for whom the bell tolls

In one of my more lucid moments during labour for Benji, I remember screaming at V: “My God, you and Benji better buy me diamonds for this.” Later, I reconsidered. Benji had not asked to be born or for his mother to suffer while bringing him into the world. But V was a different matter. Both V and I wanted and loved our children. But only I paid the physical price of carrying, birthing and breastfeeding him. And what a price it was.

V, who witnessed what I went through, I think realised that no amount of support, praise, encouragement, love (which he did give unstintingly) was going to compensate for the sheer physical price I paid. And so he did acceded to my suggestion that I be paid in cash or its more palatable equivalent – gold.

This idea seems to bother many people. On IHM’s post on “What…

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124 thoughts on “

  1. Read it.
    Still didn’t get the logic.
    Gave up.

    I have heard of a nursemaid being gifted by the parents of a child for her services, but never of the mother herself. And if the lady was in such bad health after her first child, why the hurry to have the second one instead of letting the body heal? And then demanding payment for it just cheapens the whole relationship IMO. Whatever works for you lady…


    • She never demanded the gift from her baby. It was from her husband. It was to make the effort put in for the joy of having a baby, become more equal between both parents. The father can never go through what the mother does no matter how much he may want to. Money can’t even begin to compensate for the innate inequality in the equation, but atleast it’s something. It’s better than saying that ALL women go through it and you got your beautiful baby and blah blah blah.


      • As a woman, I don’t see the innate inequality. Nature gave women the body parts to reproduce and that’s the way it is. Where does inequality come into the picture? If a woman does not want to go through the horrors of pregnancy, why not adopt one or hire a surrogate? There’s no sense in having the baby naturally and then making up weird logic that ‘payment’ is required for it. There are many strange relationship equations, but this one is by far the weirdest I’ve ever heard.


        • Let me put it this way. I will talk about my own story. We both want a baby – our OWN baby. My husband gets the baby with as much effort on his part as he WANTS to put in. Even if he WANTS to do more, he can’t. I also get the baby, but after going through a life-altering change. And MY life is the one which has changed the most post-baby. I don’t grudge my husband anything – he was and is a wonderfully supporting father and husband. It’s nobody’s FAULT that this inequality is there – but what is wrong in trying to even it out a bit? I can and do buy jewellery for myself. Infact in our house the whole concept of gifting is kind of redundant since all our money is joint. But I felt that I got a ‘reward’ for going through the most difficult thing I had ever gone through. When I look at my diamond I feel proud – it’s kind of like a reminder of a job well done. How is that weird?


        • PGW, most working women slow down considerably while they are pregnant and a couple of years after it.

          This setback is not only in terms of delayed promotions and missed opportunities — it has long-term consequences too. I work in IT services, and I know how unwilling project managers are to staff new mothers on critical projects or assign them critical but rewarding work.

          It takes a woman a few years to regain the momentum she’d had before childbirth and this affects her future income-generating potential and career prospects in many different ways.

          Most Indian workplaces are not so “child-friendly” and the vast majority of women just quit after childbirth.

          Then, if the marriage sours, there are left with very few options except to stay in unequal and unfulfilling relationships.

          I think The Bride was right in asking her husband to acknowledge her child-bearing efforts monetarily. I think all new mothers should consider asking for compensation in cash or kind.


    • I have always found “The Bride’s comment mostly acceptable or I concur with it. In this particular case, while I may see the logic but given the way I’m (maybe) it just doesn’t feel warm to me. It’s probably like PWG says, if it works for her gr8. In my case, I would have said take anything you want, I will get you everything – diamonds, gold, anything that you think will make your happy. But, I can’t give you this in exchange for takings the pains of child birth etc. Just a different view point.

      If you let aside the language and maybe the commercial aspect it, but in spirit the idea is basically to say that please don’t take the homemaker’s job for free. They do go through lots (pregnancy, birth, re-birth, home, kids, kitchen, etc) to have the life we get and we shouldn’t take anything for guaranted. In “The Brides” case, the diamonds partly made for acknowledging what she had gone through, and it sounds fair enough. Now, do we all agree? 🙂


      • I think Anil, what Bride is saying is, a woman should not have to pay (financially, socially, healthwise etc) for being a mother. Take a look at Aishwarya’s case – her husband and she were equally good or bad in their respective careers, both are parents now, but only has to change her entire life to be a parent, so is it wrong for her to expect compensation? I like the idea of equal share in everything they own and full support in child rearing for both the parents.

        Child bearing should not mean she has to lose her self reliance for example, anymore than the other parent has to.


        • Is it not easier to keep everything joint legally, make financial decisions together and just treat the other as a partner (not just romantically, I mean in practical terms).
          Irrespective of whether or not you have kids.


        • IHM, I agree with what the Bride says about the inequality in terms of both the physicality of the pregnancy and birthing process and also the fact that the woman’s profession suffers in a way that the man’s doesn’t. However, this is not something imposed by the guy. It is NOT the same as household work not being seen in quantifiable financial terms. Making the guy pay for the woman’s extreme discomfort in child bearing/ birthing through money does not, for me, make it equal or shared. In fact, it reduces the immensity of the act and its repercussions.
          Also at the beginning of her post, she has written that she reconsidered making the child pay as he had not asked to be born. But the male has not imposed the singular responsibility of pregnancy and birthing upon the woman either.

          I too like the idea of an equal share in everything they own etc as you’ve written. And by all means, the woman should buy diamonds etc from these shared resources. I have a problem with the demanding of them as compensation, and I have a bigger problem with the possibility of financial compensation somehow leading the guy to feel absolved from responsibility and the recognition of the inherent inequality of the process (pregnancy/ birthing/ feeding).


        • @IHM: Well if someone wants a biological baby but doesn’t want the physical pain then I think it’s OK to hire a surrogate. And she is not part of a marriage so why would she do it for free?

          So the wife thinks that it’s fine to ask for payment for child bearing. Well what do you think of husbands who use logic with homemakers like ‘I work hard all day long, the least you can do is cook and clean and jump into bed when I want to, etc etc’? I wouldn’t stand by that statement so what’s with the whole ‘payment’ philosophy? It smacks of bribery to me. Let’s not get carried away with the equality debate and turn a relationship into some sort of business with transactions and what have you.


        • Infact, my take is that the women shouldn’t give up her career if possible! I had always supported my wife and ensured that she never gave up her career. Ya, I now it is tough on her especially the first 2 years around the birth, but it is workable. We did it.

          Well, now that is a different discussion that a lot of Mom’s would prefer to give away their job and would be happy bring up the child. But then there will be lots who wouldn’t either.

          Aishwarya’s case, Do you think she had any less resources, if she had preferred to carry on with her career?


    • > And then demanding payment for it just cheapens

      No, no, NO. Demanding payment does the opposite of cheapen anything. Forcing people to part with cold hard cash in exchange for “women’s work” is going to force them to recognize that “women’s work” is real work.

      Women have been duped by talk of “mothers are like god” and “mothers are the most important people in our lives” for long enough. Time to put your money where your mouth is. TALK is cheap!


      • I understand what The Bride is trying to say here. I agree that nothing comes close to what the woman goes through during pregnancy and childbirth and the woman should be compensated with something other than “oh but you get to be a mother”. This romanticization of motherhood has hurt women all along. Women are supposed to be happy and sacrificing mothers and not complain about how much work it is. I think I will just blog about my thoughts on motherhood rather than hog your comment space.


  2. It’s a sad day when men have to pay wives to bear their children. Since the man has already paid for the child, is he its proprietor/owner or is it their child/children.

    IHM – About the man being the proprietor – are you aware that with or without any compensation or appreciation or child support or equal parenting, the child would probably carry the father’s name?

    And I am sick of reading this ‘You don’t know what it takes etc etc etc etc’ line of argument.

    IHM – This insensitivity is only possible because most women have no choice in if and when they want to be mothers.

    If women think giving birth sucks, get yourself sterilised or take another option. Did her husband force her to bear children? Place a gun at her head?

    IHM – What Bride said is this: Both the parents (equal partners) want a child, but only one ends up losing out on career, health etc.

    Do the readers of this blog believe that if women did not want to have children, they would go through nine months of hard work for the child.

    IHM – A majority of women are not allowed to find out for themselves whether or not they want to be mothers, they are not even given the chance to be self reliant so often, they don’t really have any real choices.

    No one disagrees that women undergo changes in their body and their bodies go through stress during pregnancy/childbirth. Everybody acknowledge this, accept this.

    IHM – If this was true then we would have seen respect for motherhood and mothers (including unmarried mothers). And, are you aware of Aishwarya Rai being targeted for post pregnancy weight gain? Are you aware of the mortality rate during child birth and pregnancy in India (and many other developing countries)? And about abortions being used in lieu of contraception? And women not really having any choice in when and who they marry and when they decide to have children?

