Sharing an email.
I have recently resigned and am planning to take a break from my hectic and quite high profile job to do things I always wanted. Read, write, travel in trains across India, volunteer, play with my dog, stare at ceiling and ponder about meaning of life!! All those things which I dreamt of and couldn’t really do to satisfaction. I made decent money. My partner had taken a break 8 years ago and now is earning well enough for both of us to have a decent life till I decide to spring back, after which he might take a break again.
The point I am writing to you is, I noticed that the moment I announced my break, everybody I know started speculating about BABY!!!! Was I pregnant, was I planning to be pregnant, why wasn’t I planning to be pregnant now that my career was not a barrier? Did I think my dog was a lifelong substitute for my own baby? Was I not worried that the clock was ticking away and we would be left with a lonely life without kids? My god. I was aware of these assumptions but they never felt so intrusive till they were made about me. It was as if taking a break to do these things was not good enough use of my time:):)
Anyway, so I started thinking about how in our culture women are always assumed to want to become mothers. We have never wanted children and feel very satisfied in our choices. That’s not to say that we never feel dissatisfied or worried or unhappy. Like everyone else, with kids or not: we also feel the modern urban blues. But never ever have we thought/ felt that children would be the answer for us. We always felt that a child is a tremendous responsibility and unless we really were ready to take it on, we would rather not do something just because our culture dictates that we are incomplete without one.
But increasingly as I approach the mid thirties, I have noticed that people associate baby with everything 🙂 🙂 I was quite down and out last year : Bang. my mother started telling me how not having baby makes women sad!! We got a dog. Bang : My friend told me how a dog could never be a substitute for a baby. (I didn’t have a heart of telling her, a new mother, that I infinitely preferred dogs over babies. I am crazy about dogs since I was a kid and could finally manage to get one: it never entered my head that I was somehow compensating for a baaabbbbyy). I am taking a break. Bang. The whole world is telling me that my time has come to finally do what all women are supposed to : have babies!!!
And this is quite liberal set of people I am talking about. I just shrug and forget since this is quite an irrelevant topic in our lives. but this has led me to be interested in this whole phenomenon of child free. I surf child free forums a lot and its great fun to see how people across cultures feel that having children is seen as a default in society. But they are primarily based out of US/ Europe.
I would be interested to know apna Indian thoughts on why do you think people always assume that women have to have babies to be complete? Or if they don’t there is something medically wrong with them? Or that they are too childish/ selfish/ irresponsible? (I mean people have children because they want to. So how not having children because one wants to be termed selfish)? Do you think that women are somehow judged if they don’t want to be mothers? Unique Indian take by Unique Indian feminist blogger IHM please 🙂 🙂
Happily child free