced.

          It’s one thing if I make a decision to do it, knowing the risks. It’s an entirely different thing if someone forced it upon me. Do I have the right to force a kidney operation on my husband without his consent? I think not.

      • Well, I was the woman in question.

        No, I was never sure I wanted to abort (still wonder if I would’ve managed!) – but my spouse was certain of what he wanted. I did (and still do) feel my spouse has an equal right in child-related matters. I decided I wanted him on board more than I objected to the abortion.

        It has been 12 years, we have an 8 year old daughter and he has (willingly and quite excellently) been a single parent for a year while I was away getting a higher degree (in response to many comments above about how only mothers really count as parents!)

        All I’m saying is, just because you carry a child to term it does not make it more your child than your spouses. I get that you may choose to keep the child & (if you can’t convince your spouse) walk away from the marriage. But I feel ‘just do what you want and if he doesn’t like it hard luck’ isn’t reasoned advice.

        There is no doubt in my mind that they should discuss it. But finally whoever feels more strongly probably has to have his/her feelings taken into account.

        • “whoever feels more strongly probably has to have his/her feelings taken into account.”

          and what if they both feel strongly? If they can reach a joint decision because one respects that other’s need/want is great, that’s great and very healthy. However, if they are both strongly opposed to each other’s views, then the woman should have a bigger say in this decision because it most affects her body. That is the point of discussion here.

          It is not the same as saying the husband has no right on the child. No one is advising that the first resort should be to make a sole decision and even less to hide it from your partner. Having to consider hiding such a decision from your partner indicates much bigger problems than this one thing.

          I don’t understand why the woman having a bigger say over her own body should break an otherwise healthy marriage? My husband and I may disagree violently on something but once the decision is made, we support each other nonetheless.

          “‘just do what you want and if he doesn’t like it hard luck’” is very flippant considering how difficult such a decision is. Some relationships could have a status quo issue and not allow a mutual decision. Some relationships could be abusive. The dad might not be as willing to share the load of parenthood as your partner was. Your decision worked for you but another woman in another situation might have to make a choose differently. Let’s not be judgemental.

    • As always discuss with each other and try reach a consensus.

      They decide to abort okay..

      The woman decides to keep the baby, the guy can make clear he is not ready and insists on pursuing his grad studies okay. Keep the baby but the woman cannot complain, that she is exhausted/ he does not help her with baby/be resentful of the guy not helping her because she made the decision to handle it all.

      Why can’t they continue being a couple despite the baby? Why would the guy be resentful if he does not have to do much in term of the baby?

      This post is about women having control of their lives and their bodies just like any adult human being should be allowed to and learning to live with their decisions and mistakes, not controlling them just because they are women and thus inferior but clearly this has not entered your head anon till now.

    • I’m sorry but I’m going to play the devil’s advocate here, only because complications of an abortion were mentioned upthread-

      “Currently the death rate from abortion in the United States is 0.6 per 100,000 procedures, eleven times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term”
      (Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, USA)

      A medically abortion is ALWAYS ‘safer’ than carrying a pregnancy to term. You are eleven times more likely to die from complications of a full term pregnancy than from a medically preformed abortion, even in the USA.

      Not a very advertised fact of pregnancy is it?
      And that, my friends, is why, a woman’s reproductive issues must be the woman’s decision alone.

  29. Hi, just came upon this blog. Great blog, great discussions on relevant issues! Nice to see so many intellectual, progressive Indians in one place:)
    Regarding the lady’s question on abortion, a woman must have the right to make decisions about her own body. Ironically, here in the US, this right is still shaky.
    Trust is the bedrock of a marriage – therefore the wife has a responsibility to let her husband know – unless she suspects that she will be somehow be coerced into giving up her fundamental rights – this does not seem to be the case here …? Only the woman in question can judge this.
    Yes, they should’ve discussed this a long time ago, but sometimes people’s attitudes and opinions change over time. In a good marriage, we need to learn to deal with changing needs. The husband needs to realize that children came come later, when both are ready, that love for each other is more important. A working woman doesn’t have to give up on having kids, she can have them when she’s ready.

    Some posts went into a discussion of career for a woman – I agree that it is a woman’s choice whether she wants to work or stay home and she should do what makes her happy. However, from a practical point of view, I’d strongly advice women to hold on to their careers. I don’t think we emphasize to our daughters enough the importance of being financially independent. Yes, there are cases where a woman can stay home and raise the kids and cook and clean and pursue her interests and her reading and be treated as a complete equal. However these cases are rare. What the world needs is more working women, more empowered women, more women making corporate decisions, more women being on committees, being active in their communities – when this happens, you will see changes in the workplace, changes in our laws, changes in our attitudes. The more women stay at home, the less impact they have on society and the world at large. This is a shame, as women have so much they can contribute. Women in India face so many negative attitudes. In one sense, it is almost the responsibility of the educated, aware woman to get out there and change things, even in the smallest way possible. Let society know, I’m here, I exist, I matter, I will make decisions that involve all of us, I will be heard. We can’t do this by staying home.