    Unfortunately ladies, this is how we procreate. I suggest women and scientists come up with artificial wombs and/or reproduction technology which allows humans to reproduce asexually/without the need for women.

    IHM – As more and more women are actually beginning to be able to choose if they want to go through ‘procreation’, I think we might see societies becoming more willing to ensure that they do not take women’s wombs and bodies for granted. We would see that women’s reproductive health is taken seriously and motherhood would not mean women losing career and self reliance (health and finance) opportunities. It has begun with more and more families choosing to have just one or no children, with parental leave (Instead of maternity leave) and women adding their names to the names of their children.

    It would be fun the day it happens.
    IHM – Or maybe it would be end of fun for those who didn’t give a thought to maternal health and related issues till now? We would see better contraception, more care for mother and child’s health and rights?

    No more squabbling, no more buy me jewellery because I gave birth to your child.

    IHM – The fact is, most women do not (dare not) even demand some rest, better health care, child support, help with caring for the child, ‘maternity leave’, to give their own name to the child etc. They are generally feeling guilty about being pregnant and ‘ugly’ and then of neglecting their husbands because they are busy with the new born; and motherhood is traditionally an indication of an end of youth and fun for women, many believe women can’t remarry, divorce, work full time, look young etc once they are mothers.

    In fact, perhaps no more marriage itself. Freedom for both sexes. How would the child feel if the father told him/her — I paid your mother xyz amount in order that she carry and give birth to you.

    IHM – The children do not ask to be born, this would concern only the father and the mother.

    Ask the thousands of couples who pay through their noses to have a child, undergoing complex medical procedures. They would tear their hair off when they hear that a woman took money from her husband for having children. What a pathetic argument — “I bore you children, so now pay me”.

    IHM: I think such parents would appreciate what the woman is talking about.


    • Aah! that insensitivity again!

      “Unfortunately ladies, this is how we procreate”

      Yes we know! we are very well aware of the inequality biology has thrown our way!
      What is not acceptable is when a man extends this inequality into day to day life..
      what is not acceptable is when the man comes and just “acknowledges” it – thinking ‘I agree it looks like a big deal, but deal with it, what else can be done?!’
      what is not acceptable is when women, who is totally capable of living the life she wants (which includes buying whatever she wants) otherwise, is targeted for slacking in professional or personal front because she has a child..

      Have you come across any woman who talks about childbirth so lightly? Even the unmarried ones don’t.. Even the ones who have had many children tell that their first pregnancy was always difficult…

      “I suggest women and scientists come up with artificial wombs and/or reproduction technology which allows humans to reproduce asexually/without the need for women.”

      I am afraid if that is what it takes for people to recognize and appreciate the role women play in reproduction!!


      • The fertility of women has always been praised. And for the last time, do not (repeat) do not become mothers if you do not want it. And women are treated better when they are expecting.


        • “And women are treated better when they are expecting.”
          For the well-being of the child she is carrying maybe? It is sheer hypocrisy to not treat the woman well woman when she is an infant/ schoolgirl/single/widowed/working/on the streets and just treat her better when she is ‘expecting’.


        • @Nitya – exactly my point
          @Anonymous – so you are saying that praising by men is equal to all the pain woman goes through during pregnancy/childbirth. Moreover whats the guarantee that she will even be praised for that..
          You are more or less saying that –
          if you want a child then shut up and deal with whatever/however the man treats you
          just don’t have a child if you want(demand) your husband to treat you well, because it’s very difficult for men to do that!!!


        • Absolutely agree with you! Women who do not want to be mothers should not be. I guess the rest of society (In-laws, Parents, relatives) will really respect her ‘choice’


    • I don’t think the Bride ever asked for diamonds as a payment for having the child. It wasn’t like she could have walked off the labor room if her husband had said “No, there’s no deal”
      It’s simply about acknowledging and respecting what your wife goes through. And if symbolically, that is done through gifting (irrespective of whether its jewellery, clothes etc.) what is wrong with that? Do we not gift our parents/children items from time to time as a token of our love, gratitude etc.? It’s not like we’re totally non-material.
      In the Bride’s defense, she did what worked for her. And in no way was it immoral, and in fact getting diamonds does not reduce all the effort that went into giving birth to a child nor is it a price paid to her. Look at it this way — the diamonds along with the child will remain as a lovely memory of a stressful time in life.


  3. I agree with all that the Bride says. There should be acknowledgement of what a woman goes through when she carries a child, gives birth and then brings the baby up.

    My case is similar to hers. Husband stood by me etc. However I think he also did his bit – all the time that I was/am bringing the babies up, he went and did put effort to earn enough to keep us comfortable and allow one of us (me in this case) to be with the babies. I chose to take a career break and now work flexi-hours while he does the work-related travel and puts in more slog at office and much longer hours – it was/is a joint decision, one that made most sense for all three (and later four) of us. I’d even say I enjoy my work more than he does, he however does not have the luxury of leaving his job and shifting to something that is his passion – because one of us has to get the bread (and jam) in. I do not think he owes me anything – all our assets are held by us jointly and I have a free hand in what I choose to do financially. If I chose to buy diamonds like in the ad in the previous post I can go and do it myself, I’d do it sensibly but I’d also let him know I am doing so. Similarly my husband always checks with me before buying a gadget he likes or making any such purchase.


  4. I should not even be commenting on this. The entire idea is abhorrent for me. If you do not want to have a child, please do not do so. Don’t weight the child with diamonds.

    It is fine if a woman chooses to be a homemaker (or makes such sacrifices), the husband gives her some money or whatever of her own to compensate for her losses. But demanding diamonds as gifts for going through childbirth is merely materialistic and shallow, no matter what spin one wants to put on it to try and justify it.

    Whatever works for you ladies, but I will not be weighing my relationships in gold, at any time soon. I think I can do better than that.


    • //Don’t weight the child with diamonds. // I think she asked for compensation for labour not the child – she said, //We both got a healthy child but he got a child without going through what I did.//


    • When soldiers demand payment for the work they do, is that not “materialistic and shallow”?

      This woman isn’t demanding money for being in the relationship. She’s demanding money for the very real, very expensive (to herself, her health, her body, her career, her future earning capacity), incredibly valuable service she is providing. It deserves to be compensated.


      • I am sorry, I am not one of those who think that soldiers must be revered. They are doing a job they have chosen, and are paid for it. It has nothing to do with being a mother.

        As I said, it was hardly the husband’s fault that she was having a baby (unless he forced himself on her). Giving birth is not a ‘service’. As other people elsewhere have said in this post, reducing the event of birth to a service will give the service buyer the right to demand how the service will be provided. Bringing money matters into the equation will always result in such things, like it or not.


  5. I’m going to parrot the others and say that if it works for you, great.

    It’s a personal thing, and if both partners consider the transactional approach, as it is being called, fair, then one must bow and accept that.

    Just not sure it would work for everybody. It certainly wouldn’t work for me and my wife, different as our situation is, and I’m sure it wouldn’t work for many others. Everyone must evolve their own mechanisms.


    • Agree Praveen. But that way you could then say if giving/taking dowry works for both parties then its okay, whatever works for you!

      I know I am comparing apples and oranges but my point is where do we draw the line between saying something is personal and debating it in public – and this is a very tricky thing, which is why hats off to The Bride for what I think is very brave of her. Bet it is not terribly pleasant to have folks dissect what you believe and do.


      • n,

        I don’t believe it’s that difficult to draw the line.

        Widespread, socially-sanctioned practices which people are regularly forced to partake in – such as dowry – should be open to debate and dissection.

        The same is not true of a mechanism evolved by two partners in a marriage for themselves, a mechanism they’re both happy with.

        In many cases of dowry-giving, there is no coercion, no harassment, no physical or mental torture whatsoever. The bride and the groom are quite okay with it. They even end up having a happy marriage. Then why condemn it?

        Well, because indulging in it legitimizes an already extant social malpractice. By indulging in it, the couple is potentially harming other people, exposing others to coercion, harassment and torture. That’s the ONLY reason I can think of for condemning it in such circumstances.

        In The Bride’s case, there’s no social malpractice. No one is being harmed. It’s a private choice, affecting only two people, both of whom are perfectly happy with it. I don’t see a problem, even if I wouldn’t quite agree with that choice myself.


        • Agree Praveen, there is a difference as you have explained so well.

          HOWEVER (going on a tangent here perhaps but will say it),
          doesn’t what each of us think and do personally build up ultimately to what society thinks and does?


  6. Just curious, what hospital in what country you delivered your first baby in. My wife delivered in a private US hospital and it costed 4,000 $ only.


    • yeah thats what I was wondering too. I dont think it would cost $100000 unless the mother was hospitalized for months before the baby arrived or if the child needed special care.


