“You sound disappointed that I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world. No matter how many wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we are not ‘settled’.”

-Sania Mirza

‘Choosing motherhood over career’ or ‘choosing career over motherhood’ is a woman’s personal choice and no one has the right to adjudicate or interfere in her peculiar decision.

It is said that “Motherhood is the most beautiful feeling in a woman’s life”. I am sure it is but isn’t it a woman’s decision whether she want to be a mother or not?

Not all women dreams of getting married at the age of 25 and becoming a mother before 30; some dreams of achieving great heights too. I respect all the mothers in the world and I am not saying a mother cannot reach a goal. But, it should be a woman’s choice whether she wants to have a kid or not. A person has full rights on his/her body.

In India, the two most commonly asked questions to a girl are; 1) when is she going to get married? (before marriage) and 2) when is she giving ‘that’ good news? (after marriage). Are these the only things left on this planet for women? Like every woman is dying to get married and to give birth. Why these questions have not been asked to men?

The society and the relatives are not the only ones asking these questions to a girl but also your own family members. You will always get advices from almost everyone why it is important to have a child and why you should not delay conceiving even if you got married a month ago. We are living in a country where family planning is whole society’s main concern and not a couple’s personal selection.

I have known many classy and literate people who call a woman ‘sterile’ if she is not conceiving for whatsoever reason. Women often succumb to the societal pressure and choose to conceive even if they are not actually ready rather answering the gibberish questions.

Girls should not feel guilty when asked these questions as there is nothing wrong to follow your heart and choose your own way of living your life. You should choose motherhood only if you want to not because others forces you to.

It’s a big responsibility to raise a child. Parents, especially a mother need to be physically and mentally prepared before taking the ‘big decision’. It is an irony that in our country all that is important is to have children and not how they are brought up.

There is a perpetuation of the notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful or unhappy if they are not having kids. There is nothing wrong to have children and there’s nothing wrong not to have them, it’s just the matter of choice. Being human, we should respect each and every individual’s choice.

Being a mother could be a great thing and enriching phase of life but a woman shouldn’t be forced into it. What about those girls who want to be themselves and not just a mother all the time? It is also true that not every girl has that maternal feeling. Why it is a society’s biggest expectation from a girl?

I know many women who are not in pursuit of motherhood and have other preference in life but, due to societal pressures and family encumbrance, she loses all the rights on her own body and chooses to become a mother. This could be a very vulnerable thing for both mother and the child. Why women need to have children to be seen as a complete human being?

A lady in my neighbourhood is expecting her fourth baby even after so many complications just because her family desires a male child. And yes she belongs to an educated, so-called modern family.  She became a child delivering machine (may be because she is not self-dependent). Her family doesn’t gives a bit on what she is going through and she has no means to voice her pain.

She is not the only one. There are many more that are forced to conceive and even die because of the complexity. According to The Indian Express, “India has highest number of maternal death”.  

A woman is not going to be a less of person if she is not choosing motherhood. We as a human being should respect the individuality of one and all. A woman should never be judged on the basis of what she chooses in her life.

I would like to end my note on a very logical lines of Gloria Steinem (an American feminist & journalist who was a columnist for New York magazine and founder of Ms Magazine)- “Everyone does not have to live in the same way. Everybody with a womb doesn’t have a child anymore than everybody with vocal cords has to be an opera singer”. 

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Comments

This is such a beautifully written post. I really like how you touched upon what it means to be a woman, as there are several expectations that come along with having a womb. It degrades women, downplaying their values, such as intelligence. Childbirth can definitely be dangerous, and should be a woman's choice what she wants to do with her body. There is more to a woman than what she can give life to. 

Hello Natasha! 

very well written piece. 

i love the aspects you bring out in your write up, the choice to choose what you want to become. 

I believe the problem we are facing is more of that of abuse. since we do not yet know in detail the purpose of most of the things we have been given and institutions like marriage, we are abusing in use.

What is marriage? Why do we get married ?  why do we procreate? until we answer these  question we will continue to live under the illusion that marriage was meant first and foremost for procreation. 

By the way bringing forth a child does not make you a good other. Motherhood is an office or say a calling to which you commit yourself. its not a duty!

keep raising your voice and hopefully people like your neighbor and others will stand up and make choices that will empower them as women!

cheers

The Best  you can ever be is YOURSELF! 

Leila Kigha