    • I think it is nobody’s sole choice to stay at home. Unless you have convinced someone to support you financially, you do not have a right, or a choice, to stay at home.

    • Excellent Priya, absolutely agree with you. We need more women out there in the world at all stages of the pipeline from new graduate trainees to senior executives. Women should be out in the world making decisions, inventions, laws, finding cure for diseases and changing the world. This cannot be done by staying home. Or at the very least, we must absolutely support a woman who does not want to sacrifice her dreams/aspirations no matter what society/family expects because of her gender. World needs a female Steve Jobs, we want future history textbooks with major female players and not just read about them as persecuted second class citizens.
      On a more practical level, financial independence for women is a must. Giving up your and your children’s financial future and economic security into hands of a man is playing the Russian roulette with your own life and hoping you get lucky.

      • We also desperately need some women historians – to record history accurately, to tell the story from the female perspective – this would drastically alter sacred texts around the world and our interpretation of them – this would then remove the ‘sanctioning’ many people get from ‘enforcing’ these misogynistic ‘moral’ codes. If women wrote the Bible and the Manu Smruti, they would read very different.

        Rather than bemoaning that society is biased, we need to think – what can we do about it. Writing and discussing is good, it gets people thinking, but without action, it goes nowhere. I hope every one of us (men and women) who believe that change is needed is ding something (however small) in our own lives about it. Everywhere in history, changes happened only after the victims took charge – Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights movement in the US are cases in point. As long as African Americans bemoaned segregated schools and buses, wrote against this practice, made speeches, they remained segregated. It took a Rosa Parks who refused to ride in the back of the bus to finally stop this practice.

  30. If she doesn’t want to become a mother, she should choose an abortion.

    She should tell her husband about it. Or alternatively – divorce him.

    There is absolutely no way that a marriage built on a lie can work. If she feels honesty towards him is more than she can manage, then she should not be married to him.

  31. I wonder, where is this email writer now? Reading our discussion? Any updates of her friend? Showing this to her friend? Does her friend or the lady want to clarify something?

    • Exactly. There are many aspects which we still don’t know while we carry on with our opinions. What is the period of pregnancy the woman is in right now? What is her physical status for her to be allowed having an abortion? Is she planning on having an abortion without any medical advice?

      These things have to be clarified before even thinking of any other issues related to abortion.

  32. First if husband wants a kid not wife then husband should sacrifice his career for his explicit wish, here it seems the woman will have to hence she is tensed .the woman doesnt look against having a child but she fears her career getting lost.So this a forced decision on her career not child.Since its her body , her career but child of both, the father should sacrifice his career to take of the child and without affecting the mother and can have a win win state

  33. I must say this…. the husband deserves to know if the wife wants to abort. There cannot be a normal life if she aborts without his knowledge.

    If ever she needs to be brave its here… tell it, try to explain make him understand and take her stand. Do what she wants to do…. but not hide it. Its a mutual thing I guess and yet she must do what she must…

  34. When one chooses to build a family (marriage or children) it is one’s responsibility to contribute to both career and family without one preciding other. I know you will now attack me with your feminist views. Personally I love the idea of a unit. I would also like to believe all our career is a thanks to parents, teachers & others influencers. Everybody one comes across contribute to one’s personality. I think a CEO post is no joke that demands one’s time and energy. If one is single it is a different matter. When one has family, especially children it is the parents duty to give them the best if one’ time as well, not just ‘contribute’ financially. Ratan Tata says he now has ‘more’ time to soend time with his dog after all these yrs. I think he shud be thankful that ‘his’dog wants to spend time with him after all this time with its caretaker! One more thing, am not a homemaker. Ive merely chosen a ‘slower’ route that allows me time for family. I request you to please ask any ‘high achiever’ who they credit their success to. Im sure after all ‘me/my hardwork/me/me’ its either husband/wife/child/guardian/mentor/issues/money etc who has been a motivator. why do green rooms exist in theatre halls?

    • “When one chooses to build a family (marriage or children) it is one’s responsibility to contribute to both career and family without one preciding other.”
      How exactly does one contribute to both by giving up one (career) almost entirely? You are contradicting yourself. Is there one universal judge of exactly where the balance lies? I might be working full time and still be a better partner than some housewives. That doesn’t mean everyone in the world should do what I do.

      “I know you will now attack me with your feminist views.”
      If you feel attacked just by the existence feminist views, you have issues. You said we should contribute 12 hours out of 24 to family without thinking of gender equality. No one said anything against SAHMs. Who’s attacking whom?

      “Personally I love the idea of a unit.”
      My husband and I both work full time and both take care of the home equally. Neither is compromised. Maybe the CEO’s husband is a homemaker or they have a (gasp) nanny. Is it only a ‘unit’ if the woman stays home? Can you not imagine a model of family different to yours?