        • She is in Hong Kong and the health care I presume is different.
          She was talking about 100,000 Hong Kong Dollars and since public health care is good over there, private hospitals must be way more expensive.


    • LOL what part of the country was that?? Because for both my children – uncomplicated natural births, no c-section, only 2 day hospital stays – the bill was over $20,000 each before insurance. C-sections would have cost much more.


  7. Payment for delivering a baby reduces marriage to transaction. What if the next day the husband renovates the house with his bare hands? Will he also receive a payment? I don’t get the logic then. Where is this concept of “saving” there?

    If you want to “buy” or “sell” a family service, hire an external force.

    In a properly functioning marriage both should have an awareness of how much they can earn as a couple and how much they can afford. And if they share the costs and benefits, granting money for one is just nonsense.

    In a marriage such things are never equal. What if the next day one of them falls sick and needs to be hospitalized (which costs a lot). Would the other get a grant for it?


    • > Payment for delivering a baby reduces marriage to transaction.

      Why, exactly? She isn’t asking payment to get married, after all. She is asking for money to

      > What if the next day the husband renovates the house with his bare hands? Will he also receive a payment?

      Well, that isn’t at all the same, is it?

      – Home renovation can be done around his regular work schedule, he doesn’t need to take time off work or quit his job to do it.

      – Home renovation does not alter his body and health permanently, or carry a significant risk of death.

      – Home renovation is not socially, culturally, financially penalized. Nobody is going to deny him jobs in the future because he has renovated his home. Nobody is going to look down upon him as a “used up” person, devalue him, or expect him to sacrifice his whole life to the house just because he renovated his home once years ago.

      – Home renovation will not damage his future earning capacity. Home renovation can be mentioned on his resume, even, and it will never hurt his chances for promotions or hiring or being offered high wages.

      – Home renovation, once completed, is DONE. It is not going to demand almost all his time and effort and dedication for 18 years afterwards.

      – Home renovation, once completed, is something that will provide him with comfort and usefulness and huge benefits. It’s not like children, who don’t exactly benefit you in any concrete way (except the ways in which YOU do most of the work!) unless the children themselves choose to.

      – Society and the human race will not perish if people do not renovate their homes.

      So, yeah, for all these reasons, I think it’s rather insulting to women to compare home renovation to childbirth.

      I think it’s better to compare childbirth to being a soldier. We have no issues with paying taxes to pay soldiers, giving soldiers lots of benefits and real respect, right? Why not do the same for moms??

      After all, soldiers and moms benefit society in amost exactly comparable ways. Procreation is as basic and essential a function of the species as protection. Both carry similar risks of death (women have always died in childbirth in staggering numbers just like soldiers die in war, and both rates of death are drastically reduced with better technology). Both are difficult, real WORK. And if overpopulation is an issue, too many wars is also just as big a problem…

      Funny, isn’t it, how differently society treats moms and soldiers? All because one set is doing traditional “men’s work” and the other is doing “women’s work”.


      • If some women consider pregnancy as such a “punishment” and “life altering event to a point where it becomes unbearable” then why have kids?

        If you’re gonna cry over lost career for the years to come – don’t get pregnant, simple.

        I don’t understand thi logic of evening out biological differences and the benefits/loses related to that.

        Following this though every guy should be rewarded for being physically stronger (i.e. being able to carry more weight).

        The worst attitude is to go overboard from one extreme to the other.


        • EM,

          I didn’t say anything like “pregnancy is a punishment” or “pregnancy makes life unbearable”. Don’t use quotes when you’re not quoting my actual words! I only want the real work of pregnancy and labor and childcare to be compensated the same way any other work in our economy is.

          Anyway, do you really not see the injustice in punishing women alone for having children, when this is a choice both men and women make? When men have children we do not penalize them financially or career-wise. When women have children, we do penalize them just because women have uteruses. This is textbook sexism: discrimination on the basis of biology.

          Oh, and men ARE rewarded in our society for being physically stronger! We have decided that work done using men’s biological strengths is real work worth paying real money for (construction, military, farming, what-have-you) but work done using women’s biological strengths is not really work and should never be paid, for some reason.

          Our societies’ rules were made in an era when women were nothing more than brood-mares owned by men as property. These rules need to change. Just as we needed the legal system to recognie that women are people who own themselves, we need the capitalist market to recognize that women’s work is also real work. Our labor should not be demanded for free. I don’t think this is a radical position at all.


        • I did not quote you, I merely highlighted slogan believes.

          Your position is not radical at all. It is impractical. In a society like India, you want to go 180 degrees from women opression to women glorification.

          Even in the West, if you claim that you should be reimbursed somehow for your biological capabilities, people will laugh at you. That including women.

          Because the harsh reality is, you count as much in the society, as you can prove to be productive. Having kids is a luxury not a prerogative.

          The reason why the Western world is mostly an aging society is because people first count how much they can afford and stand in terms of a lifestyle change, and then decide if they are capable of expanding a family.

          No welfare program is gonna ever compensate you for the emotional and physical pains of labor and related responsibilities. Going through this is after all your choice.


  8. Though I completely agree with The Bride’s logic, I am not okay with the whole-being-paid-for-pregnancy thing. I mean, yes! biologically its never the same for a man and a woman, but my husband did the best he could. It does not even account for 1% of the whole thing, I agree, but that 1% he did without complaining, willingly, and I am okay with that. Also, I think I would rather prefer the freedom to spend our(I am a homemaker) money than being paid for my pregnancy.
    But.. but.. but.. I have come across many men who’ve talked about childbirth very lightly, and if my husband had ever done that to me I would have definitely asked for him to pay!!


  9. Found the post to be completely repulsive. Seems like she has a very shallow relationship with her husband totally lacking in trust or love.


      • IHM, men can stop beating their wives, killing their daughters, raping and assaulting women, taking and giving dowry etc if they wanted to by end of business today. But can they give birth even if they wanted too, they can’t it’s simple as that.

        But, I do realize and agree that its the woman who has to do the heavy lifting and its the women who have to sacrifice their careers, free time and take on the responsibility of being the primary caregiver to the child. This view is changing albeit slowly now, with companies becoming more aware that its not in their best interests to adjust and accommodate moms.

        Now a marriage can never be equal, but it can definitely be equitable. IMO a husband and wife are a team who use their individual strengths for the betterment of the unit called family.

        Now since only the woman has the capacity to give birth, I think some way to introduce some element of fairness would be to give her complete freedom regarding when she wants to be pregnant and how many times. Also i dont think that just because women can, they have to give birth, surrogacy and adoption are also some options to be explored.

        As for the OP and lack of love, trust and concern, I don’t see how it is her husband’s decision whether she get any pain medication or not during childbirth. I would rather have him pay for denying the wife an epidural during labor than for delivering his child.

        Also why would any one plan on a second child knowing that finances would be tight and which self respecting husband would leave his wife to give birth at a public hospital which saves him $100000 but inconveniences his wife so much. I’d rather just postpone the kid, than have my spouse go thru that.

        Also was the husband keen on the wife have a drug free child birth even during a c-section.

        I think the OP on some level resents her husband for all these things.

        Also if in a true partnership if all of what a couple or the husband makes belongs to both of them equally, then how does the husband take what is rightfully hers and give it back to her as compensation.


        • Totally agree, except that $10000 is a huge money to have them mutually agree that let her get delivery done in public hospital. Wife gets the security, husband thinks it is better to save and have with her than not at all ! Fair enough.


    • I would not make such a strong judgement on their relationship. It works for them, lets leave it there. For the rest you can decide your takeaways. Just reminded that lots of couples where both are earning make very calculated maths – as in how their money is used, who pays for what, etc keeping the bank account separate. Now, someone may find that lack of trust or love, but its probably a good idea for some couples because it make them take mutual responsibility but yet exercise complete freedom over their money. But for some it may not be required – like in our case we both spend as we need & almost always encourage or reason out each other spending.


    • Sorry pressed the button.

      I was saying with all due respect if there is a reason then that makes it all ok. I guess the husband can demand a payment too because of his efforts too..
      I am sure that wont be tolerated as a lot of things ..
      Calling it a payment now that does not somehow right.

      I dont know what else to say as one of the comments above said whatever wotks for the lady.

      But a question to all ladies if tables are turned a man asked for the payment what would they have said.

      Giving a reason why someone did what does not make it right well according to me that is. Dont know about others.. As some have said they agree with article..


  10. This sounds ridiculous. How can and why should you be compensated for something that nature has bestowed upon you. What if in some cases where the guy who supports his entire family and cannot think of/afford to take a sabbatical work wants to be compensated in gold. Putting a price(and how do you define how much) to relationships sounds very pathetic, specially the act of birthing. Like they say in hindi movies maa ke dudh ka karz…sounds pathetic.
    Seems no one forced her to have that baby. God forbid, if something happens to one amongst the couple or to the kid say disability etc – how will they compensate the other one!

    Assuming a father spent all his free time teaching his son/daughter in their younger years, are his children when they grow up then supposed to compensate him?


    • “Assuming a father spent all his free time teaching his son/daughter in their younger years, are his children when they grow up then supposed to compensate him?” –

      Isnt this the same logic used by a majority of parents in India (especially sons” – hamaare budhape ka sahara – compensation in another name – which is then used to emotionally blackmail children


      • Yes, exactly — but its more socially acceptable when done under the guise of parental sacrifice. In India, parenting is seen to be a sacrifice-filled endeavour that the child has to be eternally grateful to the parents for undertaking.

        In India, it doesn’t matter what sort of parent you are, as long as you are one.


  11. I want a kid, but it will hurt, so pay me? No offense, but I don’t get the logic.

    If SHE really wanted to have the baby as badly as she says she did, I really don’t understand why she must expect to be “compensated” for it. I am not up for the pain, lifestyle changes and career setbacks associated with a kid, so I have CHOSEN NOT to have kids and my husband supports me 100%. If the author of the blog wasn’t up for the pain, she could’ve chosen not to have children, or she could’ve chosen to adopt – she didn’t – she wanted the kids badly enough to go through the pain – so why reduce it to a business transaction?

    You want a kid, go ahead. No, nature doesn’t allow your husband to do it on your behalf and it’s NOT his fault. Yes, the inequality sucks, and no, we cannot change it. Not up for the pain? Don’t have a kid – it’s NOT compulsory! This sort of monetary compensation dehumanizes the new life that is being created. I wonder what she would’ve done if her husband had said nope I’m not paying, if you wont do it “without payment”, lets not have a kid.

    Now if she didn’t want the kid but was somehow coerced/nudged into it, my heart goes out to her – however, that would make her a victim of patriarchy, not a champion of feminism.


    • I think what she’s trying to say goes something like this:

      1. It starts with want. Jane Doe wants a child. John Doe wants a child. At this point, they’re both even.

      2. Jane Doe bears the child. Jane Doe takes all the pain. Jane Doe takes the career setback. Jane Doe deals with the risk of complications and violent death (possible, even if unlikely).

      3. The child is born. Jane and Joe both get their wish. However, Jane paid a big price for her wish (physical pain, financial issues etc etc). John gets HIS wish for ‘free’.

      4. John makes a trip to Tiffany & Co. to (symbolically) compensate for that, so that they’re somewhat even.

      The point is that both the woman and the man know that it’s the woman who will have to bear the costs of their collective wish. If the woman thinks diamonds are fair repayment for that, well, so be it.

      I’m not saying I like the idea, but I think this is what the blog post was getting at.


      • I get what you’re saying. It’s almost like – I worked and suffered for what I wanted, but he benefited from it, so let me make him pay up.


        • I think it’s closer to, I was the one who worked and suffered for what we BOTH wanted and benefited from, so why not have him pay/buy me something so it comes at some cost to him too?


    • This is exactly what I have been wanting to say. Expecting “payment” somehow dehumanizes the new life being created. Whether or not to have a baby is the choice we make. Not all women have that choice, I agree, but those who do went into it with full knowledge of what to expect in terms of career, labor pains, etc.
      For the women who do not have a choice – like you pointed out IHM, where they are denied even rest after child birth – would monetary payment help them in any way ? That is certainly no appreciation of what the mother has put in. Lets say in a rich family – a wife gets an expensive diamond set as gift on giving birth to a baby- but then expected to be on her feet the next day – would this equal to appreciation ?
      Where there is respect and love – money and gifts have no value – they come automatically without being asked.
      I am now 5 months pregnant. For mothers day I got from my unborn child a pair of red shoes (this was something hubby found me checking out but refusing to buy because my feet have started swelling). He bought it for me for mother’s day.
      The message here is either a man aknowledges his wife’s effort during pregnany or not. No amount of diamond can compensate for what I am going through. I see the gifts for what they are meant to be – love for carrying our baby something which he cannot do and I agreed to do. He has also taken parental leave for the first 2 months. Having a trained hired help will not substitute his presence. We should accept that there are some things money can’t buy.
      Here what we need to concentrate is on those poor women who have no say on their own bodies.


  12. Most of the commenters here are already mothers, who have either gone through a normal birth or through a C-section. So, first of all, the “you won’t understand” angle is ruled out.
    I understand. It was a painful process, and even more so, if you also had to undergo Post-Partum depression (Mine lasted for 6 months).I kept whining to my husband every hour for these 6 months that “he doesnt have to go through what I am going through” or “My career is over”. To his credit, he just listened quietly, took care of the baby at nights, left for work early morning without packed lunch , came back early to take care of the kid, and ordered food for both of us. I don’t know how he managed while I wallowed in self-pity.

    Post-Partum depression and self-pity for a few months is fine. If you are still whining about “Only I can go through the pain of labour and breastfeeding”, a therapist may help. I do mean it seriously. Its not healthy to feel sorry for yourself all the time.
    Before creating a child, I am sure your husband didn’t say – “You take this, I will pay in kind”. He bechara had no option but to watch you writhe in pain during labour. He also seems like a loving husband, which is the paramount (and not the “least” one can do. All of us happily married should respect the fact that good men are very rare). You are not a homemaker either – so you can afford the gold and the diamonds. So, why would you ask your husband to “buy” it for you?

    Out of plain curiosity, did you tell the husband he will have to pay in gold before getting pregnant for the second time? Do you fix prices of each child or labour before its birth, or like you mentioned, you just spend what you saved (the public-private hospital price difference).

    I am not judging you as a mother at all – the two points are totally independant of each other – you asking for gold for your pains, and your being compassionate towards your child. So, please don’t get me wrong. The mothers who fail to understand you have already gotten over the pain and focussed on being happy and independant, instead of asking for payback.


  13. I had a successful career and now I am a homemaker by choice. The Husband and I are best friends and soulmates. I respect my relationship – in fact I hold it above everything else in my life, as he does. I cherish our companionship, our togetherness, our differences, our space.

    Now that I am at home, if I ask my husband to pay me for keeping the house clean, for cooking, for the laundry – and in future for bearing children, breastfeeding, wiping poo poo etc. I believe I would have cheapened myself, my relationship, my husband’s love for me, my love for my husband and my family beyond repair. It will reduce my marriage into that of a service provider, service consumer equation. Personally I would be deeply ashamed to ask for payment for bearing a child born out of love, the father being a man I love.

    My equality with my husband cannot be bought or bartered. My equality with my husband is in the love, friendship, intellect and respect we share. Nothing else matters.


    • “Now that I am at home, if I ask my husband to pay me for keeping the house clean, for cooking, for the laundry – and in future for bearing children, breastfeeding, wiping poo poo etc. I believe I would have cheapened myself, my relationship, my husband’s love for me, my love for my husband and my family beyond repair. It will reduce my marriage into that of a service provider, service consumer equation”

      Sumana, aren’t these very arguements used when families want to discount women’s contributions as SATMs or housewives?

      I grew a little uncomfortable while reading this because I’ve seen many people “silence” housewives and mothers when they ask for recognition of their contributions to the household since housework is invisible and unacknowleged.

      I’ve heard many people say that wives and mothers should not complain (ask for recognition) about housework and childcare because it “cheapens” the relationship.

      This always make me think of how economically vulnerable SAHMs are to divorce. Non-working-spouses suffer disproportionately when marriages fail. Divorce is devastating for the stay-at-home spouse.

      That is why I think that SAHMs (or SAHDs) should ask for *some compensation for housework, child-bearing and childcare. No marriage is failure-proof and non-earning spouses are more affected by marital breakdowns than are employed spouses (mostly husbands).

      I do not wish to pry, but would you be comfortable, as a SAHW, sharing how you plan to insure yourself against the “risk” of martial breakdown?

      Please understand that I am writing this out a genuine dersire to understand what one can do. Is it possible to be a SAHW and yet not be economically vulnerable to the risk of divorce?

      This tends to a bit of a hot-button issue, hence the clarification. Not judging, just trying to understand. 🙂


      • I think being a SATW and being finanically independent are not mutually exclusive. When people marry, they set up a home together and each contribute in the way they can. It is unfair to say that only women who bring in money contribute to the home. In western part of Germany where I live, it is very common for women to give up their careers and be a home maker after they have children. But that does not make them financially dependent. After marriage by default, everything earned during marriage belongs to both (unless the couple wants to have separate account by choice). In case of divorce, property earned during marriage is shared equally and so is child care. What we need is strong laws like that. In absence of that it is the duty of each educated woman to plan for her financial independence. I think when a couple decide that the man works and the woman looks after the house, the money earned by the man belongs to them both (as in the house belong to both too). Women should not think that it is their husband’s money they are living on – it is their money. People should educate themselves on insurances and investment. A career woman is always not necessarily financially independent. I personally know friends who are forced to handover salaries to in-laws. Some are not smart with money.