      ” Everybody one comes across contribute to one’s personality. I think a CEO post is no joke that demands one’s time and energy.”
      What is the point here? Ofcourse everyone has a support system and has positive influences in their life.. and ofcourse the CEO is a great role model for career women. How are these two things related at all?

      “When one has family, especially children it is the parents duty to give them the best if one’ time as well, not just ‘contribute’ financially.”
      Do you and your husband both stay at home and not work then? Or does this only apply to women? A working mom might be spending sufficient time with her family for their needs. If I say you should spend 20 out of 24 hours with your kids, will you stop sleeping?

      “One more thing, am not a homemaker. Ive merely chosen a ‘slower’ route that allows me time for family. ”
      Well, shame on you because you should be spending “12 out of 24 hours with your loved ones. Whatever happened to falling in love!”

      “I request you to please ask any ‘high achiever’ who they credit their success to.”
      So having had support belittles their achievement? I would happily credit the people that supported me. That proves exactly what? You are only able to stay home if someone supports you financially. So by this logic, SAHM moms don’t deserve to be looked up to either. Right?

      If you read back, no ‘feminist’ has attacked being a SAHM or part time worker or whatever you want to be. In fact many of us ‘feminists’ have supported your right to do just that. However, you insist on shaming and judging working moms/ wives. Please ask yourself why you feel so threatened by people making choices different to yours. I think you are trying to justify your own decision to yourself here.. because no one else is questioning your choice.

    • How often do you critique males for “just contributing financially” ? Or do you feel that it’s fine for a man to behave that way, but not for a woman ? That’s certainly what it sounds like.

  35. goodness, 12hrs indicated half or equal time in a day’s clock. why is that hard to understand? i might not have an english degree but i do have a rte to opinion. lets leave it here. if u want a discussion why dont we mail each other?

  36. Just a request from a guy. If you wish to put husband and family behind your career in the list of importance, to ell that before marriage. Just as you have the right to decide if you want to be a career woman or a home maker and what sort of man you want we have the right to know what our prospective partner’s priorities are, so we can look for people who will be compatible.

    Just as you have a right to want a supportive husband, we have the right to choose w woman to whom career is not a first priority.

    Tell us before hand. We will keep a light year away from such ladies. You can marry supportive men.
    o be home makers, I say EVERY man is going to be moulded in the die you casted.

    Just as you say not all women can be expected to be a home maker, you cannot expect avery man to be supportive of a cereer lady.

    We too have rights, not just women all the way. if you marry a man who will be supportive, tell clearly. We will not marry you. You don’t have to marry us. Let birds of same feathers flock together. Mixing leads to chaos.

    Anand & Rajashree Iyer

    • It’s excellent advice to speak about all important issues openly and honestly before getting engaged or married. But I still feel that you unfairly put the burden on the women here. You seem to automatically assume that a woman would not want a career, and that if she’s somehow odd enough to want one, she is responsible for informing you about this fact.

      Would you say the same thing to a man ? If not, why not ? Do you assume that by “default” men want careers, and women do not ? This assumption is not valid, and if you assume it to be, without inquiring, you have only yourself to blame.

      If a woman has not told you about her future plans, you should not assume anything, and certainly you should not assume that her goals and plans are the same ones you wish for in a wife. If it matters to you, and she’s not told you about it: ask.

        • Since mostly women come here and comment, and most are career oriented here, I spoke to you women as an advice and a suggestion. Of course we would ask too. We would be careful to not jump in a dry well, I mean, marry a woman to whom her career is more important than me.

          Anand & Rajashree Iyer

        • @Anand

          So a man’s full time job is to be expected but a woman should spend all her time serving the man by default? Sounds lovely. I suggest men should assume that all women have some plans other than worshipping their husband and hence warn them that they plan to be ‘unsupportive’ of that.

          I hope that you followed your own advice and told your prospective-wife that she is less important than your career. Otherwise, your advice is gender biased, in which case I hope you also told your prospective-wife that you think she is less important than you.

          By the way, while there is nothing wrong in prioritising your career, just by having a career you do not somehow make your partner ‘less important’. My husband and I both work full time and somehow manage not to feel like we are ‘less important’ than each other’s jobs. I suppose that’s what happens when you support each other and that is what you seem fundamentally opposed to.

  37. Just a request from a guy. If you wish to put husband and family behind your career in the list of importance, to ell that before marriage. Just as you have the right to decide if you want to be a career woman or a home maker and what sort of man you want we have the right to know what our prospective partner’s priorities are, so we can look for people who will be compatible.

    Just as you have a right to want a supportive husband, we have the right to choose a woman to whom career is not a first priority.

    Tell us before hand. We will keep a light year away from such ladies. You can marry supportive men.
    You cannot expect and say EVERY man must be moulded in the die you casted.

    Just as you say not all women can be expected to be a home maker, you cannot expect every man to be supportive of a career lady.

    We too have rights, not just women all the way. if you marry a man who will be supportive, tell clearly. We will not marry you. You don’t have to marry us. Let birds of same feathers flock together. Mixing leads to chaos.

    Anand & Rajashree Iyer

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