        • I agree with you. I have friends who have no claim on their salaries – it’s all controlled by the husband. So in that sense, although they earn, they are not financially independent.


        • Thanks Divya for that well-reasoned reply. I suppose community property laws and shared custody arrangements are the legislative answer to many of these inequities. I do not see them being passed in India though 🙂

          In India we valorise motherhood even while penalising mothers in so many ways.


      • Well-said biwo. These standards are held against women. One parent’s career flags and the other parent works more passionately towards their career, working extra hours to earn brownie points from their bosses while giving the wife the excuse of being the sole breadwinner. Not fair at all.


      • LOL Biwo! Am no blushing bride with stars in her eyes 😀

        As I’ve mentioned, I’ve had a wonderful decade-long career, and I am financially secure. It was my choice to give up my career when I was completely burnt out. I wanted to pursue literature more seriously.

        I understand where you’re coming from. A lout of a husband walking in from work and expecting chai, pani, nashta to be supplied endlessly while he sits and picks his nose and watches tv. The wife who has toiled away from morn to night does not even get a ‘how was your day’. Yes, there are many who feel homemakers have it easy – just ‘sitting around at home’. THIS is an unequal relationship. And in THIS case, nothing will ever inject ‘equality’ or compensate for the lack of attention and respect the wife deserves. See that is the core issue, the ‘taken for granted’ is just a symptom.

        I cannot speak for others obviously, I can only speak about my relationship. I am not unappreciated by any measure. I hold a place of pride in the family for who I am, and what I am. The day that pride disappears – that’s when I will walk out; not because the freshly laundered sheets went unnoticed.

        And yes, I will feel very cheap, I will feel less of a wife, more of a maid if my husband showed his ‘acknowledgement’ and ‘appreciation’ if he paid me a weekly allowance for keeping the house clean. I find the notion absolutely insulting.

        I still maintain equality in any relationship – be it parent-child or husband-wife should exist in love, respect and trust. If equality does not exist in those spheres, no amount of oral ‘good job’ exclamations, no amount of pats on the shoulder, no amount of jewellery, no amount of money will make one feel good.

        In an honest relationship, appreciation is unsaid, but manifests in many different ways. The moment you feel the need to validate your role over and over again in a relationship by beseeching or demanding for ‘recognition’, I believe the relationship has run its course. It is time to let go.

        But I do completely agree that women who are not financially independent are indeed vulnerable – especially in cases where they’ve never worked. It is more so because they’ve never been on their own ever, and don’t have a support network outside their family – friends, colleagues etc

        Damn! This became a blogpost – I hope IHM won’t throw me out for writing essays instead of comments….


        • IHM should throw me out, since I asked you. :)Thanks for responding so thoughtfully and cogently.

          My thoughts were based on what I see in some marriages in my extended family — after two kids and 15+ years of marriage, the husband has a thriving career with long hours. The wife is a SATM but who once had a promising career (slowed down after kid#1 and quit after kid#2).

          There is a degree of inequality in these marriages even though both spouses started at the same place. It appears that the husbands have grown complacent because “where will she go after two kids and 15 years”. The wives know that they’re being taken for granted, resent it but feel powerless to change the power equation because it tilts too heavily in the husbands’ favour after all these years.

          Such marriages make me feel that it is inevitable that the home-maker spouse will be taken for granted and the balance of power will rest with the primary earner.

          So that’s where I was coming from. Thanks again. 🙂


        • BIWO I have seen such marriages too… and this is why I think the new Marital Property law that makes both the partners equal owners of whatever is earned during the marriage makes a lot of sense.


        • Thanks IHM. Replying to your comment below. I think they have proposed a modification to the Act — wives can only claim immovable property acquired during the marriage.

          Thus wives cannot claim a share in hidden or movable wealth in the form of household goods, gold, cash, stocks, insurance and mutual fund holdings.

          Many of my mother’s friends buy expensive jewellery every year even though they do not like jewellery much. I now understand the motive behind these inexplicable purchases.

          My mother’s friends have a “nest egg” to fall back on. 🙂


  14. IHM,
    Since this subject was originally raised by The Bride, I thought it fit to post my comment on her blog.
    I am posting a copy here.
    This has been a stimulating discussion.
    I will be following this debate with keen interest, in spite of my pre-occupation these last three days.

    Okay, enough of this mental hopping from one side to another.
    I need to take a stand.
    Sorry, it’s final. After considering everything put forth so far, I have concluded that I don’t agree with you.

    I shudder to think of how I would have responded if 38 years ago my wife had told me

    “If you want me to bear your children, Pay Up!”

    I would have reconciled to being a childless couple.
    The thought of “buying” my wife’s cooperation to become a parent is simply indigestible.

    If this condition had been put to me before my marriage I would not have married her.

    No, I am not being insensitive or unsympathetic to women.
    I fully agree nature has been cruel and unfair to women biologically.
    Only God (if you believe in Him) or philosophers or Spiritual Gurus can answer why that is so.

    Some males like me sympathise with women but we are helpless in the matter.
    We did not ask the Creator for this biological advantage.
    If there was a way we could share labour pains many of us, including me, would volunteer.
    Unfortunately that is ruled out. Nowadays many husbands show their concern and empathy by volunteering to be present by their wive’s sides during childbirth. During my time it was socially disapproved and I could not do it even if I had wanted to.

    I agree with all who stated that if the inconveniences of pregnancy, pangs of labour during childbirth, the stresses and strains the mother undergoes during post delivery care of the baby like breastfeeding, and the compromises a woman needs to make on her career, creature comforts etc are unacceptable to a particular woman, then she can opt out of motherhood and I would not hold that against her. It would however be desirable if she gets her husband’s consent on this or at least tell him before marriage.

    If she still craves for a child but is not prepared for the above, there are options like adoption, surrogacy etc.

    A man should not have to buy his wife’s cooperation for becoming a parent.
    Nor should he be expected to “off set” the female disadvantage. He did not have a hand in creating this disadvantage and he is helpless to do anything about it.

    However I fully support reasonable demands. For instance:

    The wife must be given the power to decide when to have her child and the number of children and the spacing.

    The wife can be given rights to choose the names of the baby.
    She can be given the right to choose where she wishes to deliver the baby (the town, and the hospital/nursing home) and also the right to choose her gynec if she is comfortable with a particular gynec. The husband and his family should not impose any of these decisions on her. A wife must be allowed to spend as much time as she pleases at her parent’s place after the delivery and even invite her parents over to live with her to help her during the period after the pregnancy, till she can manage on her own. The husband should have no issues with this.

    If demanding compensation from a husband for going through childbirth is justified, then you could also justify several other absurd demands which will shake the foundations of our family system.

    What if the husband is handsome, fair, rich, belongs to a high caste or forward race, is moneyed, intelligent, has blue eyes and is in excellent health. In short a man whose sperm would be in demand at sperm banks.

    Would such a husband be justified in seeking compensation for offering his sperm to his own wife? If his wife is not an independent earner, would he be justified in asking his in laws to pay up?

    Grand parents often yearn for grand kids and bring pressure on couples to have kids early.
    Would it be okay for a couple to tell the Grand parents,
    “We are not interested in kids yet. If you are eager to see your grandkids before you croak, we will oblige you, but are you prepared to pay for the privilege?”

    Can parents tell their children after they grow up to pay the parents for their upbringing? Can grown up children ask their aged and infirm parents to pay if they wish to be properly taken care of?

    The list can go on.
    A marriage is a sacred union. It would be great if a man buys gold and diamonds for his wife if he can afford it. Let him do so unconditionally out of love for his wife. Not as a price for his wife’s consent to bear his children and not for off setting biological disadvantages that women have unfortunately been stuck with.

    I apologise if this offends some of you. I don’t mean any offense.
    I congratulate you on raising a topic worthy of discussion and debate.
    I had never thought of this question before.

    My wife does not read all these blogs. I sometimes tell her about what’s hot at IHM’s and other blogs. I told her about this discussion. I asked her. Would you have wanted me to buy you diamonds as a price for your motherhood? Her answer : “No, I would be willing to offer you all the diamonds and jewellery that my parents gave me if you could go through this experience and spared me.”



    • ‘I fully agree nature has been cruel and unfair to women biologically.’

      In matters of child bearing and the pain it brings, yes it has, but in most developed countries, women live longer than men on average. This is due to biology as well as the fact that women are less likely to indulge in dangerous activities.


  15. I seriously thought this one was a joke. Pay me for going through labour?! Who am I, a brooding mare delivering the much needed foal and getting her hooves gilded in return? When I choose to have a child, labour is included in the bargain. And if my husband is so overjoyed at me delivering our child that he feels like giving me a present, that’s his choice. I will never demand payment for a child. But oh, I forgot! I made a love marriage, not one based on materialism.


  16. First a disclaimer – I do not have kids and so cannot claim to understand the birthing process. But I do have a number of friends and cousins who have kids and through them I have some basic understanding.

    I read the post by The Bride with interest and the comments with more interest :). One question to the commentators who disagreed with The Bride’s point – how is the fact that she demanded and got something from her husband after the birth of their child, in concept, different from the baby showers / godh bharais / aarathi ceremonies conducted for the mother-to-be? Arent they also some form of recognition of motherhood? Just because (a) The Bride demanded it openly (instead of receiving it without demand) and (b) from her husband and not other family members / friends, does it make it different?


    • Recognition is not the same as repayment.

      The latter is generally made in response to a service rendered, the former as a symbolic congratulatory gesture.

      What we’re talking about here is repayment, not recognition. It is hardly wrong thing to gift your wife jewelry as a symbol of congratulation, and I don’t think it’s any issue at all even if such a present is demanded as a congratulatory gesture.

      What I personally find hard to stomach is the idea that having a baby is, in any way or form, a service, for which the mother must be repaid. From a purely logical point of view, I could probably formulate a convincing argument for it myself, but even if I was in a similar situation (which I’m not), I’d probably find the idea too emotionally unpalatable to be entirely happy with it.


      • “What we’re talking about here is repayment, not recognition. ” – To me, it seemed like The Bride was talking more about recognition (in concrete terms) rather than repayment.


      • Well said, Praveen. The very moment a wife demands payment for delivering a child, a birth becomes nothing but a service. And that kind of thinking is a huge step backwards. Besides, once it is established as a service, it can be claimed. While I certainly won’t discourage any husband to respect his wife for having his child, I can also already see some husbands yelling at their wives to bloody give birth now. After all, that’s what they pay them for. If that happened, most people here would scream bloody murder, and they would be so right!


  17. I think a lot of people are looking at this as if The Bride said “Pay up or else I won’t have the child” or its equivalent. My reading was that she was saying “We both wanted the child and are happy to have the child, but I am the only who paid these huge physical, emotional and financial costs for it. Maybe if you could share these costs with me, you would be willing to, but you can’t. So instead, why don’t you buy me something instead?”.

    There’s this couple I know who were living abroad – both husband and wife wanted to have a baby. The wife wanted to move to India while the husband wanted to stay put in the US. So the wife said that if they had a baby, she expected them to come back to India, and they did. I know of someone who insisted she have naming rights over the baby because she went through all the labour and pain, and she got the naming rights. So why is all of this okay, but its awful if its money/gold/diamonds/paintings?

    Every couple, including couples who love and trust each other highly, negotiate in their daily lives.
    You do the cooking, and I will do the cleaning. You pick up our son from the school today, and I will drop our daughter at swimming class tomorrow. You visit my parents for this festival, and I will visit yours for the next. It’s just that we don’t usually hear this one “You deliver our baby safely and I will buy you a solitaire”. I don’t see why that is an indictment of the relationship the spouses share with each other or their child.


  18. I know that in India it is a big problem regarding the equality of rights or better said equality between woman and man. But to extend this to the process of birth i think is the cheapest thing that i heard. I am european ( in India we are having a bad image because everybody thinks that we are greedy for money and easy womans) and honestly i will never think for a compensation for my problems caused by bringing a life in this world: the life of my child. I think a woman that choosing to have a pregnancy ( her own decision) will bear the process and also all the additional problems that will come before and after giving birth without thinking to material compensations. Your own baby is the supreme compensation. I think when we decide to have a child we are growing up for the first time in our life. We know what will happen with our body, job, life but still we choose to have a child. Why? Because to that time we don’t see important rest of the things. We see the child like the supreme gift that life can offer to us. A woman that thinking different i think is not prepared to have a child. I know that material things are important in our lifes and if the man choosing another path that his own family then is hard for the woman, but in a way or another we will always find a way to raise our kids. As for the fact that man is not able to feel what a woman is feeling in the process of birth is not his fault and neither his decision. Is God that let us only to have this privilege. And yes is a privilege and not a burden. That’s why the child will have always lifetime strong connection with the mother and not with the father, that’s why the law recognising our first right to keep the child when we decide for divorce. These are just my thoughts and my personal believe. And finnaly i have a question: You, the one that you read this, imagine for a second that you are a kid of 10-12 years. Think that you find one day what your mother wrote on her blog about her great pain bringing you in this world and about her compensation in money or gold. What will you feel?


    • “You, the one that you read this, imagine for a second that you are a kid of 10-12 years. Think that you find one day what your mother wrote on her blog about her great pain bringing you in this world and about her compensation in money or gold. What will you feel?”
      Ok fine, I’ll take the bait here. Frankly, I dont think a 10-12 year old is mature enough to comprehend the nuances and give-and-take involved in a marriage between 2 adults. But putting that fact aside, if I did find out my Mom got compensated by my Dad, I would tell her that she clearly wasnt paid enough. My brother and I were a handful. I was an angsty teenager and my brother , an incorrigible brat. For the most part, my Mom had to deal with the growing up pains while my Dad was ‘busy at office’. I personally think she did a great job in bringing us up though sometimes she was taken for granted (by all of us). So yeah, “Mom, you seriously deserved like a gazillion -billion rupees for all that you did for your kids”
      On a side note – Sometimes (especially on this blog) I feel that people tend to write comments that are extremely judgmental, almost to the point of being sanctimonious.


      • Oh, I agree! If I found out my father paid my mother for having us, I’d think it was some small compensation to her, and whatever it was, wouldn’t be enough. My mother was working and yet brought us up almost like a single mom since my father was very hands-off with us when we were young. I know she literally gave most of her life to us when we were children, and I know NOTHING, NO payment can be enough compensation for that.

        Also, agree with your side note. It’s one thing to give an opinion on the actual action, but it makes me uncomfortable when I see people use their disapproval of the action to comment on the relationship between the couple. Or when they say assume that what works for them must and should work for everybody else.


  19. I’m all for people partaking in whatever transaction it takes to prevent resentment. So if a woman feels that a) she’s going to feel resentful towards her husband for not having to go through what she did during pregnancy, labor, and child-raising; b) that him doing X for her would make things even; and c) he agrees, more power to them. I’d MUCH RATHER people settle things through exchange of gifts than resentment or emotional blackmail throughout the rest of their lives. I’ve asked my own mother many times to come up with X (a list of things that my father could do/get for her) and then, get herself to put the matter (whatever it was) to rest. Make him persevere for your forgiveness or whatever but then let it go. And she wouldn’t. Because she feels more powerful holding on to the resentment.


  20. I read the piece and i don’t find anywhere where it says give me a diamond or i WILL NO deliver this baby!!! if the husband sees her pain and is willing to give her the world and she’s happy about it , it’s between them, i don’t see what’s wrong. You don’t want to trade labor for Gold don’t do it. but i don’t see how the relationship between husband and wife will change by doing that.

    Yes i can see how people will be outraged, we are of the mahan culture where we raise kids and expect payment from them in return!!! no??? the great Indian ponzi scheme wherein we give birth & raise sons as a form of retirement planning, can anything be worse than that, THAT is truly blackmail, i sacrificed for you so now you do it. — no matter that the child didn’t ask to be born and oh yeah get your wife to sacrifice too…

    i think how one chooses to be compensated, by caring, by love, by diamonds etc.,depends on the couple, whats there to judge.

    I have twin boys and believe me when i say they are giants like my husband with enormous heads… definitely not what i signed up for. and let me say labor was terrible, the WORST and MOST painful experience in my entire life and my husband stood alongside and was horrified and could do nothing to stop it. he did the one thing in his power – got himself fixed… no more kids , now if he hadn’t , i would have made him get fixed !!!! oh yeah that’s the price i would have demanded of him. lucky for me he did it by himself and he showered me with gifts and diamonds…
    Likewise I cut back a bit at work, mainly to recover , he did hire a lot of help yet it’s 2 more extra so adjustments were required and since I was nursing no point in my husband staying home while I’m the supply right? In our case I would have been quite happy with no kids, I’m not terribly fond of them but I had them because my husband loves kids.. it’s my gift to him and if people don’t have an issue with that I don’t see why they should have a problem with a monetary gift for labor


  21. My first instinct was to recoil at the thought of ‘payment’ for childbirth and delivery. (Not that I am anywhere close to experiencing that)

    Then I read the Bride’s post, and I do see what she meant. I think the act of gifting something makes sense, I just don’t agree with the words used to express this. I would not think of it as payment, just as a gift of recognition. It’s just like when my relatives would gift me money on getting good marks in my examinations, or on my birthday. They weren’t paying me for doing well – and I was not studying for the purpose of getting some cash, and they were certainly not paying me for getting older. 😛

    So, all I can say is that I don’t agree with her choice of words. It gives a different connotation when she says that it was ‘payment’. Probably she did not mean it to sound that way.


  22. I’m told that my mother hadn’t been too delighted taking care of a cranky baby (me) and that my grandma took care of me mostly….but if I had come to know of a deal such as this between my parents, I would stop buying mother’s day gifts…she was already compensated by my father at the time of my birth, you see?? Fair enough…you think!!


    • So mothers day gifts are payment for mothers birthing and raising kids ????? Is there some kind of limit on the compensation….


      • Going by the nature of this post, nothing shocks me anymore. Compensation, equality = diamonds at my door for each child I bear. If a mother wants to be compensated for giving birth, what stops her from asking for compensation for loving, serving and raising the child…and if that is okay with today’s generation of liberated women then why is it so shocking if children tomorrow refuse to acknowledge mother’s love? I know I am sounding incoherent with shock and disgust. So please don’t pay attention to my comments.


        • I agree with you! In fact in my comment that seems bothered some persons, i wanted to show what is the message that we send to our kids. We want to create a better world but how we will do this when in our minds and souls all is reduced to “money” ? I am sorry that my personal opinion bothered some readers, was not my intention to criticize anybody but i think all over the world the concept of democrasy , gender equality, freedom are wrong understood and this causing only problems, makeing us less humans day by day. I am not saying that the person that asking for compensation is bad and i am good but i think we all should try to change a little our values and to teach our children the real values that now days are forgotten. We should see that we are already slaves of gold and money like the ones that leading the world want. Why we are not able to see this? I am same bad like others because society work hard to change us. I am surprised also sometimes how the mirage of money can change me and i am fighting each and every day with the “standards” that society impose me. Sometimes i win , sometimes i fail but at least i am trying. I hope i was not ” extremely judgmental” in this comment.


    • Well, so your mother’s role was just limited to giving birth to you? She didn’t do anything for you as a baby, as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult? Her contribution as a mother goes beyond birthing, doesn’t it? For example, I’m not a believer in Mothers Day so I don’t buy her anything anyway. And honestly, I’m not grateful to her for giving birth to me. But I AM grateful to her for bringing me up the way she did, and for doing so much for me, and for being there for me.


      • Thanks Ramya for your logic here…I’m almost beginning to feel normal again. You see you make sense, this post doesn’t. Neither does my comment. I lose my good sense when I read something like this…excuse my rudeness here! But I have seen, and heard enough. This materialism is sickening. It is heartbreaking.

        The idea itself is repulsive enough to make me not want to read Bride’s blog post…sorry. If the purpose of your life is to seek equality in every breath you take…then I will step back and not bother to give this a single thought. Because what someone wants with their life is completely their business. But if you want to make it a ‘women’s right or lack of rights’ issue, I feel obliged to step in. ‘Cuz I am a woman, and a mother of three. ‘Cuz childbirth has been the most gratifying moment of my life…every single time. And I find the idea abhorring and insulting to every mother out there who like me has felt ‘blessed’ during and after childbirth and to our children who we will choose to have with or without support. What about single mothers who ‘choose’ to have a child without so much as a nod of approval from the society or even their family, and go through labor without a comforting hug from the father of the child? The idea of childbirth is having a baby….and making sure both mother and the baby are healthy…not to make things even.

        This is not to say, it is not difficult or things can’t go wrong with a woman’s body or that women shouldn’t have the right to choose to become a mother. But nothing at all justifies a demand for equality where nature has already given its verdict. A woman wasn’t created to be equal, she is created far superior. It is doubt, fear and insecurity that leads to ideas like this. And then we go round and round the circle and cycle of abuse and cry injustice!!!! Shouldn’t we fight our insecurities first??

        It is fine as long as it’s an individual choice. Childbirth may not be what every woman wants or has enjoyed…but please don’t demean motherhood by putting a price on it.

        And to whoever said that the deal is between the parents, the child shouldn’t be concerned…are you serious?


        • “A woman wasn’t created to be equal, she is created far superior. ”
          — HOW?? how is she superior to a man,oh because a woman can give birth and a man cannot?
          A woman was created to be equal – different but EQUAL, not inferior , not superior not anything extra to anybody.

          Why is putting a price on motherhood demeaning it? It is an individual thing, you may think motherhood is the most defining moment of your life, so you don’t put a price on motherhood. someone else may think something else. I think marriage was the most defining moment of my life, , doesn’t mean i don’t like motherhood.
          I really don’t understand why someone asking for diamonds to compensate the pain of labor demeans motherhood….

          oh well guess i have the Bollywood script writers to blame for this excessive ‘Ma sentiment movies’

          and wanted to be treated equal is not because of insecurities, it is because women are not treated equally– anointing me a superior being for bearing kids and expecting me to gush over motherhood is NOT being treated equally.


        • @Radha…replying to your comment here.
          That statement is something I believe in. It is something I strongly believe. And perhaps that is why I don’t seek equality…I seek fairness. And I believe there is a difference.

          As long as wanting to be compensated for delivering a child is an individual choice…it is fine. And I think I mentioned that before.

          It was hard to word my thoughts on the subject without sounding judgemental…due to the sensitivity involved. I tried.

          I would end by saying, if you believe that putting a price on motherhood is not demeaning it…then we are two individuals with very different perception of the same subject. I respect Bride’s views on many other subjects she has spoken on (on this blog) as well as your’s. So, let’s agree to disagree.


  23. Honestly not into family dynamics as I belive people should do whatever works for them.

    The price of labour is really not SET on the work done but on the bank balance or the earning capacity of one spouse (the husband in this case).

    A rich husband can buy diamonds and poorer one can probably only buy a glass bangles.

    This is nothing but ‘patriarchal’ with a apparent feminist spin on it.


  24. I have been reading all the articles and all the comments that follow because this topic was something people never discuss and something I had never explored. So I thought I shall wait and watch.

    First, I am not a mother, so I cannot judge labour or parenthood.

    To be honest, when I read this the first time, the entire article made me grow cold in my heart, because it seemed cold and calculated.

    But then, I went through the rest of the blog and I must say, i love her writing. Maybe even resent her freedom and all.

    I am really not able to jump to any conclusion and reading everyone’s comments has not helped me decide either ( except KC who seems to like all women kept under some stone in the name of tradition and culture ).

    TO me any relationship, that includes friendship or anything, is not calculated in ‘ I do for you, you do for me’, it is difficult to maintain balance sheets for love, i feel, makes it seem cold and calculated, which means less love. Not to say, one party always gives, other always receives, then just leave. But both cannot contribute 50-50 all the times. This quote explains best what I am trying to say

    “a relationship is never 50/50, many times its 90/10 or 10/90. They will tell you that the average is 50/50, but in any given moment it’s not totally equal.” –

    But at the same time, why should women lose out on things because they have to bear kids? – The govt., corporates should all ensure, that she does not lose out monetarily because of this. There should be adequate protection in place for women, because they took out time for children. agreed.

    I think the way she put it makes the entire thing seem cold and calculated, which I do not like but if it suits both of them, then why not? I have no issues. Conversations/agreements with your spouses/parents/family/friends may seem rude/wrong to outsiders but that may be the it the way relationship is and both parties do not find it offensive. People can be appalled at how some people talk to their parents without respect but that’s how they communicate and they still love each other.

    I feel it is the same here. Unless I am the person in there, i will not write it off as I do not know the communication/agreement dynamics.


    • Also if people find the idea of money in the marriage so abhorrent, what about the money given as dowry/gifts/ money spent by the girl’s family for the wedding etc? Are money details not discussed as the marriage is fixed. So if your entire marriage is like a deal, why will this be treated as bad in our society, when we do not eliminate other evils


  25. I read the bride’s post and this is what I feel:
    At the end of the day, we do what makes us feel good and secure and happy, and if getting a payment in any form from the husband makes one feel all that, then so be it. But, what I fail to understand is, that the woman is “choosing” to have a baby over a good career, no physical pain, no problems that come with child bearing. And if this is a choice she has made, voluntarily, with full consciousness of the mind, then there should not be any resentment over the negative aspects of childbearing, right? She is not doing a favor on the husband or anyone else by giving birth to the baby. I mean, one chose to do it voluntarily. If any woman wants no slowing down of career for few years, no pain associated with child birth, then she may chose to go for adoption. In fact, before I got married, I had plans on adopting 2 kids. I am really chicken when it comes to visiting hospitals and being the patient, and I didnt think it would be worth going through the pain to bring a child in this world, when there already are so many kids who are in need of a home. But then I met the husband, and over the years of being friends with him and being married to him, I have slowly warmed up to the idea that maybe it would be nice to have one kid we both make and one kid we adopt. I am still chicken about going through pregnancy and all the physical change, but I know that when I do go through it, I will be totally ok giving my career a slowdown and enduring whatever comes along with child birth. The husband, on the other hand will make sure he is supportive, earns well in the time when my career is slowing down, and be there for whatever needs may arise during and post childbirth. Yes, men and women are physically different, but I would not call this inequality. After all, equality should always be in terms of quality and not quantity right? (equity is the word here). Women and men cannot be equal, in quantity. Because they are constructed different ways. Biologically, they are different. And the biological difference does make a difference in some aspects of life. What we should strive for here, is equity.


  26. First off , I am not a mother and can’t comment on the pain and horrors of childbirth. Yes, horrors. I agree with some one above, the wording of the post gives an initial first impression of a very calculating transaction , something that we are all programmed to be shocked by. But the more the thought you give to it , it makes sense.

    I agree men and women can never take equal parts in bringing out a child, and that is exactly one of the reasons I resist popping out a baby – I am not simply not ready for any changes in my lifestyle, my career or my body. Some men understand , but most cannot completely figure the extent of the changes that affect them. And then, when you don’t live upto the expectations of the society as a mother, you are judged. I have a colleague who got very sick after childbirth , and with work couldn’t manage her kid. They have huge mortgage payments and quitting isn’t an option. She sent her 6 mo old daughter to India to her parents. When someone else heard this, they said ” What kind of a mother is this, is the baby or the job more important?” When I tell most people I don’t have feel the need to have children , they say very ominously , wait and see, you will crave for them when you are old. Sorry ,went off on a tangent, but yes, I agree with the post. While most folks don’t feel the need for compensation , if you do because you have done the extra work, there isn’t a thing wrong .


  27. I think, rather than making husbands pay wives to have children, SOCIETY should pay women to have children via taxation.

    Allow me to use a comparison I’ve used in another comment:

    Compare childbirth to being a soldier. We have no issues with paying taxes to pay soldiers, giving soldiers lots of benefits and real respect, right? Why not do the same for moms??

    After all, soldiers and moms benefit society in amost exactly comparable ways. Procreation is as basic and essential a function of the species as protection. Both carry similar risks of death (women have always died in childbirth in staggering numbers just like soldiers die in war, and both rates of death are drastically reduced with better technology). Both are difficult, real WORK. And if overpopulation is an issue, too many wars is also just as big a problem…

    Funny, isn’t it, how differently society treats moms and soldiers? All because one set is doing traditional “men’s work” and the other is doing “women’s work”.


    • I see your point but I disagree. But why should society pay for a decision that it doesn’t have a say in. Why should men and women who choose NOT to have children pay for women who choose to have children If you make society pay for women to have children, it will most likely backfire. The same society will then tell women HOW to raise children, that a woman should stay at home to take care and not pursue a career. I don’t want society to interfere in my private life.


      • I don’t know how much of a say society has in sending a soldier to war, or in deciding what benefits he receives in and out of war. All the same, the general public will pay for it through taxes.
        So what is so unjust in paying for govt-sponsored healthcare or childcare?
        It’s the same conundrum in the West : the vast majority of the population 65 years and older is paid a pension through Social Security, which is footed by the working young. You can say, why should I pay for someone else’s retirement, but the fact is, when you retire, you will seek those same benefits, which someone else is paying for.

        And that’s what Government is for – it’s the representative of the people, so it is duty bound to ensure their welfare. I don’t buy the hypocrisy of screaming ‘socialism’ when it suits you and demanding govt bailout when you need it.


        • I have a very small comment to what you said. In West all persons that are working pay a percent to the state budget ( the percent depending of country) from their monthly payment, for pension, entire life. When they have 65 will take in return what they payed to the state for 40-45 years. So i pay today to the Social Security and they pay the persons that are to pension now days ( but all that persons payed in past) and i will get my pension in same way later ( if will be enough persons to work to that time and if the sistem will work nicely). The idea of payment for womans that are choosing to have children is not ok and i have an explanation for that. In my country woman were able to stay home for 2 years after delivery, to raise the child and they were getting also an amount of money, even before they were working or not. Was not too much but comparative with the minimum payment if they would had went to work was ok. So many womans even were not having what to give to the child to eat were choosing to have a baby just to don’t go to work for minimum payment. Situation became very bad and finally now law is different. They can stay home just 1 year after delivery and they are payed monthly only if they worked 2 years before pregnancy and also payed to the state all the taxes.


        • My point was that I am against government making a direct monetary compensation to the mother or parent for having a child.


      • You’re totally right about this. I also think paying women to have children would turn babymaking into the profession of poor women, much like foot-soldiering has turned into the profession of poor (dispensable) people. I was hasty in typing out my comment yesterday, and WRONG too. So here’s a slightly longer description of my views:

        First, I think this system of patriarchal-communism (or, best-case-scenario, anarchism) within families but capitalism everywhere else is what causes women’s oppression. Pick one economic system or the other, and apply it everywhere! The way we have it now, businesses and people in power profit immensely from the unpaid labor that allows them to survive but which they never have to pay for. It’s this huge subsidy they get that we never acknowledge. They never have to pay fair wages to the people who created their most important asset – productive workers – from scratch! Businesses also don’t have to pay fair wages to the people who care for the workers they already “used up”… especially true when the whole concept of pensions, however meager, is disappearing. It’s no accident that women are the ones who do all this unpaid work. It’s the last socially acceptable form of slave labor.

        But if husbands were to pay wives their half of the fair wages for the service of birthing children, the cost would be indirectly borne by employers who’d have to pay these men more. It makes this form of labor visible in the capitalist economy, as it deserves to be. The same could be done for breastfeeding, and for caregivers within families. Women (or men) who stayed home to care for children or old people would no longer be seen as ‘not working’ because they would be earning a wage and paying taxes and be part of the economy. This work would no longer be a gap in their resumes, but part of the resume itself.

        Or else we could go completely the other way, and make the economic system we use within families apply everywhere else. Everybody does their work and everybody shares in the fruits of production 100% equally. Surgeons and CEOs and hedge-fund managers get the same standard of living as farm laborers and clerks and full-time parents and “non-productive” folks like those with serious disabilities. Pipe dreams, I know, but that would really be my kind of world. 🙂

        So that’s one part of it. The head-in-the-clouds part that’s never going to happen.


        Coming down to earth, to a modification of what I was talking about in my comment, I really do think there us an urgent need for us to recognize that society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid. But okay, let’s not pay them because that would open a huge can of worms. What we need to do instead is stop penalizing those who do this unpaid work.

        –> Make it explicitly illegal to discriminate against mothers in hiring and wages.

        –> Tax people and businesses in order to have government-funded mandatory paid maternity AND paternity leave for the entire first year of a child’s life (6 months each). This kills many birds with one stone: women aren’t forced to return to work because they can’t afford to care for their child/themselves, men are allowed the chance to be real fathers, the burden of unpaid childcare is more likely to be shared between both parents instead of just the mom, children are likely to be breastfed longer than they currently are, children benefit from parental care in their first year of life, employers have no reason to discriminate against hiring women because both men and women are going to take time off when they have kids.

        –> Tax businesses and people in order to have government-funded free quality childcare for all children. This also kills many birds with one stone: women are no longer forced to quit their jobs because childcare is more expensive than their income, elders aren’t burdened with unpaid care of grandchildren as a JOB instead of a pleasure that they choose when they like, children are given quality and standardised care in early childhood which is shown to make an enormous difference in levels of achievement in poorer children especially.

        –> Force all employers to provide nursing/pumping rooms and breaks without penalizing women for it. If people can have smoking breaks and coffee breaks, by god lactating women should be allowed to pump milk!

        All this is obviously going to take higher taxes, and I’m all for that. We have a responsibility towards people who create the next generation of people!

        /ginormous essay, hope I haven’t bored your eyeballs off, IHM.


        • In addition, a nation’s economy is driven by the young working population. No nation would like to have a greater percentage of retirees than that of workers. (Case in point is Japan). Therefore, it is but natural that governments encourage the birth and nurturing of children.
          About Social Security, the argument is that the elderly rich do not need it, for they have enough money of their own. So, why did they have to pay for others who were not so capable (or not so lucky?)? The reasoning behind a welfare state is that everyone contributes according to their capacities, so that everyone can get a share of the benefits.


  28. Ridiculous argument cooked in feminism & self entitlement. Nobody put a gun to her head to have children, she sounds disappointed she had a kid. I feel sorry for the kid and the husband, this really sounds like ‘I had sex with you & went through all this pain – now compensate me for it’.

    Don’t want kids, don’t get married.


  29. Pingback: Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  30. Pingback: “You have to stop talking about your kids,” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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